Advertising
Advertising

6 Awesome Reasons to Create Visual Content for Your Website or Blog

6 Awesome Reasons to Create Visual Content for Your Website or Blog

Big Data has been a theme for 2013, and it poses the threatening question of how one can possibly interpret all the data that is available to take in.

As consumers of data, we’re constantly deciding whether to “bookmark” a particularly interesting file, or make an entry in Evernote to come back to read it later. There is so much data being generated every single minute on the Internet that it becomes increasingly time-consuming to make decisions such as: Should I read it now? Should I make a note of it in my Moleskin notepad? Should I email the link to myself?

In short, we spend more time sorting through, curating and organizing data that already exists. In doing so, we create more data about data!

Similarly, as a “provider” of information, whether you’re a recruiter looking for perfect candidates for a job, a designer showcasing your skills all in one place, or an educator speaking about a challenging topic, you too face a challenge: How do I gather the massive amount of data at my disposal in a clear, compelling format for my reader swithout losing the point?

Enter Visual Content Marketing! Realizing this dilemma, some smarty-pants on the Net came up with a unique blend of pictures and raw data—infographics.

What Are Infographics?

Infographics are visual presentations of information that compress complex ideas and present it to the viewers in a digestible format. They let you communicate hard to grasp data quickly and clearly.

An infographic could be a supplementary image for your blog post or web page, or it could be a stand-alone piece of information with little supporting text. That means you can base a whole blog post on an infographic.

Advertising

A study analyzed by Jakob Nielson concludes some interesting findings. For starters, people will spend more time on your page if you cram in more words; however they only spend 4.4 seconds for each additional 100 words. More importantly, people will spend time understanding the layout and looking at the images on your page, so they realistically end up reading only 20% of text.

Since we are discussing infographics, it seemed fitting that we included this one: An infographic to explain an infographic.

What is an infographic

    Click to expand. (Source)

    Why Use Infographics?

    A study conducted by Wharton School of Business found that 50% of the audience was persuaded by a purely verbal presentation, whereas 67% were persuaded by a verbal presentation that had accompanying visuals.

    Another study found that the color visuals of infographics increase the willingness to read by a whopping 80%.

    Here are 6 reasons infographics are so effective for content marketing:

    1. Humans are wired to process visual content. Think about it—would road signs be as effective if they were presented in purely text form? Most people wouldn’t even get a chance to read them while driving!

    Advertising

    2. Humans are tired of the information overload. According to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, we are bombarded with approximately 2 million bits of information every second, whereas we can only process 134 bits per second. We simply can’t process the excess input.

    3. Humans can recall visual content quicker than any other form. We’ll remember 80% of what we saw and did, 20% of what we read and 10% of what we heard.

    4. Adding carefully crafted visuals make what we’re reading more believable.

    5. Since infographics are easy to digest, attractive and fun, more people are keen to share them with others. That means more people being engaged with your content! (Speaking of fun, this infographic wins hand-down, don’t you think?)

    6. The first step in converting prospects into long-term visitors and paid clients is to hold their attention. Infographics are pretty engaging by themselves and make this easier to achieve.

    If you have a website or a blog, you can no longer settle with plain, boring text. For starters, no one “reads” text online. Most people will skim your page without actually using the information on the page. But with infographics, you have a neat little method to make them stay longer and want more.

    How to Use Infographics

    Researchers Barbara M. Miller and Brooke Barnett said:

    Advertising

    On their own, text and graphics are both useful yet imperfect methods for communication. Written language allows an almost infinite number of word combinations that allow deep analysis of concepts but relies heavily on the reader’s ability to process that information. Graphics may be easier for the reader to understand but are less effective in communication of abstract and complicated concepts…This study showed that for the presentation of scientific information, combining text and graphics allows communicators to take advantage of each medium’s strengths and diminish each medium’s weaknesses. (p. 63, “Understanding of Health Risks Aided by Graphics with Text”)

    This means it’s best to use an infographic along with a supporting piece of text. This allows an infographic to become instructional in a compelling and attractive manner. For example, on your website or blog you can embed colorful, attractive infographics that can act as a recruiting tool, present survey data, explain how things work, and compare concepts.

    From superheroes to complicated ideas, infographics have found their place everywhere. Check out some of the most effective ones below:

    How to be a Superhero: An Illustrated Guide

      Click to expand. Source: Zia Somjee

      How Would You Like Your Graphic Design

        Click to expand. Source: Cool Infographics

        Advertising

        Or, this interactive one about 13 reasons your brain craves infographics!

        How to Create Awesome Infographics in Less than an Hour

        Okay, you’re convinced about the effectiveness of visual content online. Being an organization or a small business, you want to give this a proper go. The next natural question that arises is: How do I create an awesome-looking infographic for my website?

