Infographics are all the rage these days and it is easy to understand why. The simplicity and straightforward nature of this marketing technique make it appealing to consumers and marketers alike.

Infographics work on a variety of levels and are perfect for today’s online marketplace where visuals are often preferred over long, complicated copy. Infographics are an outstanding way to get your point across without losing the attention of an individual who doesn’t have the time or interest in digesting a large block of copy.

Unfortunately, sometimes creating the simplest things can take the most time and effort. One of the reasons it can be difficult to develop an effective infographic is that there are so many options available. These options include everything from charts, graphics, color schemes, illustrations and more.

What follows is a (somewhat) step-by-step guide to the creating the perfect graphic but is no by no means all-inclusive. The free-form nature of infographics means that you can—and should—add your own personal touches.

Step #1: Pick a Theme

Before you begin creating your infographic you must decide what you want it to communicate to your target audience. What are the most important points you want to emphasize and how are those points best conveyed in a visual way?

Step #2: Write a Compelling Headline

Without an interesting or catchy headline, no one is going to bother looking at the rest of your infographic.

Step #3: Develop a Simple Design

If your infographic is too crowded or visually overpowering it will turn people off. Avoid copy overload and don’t use too many colors, instead opt for a few powerful, contrasting ones. And never forget that blank space is your friend!

Step #4: Remember that Simple Doesn’t Equal Boring.

You can have a simple design and still add small, impactful details. Infographic on pet food? Add some cute paw prints, for example.

Step #5: Cite Your Sources

If you are using data or statistics, make sure to note where you found that information. This adds credibility to your infographic and lets people know that it is more than just a pretty face!

Even the most well thought out and expertly designed infographic won’t do a thing for your business if you don’t heavily promote it and encourage people to like and share it! Make sure you publish it on a variety of platforms to garner it the attention it deserves!

Finally, monitor how often your infographic is being viewed and shared. If it isn’t getting the response you had hoped for, keep tweaking it until it does. If it still isn’t making an impact you may have to go back to the drawing board.

At a Loss for Words? How to Come Up with Great Content Topics

In today’s digital marketplace, getting noticed online is essential to the success of your business. The key to getting noticed is writing and publishing outstanding content. Without quality, engaging content, your brand simply won’t get the attention it deserves.

Coming up with engaging content can be a difficult task. In fact, most marketers will tell you that it is their biggest challenge. In light of this fact, we’ve assembled a list of ideas that may help to get your creative (and marketing) juices flowing.

  • Follow the leaders. What are the thought leaders in your industry talking about? While you don’t want to cover all of the same topics, when you keep up with the experts in your field you get a feel for what is trending in your particular industry.
  • Provide answers. If you have customers, chances are these customers have asked you questions about products or services they want or need. Expanding on these questions makes for great content.
  • Get social. See what topics are trending on social media. If people in your industry are talking about it, they will want to read about it on your blog or website, as well.
  • Read the Comment Section. Comment sections can be a goldmine of content topics. When you read what people have to say about issues relevant to your industry, you can address those comments in your blogs or articles.
  • Brainstorm. Writing content can be a lonely task. That is why it is important that you take time to brainstorm with people in your office from time to time. What do they think you should be writing about? Just bouncing ideas off other people can spark ideas you may not have otherwise considered.
  • Conduct Interviews. Are you a blogger for an interior design website? Interview an up-and-coming designer. Chances are he or she will be thrilled with the exposure. What’s best, such interviews may help you come up with other ideas.
  • Talk about your failures. Not every blog or post has to have a happy ending. Cautionary tales are a great way to save your readers from making the same mistake you—or someone else—has made.

There are a million things to write about but, unfortunately, sometimes it can be difficult to come up with just one. Hopefully, the tips above will spark some incredible content. Happy writing!

Content Creation vs. Content Marketing

If you believe that content creation and content marketing are the same thing, you are making a common, but costly, mistake. While content creation is an important part of content marketing, it is still just one part of the content marketing equation.

