Measured SEM co-founder Ken Lyons recently had this post published on Search Engine Watch.
When it comes to infographics, the discussion usually revolves around design and promotion. And there are some great articles and case studies written about conceptualizing and marketing a successful infographic as well as pitching them and conducting link outreach.
But rarely do you read anything about the other “behind the scenes” elements that go into pulling off a successful infographic campaign. These are critical tasks and decisions that fall largely on the client to execute, not the vendor, which can come as a surprise for first time infographic clients.
What Most Infographic Vendors are Responsible for
When working with an infographic vendor, most clients assume the vendor handles everything from end to end, which is a misconception. The level of service and attention you get from infographic vendors can vary and depends on how much you’re willing to spend.
But for the most part, the deliverables for infographic vendors include:
- Ideation (brainstorming infographic concepts)
- Data collection and research
- Designing the graphic
- Blogger outreach and social promotion (note: outreach and promotion may or may not be included in your infographic package depending – for many it’s an add on)
Now, if you’ve never published an infographic, you’d think this is really all there is to it. But that’s not the case. There’s definitely more that goes into launching an infographic.
What Clients are Responsible for
When it comes to what you, the client, what are some of the things you’re expected to own and take the reins on with your infographic project? Some of the most common questions clients find themselves asking around publishing their infographic are:
- When should I publish my infographic?
- Where should I publish the infographic on my site?
- What should my infographic landing page look like?
- Should I supplement the vendor’s promotional efforts with some of my own?
All are valid questions that typically don’t fall under the vendor’s purview, but are still key components to launching your infographic.
So with that, let’s dig into these questions and come up with answers to those questions, so that there are no surprises and you’re better prepared for infographic launch day.
Infographic Publishing Tips for Clients
When should I publish my infographic?
The most active time of day for social engagement usually starts in the late morning (though there is plenty of other data on the best time to post on social networks) and the ideal days for publishing are on either a Tuesday or Wednesday, which maps pretty closely to when you should announce news.
You should launch your infographic campaign early morning Tuesday launch would make the most sense here, from a day, time perspective. However, publishing your infographic might also hinge on whether you, your PR firm, or your infographic vendor have been able to land an exclusive with a publisher, in which case you’ll need to coordinate your release with theirs.
Also, it’s worth noting that the typical promotion “lifecycle” for an infographic lasts roughly a business week (Monday through Friday) before interest wanes. So it’s important to publish early in the week.
You can still acquire placement and links after the initial launch and promotion period winds down. Some infographics can passively acquire links and mentions consistently on a weekly basis for a year (or longer). There are also instances where a big foreign publisher can run your infographic after the fact, which can trigger a second wave of activity on foreign share sites and blogs. But on average, the initial few days are when the infographic has the best legs, momentum and generates the most social buzz and the best chance for solid placement because it’s “fresh.”
The final factor to consider here about when to publish is if your infographic concept is intentionally tied to an event – for example, the U.S. presidential election, Black Friday, a current news story, etc. If that’s the case, then you’ll need to time your launch date accordingly and so you can “piggyback” on potential interest and media coverage surrounding the event.
Where should I publish the infographic on my website?
This is often the first question asked by clients once they receive the final version of the infographic image file. You should publish your infographic in two places:
- Your blog as an announcement and “teaser preview”
- In a resources-type section, where it will live ultimately and potentially where you might house all your “higher value” content and linkable assets
- Publishing in two places gets you two pieces of original content that are crawlable and can garner links and shares (tip: write original content for each vs. copying and pasting the same chunks of text in both places).
- Hosting the infographic in a dedicated resources section makes sense from a content organization and usability standpoint on your site.
- Running an announcement on your blog as well means you’re leveraging better, faster syndication (RSS) and potentially gets it in front of anyone who subscribes to your blog right away.
Now, that’s not to say you can’t publish it only on your blog and still have a successful campaign because it definitely happens. These are just my recommendations and based on what has worked for us and our clients.
What should my infographic landing page look like?
When it comes to how you should structure your infographic landing page and what key elements to include, there can be a lot of confusion on the client end. Here’s how to structure your infographic page from top to bottom.
- Brief introduction: Include an introductory paragraph to “set the stage,” where you talk about the infographic, explain the concept, quickly summarize what information or data or research it conveys, and why that info is important or interesting to your audience, etc.
