Monday, March 9, 2015

How to Leverage Infographics to Generate Links and Social Signals

One of the most difficult aspects of SEO is attracting links for industries that are typically considered "dry" or "boring." How do you create content that is compelling, sexy, and generates the emotional response required for people to share on their site, or via social media? Hint, hint: think VISUAL.
Infographics are a fantastic way to generate visibility for industries that may struggle to attract links and social shares. People LOVE visual content, especially when it tells a story. A well-designed, attractive infographic can offer doors that 1,000 guest blog or outreach requests can’t. Combine social amplification with blogger and media outreach, and watch your social shares and links increase naturally.
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This infographic, with more than 16,000 views on Visual.ly, generated hundreds of links for a health client.

Beyond the Literal

If you sell rugs, do NOT create an infographic about different types of rugs. Think laterally, not literally, and find interesting angles to explore that are relevant to your industry while being of interest to casual Web surfers.
For example, you could create an infographic about color theory, decor, and how these impact family dynamics. With this infographic you could reach out to home improvement sites announcing your infographic and requesting them to share it.
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Here’s an infographic created for a site that offers home decor products.
When creating your infographic, don’t just share statistics. Tell a story with your infographics so that your visual content both attracts and informs. In the infographic above, we are teaching about the different baguas, how a home should be separated into distinct spaces, and other important feng shui principles. How much more engaging is this than an article explaining this with mere words? Think of the emotions that create a positive impact, and make sure your infographics contain those elements.

Create a Content Strategy Around Your Infographic

Most marketers who work with infographics simply share the infographic on their site with an embed code, and hope for it to get picked up. Many hope, and wait, in vain.
A more effective approach is to proactively reach out to other webmasters and offer for them to host the infographic on their sites. You reach out to them, announcing your infographic, and offering a unique article to go along with the infographic. In effect, you are guest posting, but with the additional incentive of a beautiful graphic to go along with the content. You can then suggest the site owner to list that page as one of the sources, and include the link in the article.
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Article found on Kapost with the infographic hosted on their page.
The strength of this method lies in its ability to serve as a launching-point for additional content. The type of content that will be produced cannot be redundant, but act as supplements to the information that caused readers to be intrigued in the first place.

How to Leverage Blogger Outreach

Unless you have millions of people visiting your blog daily, you need to go out and find sites that would be interested in sharing your content and tell them about it. This is key to visibility.
For effective outreach, follow these steps:
  1. Create a list of relevant sites to pitch by using Google search operators
  2. Send a personalized pitch to the site, asking if they’d like to check out the infographic
  3. If they’re interested in sharing it, write a custom introduction, including a link to one of your relevant landing pages
  4. Follow up to make sure the site publishes the content
  5. Promote the published articles through your social media channels
It’s important to approach sites that would be best-served in hosting the content. Sharing your infographic (with its intro) on a site that is not relevant would dissolve your topical authority, and would only serve to stir suspicions. Much like the creation of the infographic, thinking laterally will help when working on outreach.

Amplify the Content Placement

Once your infographic is shared, leverage the placement by promoting the published URL through your social media. But don’t just tweet it and forget it. Consider creating a Facebook ad campaign to promote that landing page, or possibly even amplify using a Pinterest or Twitter ad.
Site owners will be thrilled to see your content receiving social shares and engagement, thus paving the road for future contributions. You’ve worked hard to create a connection with that site owner, so don’t let it end there; offer to continue contributing articles or infographics as you develop them.
Google doesn’t want webmasters building links; they insist that links should be naturally earned on the basis of great content. The method described here is a way to be proactive about attracting links and social shares, without being directly responsible for those placements. It’s an effective way to improve your visibility without the risks of potential penalties.
Have you used infographics in the past to improve visibility? What methods have you found most effective when conducting outreach? Share your stories below!
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