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An image is an act of communication. Images play an important role in the presentation of ideas. Worth more than a thousand words, they encapsulate meaning by both simplifying and embodying conceptual theories.They make information more appealing, more persuasive. In the realm of art or activism, images reflect the underlying current of collective feeling by vocalizing both public consensus and private desires.

On the internet, you can see the same popular pictures in websites of every language. Russian, Chinese, French or English. Images transcend linguistic and cultural barriers faced by text. There is no need for machine or human translation. No need for mediation.

Like videos, images can spread very quickly online with little artificial push. Are they inherently more ‘viral‘ than textual content? It is difficult to say with certainty if it indeed has a higher potential for popularity. But images have undeniable value in spreading ideas. Especially when they are elegantly integrated with the use of text to present information.

Unique, original images can attract an audience. They are not only high quality content for an interested readership but they can be useful promotional tools for anyone interested in gaining more attention. A particular form of image is relevant to this purpose: the infographic.

Visual representations of information, data or knowledge. These graphics are used where complex information needs to be explained quickly and clearly, such as in signs, maps, journalism, technical writing, and education. They are also used extensively as tools by computer scientists, mathematicians, and statisticians to ease the process of developing and communicating conceptual information.

You’ve seen infographics everywhere. In books, magazines, newspapers, instruction manuals, maps, public signs and business reports. Visually, they come in many forms as well: charts, graphs, emblems, cartoons, diagrams and illustrations. Any image is suitable as long as it effectively works to convey data in a way that fulfills a specific or general purpose.

These graphics seek to inform. They can be a supplement to existing textual content or a hermeutically sealed construct, a stand-alone presentation which covers a subject in full. A complete statement and explanation that everyone can cite as a reference.

Infographics are a form of concentrated nutrition for data consumers. They are multi-vitamins, fulfilling basic info requirements in a simple hassle-free way. Like a pill, knowledge is condensed into essential components, enough to satiate your basic informational needs. They give you a general overview, one you can convert into talking points and social currency.

The amount of information they convey and the style used will vary depending on its purpose. Who is the intended audience of this piece? What specific frame or idea angle do you want to emphasize? How much abstraction and simplification is necessary for data to make sense?

Here are some examples from Princeton University’s International Network Archives. These infographics each give you a brief overview on a topic. See this page for full images and more.

The finished infographic is often beautiful to behold. Swirling gradients of color form into tangible shapes, contextually arranged to demonstrate quantifiable meaning. It’s easy to take it all in at one glance. Your eye darts around the numbers and skirts between the illustrations. You interact with it. You are thoroughly absorbed in its display of coherence.

And after looking, you’ll often think of sharing it. Maybe save the image, attach it to an email and fire it to a friend. Maybe you’ll include it in your latest blog post or tweet it. Or you’ll log into your favorite forum, drop the link and see what everyone else thinks.

There are many ways to propagate these images once they are produced. Apart from the usual social media channels, you can provide link codes by hosting the images and providing the html which points back to your site. Or you can package it into PDF formats along with other similar infographics to make a mini-report.

Unlike textual content, these images often do not include much text: you can consider pre-emptively translating them into other major languages so they can be shared more widely among different audiences.

They can also be produced on a regular basis as feature content. As a pictorial representation of information, infographics are often considered to be unique even if the data shared as already been elaborated elsewhere in text articles. Therein lies its appeal to a readership that might be jaded by the repetition of ideas in the content of other media sources/websites.

Good Magazine is an excellent example of a site that recently started creating infographics (known as ‘Good Sheets’) as regular online content. The print editions of these images were also given out free of charge at Starbucks. The combination of online and offline distribution is something that is suited to the nature of one-page documents like infographics.

Next time when you’re planning on sharing specific ideas or data, consider using infographics. They are a terrific way of making information accessible and a useful primer that will pique the interest of your intended audience. When created and marketed effectively, they can be part of a powerful viral strategy to magnetize attention to your website or business.

P.S I intend to write more on the topic of information design specifically as it relates to marketing. This is something I’m recently interested in and hopefully you’ll find it entertaining and useful. And by the way… Happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers and friends!

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Infographics Can Help You Spread Ideas and Attract Attention

Social Bookmark

Make trade events deliver in 2009 (Cece Lee)

Tradebooth
Drew’s Note:
  As I try to do every Friday, I’m pleased to bring you a guest post.  Meet another  thought leader who shares her insights via
the blogosphere. So without further ado
Cece Lee.  Again. Enjoy!

As companies prepare to reduce travel and marketing budgets, marketers will be seeking ways to get the most out of the physical events that they’re committed to in 2009. Physical events, such as product demonstrations, summits, conferences and trade shows, are an integral part of one’s lead generation efforts.

