By Clare McDermott published August 3, 2012

Infographics Are a Full Meal; Consumer Audiences Need Snackable Content

In the August issue of CCO magazine, I interviewed Leslie Bradshaw, co-founder of JESS3 and one of Fast Company’s Most Influential Women in Tech. JESS3 is known for creating beautiful and highly creative data visualizations, such as Eloqua’s Blog Tree and Google’s Search for the Nominee. Surely Leslie and JESS3 are infographic evangelists, right?

I asked Leslie what she thinks about the current infographic mania (seems if you’re not publishing infographics, you are a lowly pond weed in the content marketing ecosystem). Leslie made a subtle point:

Infographics are a high-level tactic that are good for educated audiences; they are not actually good for consumer audiences. Consumer audiences are much more likely to share something on Facebook that’s really ‘snackable.’ Think about Pinterest. Those are the pieces of content we call snackable content—short, bold statements. If we produce content that has just one or two data points, we call it a data graphic. 

Truth be told, I’d never heard of a data graphic. At least not in the way Leslie was referring to it. If an infographic is a collection of data points or sets, elegantly modeled and illustrated to convey meaning and inspiration, a data graphic is a data point, snapshot or quote, digestible in seconds rather than minutes. Says Leslie,

We’ve been producing data graphics for clients like NIKE and Google over the last three years. We figure out how to produce a lot of interesting content that will be grabbed through Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. Instead of investing in a single anchor piece of content like an infographic or video, we’re able to take that budget and apply it to 50 graphics and feed the masses through their social channels for many meals as opposed to one meal.

Want to learn more? Let’s consider some examples.

Google+

Google_Senate_Trends_Ohio1JESS3 produces beautiful, complex infographics for Google, but also designs simpler, snackable pieces — such as these election ‘at-a-glance’ graphics. The graphics are dripped out through G+’s Politics and Elections page.

The template is easily customizable with data from each state senate race, and can be updated easily as the races heat up.


American Express OPEN

jess3-women-owned-businessCurrently in its third week (of four), the American Express OPEN team has been working with JESS3 to visualize Celebrating Women Business Owners. JESS3 is producing dozens of graphics, each of which conveys a relatively simple fact with illustrations, such as Top States and Cities for Women-Owned Businesses.

The data graphics are part of a campaign that also includes classic JESS3 infographics. 

 

 

Check out the August issue of CCO to read the entire interview with Leslie. In it, she talks about developing a content marketing strategy, how to work with an agency to get the best results, and some of her favorite new apps.

Get a free subscription to CCO magazine through the Content Marketing Institute.

Author: Clare McDermott

Clare McDermott is the editor of Chief Content Officer magazine and owner of SoloPortfolio, a Boston-based content marketing provider for professional service firms.You can follow her @soloportfolio.

Other posts by Clare McDermott

  • http://www.facebook.com/hennyz1 Henny Zijlstra

    I totally agree. In newspapers and magazines info graphics usually illustrate abstract data to make it easier for readers to understand. Many of the info graphics i see flying by seem to be stories in themselves, sometimes quite long and hard to digest. 

  • http://twitter.com/CPollittIU Chad H. Pollitt

    Clare:

    Good post and interesting subject. While I agree with everything in it, let me play devil’s advocate for a second. 

    If the point of the infographic is “link bait” for SEO purposes small bite sized graphics are less appealing to would-be bloggers.

    However, I’m of the school of thought that the SEO considerations should be secondary or tertiary when producing content and would much prefer the social chatter you mention above.

  • Chuck Kent

    Delighted to see somebody take on the info-overload of the graphically inclined. I think there’s the opportunity to push simplicity, and information focus, even further.

  • Marina

    Great article, I totally agree graphics is the best way to get information across and more likely to be shared.

  • metromarks

    Very insightful, thank you!