        The most obvious way for some people is to hire a freelance designer. But depending on whom you hire, you can end up paying hundreds or thousands of dollars and not get what you want in the end.

        If you’re more of a DIY type and like to learn and implement new skills for life without spending any money, EWC Presenter is your go-to infographic maker. All you have to do is create a free account at www.ewcpresenter.com and choose Infographics—you can create presentations, banner ads, product demos and infographics.

        How to Create Awesome Infographics in Less than an Hour

          There is no additional software needed to be installed as the app is cloud-based and works on HTML5. Plus the themes are beautiful!

          The best part of using this app is it saves you hundreds to thousands of dollars and brings several features—such as multi-lingual options, being search-engine friendly and over 600 Google fonts—all to one place.

          Easy Web Content Presenter

            Check out the app for free and share your thoughts below!

            More by this author

            start an online business 8 Tools to Start an Online Business without Breaking the Bank Resume tools 4 Easy Resume Tools to Breathe Life into Your Resume and Boost Your Chances of Getting Hired starting your own business 10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting an Online Business Resume Rejected Was Your Resume Rejected? Here’s What to Do Next 3 Things To Do If You Fear A 3-Step Process to Overcome Fear

            Trending in Productivity

            1 How To Write Effective Meeting Minutes (with Examples) 2 How Are Daily Rituals Different from Daily Routines? 3 7 Essential Success Tips to Achieve What You Want in Life 4 Deep Work: 9 Grounding Rules to Stay Focused 5 7 Reminders When You’re Making Life Choices

            Read Next

            Advertising
            Advertising
            Advertising

            Last Updated on September 30, 2019

            How To Write Effective Meeting Minutes (with Examples)

            How To Write Effective Meeting Minutes (with Examples)

            Minutes are a written record of a board, company, or organizational meeting. Meeting minutes are considered a legal document, so when writing them, strive for clarity and consistency of tone.

            Because minutes are a permanent record of the meeting, be sure to proofread them well before sending. It is a good idea to run them by a supervisor or seasoned attendee to make sure statements and information are accurately captured.

            The best meeting minutes takers are careful listeners, quick typists, and are adequately familiar with the meeting topics and attendees. The note taker must have a firm enough grasp of the subject matter to be able to separate the important points from the noise in what can be long, drawn-out discussions. And, importantly, the note taker should not simultaneously lead and take notes. (If you’re ever asked to do so, decline.)

            Following, are some step-by-step hints to effectively write meeting minutes:

            1. Develop an Agenda

            Work with the Chairperson or Board President to develop a detailed agenda.

            Meetings occur for a reason, and the issues to be addressed and decided upon need to be listed to alert attendees. Work with the convener to draft an agenda that assigns times to each topic to keep the meeting moving and to make sure the group has enough time to consider all items.

            The agenda will serve as your outline for the meeting minutes. Keep the minutes’ headings consistent with the agenda topics for continuity.

            2. Follow a Template from Former Minutes Taken

            If you are new to a Board or organization, and are writing minutes for the first time, ask to see the past meeting minutes so that you can maintain the same format.

            Generally, the organization name or the name of the group that is meeting goes at the top: “Meeting of the Board of Directors of XYZ,” with the date on the next line. After the date, include both the time the meeting came to order and the time the meeting ended.

            Advertising

            Most groups who meet do so regularly, with set agenda items at each meeting. Some groups include a Next Steps heading at the end of the minutes that lists projects to follow up on and assigns responsibility.

            A template from a former meeting will also help determine whether or not the group records if a quorum was met, and other items specific to the organization’s meeting minutes.

            3. Record Attendance

            On most boards, the Board Secretary is the person responsible for taking the meeting minutes. In organizational meetings, the minutes taker may be a project coordinator or assistant to a manager or CEO. She or he should arrive a few minutes before the meeting begins and pass around an attendance sheet with all members’ names and contact information.

            Meeting attendees will need to check off their names and make edits to any changes in their information. This will help as both a back-up document of attendees and ensure that information goes out to the most up-to-date email addresses.

            All attendees’ names should be listed directly below the meeting name and date, under a subheading that says “Present.” List first and last names of all attendees, along with title or affiliation, separated by a comma or semi-colon.

            If a member of the Board could not attend the meeting, cite his or her name after the phrase: “Copied To:” There may be other designations in the participants’ list. For example, if several of the meeting attendees are members of the staff while everyone else is a volunteer, you may want to write (Staff) after each staff member.

            As a general rule, attendees are listed alphabetically by their last names. However, in some organizations, it’s a best practice to list the leadership of the Board first. In that case, the President or Co-Presidents would be listed first, followed by the Vice President, followed by the Secretary, and then by the Treasurer. Then all other names of attendees would be alphabetized by last name.

            It is also common practice to note if a participant joined the meeting via conference call. This can be indicated by writing: “By Phone” and listing the participants who called in.