When you prepare to attend a conference or trade show in 2009, the goal is no longer to set-up your booth at a conference. It’s how do you create a PR strategy to fully take advantage of your time at that event?

Public relations is a cost-effective way to promote your participation at any conference or trade show. When married with your in-person presence, you can make the most of your participation in 2009.

Here are three ways to maximize your participation:

Research speaking opportunities at the conference
Speaking at a conference is a great way to position yourself as a thought leader in your industry. While securing your exhibit space or sponsorship, ask about speaking opportunities – either as part of your participation or how to submit a topic for consideration.

In the case the conference has a speaker proposal process (a call for speakers or proposals), the key to securing a speaking opportunity depends on relevancy, timeliness and educational value of your proposal. Research key issues within your industry or consider inviting a customer to present with you at the conference. Also highlight the top three or five action items that attendees will learn from hearing your presentation.

After submitting the proposal for consideration, continue following up with the organizer to inquire about the status and get feedback about your proposal. Through these conversations, you may be able to amend your proposal accordingly or uncover additional opportunities that you were previously unaware of.

Unfortunately, organizers receive about 10 proposals for each speaking opportunity. While you proposal may not be accepted initially, don’t assume that concludes your efforts with the organizer.

Due to family emergencies, illness or urgent business meetings, speakers do cancel occasionally. Check in with the organizer about 1 month before the conference to inquire about cancellations. Or due to your conversations with the organizer, you may get a call the day before the conference to step in for a speaker!

Write and distribute a press release
An event based press release highlights the what, when and where of your participation. By posting the release on a free or paid newswire, you increase your online presence as a newswire can distribute your release to an average of 12 – 20 online websites.

Due to the distribution of the release, you also have to consider the search engine optimization impact of the release. Evaluate which keywords drive traffic to your website or are frequently search terms for your industry.

To increase the relevancy of your release in search engine searches, incorporate these 5-10 keywords in your press release. Furthermore, hyperlink key phrases to related pages on your website. Like keyword relevancy, search engines also look at the number of external links pointing to your website.

Besides posting the release on your website, the press release is also a great opportunity to connect with your customers or prospects. While they may not be able to attend in person, this provides an excellent way to stay top of mind when they are ready to purchase your solutions and services.

Connect with media and bloggers
While you’re inquiring about speaking opportunities, ask about previous or anticipated media attendees at the event. Since these reporters (I include bloggers as reporters) are taking time to attend the event, you know that they are interested in the event’s content.

In case the organizer doesn’t have a media list, then reach out to local media about the upcoming event or do a quick search on Alltop.com, a website that lists the top blogs on specific topics, to find a short list of bloggers writing on your industry.

Before contacting each reporter directly, first research what she has written on in the past. Does she look at products only or does she write trend pieces? She may have also included pointers on how to contact her such as likes and dislikes. By arming yourself with this information, you can send a targeted email introducing your company, why she would be interested in your company and invite her to meet at the conference.

While I don’t suggest attaching any press releases or photos, I do recommend including a link to a relevant press release or offer to provide photos to enhance the article visually.

Conclusion
I don’t believe that physical events will disappear as marketers reevaluate their budgets. Rather, it’s how can you do more with less. Public relations is an inexpensive way for you to get the most out of your event participation.

Cece Lee is the author of PR Meets Marketing blog and senior marketing communications manager with ON24. While not writing posts for her blog or working, Cece enjoy taking care of the newest addition to the family – Snowy, a white goffin. Note: The thoughts expressed in this posting are not representative of ON24 and are personal views of the author.

Every Friday is "grab the mic" day.  Want to grab the mic and be a guest blogger on Drew’s Marketing Minute?  Shoot me an e-mail.


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The following was inspired by an email thread that went back and forth
between myself and the President of a Web Design House. the project
mentioned is  in the very beginning stages of an SEO project that we
are fulfilling for one of their clients.I thought you might find this
of interest…..

At the start of a project brand increases because of linking. Often times a client thinks that this was built in, when in fact some of it may have been but Google does not necessarily care about your brand. They care about mentions and citations of your brand. Google cares only what
links to the references of your brand across the web on your site or
not. As your links increase to your pages of your site, your brand
references (keywords) within your analytics should go up.

So what you get last month in your original, pre-seo campaign "brand traffic" spreads out to larger
derivatives of that word and more searches as it gets links to the
pages with brand words. And links that carry those
branded words in the anchor text increase. In the case of brand it
usually is not very competitive if at all, so a few links can really
get the brand out there.


Reputation Management

This by the way is what reputation management is about. One can easily
steal your brand by creating pages about your company on many web pages. It can even be done anonymously on free sites. Its easy to do because
there is 0 competition for it until someone actually does it.

The idea being that you can get crowded out totally or partially from the SERPS (search positions) for your own name!Thats why it is important for companies to do more socially and thru
syndicates to populate the web with references to their brand.

