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Sorry folks, this one’s a longer read than normal. I’ve been pondering infographics since writing about this one here last week.

content-marketing

It seems infographics are a fabulous way of pretending that what you publish is way more important, or carries more weight, than if you just wrote the words down. After all, the content is in an infograhic – way more cool than the same content in mere text.

One of the ‘benefits’ of infographics is that you don’t need copywriting skills. You just slap sentences and phrases together in loose groupings of commonality, then apply some graphics. There’s no need to link the sentences or paragraphs – you know, the way people who write copy need to? It doesn’t have to make sense – it just has to be graphic.

How-to-Easily-Create-3-Infographics-in-PPT-offer2

There is no definition for infographic in any dictionary. But in Wikopinion, an infographic is described as: Information graphics or infographics are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge intended to present complex information quickly and clearly.

So I thought I’d strip the graphic from the above infographic and lay bare the content to see what it really said, rather than what it appeared to say. Here’s the complex information without the graphics – I’ve put the content in bold and my comments in normal text.

Cold calling is for amateurs

This is a phrase not a headline – and it’s not supported by any facts. Cold calling is also for professionals – and whole industries such as fundraising, B2B lead generation, telcos and more use cold calling via telephone quite successfully. Although these days, people use technology like voicemail, to block unsolicited calls, which is causing declines in the right-party hit rates.

Make your customers come to you through content marketing

Given that proven channels already get customers to come to you – telephone, mail, email, advertising, events, articles, POS and more – there needs to be compelling reasons to support content marketing to replace proven channels.

Curiously there is this strange belief that advertising has stopped working now that we have the interweb. Nothing could be further from the truth. People still respond emotionally to propositions whether they are delivered as paid ads, editorial, or some other form of content. Just remember the old saying: “nothing happens until you sell something”.

Sales and marketing is an ever-evolving landscape. While traditional forms of marketing may still be effective, the evolution of these verticals has fostered a more efficient and more profitable model for business.

WTF? I never knew sales and marketing were landscapes, let alone ever-evolving ones. Go figure. And yes, traditional forms of marketing (whatever they may be) continue to work. How long does a new technology have to exist before it is traditional technology? Take email for example. Is it a traditional channel? It’s been around almost 20 years.

…the evolution of these verticals blah blah blah – I have no idea what the rest of this sentence means. Maybe it’s just content for content’s sake?

Your customers prefer online communication

My customers prefer online communication to what? Where are the facts to support this outrageous statement? As I said in my last post, I prefer online communication to a broken leg for example. But to what do my customers prefer online communications – help me here content marketing guys? You cannot make a preference statement without factual comparisons.

I don’t necessarily prefer online to the printed word or broadcast word. My radio works just fine. If I listen to it through the internet, it chews up gigabytes and costs more to listen. I’d rather watch a movie on my large flatscreen TV than my laptop or iThing.

I generally print out white papers to read them, though I do use a digital reader when travelling, but read books and newspapers at home. I also read newspapers online. In fact I have no over-riding preference – am I strange?

329 million people read blogs each month

So what? Each month a few billion watch television, listen to radio, view outdoor posters, read mail, email, books, magazines and newspapers too. What type of blogs do they read – this might be useful information eg do they read gossip, food or fashion blogs??

27 million pieces of content are shared each day

And a gazillion conversations are held across breakfast tables, in cars, on public transport, at workplaces, in bars, blah, blah, blah….

The big fail with this claim is the use of the word “share” for it implies that because somebody posts something on a social site, the content is actively shared with those linked to the site. Most social posts never get seen let alone read. The sentence should read: “…content are posted each day”. Close to 90% of the posts won’t even get seen. Think about it – 27 million per day. Who physically has the time to consume all this content?

73% of people prefer to get information about an organisation through articles, rather than in traditional advertisements.

So advertising doesn’t work anymore? This is a big call – over 5 billion people prefer articles than ads? Hmm, me thinks something fishy here. Given they’ve said 73% of people, I can only assume they mean across the total population of all humans, no matter what age. Or do they mean people who have access to the internet? Maybe primary grocery buyers? Or B2B decision-makers? You can see the flaws in the phrase.

If I recall my history, the research on this in the mid-eighties revealed a higher number, around 80% of adult consumers believed editorial content was more credible than paid advertisements as a source of information about organisations. But it doesn’t man advertising doesn’t work. So the percentage appears to have fallen over the last 2 decades – maybe there’s too much content?

61% of people feel better about companies that deliver custom content and are more likely to buy from such companies.

Another big call – over 4.25 billion people. And how do you define custom content? Is it digitally printed mailings with variable data relevant to the individual within the content? Is it an email with your name on it? Is it an RSS feed where the user nominates the content to be delivered? Another vacuous claim.

Content is social and shareable

Where do I start? I think they mean that online content is social and shareable? Well it may be easy to share, but there is no guarantee the content is social – whatever that means? I’m sure for example, an article on the intricate treatment of tapeworms in canines by a pharmaceutical company, might have some social properties, if you are a vet and crack animal jokes with other vets??

Just because content is published online does not automatically make it social. But marketing messages have always been social – they appeal to our emotions. Just because we now have social media channels, doesn’t mean messages have only just become social.

