Check out the image below. Do you know what it is?
It’s an infographic – one of the first to be precise.
Christoph Scheiner created this to demonstrate the Sun’s rotating patterns in his research publication, Rosa Ursina sive Sol.
Infographics used to accompany critical and groundbreaking research, depicting findings that can only be viewed as truly innovative. You could actually hold the physical infographic (mostly because it was part of a larger document).
Today, the only place you’ll really find an infographic is online. Imagine if every infographic you saw in the past month was a physical manifestation…you’d have a pile touching the ceiling! So, it’s probably a good thing they’ve gone digital…
But when media forms go digital, the creation is streamlined. Think about it, we can screenshot 11 of the most popular Facebook landing pages, open up a free infographic creation tool, and have a nice-looking final product in less than ten minutes.
Is this a good thing?
Well, Walter Hickey (of Business Insider) would most certainly think not.
But many of our fellow marketers, social media managers, and content strategists would differ with Walter.
Infographics remain to be a viable content marketing strategy.
We’re not focused on justifying the creation of “the end-all-be-all of infographics.” We’re working with limited resources and time to create something relevant, quickly engaging, and helpful to fueling a business or communication goal. Infographics achieve that for us, even if they’re created rapidly on a tight budget.
If we’re working with a small business, such as a local pizza shop that wants to up their social media game, we can easily create a fun infographic for them to promote on their profiles. This infographic doesn’t have to be a $5,000 investment, because our goal isn’t to appeal to the masses. We’re only appealing to their current followers, who aren’t expecting their local pizza shop to create some mind-blowing interactive HTML5/CSS3 graphic…
Also, this local pizza shop probably isn’t paying the bills to afford some grand design project (unless their pizza really is that good).
The common misconception about unrelated industries
By “unrelated industries” I mean industries (and companies) that you would not expect to be tech/social media savvy enough to create an awesome infographic.
Many of the most popular infographics are created and promoted solely by a professional designer or a big brand.
But what about the underdogs? You know, those unrelated industries…
Can they really hop on this social media gravy train?
Sure thing! As long as they have an open mind and a flexible online presence, why not?
The following are seven examples of how, let’s call them, “companies you wouldn’t have guessed” created infographics that were not only well done, but reaped social capital — I’m talking thousands of shares and links from sites most SEOs can only drool over.
The industries include:
- An online backup service company
- A fabric and curtain warehouse/eCommerce
- A holistic rehab facility
- Online training about food safety
- A mosquito trap company/eCommerce
- A new travel-focused social network
- A construction software company
Let’s check them out!
7 Infographics you were not expecting
1) How Much is a Petabyte
Company: Mozy (an online backup service company)
Infographic: (they actually updated this with an interaction version a few months ago here.)
Total Social Count (at least): 1,700
Total Unique Links (at least): 100
Total Infographic-focused Comments (at least): 250 (105 on their blog, 135 on Gizmodo)
Takeaways: This is a very famous example, created by 97th Floor, which demonstrates how something that some might consider “the most boring thing in the world” can be transformed into something viral. They’ve really proven that something as seemingly vague and technical as “online backup” can still create viral content.
By identifying something unique about their business, in this case “the petabyte,” they were able to display real-world and easily identifiable relationships, allowing us to understand a foreign concept.
Also, just a few months ago one of their recent infographics landed Mashable, resulting in over 4,500 shares. This infographic was completely unrelated to their business (and received little to no traction on their own blog) but they received unbeatable social capital and links.
2) The Ultimate Towel Folding Guide
Company: Terry Fabrics (a fabric and curtain warehouse/eCommerce)
Total Social Count (at least): 82,000!
Total Unique Links (at least): 30
Takeaways: The creative team behind this infographic designed an excellent link between a fabric company and the infographic topic. Similar to Mozy, the topic greatly related to the actual products of the company. This is what separates outstanding infographics from the monotony; being able to appeal to the widest audience while sustaining a relatable company message. The tone of the infographic is pleasant and the content actually provides “evergreen” value to those who save it. I’m certain many people bookmarked this and came back to try their hand at making at least one of the animals.
