Thursday, November 10, 2011

Incredible, Insightful, Intelligent & Interesting. INFOGRAPHICS!

OK, so I'm not gonna lie. I really love infographics. You know, the really good ones...i literally get mesmerized by them and just can't get enough. Infographics are one of the purest forms of graphic design—they're strictly visual representations of information and data. Data Visualization, or "data viz", as the "cool kids" are apparently calling them. (Guess I've exited the "cool kid" pool, because I just read about this terminology…[sigh] )

So, I'm going to assume that everyone has probably seen an infographic here or there, even if you didn't realize that's what you were looking at. Top brands like The New York Time, USA Today, and even The White House have been using infographics to deliver data. Whether you're a designer or  your company is thinking of hiring a designer to create "data viz" for your next project, please ask yourself 3 important questions first:

1. Why? What is it for? What is the goal? Will your data need to be visually represented? (please, no infographics, just for infographic sake). Determine whether you will be able to clearly tell your story or represent your information through visual graphics, or if tradition text and copy will work better.

2. How? How will you refine and organize your data to work in cohesive, informational graphic. What will be the visual metaphor you'll use?

3. Does it Work? Does it reach your goals? Is it easy to understand. Is the data represented in a clear and readable manner? Will it make sense to the viewer?

Here are some wonderful, additional resources for creating effective infographics:

The Do's and Don'ts of Inforgraphic Design
10 Tips For Designing Better Infographics
Infographic Designs: Overviews, Examples & Best Practices

And, of course, this blog post wouldn't be complete with examples of some of my favorite infographics! (just click on the image caption to view the full graphic)

U.S. Data Consumption in One Day

The Very Many Varieties of Beer

How the Internet Works
The Greening of America's Companies
Do you love inforgraphics too? What are some of your favorites?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Keys to Effective Self Promotions

As mentioned in a previous post, a few weeks ago I participated in International Freelancers Day, an online conference exclusively for solo professionals. Here is another recap of some of the insightful information I gained during the webinars.

Next up, is a recap of James Clear's session "The 10 Keys to Effective (and Ethical) Self-Promotion for Freelancers" (but, I'm just going to highlight a few of the primary concepts). James focused on some of the fundamentals for self promotion—not the tactics, but more about the strategies. Here's a list of some important things to consider when considering your next self promotion campaign:

1. Value First. This is a very key point to make. Be sure you provide value to your target audience before you promote your work to them…otherwise, it's kind of pointless, huh? Don't wait until money exchanges hands before giving something of value. This way you'll create fans and then you'll have a much easier time selling your services. Examples are: samples of product, blog posts or white papers of information, coupons, etc.—be sure it is something relative to your field that is  thoughtful and/or useful.  "Giving is better than receiving because giving starts the receiving process".

2. Build Relationships. Effective self promotion never starts with the pitch, it starts with the relationship. Build relationships with the right people that can help accelerate your growth. Everyone is valuable, but try to find relevant people to you and your business. So, get out there and network! But, remember, it is about making relationships, not just making the sale. Be sure to be genuine and just get to know someone, don't bombard them with sales tactics…nobody likes a pushy salesman (or woman)!

3. Research. A more, specific, targeted audience is usually more effective than a blanket pitch the everyone. Research your target markets, and cater or tweak your promotions to them. Research gives you the content to make connections, and also will allow your promotions to create a maximum effect in a minimal amount of time.

After you've worked on the above three tasks, be sure to make your self promotions simple, yet powerful—and, focus on being consistent! And remember, this is a cyclical process that you will have to do over and over again throughout the course of your business, it's not a one time thing and you're done. In order to grow your business, you need to grow with your business!

Do you have any advice on good self promotion? I'd love to hear it!