The Do’s and Don’ts of Marketing Infographics: Outbound Email

Jess Bachman
Written 2 years ago
in Storytelling

We follow up our three-part series on creating viral infographics with tips on how to market them successfully. Come back next week for the second installment in this series.

The thing with viral infographics is, great content won’t always float to the top. Our social world moves at a thousand links a second and thinking that if you build it, they will come is… well, naive.

The first step, and perhaps most obvious, is to create something awesome. If you are trying to push something mediocre, you have an exponentially more difficult task. Given all the noise out there around infographics these days, you need exceptional content.

The next best practice is to target your marketing efforts. Getting your graphic featured on popular group blogs like Boingboing or general media outlets like Huffington Post is great, but unless you have a prior relationship with the editors there, chances are your email will be just spam in their inbox and may hurt any future relationships you’ll try to establish. If your infographic is about social media, target Mashable; if it’s about startups, target TechCrunch; if it’s about online security, target… security blogs. You get the idea. Start with the biggest names and work your way down. These people are looking for content related to their niche, and often infographics make good content.

How you communicate with these bloggers is hugely important. Email requests that feel formulaic will most likely be immediately disregarded. Bloggers get requests all the time and simply saying “Dear XYZ, I really enjoy the post on your ABC blog” will not cut it. Take five or even ten minutes to think over how you’ll approach each blogger or editor to let them know that they’re special, that you know what their blog is about and why your graphic would be a good fit. Offer a 48-hour exclusive.

Forget about prepackaged embed codes. Those may have worked well in the past but some bad practices were built upon it and it makes bloggers suspicious. Competent bloggers know how to add an image to a post. Many infographics are meant to be link bait, that’s fine, but don’t attempt to take the linking out of the blogger’s hands. If you really want that anchor text, try a line like “Jess, if you enjoy this graphic and put it on your blog, can I suggest you link the word “bed bugs” to “bedbugs.org”: I’d really appreciate it.” Be honest, humble and most importantly, human. Bloggers know what SEO is, they all play the same game.

As always, the gold standard here is to establish relationships with influencers and bloggers prior to hawking them your wares. Unless you are only going to market one infographic in your life, a little effort upfront will pay off big overtime. Is there an influential blogger out there you want to get in with? Why not write to them and say you produce infographics and ask them if there are any subjects they think would be cool to see visualized. Or offer an un-branded, or publication-branded infographic about a subject that would interest their readers. It’s hard to say no to free content, but afterwards, it can be hard to say no when you offer up a branded infographic. Remember, people ask bloggers and editors for things all the time, why not offer something upfront. And please do not offer money, it’s insulting, and would only work on inferior blogs.

The bad news is that successful outbound emailing of publications takes a good amount of effort. The good news: everyone else is lazy and it can be easy to stand out from the crowd if you want to. Go in humble, respectful, and with something to offer, and you will find a lot of people willing to republish your work.

Jess Bachman is a Creative Director at Visual.ly. He runs a personal blog and receives a constant stream of emails pitching infographics.