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Content Marketing: The Power of Infographics

Mon, 23/03/2015 - 10:35

In recent years, infographics have become so widespread and so abused by content marketers that they rarely achieve their goal. Yet as this case study will demonstrate, a good infographic can still resonate.

One of the more interesting content marketing exercises we’ve been involved with was for Direct Axis, a financial services provider who approached us with the following brief: “instigate debate around the cost of living in South Africa, do it in an informative way and in a manner that will lead to an increase in brand awareness while enhancing our attractiveness to search engines”.

The key phrases here were ‘instigate debate’, ‘informative’ and ‘increase in brand awareness’. While we could have used anything from an interactive quiz to a video for this project, we chose to represent information in an infographic.

What is an infographic?

Essentially an infographic is a representation of facts, figures and outcomes around a central theme in an illustrated diagram. This format leaves no room for elaboration – only the most pertinent and valuable information appears and it’s delivered in bite-sized chunks. This makes an infographic a quick and easily digestible read, which is perfect for today’s world where time and attention spans are limited.

For the digital marketer, an infographic is a great tool because the bright graphics make it more interesting and shareable than a piece of plain text. Your work could potentially go viral and be seen on websites both local and international, creating brand awareness and building valuable links that will enhance a website's search engine visibility.

The petrol price infographic

While the campaign had many themes, one of the areas we focused on was the petrol price. It was directly relevant to the brief insofar as it led to emomotive financial conversations around most family’s dinner tables, office watercoolers and across social media.

We recognised that if we were able to surface new information, we’d be able to tap into these discussions, associating our client’s brand with a topic of real significance. And with the Government making monthly announcements about petrol prices, we knew that if we timed the release of the infographic to coincide with an official update on prices, there would be extensive media attention: tapping into the media’s need for facts and images to support their planned stories would ensure the infographic reached its end audience through a variety of traditional and online news platforms.

After extensive research, we decided to concentrate on three key areas: the makeup of the petrol price makeup, petrol price per litre and how much of people’s daily wage is spent on petrol. For the latter two, we compared eight countries including South Africa. Our research delivered facts and figures that were both hard-hitting and interesting. They were presented in bright colours, big fonts and strengthened with attention-grabbing graphics. You can see the infographic here.

To make the infographic more shareable we added tips on how to save petrol. This spoke to the person reading it as someone struggling to keep petrol usage (and money spent on fuel) down, so it appealed to their human nature. If anything in marketing has ever proven to be true, it is the fact that what advertisers call ‘the human truth’ works every time.

We also made it very easy for people to pass on what they’ve just read with four social media buttons and three suggested tweets at the bottom of the page. All the reader had to do was click on their favourite and the infographic was shared with their friends, family and followers. The process had to be this simple to guarantee the success of the infographic - users in the digital space do not want complicated; they want simple and easy. You should never make your target audience think or work too hard.

Now we had a piece of information that was informative and that would instigate debate, which would (hopefully) automatically increase brand awareness. Just to be sure, we added Direct Axis's logo to the bottom of the infographic. Here it did not intrude or influence the impact of the information, but still made it clear who the experts were.

To conincide with a scheduled government announcement about a petrol price increase, we then loaded the infographic to Direct Axis's website and began to contact journalists and bloggers who had written or spoken about the petrol price in recent weeks, directing personalised communications to each of them.

The results

The infographic was a huge success and generated a lot of brand awareness for Direct Axis. It was featured on hundreds of websites including prominent news platforms such as the Mail & Guardian, the Times, Fin24, iol Motoring, 2OceansVibe, Wheels24 and All4Women.

More to the point, the majority of these publishers linked to Direct Axis, which, over time, helped improve the authority of its site, ensuring it ranks well in Google on a variety of search terms - both related to its core personal loans business and on more general topics.

These results created enough of a stir for 567 Cape Talk radio and SABC's SAFM to request an interview with us to discuss the information communicated by the infographic. Ashraf Garda, host of SAFM's media and marketing show went so far as to praise the campaign. describing it as a fascinating study and saying: " It absolutely works for me what they have done for Direct Axis. It shows how content marketing, in terms of promoting a brand and creating brand awareness can work."

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