How Infographics (And Their Tools) Can Supercharge Non-Profits

 

Best Infographic Tools

Best Infographic Tools

As you might remember, I’ve previously covered a list of easy to use, inexpensive/free online tools that non-profits can use to create amazing visuals. This time, however, I thought I’d take a step further and focus on how non-profits can generate infographics to grab the attention of their audiences.

Infographics take visuals one step further by providing engaging and important information in an easy-to-read and easy-to-share format. Infographics also have one of the highest ROIs when it comes to content marketing and one of the longest lifespans on social media, receiving social shares long after they first went live. Best of all, you don’t have to start from scratch when it comes to creating compelling infographics. You can re-purpose your blog posts and articles, using some of the affordable, easy-to-use online tools on the market to do so, supercharging your organization and your cause.

This post will focus on the types of infographic templates every non-profit should have in their toolbox and some of the most popular intuitive and affordable online infographic tools on the market.

Types of Infographic Templates

Problem or Pain Infographic

 

Pain Infographic

Problem or Pain Infographic

This is an infographic that focuses on the problem that your non-profit can solve. How you address the problem is usually answered in your mission statement. But how do you do that in infographic format?

You could show the problem in numbers, if you have data that’s compelling. Visualizing the problem with a chart or showing the numbers off in large font could definitely help audiences understand the problem better, such as the above example on the global education crisis.

Unique Solution Infographic

Unique Solution Infographic

Unique Solution Infographic

 

The second infographic template focuses on how your non-profit has a unique value proposition or solution to the problem. The more you can articulate your organization’s strengths and how unique it is, the more compelling the story becomes. Check out the great infographic from World Vision on how a goat can help a needy family.

Impact or Success Infographic

Impact infographic

Impact infographic

The primary purpose for this infographic is to show your audience and donors the kind of impact their contributions are having. Sharing success stories on how effective a campaign was and personal stories from the very people your non-profit is helping can really give your donors the big picture on where their contributions are going and who exactly they’re helping.

Annual Report Infographic

Annual Report Infographic

Annual Report Infographic

Turning the annual report into an infographic allows your audience to easily understand the key metrics and milestones-and share it on social media, extending your organic reach. Pick some key metrics to highlight such as amount donated, number of people helped as well as details about impact and the finances.

Campaign Infographic

Non Profit Campaign Infographic

Non Profit Campaign Infographic

This infographic has campaign specific information that will get your audiences to spread the word, generate buzz and hopefully increase your chances of meeting your targets. This infographic should have key information on what the campaign about, what the time frame is, how people can share the campaign and clear calls-to-action on how to donate.

Make sure you keep up the buzz with periodic campaign updates so that your donors know exactly how the campaign is going. Also, don’t forget to add your call-to-action, whether it’s asking viewers to donate by clicking on the link, sign up for a newsletter, share the infographic on Twitter with a branded hashtag or ask the viewer to go a specific landing page for more information.

Now that you know what kind of infographic templates you should add to your content library, let’s look at some tools you can use to make infographics.

 

Piktochart

This tool makes it easy for you to create and customize infographics with its templates. You can register for free and use the 600+ templates to create infographics, posters, flyers, reports and presentations. You’ll have access to fully customizable interactive charts and maps and 1000s of free icons and images inside the infographics editor.

You’ll also be able to password protect your infographics, download and email them or share with the world through social media and embed them inside your blog.

The non-profit package at $39.99/month USD will give you access to 600+ templates, 1 GB image uploads, HD image and PDF exports, custom color schemes and animated icons.

Timeline JS

This free to use, open source tool allows you to build visually rich, interactive timeline infographics using nothing more than a Google spreadsheet. Pick fundraising campaigns and events that have strong narratives and mark each event in the campaign as a key milestone to reaching your goal to make it more compelling for your audiences.

Visme

This free tool includes over 100 fonts, millions of free images, thousands of icons and 100s of professionally designed infographic templates. You can also create your own layouts by mixing and matching pre-designed content blocks from Visme’s library.

