How to Create Your Own Infographics

how to create infographicsAre you using Infographics in your content marketing campaigns yet?

Infographics are a great way to capture people’s attention and often compel people to share them on their social media sites. So if you want more likes, tweets and readers of your content, this post is for you. We are going to introduce you to the resources you need to learn how to create your own infographics.

First, if you’re not familiar with what infographics are, basically they’re a way to communicate information – even dry, boring facts – in an interesting way by incorporating visual elements. You could create an infographic to communicate relevant information to your prospects – information that could help them to make the decision to use your product or service. And a good infographic can even go viral of course, appearing on numerous sites and tweeted about hundreds of times.

Check out these websites for infographic examples:

So how do you create your own infographics?

You could of course simply hire someone to do it for you, or you can try doing it yourself.

Even the marketer with a limited budget can benefit from the infographic creating resources below, all of which are free or very low cost.

Infographic Software:

Canva – There is no charge to use Canva and it might be the best software out there for creating Inforgraphics in our opinion. And it’s also great for designing every type of social media post, as it does the sizing for you.

Inkscape – Vector graphic software is simple and intuitive.

Gapminder – Current data on major world issues with impressive visualizations – good one to practice on since the data is already there.

Tableau – Windows only software for creating visualizations. Another good one to practice with.

Wordle – Like playing with words? You’ll love this; create word visualizations using the text you enter. Lost of designs to choose from.

Tagxed – Word clouds with “styles”

Creately – 100′s of features for diagramming, one click styling and even team collaboration.

StatPlanet - Create fully customizable, feature rich interactive maps & graphs and publish them online. The award-winning StatPlanet is a free download.

Hohli - Is an easy to use online chart maker. Just pick your chart type, add your data, play with the colors and sizes and you’ll be surprised at how good your chart looks.

Tutorials on Infographic Creation:

How to Create Amazing Infographics by Canva

Anatomy of an Infographic – 5 Steps to Create a Powerful Visual

We’d  love to see your infographic examples and even share them in an upcoming blog post!

Stop Spending So Much Money and Wasted Time on Social Media Management

social media management It’s true. Social media management has become a big waste of time, particularly for small business owners.

Your expertise is your product or service, whether you are an massage therapist, an online retail store, an attorney, a consultant or whatever. You probably don’t have the time to keep up weekly with the ever-changing social media trends and strategies. Therefore, you are probably wasting your time and money “trying” to do it yourself.

Think about the time you spend on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. and ask yourself the question, “What is my return on my social media investment and time?

“But Joe, I’m using an outside agency to help me manage my social media.”

I’d be willing to bet that if you are using an outside agency for social media management, you are probably wondering if they are ever going produce any real ROI as well.

I’m consistently amazed how many small businesses have the wrong people managing their social media. Whether it’s someone who is wearing several hats in your business, or an outside consultant or firm who isn’t helping you much at all. What’s it doing for you? How’s it really working out?

Here’s a big statement – you are probably paying them too much money. If you are spending more than $500 /month for your social media marketing management services, you are probably spending too much.

Just because someone knows social media, doesn’t mean they understand social media marketing. 

How do I know this? I’ve owned a social media agency for several years, and it took me and my teams years to REALLY start understanding this difference so we could produce real results for clients.

Anyone can post on social media. But few understand how to use social media to drive new leads and sales into your business.  Few can look at your business and strategically outline a marketing funnel to bring you more engagement, more traffic and more customers.

Click here to request a complimentary audit of your website, social media and online marketing and you’ll be taking the first step so you’ll never waste your time and money again. 



The 7 Rules of Writing High Quality Online Content

7 Rules for Writing High Quality ContentRules, rules and more rules.  I’m not much of a “rule follower” myself. However, when it comes to writing high quality online content, I do follow a few rules. Ok, they are really just guidelines. Here they are:

1. Use Simple Language

Keep the language simple and plain. Don’t use any words that the reader might need a dictionary to understand. Avoid using too much jargon or technical language that only your friends will understand. Keep sentences short and uncomplicated.

2. Watch your tone

The tone of your web content should be casual, as if you’re talking to a friend. Write like you’re writing to a friend. It’s also perfectly fine to use ‘I.’ Writing that is stiff and formal alienates readers and doesn’t build a personal connection, in addition to being hard to read. The exception is if you represent a stiff formal business with a stiff formal audience.

3. Use Small Chunks of Text

The same goes for the text. There’s nothing tougher than reading a huge block of text on a computer screen. It’s even worse when you’re using a mobile device. Paragraphs should be short and to the point. There’s nothing wrong with a paragraph as short as a sentence.

4. Break It Up with Headers

Break your articles up into headers. These are subtitles that tell the reader what each paragraph or part is about. These are great because people skim online web content. You can write your headers afterward and they can just be a few simple words describing what that section is about.

5. Keep it Short and Digestible…Sometimes

There are two sides of this debate. How long should your blog post really be? It’s often best to keep posts short and centered on one main point.

It should be mentioned, though, that longer articles tend to bring more benefits in terms of SEO. The search engines tend to favor longer content over shorter content. But for the sake of getting started, keep your posts short. You have to get used to writing a bit before you can stretch it out to longer articles.

6. Give It the Quality Test

Gear your web content toward solving readers’ problems. Of course, your 300-word blog post may not solve the problem completely for them. But give them some tips and advice that they can use. When you finish writing, read over it and ask yourself, “Does it offer value?” If it does, it probably passes the quality test.