By the way we often will get an agent site to come up higher in the
SERPS than a broker site online (if the broker is not our client). Its
very easy if the broker isn’t working for in bound links.

This reputation thing is not as bad as it is hyped up to be yet. I have seen few attempts by malcontents but not done very well. But I do
think it will be a major problem down the road not just in the real
estate business. But I see this playing out in how news and politics
can be perceived.

For a glimpse of the future and managing reputation and perceptions,
study how the Obama and McCain campaigns have run their online
marketing for the past election.
Election Special: Whatever You Do, Do Not Vote For This Candidate
Even McCain used online Video masterfully. Obama used the web better than any one politician or business yet.

Confessing Your Sins Will Get You Traffic!


A site can be SEOd all day long, but if it does not have links it does
not fully or even in some cases partially exist to Google. On many
templated real estate sites there is not much one can do as far as
onpage optimization.

So how does one get high rankings?

Links. Links make up for the sins of the site. They are the absolution from the priest called Google.

So right now a month into the project what we see is a start of a wider
span of brand words. And even a small start at seeing real estate
search words giving traffic.

We can do that by comparing the search strings from last month before
the SEO launch to now. This month is almost double brand based visits.
(names changed to keep the client private)
The list is longer (width) and many words are getting more visits compared to last month.
ie. TOTAL BRAND visits  are double last month
27         century 21 franchise name
26         url.com
19         century 21 franchise name realty
14         franchise name
6           century franchise name
6           www.franchise name.com
4           city century 21
4           century 21 in state
etc…..

Business Resources Cash Map

One of the most important considerations of running a successful and profitable online business involves resources.  By resources, I am referring to the suite of online resources that you use in your business on a daily basis.  Regardless of whether you are an internet marketer or online entrepreneur focusing on another niche, it is vitally important that you document the most common online resources that you use in your business.

There are three (3) main reasons why it is important to know, document, and utilize an electronic Rolodex of online resources.

1)  Save time – The first and largest factor of utilizing an online Rolodex of resources is to save time.  How many times have you looked to add a script to your website only to have to waste 30 minutes searching for the script?  When you cannot find a resource at the appropriate time, you are subjecting yourself and your business to inefficiencies that lead to lost production.

2)  Save money – When you know where to find your resources it will keep you from “Googling” to find a resource and from getting hooked on someone’s sales page.  About the time that you need a specific resource and cannot find it, the next obvious step is to search Google for that or a similar resource.  Just record your resource links to avoid this time wasting and money spending activity! It takes a little time, and I struggle with documenting because of that, but I honestly know better.

3)  Improved products – It takes time and money to buy resources.  When you’ve purchased something once……don’t waste time looking for alternatives or waste money purchasing competitor’s products.  Focus on the resources that you do have – use them daily and become an expert in the application of those resources.  Over time, your products will improve due to the consistency of use and of the resources that you use to complete daily tasks!

Overall, it is important to record your online resources for quick and efficient reference.  By doing so, you’ll improve business efficiencies leading to saved time and money!

What’s the point of all of this? I have literally stumbled across a resource that has attempted to do a few of these things for us.  It’s call CashMaps, and I was turned onto it by Rich Schefren who has partnered with the creators to help promote their wares in addition to trying to help businesses grow at a rapid rate.  If you haven’t checked out Rich’s latest report, The Uncertainty Syndrome, you owe it to yourself to download it (it’s free!)

I have purchased two of Rich’s home study products (The Business Acceleration Program and The Maven Home Study Program) and have learned a LOT from everything he’s produced.  More on that in another post down the road, but go get some great free stuff in the meantime as the links I’ve shared today take you to free resources that you can learn from immediately.

7769362
Every business owner/leader needs a sounding board.  A safe place to explore ideas or get honest feedback about their own strengths and weaknesses.

I know I’ve sure needed that from time to time.

Blend that with the wisdom of The E-Myth by Michael Gerber (read about their coaching philosophy) and what do you get?  E-Myth Benchmark. 

And they want to give YOU two free hours of coaching.  No matter where in the world you live or work.

I can (and do) personally vouch for the quality and confidentiality you’ll receive because I’ve worked with them for years.  They push, pull and cajole me into seeing myself and my business from a much more objective perspective. 

Here’s how you get your two free coaching hours:

  1. Call them at 515-288-6984 or e-mail them.
  2. Congratulate them on their name change to E-Myth Benchmark.
  3. Ask to schedule your two free hours of coaching.

I’m not kidding….you’ll be elated at the results.  They promise no hard sell and you are under no obligation to go beyond your two free hours.

By the way…they did not ask me to write about this or mention it to you.  (They don’t even know I am.)  I’m doing it because I know you’ll enjoy and value the experience.

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