You’ll get access to 20+ chart templates, professional tables and the ability to connect to live data. You’re even given the ability to make the infographic more interactive by inserting video and audio clips, maps, polls and surveys.

Easel.ly

This web-based infographic tool offers you a range of easily-customizable templates to start with, along with access to a library of arrows, shapes and connector lines and different typefaces, colors, styles and sizes. You’ll also be able to upload your own images and position them in the infographic template with one click.

With the free account, you’ll have access to 25 stock photos, 4 charts, 10 fonts and 10 high quality premium templates. With the pro account (which is $3/month), you’ll get access to 321 high quality premium templates, 300,000 stock photos, 20 premium charts, 112 fonts, priority email and chat support and live training workshops.

Venngage

Simple and easy to use, this infographic tool allows you to choose from templates, themes and hundreds of charts and icons. You can also upload your own images and backgrounds or adapt a theme to suit your brand and even animate the images.

You can sign up for free but the premium non-profit plan at $10/month (50% off) will give you access to premium themes, templates, charts & icons along with privacy controls and ability to export to PDF and PNG.

Subscribe to GlobalOwls  for more informative posts on marketing strategies specifically for non-profits and follow In Retrospect Writing Services for everything related to PR, social media campaign strategies, tips and writing tools.

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What is Brand Journalism?

What is brand journalism?

What is Brand Journalism

 

Whether it’s a non-profit organization or a start-up, nearly everyone has a blog because they want to share important news on services/products and events with their audience.

Other companies, however, are starting to do more. On top of generating brand awareness and turning leads into paying customers through blogging, some companies believe they need to fill in the gaps left behind by traditional media.

Gaps due to the fact that traditional media is overwhelmed due to a lack of resources. As of 2010, there are officially 4.6 PR professionals for every journalist. Consequently, many companies are hiring journalists to build media operations in-house. Instead of waiting for media to cover stories, brands are generating their own stories and becoming their own journalists, hence brand journalism.

 

How to Encourage a Brand Journalism Program in Your Company

What makes a brand journalism program

How to create a compelling brand journalism program

Changing the culture as far as marketing goes can be daunting, but not impossible. PR & marketing teams play pivotal roles in educating the company’s senior management about the concept and best practices in order to get the approval from the top down.

Pick a team member to compile examples of brand journalism success such as case studies, white papers, social media and websites. Start slowly with one story and once the initial project has seen positive results, it’ll be much easier to sell senior executives on creating a brand journalism program.

Effective Brand Journalism=Strong Storytelling

Building a successful brand journalism program comes down to the strong stories that you develop. One of the most effective ways to help create strong stories is to adopt a ‘newsroom mentality’ among your media team. Your team of marketing, PR and traditional journalists sit down and have pitch meetings, develop editorial calendars and regular ‘beats’ or areas of coverage are assigned. Even if you have a small team or work for a non-profit organization, you can still manage a brand journalism program.

 

Not all Stories Make Great Brand Journalism

Elements that make a really good story

What makes a strong story?

 

Just like in traditional journalism, your team needs an ongoing selection of compelling stories to drive buzz for your brand, but not every story will fit the brand journalism guidelines. Criteria is as follows:

-Focus on the audience (Always consider what they care about and how they’ll benefit).

-Find a voice by featuring a real person who tells the story. Having someone that the audience can relate to makes the story more compelling. Some great examples would be having community leaders share their perspectives, business leaders share their experiences and notable influencers to give their expertise. Remember that the person audiences connect to will rarely be your company’s top executives or media spokesperson.

