I’ve recently tried using infographic marketing as a means to procure links and generate traffic for a client.
I thought it would be an easy win and after seeing how good the finished infographic looked I was stoked, surely the links and traffic would fly in!
The reality has certainly been a little harsher and it seems that a major pain point for me at present is outreach. I think I under-estimated how important outreach can be and that I have plenty to learn before I get it dialled.
Here is my process, the tools I used, and how I think that process could be improved:
1. The Idea
My client is in the coffee machine industry and is located in Australia so I knew that the infographic would be loosely based around this subject but I wasn’t exactly sure what shape it would take.
I had a hunt around to see what data was available and found some recent and very interesting statistics on coffee consumption in Australia. The data was focused around how much coffee Australians drink, how much they pay for coffee, and which styles of espresso coffee are the most popular.
I knew this wasn’t perfectly on topic for my client but I also knew it would reach a larger audience and was more likely to be an attractive proposition for coffee blog owners than an infographic focused solely on coffee machines.
In retrospect I think I should have crafted my idea based on what was being discussed most on high authority blogs rather than on which data was immediately available to me. The infographic is really interesting but perhaps I could have created something that was more timely, or maybe more controversial.
2. The Data
The data that I found was from a very reputable source so I was able to easily glean quality stats and organise them into an interesting order.
I was also able to find some very generic but also entertaining data about what sort of person you are depending on the type of coffee you drink. I knew this would make an interesting addition to the core facts of the graphic and would allow for some creative headlines like: ‘Latte drinker? Bet you’ve got between 200-300 Facebook friends!’.
Thankfully the data was easy to reference and I just collected a list of the relevant URLs to use in the sources of the infographic.
As mentioned above I think I should have spent more time sourcing data on a subject that would have really attracted the attention of major coffee bloggers in Australia.
3. The Design
For the actual creation and design of the infographic I went to odesk.com and posted it as a job with an offer of $75 for a successfully completed project.
There were 20+ applicants for the job and after narrowing it down to the two with the best portfolios I chose a woman from the Philippines based on the strength of her work, her previous feedback, and the fact that I liked her particular style.
This was perhaps a bit of a gamble as I sometimes have problems on odesk and there is definitely the potential for work to take longer than you’d expect. Hiring someone with excellent feedback and a long work history on odesk reduces the likelihood of problems in big way.
The finished result was excellent and more than I could have hoped for from a design perspective. I needed two sets of minor revisions and she was happy to help with these although I think if I’d needed more she would have understandably asked for extra payment.
I was really pleased with this part of the process and will probably repeat my choices in the future although I am wary that getting such high quality results for that price point from odesk might have been a once off.
I also made sure that there was a simple stand-out reference to the infographic location on the client’s website at the bottom of the sources section.
4. The Publishing Process
Next up was publishing the infographic on my client’s blog.
I decided to put the embed code at the top of the infographic so it was super obvious to anyone dropping by. I also made sure social share buttons were obvious at the top too.
There were two things I think I should have done, which didn’t occur to me at the time.
One was to make the embed code display the infographic on another site with another embed code above that version of the infographic too. That way people interested in reposting the infographic could grab code for it right away without even visiting my client’s site. This code would of course still contain a link to my client. This is relatively straight forward to do.
I recommend this embed code generator from SeigeMedia.com for creating your embed code. I have a minor issue copying code from this generator which I get around by selecting the code, right clicking, choosing to search for the selection in Google and then copying the code from there.
The second thing I think I should have done was to write at least 500 words of content to accompany the infographic. I could easily have discussed some of points and ideas that the data raised and this would have helped with the SEO for the page in the future.
This is certainly something I can go back and do, and most likely will.
5. Link Prospecting
For link prospecting I used Citation Labs link prospecting tool which came up with a lot of good options although I’m not completely convinced that it was more effective than manually hunting for highly targeted prospects.
I think I need to use it more to better appreciate the tool’s capabilities. The tool didn’t produce as many Australian prospects as I would have liked although this is likely my fault for not understanding how to refine my prospects. I definitely love the idea of this tool and will continue to experiment with it.
Citation labs also have some other amazing tools like the broken link prospector which I’ll discuss in another post.
I also submitted the infographic to several major infographic submission sites to help with their overall exposure. The submission to visual.ly has had 230+ views which is not massive but still a positive result.
6. Social Outreach
I focused my social outreach almost exclusively on Twitter although I did share the infographic and comment on it to a small degree on Facebook and LinkedIn.
On Twitter I searched out several prominent accounts within the Australian coffee industry and especially those who had coffee related blogs where the infographic could potentially be posted.
This resulted in some really positive feedback although to my knowledge I haven’t gained any major links from these interactions. The infographic has been tweeted about 45+ times at the time of writing this post.
7. Email Outreach
For email outreach I used BuzzStream which is an excellent tool with a huge amount of potential.
BuzzStream gave me the ability to source contact information quickly and easily from the list of prospects I generated using the link prospecting tool.
I was then able to email a long list of prospects (100+) using a template which I modified slightly as I went. I was able to alter the template so it was relevant to the particular site I was emailing, hit send, and then be presented with the next prospect right away, very efficient.
I think my success rate with this was low, 4 links from over 100 emails (<4%) but one of the links was from BaristaMagazine.com which is a PR4 blog and that resulted in more Facebook and Twitter exposure.
I will definitely work on trying different email templates next time as well as trying to be more personal and relevant to each potential prospect. For this particular client I would love to establish relationships with some big players in the hopes that they would post quality content from my client’s site in the future.
To summarise the whole endeavour, it was definitely a valuable learning experience and I’m happy with the links and exposure gained. The infographic wasn’t as successful as I’d hoped but then I was probably too optmistic to begin with.
There’s also a lot to be said for learning as you go and refining the process.
My next infographic will definitely nail it!
I’d love to hear your thoughts on my process and what you’d do differently. Also if you’ve had successes or failures yourself please share them below, it will help everyone, including myself, to learn and improve!
p.s. Here’s the link to the infographic in case you’re curious: