They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but what about a thousand hits?
Infographics, which are defined as “graphic visual representations of information, data, or knowledge,” are more likely to be shared via social media than your standard text article. As a result, journalists and PR professionals are taking notice
of this visual phenomenon.
At Business Wire, we encourage clients to create infographics and include them as Smart News release assets in their press releases. For example, Kaplan Test Prep recently used an infographic to summarize its annual survey results
. Convio also offered a visual look at the data included within its press release
about online giving, and Mashable
later republished that infographic.
So, if you’re a PR professional embarking on the infographic challenge, what do you need to know beforehand? Recently, the Publicity Club of New York
hosted a discussion about these popular visual representations of data. The panel included:
• Shazna Neesa, director interactive, The Associated Press/New York
Here are some highlights offered by the experts:
• Chris Spurlock, infographic design editor, The Huffington Post
• Andy Bergmann, creative director, CNN Money
• Pete Pachal, tech analyst, Mashable
Infographics help us cope with information overload.
With the abundance of raw data available to consumers, the average person’s attention span is declining and infographics are an effective way to spark a reader’s interest, according to The Huffington Post
’s Chris Spurlock.
Mashable’s Pete Pachal agreed. He said that infographics are “more clickable” than other multimedia, such as video, which may turn a reader off since it usually requires sound, as well as investing more time to watch. Consequently, including the word “Infographic” in your press release headline is a great tactic to increase your number of hits.
Not all infographics are created equal.
If you’re compiling numbers into a graphic, but those numbers don’t relate, the purpose of the infographic is lost, notes Spurlock.
CNN Money’s Andy Bergmann agreed, suggesting that PR pros evaluate the usefulness of an infographic on a “story-to-story basis.”
At the Associated Press, staffers are interested in interactive graphics as well as animations. However, the AP’s Shazna Neesa pointed out that “not every story renders well into a visual,” and PR pros should be cautious of jumping to the assumption that every poll translates into a legitimate news story.
The panelists agreed that pitching an infographic that blatantly promotes your brand is a major faux pas
. If your visual looks the least bit like propaganda, any legitimate news organization will be reluctant to post it, as it could hurt their brand value, says Bergmann.
Be clear and concise; editors and readers will thank you.
One of the main advantages of creating an infographic is that it enables you to “mold and present information in a way that’s clear to the reader,” Bergmann said. If you cram too much information into your graphic, you’re defeating its original purpose.
Pachal mentioned that your infographic should easily translate to Pinterest
, which drives much of the online traffic today.
Whether you’re pitching an idea for an infographic or an actual infographic itself, make sure you are presenting “tabulated, nugget-style information,” suggests Neesa. Focus on how you can break the product/idea up; if your information is already organized for the visual staff at a news outlet, this makes their job that must easier.
Lastly, stick to the facts. The editorial team will
vet and research the data you present before they post or link to your infographic, so you must be absolutely sure that your methodology and sampling are valid beforehand.
Shawnee Cohn is a media relations specialist at Business Wire New York. A version of this story first appeared on the blog Business Wired.