-Tying your content to larger big picture issues and/or statistics from well-respected organizations can help to give your content some creditability and make it more newsworthy

-Keep your message simple. Do away with any corporate jargon and use plain language where possible to make sure you audience understands what you’re talking about

-Add visuals. As audiences naturally gravitate to visuals, make sure to include photos, videos, slideshows, infographics and any other visuals you can think of to raise engagement levels with your content

-Un-brand your content. This means removing all branding that doesn’t fit seamlessly into the content. In other words, your company name may not appear in the headline as it does in a typical news release. It’s much more likely to be mentioned in affiliation with your expert who features in the story. Keep any and all branding subtle

Create content with your audience in mind, with a simple message that‘s visually stunning and allow the real people in your organization to tell their stories, without putting the company brand front and center.

 

Getting Your Brand Journalism Program Out There

 

How to Pitch a Strong Story

Story Pitching

Distributing brand journalism content starts much the same way it would with traditional media relations: you find the right journalists, build those relationships and share the stories. The difference between brand journalism and traditional media relations is all about attitude; it’s less about ‘story pitching’ as it is ‘content sharing’. Building strong relationships with journalists who trust you means that they will view your brand journalism program as a source of valuable content, rather than just another PR campaign.

When you distribute brand journalism content, make sure that it’s easily accessible to the journalists you’re sending it to. Make the content easily downloadable, the photos & videos easy to save and brand elements (if relevant) such as high resolution logos easily available. You want to make it as easy as possible for journalists to share your content through social media, websites and alike, increasing the chance of you growing your own audience.

When it comes to getting your brand journalism content out there through your company channels, it’s important to keep each platform’s audience in mind. Best practices include re-purposing said content for several different social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter by shortening it or making it into infographic. Doing this helps to amplify your message across platforms and increases ROI.

Sometimes, companies choose to create separate website hubs to act as news media sites to host their brand journalism content as well.

However you choose to distribute your brand journalism content, developing such a program will allow you to deliver buzz for your brand, amplify messages you create and increase ROI-without relying on the constraints of traditional media.

Stay tuned for more informative posts and infographics on brand journalism, thought leadership, content marketing, social media and everything having to do with PR and marketing.

Common Mistakes Made in Inbound Marketing

Inbound-Marketing-VS-Outbound-Marketing

After doing some research, I came across a great e-book on the ins and outs of inbound and outbound marketing. As a marketing student, years ago, we’d been taught that any internal communications meant creating newsletters and memos within the company and external was any type of communication/marketing that we would send out via direct mail, email, magazine ads, radio ads, etc. to the consumer.

But, the terminology and the strategies have changed. So what exactly is inbound marketing? Here’s the definition I found:

Inbound Marketing:

The process of helping potential customers find your company – often before they are even looking to make a purchase – and then turning that early awareness into brand preference and, ultimately, into leads and revenue.”

So what fits into the definition of inbound marketing? Content is the crucial key inside inbound marketing. Utilizing everything from blog posts and videos to white papers, case studies and free trials, you can create content that educates, inspires and compels your audience to share it with their networks. This content can take the form of articles, webinars, white papers, eBooks, slide presentations, videos and more, and can be shared via blogs, third-party sites, and social media where your prospects “find” you.

By placing SEO-optimized keywords in your content as well as using social media such as Facebook, Twitter & Google+, blog syndication sites like Business 2 Community and even social media clout sites such as Empire Avenue to promote your content; prospects will be able to find you online. Doing this can help you maximize your reach and increase traffic to your blog.

But, mistakes in inbound marketing can happen.

