Creating a Successful, Viral Infographic Marketing Campaign: Five Expert Tips

The evolution of technology and the rapidly changing landscape of social media have made life interesting and difficult for marketing and advertising executives. There is a ton of opportunity to be sure, but in the new world of 140 characters or less, the ability to communicate a message in a succinct and compelling fashion has never been greater, and it has left many executives scratching their heads as to where to put their resources. 

Among the innovative vehicles created to effectively reach consumers in this new era is infographics. According to Google, searches for infographics have increased 800% in the last two years as marketers look to increase brand recognition, create buzz and improve SEO. Infographics offer the unique ability to go viral and get your brand in front of millions of online visitors in a single day.

Since Infographic World launched in 2009 as a start-up, we have done campaigns for more than 30 Fortune 500 companies and have learned from our successes and failures. We have seen amazing results that have included worldwide coverage for our clients, going viral to the point of being a David Letterman Top 10 topic and most importantly, driving our clients’ business and revenue.

Here are five tips to creating an infographic that will grow your brand:

• Identify the Ideas That Have Legs

The key is to create a viral infographic campaign that has mass appeal, and is timely and innovative. If there is a hot topic in the news, it helps to capitalize on it and take it to the next step or give it a new angle. You want to avoid ideas that are too niche and if you can walk a fine line between what is controversial and what is acceptable, that will help it go viral as controversy sells.

• Be Able to Mobilize Quickly

Another important component is the ability to mobilize your team quickly. A good example of this: A few years ago, I saw a map of the U.S. and it listed stereotypes that best described the people from each state. The infographic was called How Europeans View America.

We saw this as an opportunity and quickly had our team put together a map of Europe and called it How Americans View Europe, in which we went country by country and made our own stereotypes. The graphic spread like wildfire, actually crashing our own server for an hour from too much Web traffic. We also received some very angry emails from people from various countries in Europe, but the graphic served its purpose, was all in good fun and was a living example of viral content.

A few other examples of successful and timely campaigns featured a look into the life of Steve Jobs shortly following his death, and one on the business of running for president timed around the 2012 election.

• Make Your Tone Appropriate

B2B marketers should consider their industry and make the tone appropriate. We have done campaigns across the spectrum from major hospitals such as Mount Sinai to entertainment properties such as ESPN. Topics have ranged from Breast Cancer Awareness Month to the Super Bowl.

You want to make sure the tone is appropriate for your industry and audience. For a serious topic you may not want silly cartoon-like characters, but for the light-hearted topics you can have a little more fun.

• Sync Up Distribution Tactics

Once the infographic is completed, it is critical to coordinate promotional efforts with all stakeholders. The graphic should go live on all parties’ websites and across all their social media platforms to give it the widest possible launching pad for exposure.

My company also has a promotional and PR division that has extensive media contacts, so we also distribute the infographic extensively to relevant media in order to maximize coverage.

• Going Interactive

Adults are grown children and enjoy playing with things. By making your infographic interactive, readers can click on various parts of the infographic to get more information. 

For example, we just did a great interactive infographic on crime in America and if you click on each state, you could see where it ranks in various categories such as theft, violent crimes, murder, etc. By going interactive, you are likely to get more shares and back links, which will drive your business. 

Infographic World is an information graphics company based in New York, which launched in 2009. Among its clients: Google, Intel, ESPN, P&G, Discovery, McGraw Hill, Pepsi, Intuit and McCann. Prior to founding Infographic World, Beegel was the social media marketing manager for Hachette Filipacchi Media. He also is the author of Infographics for Dummies, a Wiley publication, set to be published in March. The company website