The content your brand creates can reach across multiple channels, for fans and advocates to share.

Like a number of the sentences/phrases, this one is grammatically incorrect. Technically your brand doesn’t create any content. Marketers and customers create content about brands. But I think I get what they mean. If you publish stuff on the interweb, people who like it will forward it to others via email and social sites for example. Wow – I bet very few people knew that was a benefit of the interweb.

People spend more than 50% of their time online reading content and an additional 30% of their time on social media, where content’s being shared. Clicks from content are 5 times more likely to result in a purchase.

Unbelievable! 7 Billion people (as against animals) spend 80% of their time on the interweb. When do they get time to sleep and eat and work – what type of jobs do they have? I want a job that’s less than 20% of my time. Or maybe one where all I do is spend my time on the interweb and get paid for it.

And amazingly, clicks from content are five times more likely to result in sales. Is this in every category? What if the only content is a paid advertisement?

What should I be creating? Content marketing tactics are most often executed through the use of the following:

Articles 79%

Blog entries 65%

eNewsletters 63%

Case studies 58%

Whitepapers 51%

Does this mean that 79% of all content is articles? Or of all content creators, 79% create articles? The percentages make no sense whatsoever?

Where are people sharing? The greatest amount of content is being shared across the following channels:

Email 93%

Social networks 89%

Blogs 82%

Message boards 81%

There’s that sharing word again. It should read “What are people posting” – because there is no guarantee that anyone consumes the content – only that it was posted to a place they could find it if they want to. And again the percentages make no sense.

The impact of content marketing. Not only does content marketing satisfy your customers and extend your brand message across the social web, but it can also grow your bottom line.

Where is the evidence content marketing satisfies my customers or grows my bottom line? Another generalisation to validate alleged expertise.

100%

+105%

Conversion rates are 105% higher for consumers who interact with ratings and product reviews

I’m assuming an interaction with ratings means people who read/view/listen to ratings? And do these people need to always interact before they buy? What if they interact once then just continue to buy, never interacting again? What about consumers who are already predisposed to the brand and don’t go online? They like the brand and buy it. How do they rate against people who interact with ratings?

Does this mean that if my homepage was just ratings and reviews I would double my sales because peopl e would have no choice but to read the ratings before buying?

100%

+83%

Consumers who receive email marketing spend 83% more when shopping

This worries the bejeezuz out of me. Firstly if I understand what these illiterates are saying “people who get email spend 83% more than those who don’t?” That means a hell of a lot of punters on the planet, are spending way more than a small number of punters. So are they saying all we have to do to increase sales is to send email messages to people. Stop all advertising, ramp up the email marketing!!

And secondly I’m cancelling my bride’s email account – she could send us broke every time she opens her Outlook.

14.6%

+1.7%

Organic search leads have a 14.6% close rate, while outbound marketing leads have a 1.7% close rate.

Once again, jargon to validate. Organic searches in what category? What type of ‘outbound marketing’?

Available channels & customer reach. Customers use multiple channels for content consumption. These channels can increase the reach of your brand.

And the sun rises in the east and sets in the west.

Facebook

There are more than 15 million businesses currently using Facebook to educate, engage and share with customers.

And hundreds of millions don’t use Facebook. But how are those that use it making money from it? It’s like saying there are 15 million businesses using the phone to answer customer calls.

Twitter

There are more than 58 million tweets per day

Sadly there are – much of it by celebrities and sportspeople. And how is this relevant to making money?

You Tube

You Tube reaches more US adults than any cable TV network

So does radio, and broadcast television and newspapers and mail and email. What’s the point?

SlideShare

SlideShare boats more than 60 million visitors a month

This is the dead giveaway that these bozos don’t know how to create content – they just type and use spellchecker to do their thinking. SlideShare is now a cruise company.

LinkedIn

There are 2.5 million business pages on LinkedIn

And again, what’s the point?

Marketing is solving your customer’s problems, and content marketing is the medium that brands are using to solve those problems.

If you can build authenticity through content, you’ll build relationships and loyal customers.

Aah the sweeping generalisation to validate the infographic. Obviously the definition of marketing is so wrong it’s not funny. For example, I don’t know any advertisements that solve IT problems in the payroll department?

And now content marketing is a medium. Yet Wikopinion says: “Content marketing is any marketing format that involves the creation and sharing of media and publishing content in order to acquire customers.”

And all we need to do is build authenticity through content to succeed? Really?

The ‘info’ part of this infographic is so lacking in useful, usable or complex information, it’s laughable. It’s illiterate, inaccurate in the use of numeric support and generally a waste of the reader’s time.

It also brings into play the fact that somewhere in this content marketing miracle, someone is shoveling the manure by the truckload.

A real lot of doo doo!

You can’t have it both ways.

If the advertising people are right, then it pays to advertise and all those online ads are paying their way and turning the cogs of commerce.

But, if the content marketing people are right, then advertising is a waste of time and we should just publish articles (sorry, content) and ignore advertising because according to the infographic, nobody reads or views advertising any more.

I’ll leave it to you to work it out, but recommend that if you really want to understand the content in infographics, strip out the graphics and see if the words make sense.

You’ll soon get the picture, so to speak.