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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Infographics: Cracking the Code for the "Information Overload" Era via @pamperry

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Infographics: Cracking the Code for the "Information Overload" Era

2011-10-08 21:19:14.47-04

The internet is flooded with information. This is the information age for sure. Millions of blogs, websites, tweets, facebook pages - and then there's email overdose.

People are really getting weary of reading - they the info fast and at a glance. And really they want to look at pictures. That's why INFOGRAPHICS are so popular! A quick snapshot of all the facts. Here's an example here: http://bit.ly/infographicpamperry. It's a big business. Learn it or hire someone to do it.

We can help.

A picture is worth a thousand words. In the digital age, the saying has never been more relevant. To cope with the daily onslaught of information we've become content grazers, skimming headlines and post descriptions for the promise of bite-sized nuggets of information.

As brevity becomes more important, infographics present brand journalists with a great opportunity to deliver knowledge, ideas, solutions, etc., in a manner that can be quickly consumed, understood and remembered.

Robin Richards, Information Design Director at the creative firm JESS3, says this about infographics:

"The public's collapsing attention span has given rise to a relatively new content format: the infographic. Infographics – a visual representation of complex data – have emerged as one of the most popular and shareable forms of social content."

In doing some research for a recent presentation I delivered during Social Media Week in Vancouver, I came across a staggering statistic regarding the growth of infographics on the Web.

A Google image search for the term "infographics" returned 978k results. Four months ago the same search mentioned in Jeremiah Owyang's blog post about the need for infographics to evolve returned 570k infographic images. I don't profess to be an SEO expert or pretend to understand the complexity of the Google search algotythm, but there has to be something going on when 40% more infographics show up on the web in such a short period of time.


There are a few factors that might explain why infographics are so popular:

Easy to digest – There is less friction when it comes to consuming information that is (well) presented visually. It requires less time to read, absorb and get the gist of information.

Infographics are easy to share – Even if you're not a visual thinking geek like me, you'd likely agree that this content format can be a pretty cool way to present information. Their uniqueness and compact nature can prompt people to readiliy share them.

Learning styleThe Visual Teaching Alliance states that approximately 65% of people are visual learners and that the human brain processes visual information about 60,000 times faster than text.


Infographics are popular amongst web users for all the reasons stated above, but they are also in vogue with organizations because they can add business value. Some examples:

Brand Awareness – The Content Grid, created by JESS3 on behalf of Eloqua, has been one of the more popular infographics published in the last year. Here are some awareness metrics published by Eloqua regarding this infographic: 1168 tweets, 722 inbound links, 58 blog articles mentioning the infographic and 3003 offsite views.

Signals – Infographics are one way to create signals in a sea of internet noise. Signals result in conversations … and the right conversation lead to business opoortunities. I'm personal proof that it works – the infographics that I've published have helped fuel conversations that have lead to a contributor gig here at SME, sitting on a panel with Jay Baer for the Vancouver NOW Revolution book tour stop, guest lecturing at the University of Toronto and a few consulting projects. If I can do it, anyone can! :)

Improved Results – Visual thinking impresario Dave Gray shares a great example of the power of visualization and how it adds tangible business value. During this interview he talks about how a large hotel chain used visual tools across different business phases to added incremental revenue by cutting 5 months off the time required to launch a new property.

5 Types and Uses

For many people the thought of infographics is synonymous with data visualization. For others it represents a form of idea art. Whatever your perspective, infographics come in many different shapes and sizes and can be used by organizations to manage knowledge/information presented to both internal and external audiences.

  1. Statistics – One of the most popular infographic types is data visualization. Nothing is more difficult to consume and absord than reems of statisctical data – If your organization is presenting company information and/or industry research consider using infographics to present findings or highlight insights.

  2. Concepts – My favorite infographics are metaphors for ideas. These are great for use in illustrating though leadership or organizational philosophy. These conceptual visuals can also be very effective in teaching/training situations.

  3. Models – These type of information visuals help describe process. Organizations can use these to explain complex business procedures, workflows, distribution channels, service offerings, information flow, etc.

  4. Cartoons – Purists might not agree, but I feel humorous illustration, particularly in a business context, classify as information graphics. Cartoons are an effective way for organizations to transfer information about ideas, scenarios and culture to their target audiences.

  5. Information Resources – These infographics effectively aggregate useful and relevant information into a format that adds value. Organizations can use infographics to create industry resources, specifications guides, "cheat sheets," product comparisons, etc.

Getting Started

You don't have to be a graphic designer to start creating effective infographics. Here are few tips to get you started:

  1. Explore new ways to inform – always be thinking of your audiences information needs and better ways to help them learn. Think about all the content your organization has – what are some ways to restructure it and present it visually?

  2. Record your thoughts – Use a journal, smart phone, sticky notes, etc. to keep track of ideas for infographics. I get a lot of inspirartion from the blogs I read and find it helpful to use a bookmarking tool like Delicious to keep track of concepts for future exploration.

