Kyle Gray talks on how our audience is constantly being bombarded by content, which is why we need to find creative new ways to grab their attention. He personally recommends using visuals elements like graphs, charts, and infographics to convey your message and get more exposure. He talks on how to create high-quality infographics for free to low-cost and much more on today’s show.

Key Takeaways:

[1:40] People are looking for a story and don’t want to read huge blocks of text.

[2:30] How do we do visual content?

[9:15] Graphs are actually pretty easy to make.

[11:45] If you can afford it, have someone create a custom image for your blog.

[13:35] Kyle prefers finding skilled artists on Dibbble.

[16:05] Why is Buzzfeed so popular?

[20:30] How should we label images or the files from an SEO perspective?

Mentioned In This Episode:

Skitch

Jing

Visme.co

Visage.co

http://www.maggieappleton.com/

Dribbble

http://wpcurve.com/increase-engagement-through-visual-content/

WPCurve.com

@KyleTheGray

Tweetables:

The overload of information is just not effective any more and people can see through that.

Simple memes can go a long way in a lot of your content.

When it comes to content, you should be designing for people, not for robots.

Transcript

Jason Hartman:

It’s my pleasure to welcome Kyle Gray to the show. He published a fantastic article that i saw recently about content marketing and especially engaging your audience through visual content, which I think is a really hot topic nowadays. Kyle is content marketing manager at WP Curve and he’s coming to us from beautiful Thailand. Kyle, welcome, how are you?

Kyle Gray:

Hey Jason. I’m doing well. Thanks for letting me be here.

Jason:

Yeah, it’s good to have you on. I really like your article about the visual, but you’re doing all sorts of things within our content culture, if you will, to get eyeballs and expand influence and help companies promote their brand. Let’s dive into the topic. I’m not sure where you want to start. I’m kind of flexible.

Kyle:

Well, let’s start with that article since we already mentioned it. There’s an emerging trend in content marketing right now. People are producing more and more and I think what people are really looking for these days is some kind of a story or something is a little more palette-able. There’s a lot of people that are just pushing out huge blocks of text. You can get that really easily by hiring ghost writers from all kinds of countries of the world. So, people are looking for something with a little more quality. You can really bring that through visuals.

Jason:

How do you do visual content? What is the ultimate way to do this kind of thing? You’ve got a screen shot in the article and some points about that. You got some graphs here. When we do visual content like this. I mean, it’s really appealing, you know, infographics have been huge in terms of their virality and the pass around is very good on those, but it’s pretty hard to create them, because you’re not only working with the fact checking element and being accurate, you’re also working with a whole visual element. What are your thoughts about that?

Kyle:

Yeah, so I think it depends on really where your business is and what resonates with your audience to find your ultimate or your best kinds of visual content and that may change from article to article, but yeah, at WP Curve some of our favorites are just simple screen shots and charts and graphs.

A screen shot is just such a useful thing with annotations to point out and quickly communicate what you’re doing. It’s also part of our company culture being a distributed team of 30 people around the world that we take little screen shots and annotate and we can see what each other is seeing and it makes communication a lot easier and faster.

Jason:

And just because you mentioned annotations, any recommendations on what software one should use for that?

Kyle:

So, we use Skitch and Jing as our primary softwares. I like Jing. I’m on a MAC right now and it just kind of sits right in the little corner and you can just pull it out and take a screen shot right away. I would also say that..

Jason:

But that’s to take the screen shot, how about to write on top of it or draw arrows and things like that?

Kyle:

Yeah, a lot of Jing has software that you can just, you know, lightly throw in some arrows and some text. Right off, you take the screen shot and then it will automatically upload it to a server so you can have a link and send it to other people really fast, seamlessly.

Jason:

Right, okay and Skitch is the other one you like.

Kyle:

Skitch, yeah, so it really depends on what works well with your audience or what’s within your constraints. Infographics have proven time again how, you said, they can be super viral, very engaging, but they take a lot of time. You have to produce great, great content to put within the infographic and then on topic of that, make the design amazing and a lot of people just don’t have the resources to produce very high quality ones. Even if you can produce one every few months, it may be something worth while to invest in if you’ve got a great piece of content.

Jason:

Any recommendations where to get those produced or how to get someone good to do it?

Kyle:

Yeah, so there’s a lot of different ways. The tool that I discussed in the article is Visme and that’s Visme.co and they have a free infographic tool that you can use to put together a bunch of different infographics with templates and make something pretty good, good looking, simply, and free. So, I think that’s a great plaec to start and what to do with an infographic, if you don’t want to try new content right away. I recommend repurposing one of your old articles.

So, if you had a really good article that’s been bringing a lot of traffic or that was a hit a couple of years back. See if you can update it and try to put it into an infographic and see if it will produce new results for you.

Jason:
Yeah, no question about it. You profiled Gary Vaynerchuk. He’s obviously a fantastic marketer. Vaynerchuk. sometimes known as Gary V, because his last name is a little bit tough. Tell us about some of the stuff that you learned from him or that you like that he’s doing?