- Social sharing icons: Include sharing icons with share counts. Having the sharing buttons allows for frictionless sharing, making it easier for people to promote your infographic vs. having to copy and paste the URL into Twitter and other social platforms. Including dynamic share counts gives you a means of measuring engagement and shares could be one key performance indicator (KPI) you monitor. Share counts can also help to reinforce proof of concept, which can facilitate additional sharing. If you’re running WordPress, check out ShareBar for adding buttons and counts. However, if you don’t operate on WordPress, each social site has a developer’s page where you can grab share button codes, like this page for developers on Facebook for instance.
- The infographic: Obviously, you want to include the actual infographic image file – below the introductory paragraph – and you’ll want to size it according to the pixel width of your content template. Is your infographi branded? If not, make sure your company logo is somewhere on the infographic (ideal spot is at the end). And in some cases, you can also add a CTA (call-to-action) as well. But honestly that’s as far as you need to go with branding on the graphic. Resist the urge with being too self-promotional because it can absolutely kill distribution. Most bloggers and pubs aren’t keen on pimping what they might see as an ad for your company.
- HTML code embed: To make adding the infographic on other sites frictionless and make getting links easier, you need to include a HTML code embed box at the end of the infographic, with a headline like “Add This Infographic to Your Site.” You can either code the box yourself (which can be wonky in WordPress since you need to code quotations as “ < ” or WP will invert the quotation marks, rendering the code useless) or you can use a handy code embed generator. Make sure the HTML code embed for the infographic has a link back to both the document the infographic is hosted on and a link to the home page so you can work in branded anchor text (yes, I recommend branded anchors vs commercial anchors to future proof your infographic strategy).
- Text version of Infographic: I’d also recommend adding the text version of the infographic on the landing page as well, at the end of the page, after the HTML code embed box. You will have this content as part of the research and production process in a Word doc from the vendor. Why add this content since it’s already present in the infographic? Because you’re adding even more crawlable content to the page (vs images in a graphic that Google is unable to read) and giving the document more opportunities to rank for a basket of keywords and you’re publishing something “thicker” vs what could be perceived as “thin content.”
Should I supplement the vendor’s promotional efforts with outreach of my own?
When working with vendors, you definitely should be clear at the start what your objectives are (links, shares, traffic, all of the above, etc) and which KPIs you see as important to the success of the infographic.
You also need to be clear on what the vendor is doing for promotion (if anything). Are they:
- Pitching to bloggers?
- Securing an exclusive?
- Focusing on social promotion?
That said, even if they are doing promotion, it’s always a good idea to augment the vendor’s efforts with outreach and promotion of your own, to give your infographic the best chance of succeeding.
When doing your own supplemental outreach, here are some tips:
- Make sure you coordinate your outreach efforts with the vendor. Ask them to share a list of pubs they plan to reach out to, so there’s no overlap. You don’t want to email the same bloggers and pubs more than once and risk annoying them or being labeled a spammer.
- Coordinate social promotion too. Most vendors have specific social accounts they want to use to submit your infographic to on either Reddit or StumbleUpon, since trusted, aged and authoritative profiles have more influence. If you don’t coordinate efforts, and you and other members on your team submit the infographic randomly and start voting it up, that can directly conflict with and impede your vendor’s efforts, and voting blocks from the same IP can get your domain banned.
- Make sure you hit up the infographic submission sites, like Infographic Land, for example. There are a bunch of these sites and all they do is curate infographics so getting links and coverage can be relatively easy. Here’s a great list. Most sites are free but it’s worth noting that some submission sites charge a fee, so you’ll need to evaluate the value of a particular link from these sites and determine if it’s worth the investment.
- You can buy traffic to your infographic on StumbleUpon and Reddit and it’s fairly cheap. Spending anywhere from $50 to $100 can help get your infographic valuable exposure and thousands of impressions across these social voting platforms, which does generate traffic (albeit low value, low intent traffic that potentially doesn’t covert), but this added exposure can lead to additional coverage and links from bloggers who spend time on these sites.
- Publish a press release. It’s short money and can help your infographic get some additional traction in the blogosphere and a temporal listing in the blended search engine results pages.
Hopefully, this guide to publishing infographics for clients helped shed some light on what the vendor does and what you, the client, owns for your next (or first) infographic project. That way, come launch day, you’re 100 percent prepared, eyes wide open, and there are no surprises, which will help make your infographic campaign run a lot smoother and have an even better chance at success.
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