  3. Process and refine ideas – Invest some "thinking time" to give those rough ideas a chance to morph into more polished thoughts and designs.

  4. Create and publish – Execution can be the toughest part of any project, infographics are no different. Don't get to attached to perfection – if you do you may never end up publishing anything. Put stuff out there and let it evolve.

If you're not into the DIY model think about these other ways to get your infographics created and published:

  • Use an existing resource – If your organization has an in-house designer or preferred vendor you use for other projects, consider collaborating with them to create infographic content as well.

  • Outsource to a pro – If you have the budget consider hiring a design firm that specializes in creating infographics.

  • Partner with an art student – develop a mutually beneficial relationship with your local art school. You get infographics at a fair price, the students get real work for their portfolios.

A few things to remember…

Keep it simple – Some infographics are becoming just as hard to consume as text content. If you have a really complex idea, concept or process it might make more sense to break it up into a series of infographics.

Try to tell a story – Think about the objective of infographic. What one thing do you want your audience to gleen from your visual? Keep this "tagline" in mind when your presenting data or an idea.

Make sharing easy – I highly recommend not gating your infographic content. Use a Creative Commons license to make it easy for people to share infographics on their blogs and websites.

Ideas rule – It's not about your skill level as an artist or the software you use. The important thing is being able to convey information relevant to your audience in a way that's easy to consume and remember.

Just do it – Again, invest more time making sure your idea makes sense and less energy obsessing about creating the perfect piece of infographic art.

What are your thoughts about the business of infographics? Has your organization used infographics to share information or knowledge? What were the results? The comments are yours.

The Business of Infographics

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How to Find Media to Talk To Right Now. They're Here

2011-10-10 15:13:49.566-04

The traditional media loves SOCIAL media too. Want media exposure? Want to be in their publication or on the air? Follow them on Twitter and you will get to know the reporters and producers. These media folks often tweet when they're looking for sources. You will get to see their "bend" and what types of people they retweet, talk to and follow. You can then use this info to learn more about each them and pitch them accordingly.

We can help you position properly. www.PerryWilliamson.com

> Strategic. Relevant. Effective. @pamperry

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Discover what's happening right now in the world of journalism

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You probably can't use your iPhone 4 case on your iPhone 4S: http://t.co/x3c5oBZ6 The buttons have moved ever so slightly — but enough.

4 minutes ago
by Alex Johnson, Correspondent and NBC News Web Projects Coordinator, NBC News

The economics of the Arab spring, analysis

by @roulakhalaf @hebamks @abeerallamft #egypt #tunis

Cain trails Romney by just 2 pts, when asked which candidate would do the most to improve the economy in new @BloombergNews poll #2012

4 minutes ago
by Lisa Lerer, Congressional and Political Reporter, Bloomberg News

Some invoke the "Founding Fathers" without really knowing very much about them. They could ask THESE kids: http://t.co/4ndBZYkb

4 minutes ago
by Paul Brandus, White House Bureau Chief

*holy ghost dances through your timeline*

4 minutes ago
by Jemele Hill, Columnist, ESPN.com, ESPN

Check out UCF football live show set to start at 3 p.m.: http://ht.ly/6STWm

RT @smbyakima : Dolphins' defensive struggles on Nolan, players, or injuries?» All three are to blame, so is the offense.

4 minutes ago
by Omar Kelly, Dolphins Reporter and Blogger, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

RT @daveweigel : RT @GregMitch : Russell Simmons in da house at Zuccotti w/ the legendary Dick Gregory (who I met at demo way back in '68).

Reminds me of the Iowa State Fair. RT @SallyPancakes : Check out CNBC's "speakers corner" at #OccupyWallSt http://t.co/r5ziuXa7

4 minutes ago
by Zeke Miller, Politics Reporter, Business Insider

Yes, we are trying the podcast thing again, with Wired.com and magazine editors teaming up. Going forward, looking to release one every Fri.

4 minutes ago
by Chris Kohler, Editor of Game|Life, Wired

@DaveShedloski Sure, but you do think anyone was looking at Frys to compare it with 1996-2009?

MT@gannettblog CEO who laid off thousands, ran stock down by third, gets $37 million retirement package shar.es/bbErZ

5 minutes ago
by Andrea Stone, Senior Washington Correspondent, Sphere.com, AOL

RT @GregMitch : Russell Simmons in da house at Zuccotti w/ the legendary Dick Gregory (who I met at demo way back in '68).

5 minutes ago
by Dave Weigel, Political Reporter, Slate

1 tough competitor. RIP RT @Beaver_Baseball : OSU baseball's Mickey Riley Passes Away: Son of longtime coach Jack Riley http://t.co/UsXCzIm0

5 minutes ago
by Ken Goe, Sports Writer, The Oregonian

Did you love 'The Notebook'? 'A Walk to Remember'? If so, join @SparksNicholas for a chat on Thursday http://t.co/YZsDtnoC #film #books

5 minutes ago
by Lisa Fung, Online Arts and Entertainment Editor, LA Times

Will Muschamp eyes looked bleary this morning, like he hadn't slept in a few days.

