Why Infographics Are Not Enough For Successful Global Content Marketing
No one can deny the rapid rise in the popularity of infographics. No wonder, since they are graphically attractive, they solve user problems of information overload and they make great webpages. Oh, and then there’s that point about infographics being great for link building too!
Personally, I love looking at infographics − they make life bearable to those of us who would dearly like to win back time. But are they really the right solution for global content marketing strategies?
It’s true, your average infographic can be translated to communicate the same information to speakers of different languages − although you should never forget that when translated, different languages have different lengths and this needs to be considered right from conception.
Is Widening The Concept Of Infographic Necessary?
In my view, the concept of “infographic” needs to be widened − and we need to retrace our steps on what content marketing is all about.
Let’s remind ourselves that our chief obligation is to liberally give away information which will make our target audience feel that we (or our clients) are genuinely the authority on the subject we’re interested in.
Here’s a definition based on my own experience:
“Global content marketing means sharing relevant knowledge with people in a target audience through the language they speak, the information channels they prefer, the trust anchors they believe in and shaped in a way they respect, to win their confidence in the author’s credibility.”
Of course, in many cases the author will be the brand and the communication channel will be a web page, and we also must remember that as search engines evolve, the importance of the quality of the content delivered by websites can only grow.
As the above chart shows, there are some key factors to consider before fleshing out a content strategy. Firstly, the appropriate method of delivering content may be hugely affected by the languages involved in the targeting. A particularly important factor to note is whether or not the speakers we aim to reach will all be mother-tongue speakers of the language or second-language speakers.
So, let’s consider a particular scenario. Let’s imagine we were launching a product which was to be sold right through Europe and the European Union with all countries launching at roughly the same time.
This creates a situation where speakers of many different − but relatively similar languages − will be viewing the content at a similar time. In addition, many speakers of languages other than the target language will come across the content.
What Should Our Conclusion Be For This Scenario?
A graphical approach may be the most appropriate. However, if the target audience was located in a much more diverse range of locations − such as Asia and Europe combined, the conclusion may be different.
At the beginning, I commented that infographics were simply not enough to rule the world in terms of effective authority. I believe we need to define the additional information sources listed below to complete the picture − and there may be more. Feel free to suggest these in comments!
You might at this point think I’ve lost the plot! But let me explain. Infographics already has a tight definition, but what exactly is an “Infopage”? You could argue that every page is an “Infopage” but my point here is that to deliver credible content to some people you will need to deliver information in a textual rather than a graphical format.
I’d also like to add that, unlike a typical “landing page,” an “infopage” has a sticky quality which brings people back rather than generating a direct and easily measurable conversion.
In other words, the measurement of success might be a high bounce rate − but a high level of returning visitors!
Some Cultures & Professions Really Do Like To Read Text!
There are also some cultures which would expect a “busy” page of both text and graphics and would consider a cheesy infographic to be less than authoritative.
For instance, if this is an economic discussion site, a scientific papers or a “how to write novels” website, your audience is likely to be looking for more text and less graphic − noting that in most situations even a text information page will contain some graphics. Meanwhile, if it was to be targeting Korea, there would be a greater expectation of a busy page with mixed text and graphics.
“FAQ” pages, which by the way are extremely popular with users, are a very good example of infopages in this context! Why, oh why, oh why, do we not learn from the success of our FAQ pages and repeat it when there is so much evidence that Q&A sites, such as Quora, are so hugely successful?
Credibility, Crediblity, Crediblity… Even On The Move
Just as important is the fact that if we are to achieve full credibility for our information brand, we need to deliver that information to users who prefer to access in a mobile or “disconnected” environment.
This could be because the target audience was based in a location where mobile content was easier to get hold of − or because the target users needed access to information when they were out and about. This would apply, for instance, to construction staff or people in India.
For me, an infowidget is simply a widget added to content which provides some additional functionality which “proves” beyond all doubt that our author or brand really does know what he’s talking about. After all, that is what we’re trying to achieve.