Kyle:

So, what he does is he’s an excellent story teller and I think a good theme with all of your visual content is you wanna be telling a story, you want to have kind of plot to what you’re writing with some classical literature elements to it and what he does with, in particular, his sideshows, but in a lot of how he engages people is he – everything he says really leads nicely into the next point, so in his slideshow or the slideshow that we feature.

Each slide is maybe three quarters of an idea and it’s just like, it just gives you enough to get what he’s saying and then raise another question and so it keeps you clicking to finish the idea and everyone kind of does this over and over, so you keep clicking forward where he says, “I wake up every morning upset about one core thing.” And you question, “Well, what is that?” And then you click next and it’s 2014 and 99% of people still market like it’s 2004. Oh, it’s a problem, but how do we solve that? It never resolves and it just kind of builds this momentum and so you can click through a 64 Slide Share without even noticing that you did it just because he engineers this momentum and this story into, you know, a slideshow, which I’ve seen my fair share of PowerPoints in my past and I don’t see many people using story telling elements like that in their slides and I think you can make a huge difference.

Jason:

I think so too. That’s great, great advice. Visual content. I mean, you know, what about graphs? Graphs are great. They are kind of hard to produce, aren’t they? You’ve got Kurt Vonnegut, data visualization here, which I like. I mean, this is an intriguing graph. I really want to peer into it and see what it is all about.

Kyle:

Yeah, so I pulled that from this Visage.co. That’s another design and entrepreneurial website. What was interesting, I was a big fan of Kurt Vonnegut. A great American story teller and publisher – or writer. When I was looking at Dan’s Wage. It reminded me of one of his lectures he gave about creating a graph of a story line where it kind of raises with good fortune in the beginning with the character and then something bad happens and it kind of get that drop in your feeling – or drop in your stomach and then it finally resolves at the end of the story.

It looked just like how Kurt described Cinderella. To produce a graph that could tell the same story as a Cinderella story was something that was really interesting to me and kind of brought in more of the story telling elements like I was just talking with Gary V’s Slide Share and to be able to do that on a simple graph is something quite impressive, but I disagree.

I think graphs are very easy to make. We use just Google Drive and yeah, some of the Google spreadsheets to kind of input data really simply. I like all the tools on Google Drive right now just because – Microsoft Word and Excel have just kind of weighed themselves down with so many features and I get lost in that stuff these days.

Jason:

And it’s like every time, I mean, I’m a MAC user too, we use MACs throughout the company. Every software problem it seems like, you know, the Microsoft stuff doesn’t close properly, it crashes, it’s just constantly annoying. It has to update all the time. Yeah, you know, that was the old world. It was good while it lasted, but it’s time to use better stuff. So, yeah. Good stuff. So, really simple graphs. Slide shares are great. It’s interesting that Slide Share is such a high authority website when it doesn’t even have video. I mean. It’s just interesting that it’s like this two dimensional medium and its as popular as it is. It’s really kind of amazing.

Kyle:

It is fascinating especially, you know, just coming from PowerPoint and PowerPoints have been something that I guess, again, talking about Microsoft things, have just been not fun things. I just remember old, you know, weekly meetings of very boring graphs and charts, but the people that have been able to really leverage slide share have been really brilliantly putting in lots of images, brief texts, and making it very engaging and fun to go through the slides instead of, yeah, just kind of simple, a lot of black on white text just kind of crowding out the slides.

Jason:

I think this all just points to, you know, a huge issue that we have. We’re all just inundative with information and we’re looking for a picture to say a 1,000 words. That’s why you addressing this topic is so valuable to people. What about custom illustrations and custom headers? That’s pretty hard to create, isn’t it? Or is it not so hard?

Kyle:
I would say that’s one of the more difficult things to create. I know that this is an area where hiring somebody – a professional is highly recommended and you gotta pay a premium for that, but it’s a premium very worth while if you can afford it. Having somebody create something specific for your blog, specific to the content you’re writing can create a much more engaging and interesting image than stock photos.

We’ve all seen hundreds of stock photos in blogs these days that, you know, are maybe 30%-40% applicable to what the person is actually writing about. I think people are bored of that with you’re saying like, kind of the overload of information, it’s just not effective any more and people can see through that. So, investing in constant illustrations not only makes your content that its on more valuable and more engaging, but if you can have a certain style developed throughout your blog where you have one of these customer illustrations on each of your pages, it creates continuity between your content and a kind of familiarity to it, which is important for your audience.

Jason:

Do you have any recommendations on where to hire?

Kyle:

I would say Maggie Appleton I refer to in the article. She is a great illustrator and does a lot of this kind of content for blog posts or custom illustrations. Another place for like a general market place that you could check is Dribbble and that’s Dribbble.com.

Jason:

Now, why do you like Dribbble versus some of the bigger ones like Elance or oDesk.

Kyle:

So, Elance and oDesk are just filled with, you know, designers from all over the world and some of them are – it’s kind of hard to tell who is really good or what you can do. Dribbble has a lot of, it’s kind of a little less, they’re not exactly looking for clients. They’re just kind of showing their creations to each other and you can get to see the person’s portfolio and directly contact them really easy. I just feel like Elance sometimes, people are just trying to take whatever they can get and there’s a lot of people that are trying to undercut the designers and a lot of designers trying to undercut their clients.

