Have you ever heard the expression “work smarter, not harder?” It sounds like one of those things your dad might tell you during an awkward heart-to-heart. However, they’re great words to live by, and they’re especially true when it comes to outreach. When you’re trying to gain coverage for an outstanding infographic, you should be using your brain a lot more than your keyboard.
Traditional tactics involve blasting hundreds of bloggers and journalists with a single impersonal pitch that often gets ignored or deleted (which means working harder to get results). A much better approach is to strategically target a smaller list of bloggers and journalists with customized messages (working smarter).
These infographic outreach tips can help you figure out where to target your pitch, how to tailor it to the right person and how to give your infographic that extra push when other outreach efforts aren’t working.
Some Infographics Were Born to Succeed
Sometimes an infographic seems destined for success. It has a compelling topic, it’s timely, it has killer graphics and great data, and it presents an awesome, engaging story. It’s also incredibly shareable, meaning it appeals to lots of different people interested in lots of different things and gets a lot of pass-along traffic from social networks.
This is, of course, the holy grail of infographics, and it makes your job a whole lot easier. Still, even an infographic that works in every way needs a little push to get started, and that is where you come in.
Components of a Good Infographic (via Dashburst)
Find Your Targets
Good outreach for infographics requires some creativity. Think about the unique attributes of your infographic, and make a list of obvious sites where it could be pitched. Most people stop after that step, but you should take it a step further. How can you reimagine this infographic so that it fits on other, less-obvious sites? Now you’re on your way to a successful placement.
Say you have an infographic focused on the soccer player Pele. An obvious place to pitch it would be a soccer site; Pele is the most famous soccer player in the world, after all, so that’s a natural fit. You might even open it up another step and try to share it with more general sports sites. This is when you should take the extra step. Why not try pitching a site about Brazilian culture, since Pele hails from Brazil? You could even try pitching a site for retired folks, since Pele is now 73 years old.
The key is to think outside the box. Here’s a real-life illustration. A cool motion graphic about how bath salts turn people into zombies would seem made for health and addiction sites. Yet it found a home in the Weird News section of The Huffington Post, where it went viral in fall 2013. That’s a perfect example of reimagining what categories might fit an infographic.
Huffington Post Weird News featuring the Zombie Infographic
Make Sure You Pitch the Right People
No matter how incredible, awesome and life-changing your infographic is, if you pitch it to the wrong person, that pitch is going right into the trash bin. Take the time to look over the publication’s list of employees and who writes for the section that best fits your infographic. Better yet, look at the stories people have posted and approach someone who’s written about your topic in the past.
Pay attention to details. Don’t send your tech infographic to the sports editor. Make sure you use the right name and the right publication, too. You’d be surprised how often people mess that up.
Make sure you’re not targeting a one-time contributor, who may not write for the publication regularly. Instead, target a staff writer whose bylines pepper the site. Then personalize your pitch. I’ll try to find something that I have in common with the person I’m pitching by reading over their bio. You may notice, for example, that you went to the same school as the person you’re pitching, so note this shared connection. (“You went to Vista College? Me too!”)
Sometimes an Infographic Needs a Helping Hand
Not every infographic you pitch is going to be rainbows and unicorns. Sometimes a client’s industry isn’t very glamorous, or the topic is a bit of a reach, or it’s simply a matter of bad timing (your client sells bikinis and the country’s experiencing a major cold front). This will happen from time to time. It’s not the end of the world; you just need to pay this infographic a bit of extra attention.
The Guestographic Strategy
Guestographics are basically a mash-up of guest blogging and infographics. You’re essentially using the tactic of guest blogging to help distribute the graphic and get it the links it deserves. There are five steps, as laid out by Backlinko’s Brian Dean, who coined the word:
- Make an infographic and post it on your site.
- Research sites that cover the topic your infographic covers.
- Contact those sites and show them your infographic.
- Offer to write a robust post on the topic of your infographic..
- Include your infographic in the post.
The selling point here is that you are providing the added value. You are giving the site free content and you also have control over where your infographic is reproduced and what is written about it. It’s a win-win strategy when you’re trying to place those infographics that don’t fit into categories covered by most blogs.
Don’t Quite Shoot for the Stars
Common infographic promotion strategy involves reaching out to people at huge publications and trying to sell them on the infographic. But if you’re getting no success from what is otherwise high-quality outreach to these people, try aiming for smaller sites.
I don’t mean start auto-publishing copies of the graphic on low-quality article directories or across a blog network. That’s more likely to get you in trouble these days than to help you and your client. However, think about it: bloggers on smaller sites are not getting inundated with infographic requests the way journalists and high-profile editors are. They are far more likely to respond positively to a polite email sharing the infographic, especially in combination with the guestographic strategy.
Do Whatever You Can
Sometimes an infographic just isn’t catching on, despite your wide and varied outreach efforts. Then it’s time to reconcile yourself with the fact that you simply have to do what you can. Try any of these strategies:
- Publish it on infographic submission sites.
- Write a post about the infographic and how it relates to another industry that you write about frequently, and publish it on a blog you already have a relationship with.
- Reach out to someone you’ve had success with before.
- Forgive yourself and move on.
Honestly, not every infographic is going to be a smashing success. As long as you’ve tried all of the strategies outlined here, you can take comfort in the fact that you gave it your best shot — you worked smarter, not harder, which is the best way to do any job.