How Inbound Marketing Goes Wrong

  • Your aim is too wide: You spend too much time running “carpet-bombing” style campaigns, under the belief that they will reach the most people and then wonder why you don’t produce better results. To connect with prospective buyers –you need to switch to delivering high-quality content to the right people in an engaging way – and doing so across multiple channels.
  • Some prospects find you, others don’t know you exist:  There are two things happening here. First, some people don’t realize they should or could seek you out. Think about it: If you don’t know about something, you can’t search for it. You may not be sharing the right type of content or sharing it in the right place for your prospect to find it. For example, you might create white papers about your product, but if prospects are searching on terms related to their problems and you only talk about your solution, potential buyers probably won’t find your content.
  • Others may know you exist, but don’t understand what you do: Think about all the companies whose blog posts you read or Twitter accounts you follow. Do you really know what each of them does? You must share your content where your prospects spend time, taking into consideration industry- and location-focused sites and other venues, and even less popular social media sites. The key is to understand where your prospects spend time and then to establish a presence there
  • You aren’t reaching the decision makers: Why? It’s unlikely that CXOs are going to spend time trolling the web for blogs or other content. It’s far more likely that they assign this exercise to someone working for them.
  • Sometimes you can’t break through the noise: Many times companies pour lots of effort into their inbound marketing around big events such as trade shows. Unfortunately, that is the hardest time to get noticed.

In a future blog post, I’ll be focusing more on how to balance out some of these mistakes in inbound marketing with a hybrid strategy that includes outbound marketing.  For more content strategies & tips, check out my post on 22 Ideas to Beat Writers’ Block.

-Lilian

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Optimize Your Social Media Strategy With Google+

Recently, I started looking into learning more about Google+. With new business opportunities and more chances to place content on different platforms, I decided to also expand the social media platforms that I was syndicating content on.

After using the platform for a period of time, I wanted more info on what I could be doing better, so I did some research. I’ve put together this post for anyone who has ever thought about using Google+ but doesn’t know where to start.

Here are the tips that I learned after reading the ‘How to Optimize Your Social Channels for Lead Generation’ e-book:

1)      Complete the About Page: The about page is a fantastic opportunity to give a quick overview of what your business is all about. You can also link back to specific pages and services from this page directing potential customers to the most important pages on your website.

Take advantage of the fact that Google+ allows you to use bullets in your description which makes it simple to create an easy to read list of your products and services. You can also include links to specific pages and a contact form.

2)      Google Events: The Events feature which allows G+ users to send out customized invitations to anyone regardless of whether or not they are G+ users. It syncs beautifully with Google Calendar and shows up automatically when a user confirms for an event. In addition to sending out invites to webinars, work functions, parties, etc., Google Events can also send out invites for Google Hangouts.

The “Party mode” feature of Events allows everyone in attendance to instantly upload pictures to the same album using the Google+ mobile app, creating a living, real-time photo journal of a specific time and place.

3)      Post Often and Optimize: It’s important to include keywords within your posts so that they will show up in your followers’ search results. Google’s search algorithm includes personalized search results specifically pulled from Google+ activity. The more relevant and content-based your Google+ posts are, the more search results you are likely to show up in.

4)      Claim your ownership of content. Google Authorship is how Google authenticates and will increasingly begin to “trust” you as a quality source of content.  You set up Google Authorship  identifying yourself to Google through your Google+ profile and then link back to it from your content and vice versa. Google authorship is the easiest way to take advantage of the SEO benefits of Google+. Doing so will allow the author’s picture to show up next to his blog posts in Google search results, causing higher rankings and click through rates.

5)      How to Claim Google Authorship through 2 Easy Steps:

Step 1: Add a link to your Google Plus profile on each of your blog posts.  On each of your blog posts, add a link to your Google Plus profile with “rel=author” attached to the end of thelink URL. E.g., https://plus.google.com/111498947729292607681?rel=author. For example the end result would look like this: “By Jason Miller”

 Step 2: Link from your Google Plus profile back to your blog.  After you add a link to your Google Plus profile on each one of your blog posts, the last step is to link from the opposite direction, from your Google Plus profile to your blog. You do this by adding a link to your blog in the “Contributor to” section of your Google plus profile.

 I hope this helps those of you struggling on how to use Google+. I know it opened my eyes on how to effectively incorporate another social media platform to my strategy for my business.

-Lilian

PS. Stay tuned on here for more marketing tools & tips, social media advice & how-tos as well as fun posts on unique interior design & architecture and commentary on Victoria’s food scene.