Gini Dietrich

The Big Question: Are Infographics Still Effective for PR?

By: Gini Dietrich | June 2, 2017 | 
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The Big Question: Are Infographics Still Effective for PR?

Wow.

We received a lot of responses for this week’s Big Question.

Apparently, 100 percent of people in PR have an opinion about infographics and whether they’re still effective.

While that data alone wouldn’t make for a very interesting infographic, the rate of response suggests there’s still a lot to be discussed around infographics and their role in the PR content mix.

The Big Question we posed to PR pros this week (if it isn’t obvious by now):

Are infographics still effective for PR?

Most feel infographics still carry value.

However, there are many who have noticed a decline in quality and effectiveness.

Here are some (but certainly not all, there were WAY too many responses, thank you for your interest!) of your comments:

Infographics for Infographics Sake?

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

Just like any storytelling tool, we need to aim for the appropriate mix to ensure we are telling the story in a manner that not only adds value, but that also works for the audience in question.

From Paula Kiger:

I like them (infographics) if they are designed well and help me get the big picture, BUT as a community coordinator I have had my quota of “here’s my amazing infographic don’t you want to share it?” inquiries.

Jacob Dayan feels he can get more bang for his buck with other creative opportunities:

In the past we’ve produced a lot of infographics, we’ve seen some excellent media placements and web traffic from them. But we no longer favor them as much as we used to.

Many publishers now perceive them as obvious link-building gimmicks and reject them. Also, infographics are usually awkward on mobile devices, where more people consume content these days.

For these reasons, we felt our placement opportunities shrinking so our creative budget in 2017 is better spent elsewhere.

According to Dana Kilroy:

While I don’t think ANY content is as effective as it used to be—because there is just so much more to compete against—I’ve found that our infographics still attract attention and are often the most widely shared content we publish.

For us, the key is to create an infographic that includes information that’s both useful and presented in a unique way.

For example, we have an infographic called Is Your Facebook Contest Legal?

The information it includes is available from Facebook, but we laid it out in such a way that it’s more of a checklist and you can glance at it to get the information you need.

It’s easier than reading through Facebook’s lengthy guidelines.

Infographics: A History Lesson

Beth Brodovsky reminds us that infographics in some manner or form have withstood the test of time for generations.

Infographics are about combining words and images in a way that make the content faster and easier to understand. They provide context in a way that would be less effective with text or images alone.

The concept has been around since the 19th century, starting with Dr. John Snow’s cholera map in 1854.

The infographic that is the London Underground map has become the standard for transit users across the globe.

The recent internet trend of infographics is the latest form of a timeless tool. While the “info poster” trend that is little more than a graphical gathering of words and images may fade, the value of infographics to clarify ideas will stay.

What Makes a Good Infographic?

Jackson Carpenter praises infographics, crediting them with opening doors to invaluable media opportunities, but notes that, like any pitch, they have to address all the right criteria:

Although it’s true that the press is not as enamored with infographics as they used to be, there is still a place for well-made and relevant infographics.

We have seen continued success because we’ve been able to combine relevance with exceptional design quality.

Lucid Software has used infographics to secure stories in The HuffingtonPost, ScreenRant, and more.

These graphics have also opened doors to great collaborations with major IP brands like Wizards of the Coast.

A great infographic has to be timely, niche, and sharable. Bonus points if you can get a great collaborator with a big audience to help you promote it.

Lucid Software dedicates a significant amount of time to building infographics, and just as much time to promoting them.

Pro Tip: Find great distribution channels and partners. Reddit is a great place to start.

Sally Falkow says infographics can still be effective in PR if you follow these five checkpoints:

It is used in the right place along the customer/stakeholder journey.

There is real value in the data.

It makes a complex piece of content easy to grasp quickly—turns it into snackable content.

It is well-designed and visually appealing. Not all infographics are equal.

It is shared on the right platforms at the right time.

Infographics to Support Your Content

Julia Marvin uses infographics in two, very specific ways:

My company is using infographics to refresh old content and present it in a new way and we’ve seen results with an increase in our web traffic and sales leads that is directly attributed to the infographics.

I’m using them in two specific ways, working closely with our web/SEO coordinator.

Case Studies

Our case studies are long—four to six pages per case study. They are also only accessible to users if they submit their contact information.

Most users that visited the download form didn’t actually follow through.

To tell the stories and show ROI in an easily digestible way, I created infographics for each case study that highlight the customer’s problems, solution, implementation, and results.