A great content writer is a wonderful asset. However, no matter how well your content is written, if it does not speak to your target audience, it won’t matter. Further, if it isn’t distributed properly, your target audience won’t be able to find it.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a content marketer is to expect your content to magically produce results without an overall content marketing strategy. Since great content can’t be created in a vacuum, here are some things you need to consider:

  1. What do you want to achieve with your content?
  2. How will you measure whether or not you have achieved that goal?
  3. Who is your target audience?
  4. What type of content is your target audience most likely to respond to?
  5. What are the most effective ways to distribute your content so that your target audience will see it?

If your content marketing strategy is not working the way you had hoped then you will have to consider all of these things again. Sometimes you will only need to tweak one or two things. In other cases, you will have to completely overhaul your content marketing strategy.

By the same token, even if your content marketing strategy is right on target, that strategy will fall flat if your content is subpar. Your content must draw the reader in and make them want to learn more.

If you are unsure exactly what constitutes outstanding content, whether it be blogs, podcasts, video or any other type of content, here are the most important qualities of outstanding content:

  • It connects, educates and inspires its audience
  • It uses thought-provoking headlines, striking photos and/or interesting graphics to grab attention
  • It is original
  • It is consistent with your brand

Useful, original and well-crafted content is essential to your content marketing strategy. Equally important, however, is knowing how to get that content noticed by the people you want to see it, namely new business leads!

Can a Robot Write Content that Connects, Educates and Inspires?

Look around stores, restaurants and other businesses and you will see examples of humans being replaced by machines. From self-serve kiosks at the airport to self-checkouts at the grocery store, there are many instances where humans are no longer needed. According to many experts, this is a trend that is here to stay.

But certainly some jobs are machine-proof, right? After all, you can’t expect a robot to write content. Or can you? Writer Suzanne Lucas was so intrigued by this prospect that she decided to find out for herself. In her article, This Post Was Written by a Robot, Lucas discovered that a robot can indeed write content. The problem is, it isn’t very good. Here are a few lines from one robot’s article:

Hiring employees is really a beginning to creating a strong workforce. High employee turnover costs company owners in time and productivity. Offer a competitive rewards package that suits your personnel requires.

That’s not to say that writing-robots are completely useless. For example, Lucas says that such programs or tools can help an inexperienced writer come up with ideas and can offer some options for putting keywords into different contexts. Other than that, let’s just say that Lucas isn’t worried about losing her job to a robot anytime soon.

It’s not a bad deal if you’re willing to do some editing and your focus is on getting content available for search engines. If your focus is on getting people to read, love, and share your content, hire a human.

Quality content connect, educates and inspires. Something a writing-robot has yet to achieve.

Now, more than ever, the key to getting your website noticed by the search engines is high quality content. And this content must be so engaging that people want to comment on it and share it with others.

If you are a small business owner, chances are that even if you could write such quality content, it is unlikely that you could find the time to produce the amount necessary to gain significant traction. The kind of traction that results in things like increased sales leads.

Many business owners, however, have a difficult time turning over the reins of their content writing tasks. If you fall into that category, here are some things to keep in mind:

  1. Professional writers have a keen understanding of grammar and style. Therefore, they are able to produce copy at a much faster clip than someone who does not write full time.
  2. Professional writers know how to write. It may seem obvious but well-written content that flows well and speaks to readers will help to establish you as a thought leader in your industry. Poorly written content will do just the opposite. It can take years to become a great writer and chances are you have spent your time building a business, not perfecting your writing skills.
  3. Professional writers know when to say when. When it comes to writing their own content, small business owners can struggle with wanting to document every detail about their product or service. This is almost never a good idea, however, and such writing turns readers off (if it doesn’t bore them to death first). A professional writer is able to look at the message you are trying to convey and make sure that you don’t overload your readers with minutia that won’t matter to them.
  4. Professional writers get to know their audience. It can be tough for an engineering firm, for example, to write in a way that a layperson will understand. Often times, business owners use too much industry lingo that is hard for its customers to decipher.
  5. Professional writers are trained to meet deadlines. When you hire a reputable writer to complete your content writing tasks, you can be sure it will get done on time. That’s because they won’t get sidetracked by the many responsibilities of running a business.

Many business owners see hiring a professional writer or content curation firm as an unnecessary expense. The truth is, not hiring one can cost a business a great deal more.