7. Help Readers Take Action

A nice touch is to add a few takeaways at the end of the article. These are specific things your reader can do to solve their problem right now. You can summarize with steps if the article describes a process.

Now you have the rules. Which one’s will you follow?

How to Get Good Reviews Online: 7 Quick Tips

how to get online reviewsDo you know how to get good reviews online?

Online reviews can be a blessing or a curse to your company. The review is classic word of mouth taken to a whole new level. There is a wide array of websites that allow customers to write reviews. After trying your services or products, customers can tell others about you on one of these sites. Reviews on the Internet can reach a huge audience, so it’s very important that what’s written in the reviews is positive and accurate.

You don’t have any control over what customers write about you. However, if you get enough good reviews, a few bad ones will hardly be noticed. Here are seven quick tips:

Tip #1. Quality Products and Services

Offer the best products and services possible and follow it up with excellent customer service. This is where many businesses fail. They ignore customer feedback about their products and don’t respond quickly enough when there are problems. If you make your customers happy and try your best to deliver what they want, you will earn great reviews.

Tip #2. Ask for Reviews

If you offer good products and services that genuinely help your customers, you don’t have to twist their arms to get good reviews. All you need to do is ask. Right after they’ve enjoyed your product or service, gently remind customers that good reviews help your business grow and continue providing these products. Most customers will leave a review if asked politely.

Make it as easy as possible for people to leave reviews, and you’ll receive more and more. Give customers the URL to the review site where they can write their comments. If you’re interacting with customers online, give them a clickable link. If you’re offline, consider using QR codes. Then your customers can scan your QR Code with their mobile devices and be directed straight to the review site.

Tip #3. Offer Incentives

Many companies include reviews in their customer loyalty strategies. If you’re not getting as many good reviews as you’d like, offer your customers an incentive. Make sure they understand that they don’t have to say good things; they only have to leave you feedback. Offer a freebie, coupon, discount, or extra service first and let customers know it’s no-strings-attached. You may take a loss ñ they may not write a review ñ but if they don’t feel forced, they will be more likely to do it.

Tip #4. Boost Your Online Presence

Build your online presence and connect with your customers in as many places online as possible, including Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites. Especially for your under-30 customers, this engagement will go a long way in building customer loyalty and encouraging them to interact with you, which includes leaving reviews.

Tip #5. Quick and Efficient Damage Control

Respond to negative reviews quickly. Negative reviews donít necessarily have to be a bad thing. They offer you an opportunity to show people that you care about customer service. Ask the reviewer about his or her bad experience and offer ways you could help fix the issue, such as offering a free replacement product or a refund. Bend over backwards, not to save face, but to make the reviewer happy. Others will see this and think more highly of you.

Tip #6. Give Reviews

Give before you get. Review other products and services on your blog, on Twitter, on Facebook, or on LinkedIn and you you might be surprised how many people reciprocate.

Tip #7. Get into a Routine

Getting good reviews is a numbers game. The more proactive you are in giving and seeking feedback, the more feedback you’ll get. Make it part of your regular sales process and daily routine to get customer feedback wherever possible.

Take online reviews seriously. Your online reputation is worth it. 

10 Simple Tips for YouTube Marketing

youtubeIt’s not a question whether you use YouTube as your video marketing tool to reach your audience online, it’s only a question of how well you’ll use it. Here are 10 simple tips for YouTube marketing:

1. Keep your video short.

People generally have small attention spans and the percentage of viewers that are going to stick around for your big finale – and link information – after even 5 minutes is pretty slim. Ty and keep your information brief and to the point. Use your YouTube channel as a method of enticing viewers to view your other content, and give them more information when they get to that point.

2. Don’t forget about your mobile audience.

A growing number of people are using their phones to access YouTube and watch videos. Bear that in mind when you’re including text – it has to be easily viewable on a small screen.

3. Watermark your content.

Keep your information secure and not easily reproduced by others by adding a watermark to your video. Just make sure it’s not too overpowering that it distracts from your content.

4. Spread the word.

Having a consistent level of communication between your YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and other social media accounts will do wonders for your flow of traffic. As soon as you’ve produced a new video, get it out there and let everyone in your network know about it. The good news is that it will automatically post to your Google+ account since you’ll already have your Google and YouTube accounts linked.

5. Focus on SEO.

Add captions, tag your content, add a succinct description, think hard about your title and make sure your video file name is relevant, (dog-chases-car as opposed to 10-10-13) … these are all great methods of making sure your content gets viewed.

6. Think about Audio.

You want to make sure your audience is engaged… but not overwhelmed. If you have spoken audio, it’s good to include intro and outro music to the video. YouTube has some fantastic options to choose from.

7. Prepare your videos.

Use the best quality video and audio equipment as you can afford right now. Keep shaky camera movements to a minimum and plan the video before you shoot it – think about writing a script and practice first!

8. Link.

Make sure you take good advantage of the fact that someone is viewing your content – give them a link to the rest of your content or relevant content, and make it easily accessible in both the annotations and the video description.

9. Do something different.

Never has ‘thinking outside of the box’ been so important. You’re up against a lot of competition and the more you stand out, the better.

10. Go beyond YouTube.

Once you’ve created your video content there are plenty of other video sharing sites online where you can post it and increase your audience.


What other tips have you learned that have helped you?