March 16, 2017
Your content marketing operation probably involves infographics: data- and fact-rich graphics illustrating key marketing messages. Unfortunately, your infographics could be missing the mark.
Infographics are particularly prone to common content marketing mistakes. Since infographics are relatively cheap to produce, marketers often opt for a “quantity over quality” approach to infographic marketing.
Regardless of the medium, this is a recipe for disaster: churning out lots of thin, poorly constructed content — whether it’s a slapdash blog post, poorly edited video, or elementary infographic that adds no value — is likely to harm your brand more than it helps. Poorly produced content, including graphic content, leads prospects to question your expertise — a potentially disastrous outcome for your professional reputation.
Time to Move Beyond Infographics?
The “quantity over quality” trap seems easy enough to avoid. But it’s not the only knock on infographics. More powerful forces are conspiring against the medium.
For years, the lowly infographic has been a cornerstone of content marketing — an effective, visually appealing way to deliver data and key points without overwhelming the reader or monopolizing her time. But, thanks to secular changes in information consumption — especially the shift to mobile — and ongoing search algorithm tweaks, infographics are losing their effectiveness. A recent content marketing report from Clutch suggests that the good times may be over.
The Fundamental Challenge to Infographics’ SEO Value
Rand Fishkin, founder of SEO firm Moz and a leading authority on technical SEO, spoke on the issue via news release:
“The age of infographics is dying, and most of them are quite bad,” he said. “The ones that have success do so in a slightly manipulative way.”
What does he mean? Basically, the most successful infographics game search algorithms by linking back to super-specific anchor text. The algorithms aren’t (yet) smart enough to understand that they’re being gamed. The infographic publisher gets a slightly cheap SEO bump out of the deal.
Some might say that it’s fine to use questionable techniques to game algorithms, especially when there’s no downside to doing so. In this case, the manipulators actually have an incentive to play their game.
The problem is, search algorithms usually catch up with marketing practices. Why not invest in a visual marketing strategy that seems destined to hold up over the long haul?
Interactive Alternatives to Infographics
There’s no one-size-fits-all replacement for static infographics, but one overarching trend does bear mention: interactivity. The sleeping giant that is video SEO has finally awakened over the past couple years, and marketers are constantly exploring new exploits.
Perhaps it’s time for a radical rethink of your visual marketing operation. By all means, pull the relevant (and still-current) data out of your static infographics. Then deploy it in more engaging fashion: whiteboard animations, video tutorials, interactive charts and graphics. You’re limited only by your own creativity.
Adding Value to Next-Generation Graphics
Whiteboard animations, video tutorials, and interactive graphics aren’t revolutionary. They’re logical successors to static infographics. Their long-run value lies in using them in ways that deliver value to the only person who matters in this equation: your prospect, the end user.
Your visual marketing assets must therefore adhere to simple ground rules.
Assuming you’ve overcome the “quantity over quality” issue, the next step is audience awareness. You need to know exactly who you’re trying to reach and tailor your graphic content appropriately.
Then it’s onto brand awareness. Your graphic content is just one part of a much larger whole. If it bears little relationship visually or subjectively to your other marketing assets, it’ll probably appear jarring to your prospects.
Finally, your graphic content needs to be relevant. Not just now, but for a long time to come. It’s fine to use a timely hook to introduce or frame the asset, as long as the asset’s core contents and messaging are durable. You want tomorrow’s prospects to find your marketing material just as valuable — and persuasive — as today’s.
How are you strengthening your infographics strategy?
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