Miner's got a post up on the sale now. CL down to three weeklies. Of those departed, Miner says "good riddance": http://t.co/JNxOPMHr

RT@gannettblog CEO who laid off thousands, ran stock down by third, gets $37 million retirement package shar.es/bbErZ

5 minutes ago
by Andrea Stone, Senior Washington Correspondent, Sphere.com, AOL

@glichfield Good Q. @antderosa would be a key ask on figuring out post frequency on a @tumblr . Failing that, try @davidkarp ?

5 minutes ago
by Alex Howard, Technology Writer

If anyone's looking for me, I'll be in my bomb shelter lined with peanut butter bought before the crazy price hikes. http://t.co/0xIQdMhZ

5 minutes ago
by David Lidsky, Articles Editor, Fast Company

James Howard Kunstler on Occupy Wall Street. Obviously a must-read http://t.co/HVR7c7Yx

World Food Day is coming up. @oxfamamerica Has suggestions, tips. http://t.co/jcxY1cmA

RT @badassdigest : New York City: ATTACK THE BLOCK Plays MOMA, With Joe Cornish In Attendance! - http://t.co/2zPnPeau

5 minutes ago
by Dave Weigel, Political Reporter, Slate

Once again, I am the jerk who brings Five Guys on the plane. #worthit

5 minutes ago
by Joshua Green, National Correspondent, Bloomberg BusinessWeek

Uuuuuuugh. RT @McNamaraUO : Kickoff for Saturday's game vs. ASU on ESPN is set for 7:21 p.m. #goducks

"For those familiar with Jersey City politics, the irony of the former mayor's employment with the..." http://t.co/m7P7VKIw

5 minutes ago
by Samuel Rubenfeld, Reporter, Corruption Currents, Wall Street Journal

@felixsalmon just saw your tweet. you're right, there should have been more links. i don't have wordpress access cuz i'm traveling all week.

another -- SurveyUSA? RT @jackshafer : Or Public Policy Polling. RT @JamesWolcott : @jackshafer @daveweigel Or "Rasmussen."

Sensible approach RT @Sarah_Kunin : I asked Huntsman how he'll stand out at debate: "Not gonna light my hair on fire"

5 minutes ago
by Michael Falcone, Deputy Political Director and Political Reporter, ABC News

Nice to see that Rachel Uchitel is continuing to do good deeds across the globe. http://t.co/YVfqHVo4

Ready for camp, if there's camp. RT @ThisIsUD : How ironic. Just got cleared by doctors for full workouts. Hardwood here I come. LET US PLAY

@dougferguson405 But measured against his immense body of great work? Perhaps not so much.

5 minutes ago
by Dave Shedloski, Contributing Writer, Golf World

RT @McNamaraUO : ESPN crew for Saturday's game vs. ASU will be Brent Musburger (pxp), Kirk Herbstreit (analyst) & Erin Andrews (reporter)

6 minutes ago
by Ken Goe, Sports Writer, The Oregonian

Did INDYCOG's mayoral candidate questionnaire help you decide/change your mind about who to vote for this Nov? http://ow.ly/6STMv

Blog: Franklin leaving today to be with family http://t.co/nDD3ASs6 #broncos

Good while it lasted! RT @thepointsguy : RIP Citi American 75,000 Mile Card Bonuses http://t.co/LCYts4CN

SunEdison event Belmont http://t.co/OkyBxoIT

6 minutes ago
by Lindsay Riddell, Reporter, San Francisco Business Times

RT @jenny8lee : Have coffee with @ycombinator 's Paul Graham and Svangels David Lee (@daslee ) for a @aaww fundraiser! http://t.co/QwNamvAX

6 minutes ago
by Jigar Mehta, Knight Journalism Fellow

.@tweetminster ran analysis on tweets in the run up to the UK General Election 2010 to predict result. They were remarkably close #teatimeuk

6 minutes ago
by Kate Day, Communities Editor, Telegraph

Russell Simmons in da house at Zuccotti w/ the legendary Dick Gregory (who I met at demo way back in '68).

@katierosman thanks for RTing the fresh link earlier, & for the kind words. one day i hope you'll say the same about my yoga poses.

GOP #nvredist presentation picks apart Dem proposals, accusing Dems of "fracturing" minorities. Dems accused GOP of "packing." #latinolove

6 minutes ago
by Jon Ralston, Las Vegas Sun Blogger and Host of Face to Face

Jared Bernstein: "The Self-Imposed Limits of Reaction to a Crisis" http://t.co/Dg2VnLE3

6 minutes ago
by Arianna Huffington, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Huffington Post
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