            4. Naming Convention

            Generally, the first time someone speaks in the meeting will include his or her name and often the title.

            Advertising

            For example, “President of the XYZ Board, Roger McGowan, called the meeting to order.” The next time Roger McGowan speaks, though, you can simply refer to him as “Roger.” If there are two Rogers in the meeting, use an initial for their last names to separate the two. “Roger M. called for a vote. Roger T. abstained.”

            5. What, and What Not, to Include

            Depending on the nature of the meeting, it could last from one to several hours. The attendees will be asked to review and then approve the meeting minutes. Therefore, you don’t want the minutes to extend into a lengthy document.

            Capturing everything that people say verbatim is not only unnecessary, but annoying to reviewers.

            For each agenda item, you ultimately want to summarize only the relevant points of the discussion along with any decisions made. After the meeting, cull through your notes, making sure to edit out any circular or repetitive arguments and only leave in the relevant points made.

            6. Maintain a Neutral Tone

            Minutes are a legal document. They are used to establish an organization’s historical record of activity. It is essential to maintain an even, professional tone. Never put inflammatory language in the minutes, even if the language of the meeting becomes heated.

            You want to record the gist of the discussion objectively, which means mentioning the key points covered without assigning blame. For example, “The staff addressed board members’ questions regarding the vendor’s professionalism.”

            Picture a lawyer ten years down the road reading the minutes to find evidence of potential wrongdoing. You wouldn’t want an embellishment in the form of a colorful adverb or a quip to cloud any account of what took place. Here’s a list of neutral sounding words to get started with.

            7. Record Votes

            The primary purpose of minutes is to record any votes a board or organization takes. Solid record-keeping requires mentioning which participant makes a motion — and what the motion states verbatim — and which participant seconds the motion.

            For example, “Vice President Cindy Jacobsen made a motion to dedicate 50 percent, or $50,000, of the proceeds from the ZZZ Foundation gift to the CCC scholarship fund. President Roger McGowan seconded the motion.”

            Advertising

            This vote tabulation should be expressed in neutral language as well. “The Board voted unanimously to amend the charter in the following way,” or “The decision to provide $1,000 to the tree-planting effort passed 4 to 1, with Board President McGowan opposing.”

            Most Boards try to get a vote passed unanimously. Sometimes in order to help the Board attain a more cohesive outcome, a Board member may abstain from voting. “The motion passed 17 to 1 with one absension.”

            8. Pare down Notes Post-Meeting

            Following the meeting, read through your notes while all the discussions remain fresh in your mind, and make any needed revisions. Then, pare the meeting minutes down to their essentials, providing a brief account of the discussion that summarizes arguments made for and against a decision.

            People often speak colloquially or in idioms, as in: “This isn’t even in the ballpark” or “You’re beginning to sound like a broken record.” While you may be tempted to keep the exact language in the minutes to add color, resist.

            Additionally, if any presentations are part of the meeting, do not include information from the Powerpoint in the minutes. However, you will want to record the key points from the post-presentation discussion.

            9. Proofread with Care

            Make sure that you spelled all names correctly, inserted the correct date of the meeting, and that your minutes read clearly.

            Spell out acronyms the first time they’re used. Remember that the notes may be reviewed by others for whom the acronyms are unfamiliar. Stay consistent in headings, punctuation, and formatting. The minutes should be polished and professional.

            10. Distribute Broadly

            Once approved, email minutes to the full board — not just the attendees — for review. Your minutes will help keep those who were absent apprised of important actions and decisions.

            At the start of the next meeting, call for the approval of the minutes. Note any revisions. Try to work out the agreed-upon changes in the meeting, so that you don’t spend a huge amount of time on revisions.

            Advertising

            Ask for a motion to approve the minutes with the agreed-upon changes. Once an attendee offers a motion, ask for another person in the meeting to “second” the motion. They say, “All approved.” Always ask if there is anyone who does not approve. Assuming not, then say: “The minutes from our last meeting are approved once the agreed-upon changes have been made.”

            11. File Meticulously

            Since minutes are a legal document, take care when filing them. Make sure the file name of the document is consistent with the file names of previously filed minutes.

            Occasionally, members of the organization may want to review past minutes. Know where the minutes are filed!

            One Caveat

            In this day and age of high technology, you may ask yourself: Wouldn’t it be simpler to record the meeting? This depends on the protocols of the organization, but probably not.

            Be sure to ask what the rules are at the organization where you are taking minutes. Remember that the minutes are a record of what was done at the meeting, not what was said at the meeting.

            The minutes reflect decisions not discussions. In spite of their name, “minutes,” the minutes are not a minute-by-minute transcript.

            Bottom Line

            Becoming an expert minutes-taker requires a keen ear, a willingness to learn, and some practice, but by following these tips you will soon become proficient.

            Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

            Read Next