3) The Loose Ends That Could Unravel Walter White
Company: Clarity Way (a holistic rehab facility)
Total Social Count (at least): 5,000
Total Unique Links (at least): 30
Total Infographic-focused Comments (at least): 40 (Reddit + ScreenRant)
Takeaways: Now this is really thinking outside-of-the-box. Remember, this infographic was for a recovery center. By tailoring content around one of the most popular television shows in a unique fashion, the infographic was able to spread like wildfire. It scored Clarity Way over 11,000 page views on their blog and an additional 12,700 page views on Visual.ly. What’s truly awesome about this promotional campaign, is the fact that the infographic was creative enough to be associated with the IMBD pages for Breaking Bad.
4) Tech Germs
Company: Keeping It Kleen (online training about food safety)
Total Social Count (at least): 20,000
Total Unique Links (at least): 84
Total Infographic-focused Comments (at least): 104+ (Make Use Of + Mashable FB post comments)
Takeaways: An infographic about germs from an online food safety training company seems pretty ideal right? By focusing on “tech” germs and providing a shocking finding, the infographic was picked up by Mashable; enough to score them 60 unique links and over 17,000 shares.
5) Are you a Mosquito Magnet?
Company: Mosquito Magnet (a mosquito trap company/eCommerce)
Total Social Count (at least): 10,000
Total Unique Links (at least): 17
Takeaways: I love this example for the following reasons:
- The infographic title is branded with the company name
- The infographic content provides real, “evergreen” value to viewers
- The infographic achieved Rank 2 of 1596 in the Environment category on Visualy.ly (over 18,000 views)
What’s more, the infographic serves as an evergreen landing page, where visitors can test their memory by taking a quiz on the infographic facts. Do you remember what this company sells? Mosquito traps. But now we’re spending more time learning facts about mosquitoes and repellents, ultimately increasing our trust in the brand. It’s a very tactical and smart content strategy.
6) 11 Untranslatable Words From Other Cultures
Company: Maptia (a new travel-focused social network)
Total Social Count (at least): 57,000
Total Unique Links (at least): 230
Total Infographic-focused Comments (at least): 675
Takeaways: As the most viral infographic in this list, pulling in over 180,000 views (probably much more), Maptia was able to appeal to the largest audience; a multi-cultural/international appeal. This is one of the core elements to having such viral success, but even more impressively, the theme maintains a relationship to their company; a travel-focused social community. Additionally, the topic was incredibly open to commentary. Anyone can add their personal favorites or insights to the discussion.
Maptia is very deserving of reaching Rank 1 of 1161 in the Travel category on Visual.ly.
7) Dropping Dollars: Should You Invest In Tech IPO’s?
Company: Maxwell Systems (a construction software company)
Total Social Count (at least): 115
Total Unique Links (at least): 20
Takeaways: While this infographic hardly competes with the rest in the bunch, I noticed something pretty clever about it. One of the sources was in fact; Yahoo Finance, which establishes a better reason, basically a compliment, for when we pitch infographics to websites. Even though this particular infographic did not go viral, it managed to score some of the most authoritative links. One of the reasons it may not have been susceptible to spreading like wildfire, is that the headline deters anyone who doesn’t know what an IPO is. Of course, their target was clearly those in the finance field.
Please note: for the results sections, I based statistics of the most popular backlink articles (and the original of course) but did not factor in the counts from every site (such as a smaller blogs that may only add single digits, or nothing, to the counts). I omitted comment counts below 10 as well.
These data visualizations come in many shapes and forms, and as we continue growing accustomed to them, we start expecting a certain quality. I think this is really where Mr. Hickey derives his disapproval from. When people try to create something we see as subpar, everything is devalued.
To remedy this, it’s vital to satisfy the expectations of quality for infographics. A popular trend has been to surpass these expectations with interactive infographics and video infographics.
If we can meet or surpass these expectations, the creative team has done excellent work.
But let’s return to the crossroads of industry variety and infographics.
As we’ve seen, industries and companies that come across as not tech savvy, or in the case of Maptia, startups that we’d assume have higher priorities, can still capitalize on the benefits of outstanding infographics.
Similar to a free PDF resource, like one of Neil Patel’s advanced guides, these content forms are providing real value to the end user, whether educational or entertaining. In turn, the end user has a positive disposition towards the brand and is keen to share, become a customer, and hopefully recommend the company.
What are your favorite infographics (or any content marketing form) from industries/companies we wouldn’t expect?