At the beginning of 2017, marketing experts predicted that the entire content marketing landscape would be much more competitive. Traffic would be funneled down to fewer brands. While startups would have to double their content efforts in terms of uniqueness, niche, and distribution.
While they’re most certainly not wrong. They made it sound like smaller brands need to cough up more cash in order to get noticed. After all, content marketing activities like research, development, and promotion need money.
But thanks to cost-effective content types like infographics and community-driven platforms like social media, being relevant in today’s competitive world is definitely attainable. If you have a powerful, new idea that will surely benefit your market, it’s now easy to get the word out by presenting it in visual form. And matched with a popular image-distribution network like Pinterest, generating traffic with them should be like clockwork.
However, if you’re engaged in digital marketing, then you should know that content trends come and go. For example, if you wanted to convince your target audience that your product’s worth buying, then fake reviews were once a very cost-effective option. At one point, generic stock images were also used left and right, but they were eventually overshadowed by personalized graphics.
Why should I care about trends?
To secure the sustainability of your online brand, then you need to be on the lookout for these troublesome ideas. Focus on content that is actually valuable. Gone were the days when you need to look for the next “shortcut” that will propel your brand to the top. Instead, you need to build your brand using only authoritative content — nothing more and nothing less.
Now that we’re only a couple of months away from 2018, it’s a good time to review your content marketing. You need to figure out what’s failing, iron out the creases, and invest more in what works. Consider this the preventive maintenance measure that prevents you from bleeding money on damage control later on.
When it comes to infographics, there’s plenty of evidence that suggests they’re here to stay. Sure, I’m in the infographic business and it’s in my best interest to keep them relevant for years to come. So rather than taking my word for it, why don’t you take a look at the information yourself?
More Marketers Trust Original Graphics
As a marketer, part of your duty is to determine the best content types to use in certain situations.
According to statistics, 41.5% of marketers believe that infographics are the best visuals for generating engagement.
It’s not rocket science — visual imagery can grab and hold the audience’s attention much more than text. Furthermore, they also make data-rich information more comprehensible and memorable. In fact, there are tons of research that support the power of images in memory retention and recall.
Remember, providing your ideal audience with relevant and useful content is a surefire way to earn their trust. That’s why they’ll surely appreciate your efforts in creating infographics rather than writing walls of incomprehensible text.
The Nielsen-Norman Group, a UX research firm, also confirms that readers pay close attention to images that contain information than to text-based content.
So, how do you leverage the “engagement factor” that infographics bring to the table?
One way to do so is to smartly insert a CTA once you’ve laid out all the information that the audience needs to know. Here is a simple infographic that exemplifies how it works:
Source: VIEO Design
Designing Infographics is Getting Easier
Granted, the competition gets even tougher as more and more marketers utilize infographics. But on the flip side, graphic design tools are now springing up to meet the demand for more visuals. Cloud-based ones like Canva and PiktoChart, in particular, feature drag-and-drop editors that can turn anyone into capable designers within minutes.
Most of the cloud-based image editing tools also feature templates that are specifically configured for infographics. For example, upon logging in to Canva, simply click the “Create a Design” button and then select the infographic template under the “Blogging & eBooks” category.
Everything else in the main editor should be self-explanatory. You could even skip the design process altogether and pick from one of the pre-built layouts.
The outsourcing industry also plays a role in the ever-increasing accessibility of visual content. Even for brands on a tight budget. Just remember to distinguish the need for a freelancer versus a full-time designer who can keep up with your content requirements.
If you think a temporary arrangement with a freelancer would suffice, heading to a marketplace like Upwork would be a step in the right direction. Talking to an agency is also feasible since they can provide you with an infographic that fulfills your objectives at a reasonable price.
Of course, if you see yourself requiring a constant stream of visual content in the future, then hiring an in-house graphic designer is definitely a possibility.
More People are Going Mobile
You may be thinking: “what does mobile technology have to do with infographics — or content marketing in general?”
Remember, the content consumption experience is highly dependent on the platform. Audiobooks, for example, are more convenient on mobile devices since they are designed for people on the go. Long-form blog articles, on the other hand, are more readable on larger displays. They’re not exactly ideal for users on their smartphones.
With the burgeoning volume of mobile users, it only makes sense to keep focusing on content that’s optimized for smaller displays. And yes — infographics, along with other forms of visual content like videos and memes, fit this category.
Not only can infographics pack in-depth information into compact visualizations, they are also well-suited for mobile user interactions. The audience only needs to swipe up to view more of the image, whereas they probably need to zoom in or adjust their phone’s font scaling when reading text.
VR is Taking Too Long
When VR technology went through a growth spurt a few years ago, some people believed that it was the next big thing in the marketing landscape. It did spawn a line of products like VR headsets, omni-directional treadmills, and glove controllers. But the technology never really hit the mainstream market. This is evidenced by the shrinking sales of anything VR-related since 2016.
That’s why marketers fell back to what consumers knew and loved best. traditional visual content like images, videos, and good old infographics.
Let’s face it, VR is having an identity crisis right now. It just doesn’t know whether it’s for movies, gaming, education, or healthcare. And until VR stakeholders figure everything out, visual assets that are accessible on every device are still your best bet.
Infographics are Perfect for eLearning
One of the best ways to build your authority is to develop educational content, launch an online course, and position yourself as an expert in your niche.
Online courses or even short webinar series are also perfect for promoting a product. Especially since they can showcase exactly how and why it works. According to statistics, up to 40% of all webinar attendees become qualified leads.
You just need to deliver authoritative content through your course, score them accordingly, and determine which lead requires further nurturing.
Although there are no specific steps on how to build and market an online course. It does require a handful of irreplaceable components: videos, eBooks, quizzes, and — you guessed it — infographics.
Keep in mind that, while videos are probably the most engaging form of content, there are several situations where an infographic is more convenient. For example, if you currently have no access to a stable internet connection, then an instructional infographic will definitely be more accessible than a full-length video tutorial.
Sure, eBooks can also do the same thing, but they can still receive the “visual” treatment by featuring infographics within their pages.
Aside from online courses and lead generation, infographic materials can also be used for onboarding programs. These programs can be aimed at leads or newly-hired employees.
Infographics are Evolving
There’s a good chance that you’ve come across infographics that are imbued with fancy features, like animations and interactivity. That’s because the very definition of an “infographic” itself is versatile, not just the visualizations it contains.
Videos, eBooks, slideshows, newsletters — all of these content types may contain infographics to be more effective. If you want, you could even print them out into your packaging, in-store posters, greeting cards, and so on.
In the end, an infographic can be anything that you need it to be. It can be used as the perfect Pinterest post, an instructional add-on for your product, or just a run-of-the-mill graphic inside a blog post.
Without a doubt, infographics have moved beyond their roles as mediums for communication and become building blocks of authority on the web. For example, since they are established as the most shareable form of content in social media, they can help make your brand more visible to popular bloggers, reviewers, and other influencers.
Remember that authority begets authority. If you want these influencers to acknowledge, cite, and link to your brand, you need to prove your credibility as an information provider. Successfully leveraging infographics will help you accomplish this, and more.