These infographics (along with links to the full case study) are available on our new customer success stories web page.

Since creating the web page and utilizing the infographics, they’ve been successful in piquing interest and we’ve seen a 25 percent increase in form submissions.

Highly-ranked blogs

We have two-three blog posts that are several years old but still rank highly in keyword searches and bring a lot of traffic to our website.

We repackaged the information from those posts into infographics, which we posted as new blogs with a different title.

And we sent emails out to our blog subscribers with the infographic and link to the post, and one of them had the highest open and click rate we’ve had from a blog email.

Infographics For Pitches

Maris Callahan uses infographics to complement the story she wants to tell, implementing them in the pitch process to help grab a journalist’s attention, but also to help them get a better sense of what she’s pitching:

I think of infographics as I do news releases.

They’re helpful to give journalists as background information: Useful, visual snapshots that give pertinent info in a digestible format.

Also like press releases, I wouldn’t advise brands to expect that media will actually run them though unless they’re customized. Media will prefer original content.

It’s All About Storytelling

A constant thread through all of the replies to this week’s Big Question is storytelling.

The key to any content marketing tool, such as the infographic, is that it needs to aid in the storytelling process.

It needs to help breathe new life into content, or add a layer to your storytelling that wasn’t accessible before.

Next Week Question: What is Your Must-have Software?

Evernote, Wunderlist, slack, video chat, virtual assistants… the list of software we have at our disposal—designed to make us better—is amazing.

This week, we look at the tools we use.

What is your must-have software? The tools you have to use to effectively do your job?

You can answer here, in our Slack community, or on the socials (use #SpinSucksQuestion so we can find you).

If you answer the question and we feature your answer, you get a follow link to your site.

So get to answering!

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

  • Edward M. Bury

    Great and valid insight shared here. Infographics also can be seen (pun intended) as being part of the concept known as data visualization, used and recognized across many disciplines, including academia where I work. If they’re well designed and used strategically, I think they’re very valuable. Here’s more on data visualization: https://www.sas.com/en_us/insights/big-data/data-visualization.html

  • Erin Gleeson

    My one must-have tool- any type of social scheduling tool. These tools are integral to planning out thoughtful, useful social content and sticking to a consistent schedule.

    • What’s your favorite?

      • Erin Gleeson

        Buffer! Although I’m using Hootsuite right now and do enjoy having the added utility of listening streams.

        • Corina loves Buffer, too. I can’t get myself off Hootsuite. I try and then I retreat back to the known.

          • Buffer is really good, but only in terms of its basic function, IMO. I’ll have to talk to Corina about this! I find buffer lags a bit when it comes to reporting and I don’t get a strong, confident vibe from its insights into when I should post. Sprout is good. I used Hootsuite back in the days, and love supporting a Canadian company, but it’s been a while since I’ve been on it. I may have to go back!

  • I’d be lost without Evernote. I use it for collecting research materials for blog posts, keeping frequently re-used information handy, and sharing collaborative notebooks with others. I love that I can use it across my devices, offline, then synch it up when I have WiFi access again.

    • I have tried and tried and tried to use Evernote. How did you make it habit you can’t live without?

      • I have the Evernote Clipper installed on my laptop and desktop and just started clipping and tagging anything I read that I thought I’d want to cite later. I also started making a habit of saving my blog post ideas in Evernote so I can work on them when I’m traveling even if I don’t have Internet access. I think the turning point was the year Brandie and I created a shared notebook for CMworld and saved our session notes and shared them w/each other. After that, I made a point to share my notebook for a conference with my team members back in the office.

        • I’m with Gini here. I was a die-hard evernote fan. I still love it. It’s a great tool/service. However free Apple Notes or many like-minded clippers and note-taking services are just as effective for me. I used to say evernote, or nothing. But when they upped the prices I had a quick rethink and reverted to apple notes and my physical notebook.

  • Kyle Olson

    Great post Gini. I develop infographics and have seen a slight decline over the past year with journalists and publications enthusiastically accepting infographics to write up. However, I’ve also noticed a lot more data visualizations that publications are creating in-house. Anticipating that need for news stories can be one way that marketers can insert themselves into the mix. The other way is to create a unique view point with proprietary data, then visualize it. If you have data that doesn’t exist elsewhere on a noteworthy topic AND you visualize it in a way that is up to the publication standards (or even exceeds them), you have a greater chance of getting noticed by journalists.

    • I really love the idea of creating a unique view point with proprietary data and then visualizing it. That works for both journalists and consumers.

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