Jason:

Any advice? I try to be really particular in the show. You know, just get your experience on any advice on how to pay or what to pay or things like that, because there’s a lot of infographics – we were talking about infographics a few minutes ago and there are a lot of infographic websites that sort of offer tools to create infographics, which I think are sort of neat, but I don’t know, when it comes down to it, they’re still pretty, you know, it’s kind of hard to use it.

Kyle:

Yeah, and that really depends on your budget. I think if you, if you have a low budget, but want to give this a try, you know, try Elance or try Fiver, use five dollars, ten, 50 dollars. If you want somebody that’s going to produce very, like, high quality consistent custom illustrations, it’s going to look more like $500, $1000+ if you’re on that level. So, it’s certainty in an investment and depending on what your content is worth to you or how far along in the content game you are, that may not sound like they have a price for the value it can deliver.

Jason:

Yeah, okay, good, good point. Get into some of the other stuff. I mean, you know, one of them that you’re leading up to reminds me of, you know, a website that kind of came out of no where and got popular really quickly and that is Buzzfeed, right? When you talk about using Vine and what about webinars? I mean, how do we use that?

Kyle:

Alright, well, let’s talk about a Buzzfeed first, because that’s actually a really interesting website. It’s one of the only, it’s one of the top ten most trafficked websites in the United States right now and I think what’s really interesting is it gets the majority of its traffic from social shares instead of – almost all websites still are pretty dependent on Google, organic search, and this Buzzfeed almost does not. It maybe, if I remember right, it got 7-8%, I’m not sure, of its total traffic from organic search and maybe 50% from social shares, bringing those in, Buzzfeed as a lot of animated gifs, memes, and it’s starting to move into more of a, what would you say, like journalism kind of move.

You can find everything from 25 cat photos to reports on Syria in there, which they are kind of broaden their audience, but what made them really popular, I think and what I see on my Facebook feed all the time is the kind of list articles where it’s 25 things that you only know if you’re an introvert and they have little accompanying memes from different pop culture references most of the time and I think what’s really interesting from that is they are borrowing from other stories and familiar faces, familiar situations that you have already experienced from a movie or your favorite sitcom and they are appealing it with a little bit of different text, a little bit different content, and applying it to a situation that is in your life.

That makes it really fun and easy to share and I think you can do that, just simple memes can go a long way in a lot of your content to kind of, yeah, borrow from a different story and add some more. It’s just kind of an interesting feel to your content and then you asked about webinars.

Jason:

Yeah and video courses, although I didn’t say that, but you know, that you profile also in the article, which I think is interesting, because all of that is moving pictures, right?

Kyle:

Yeah, well, a video course in a lot of ways I see as an extension of screen shots, what we said earlier, it gives you a good way – well, at least in the simplest form to kind of show what you’re doing, demonstrate how to do something in a piece of software or how to arrange something, but you can really make those very much in depth and video courses, let’s say, Quicktime, if we’re talking about MAC, is a great place to start with that. It’s on built in to everybody’s software and I think you can download it for free on PC.

That has screen capture capabilities and even screen and audio so you can just talk along and get started with that. So, you can do those for free and put together a video course very easily. We use GoToWebinars for our webinars. The verdict is kind of out on whether, depending what purpose you have for your webinars, what you want to do with  or what you want to educate on.

Jason:

What about data visualization? I mean, this is really cool. You can’t help but just have your eye drawn to something like that.

Kyle:

That’s something – before I started working with WP Curve, I was doing conversion rate optimization and collecting a lot of data and being able to visualize it in an interesting way as something that’s always been really fun. So, if you have a very data centric site where you’re collecting a lot of information from a lot of sources, if you can display that in interesting ways, then I think it’ll kind of be an extension of the graphs, what I mentioned earlier. It tells a more interesting story.

What I mentioned in the article is Matthew Daniels’ raper vocabulary chart, where he kind of plots out how many unique words different rappers used in their first, I think it was, 35,000 lyrics or so and compares them to Shakespeare and Moby Dick, which I thought was a really fascinating way to just look at different rappers and how some of the more famous rappers actually have a pretty low vocabulary. They keep things pretty simple and then other people are just having these wide swaths of 1,000 of words said. SO, that’s a very fun, engaging piece of data visualization if you want to see what kind of the top, top would look like.

Jason:

Yeah, good stuff. Really, really great. I want to ask you about something that a lot of people might not be thinking of. You know, they figured out how to make their content look pretty and that’s a huge accomplishment in of itself, so Kyle, you’ve got a bit of a background on the SEO side and you know, it’s a huge accomplishment to make your content look pretty and that right there is, you know, a great accomplishment, for sure, but what about the way you way label the files? Do you have any thoughts on that from the SEO side? Google isn’t great at searching images yet and a lot of it boils down to file names, meta tags, stuff like that. Any advice there?

Kyle:

Yeah, just keep things pretty simple. Keep things pretty obviously. In the images, always title your images with kind of a relevant keyword. So, if it’s social or when I’m talking about social images, you know, it’s just called social image and maybe Twitter and I think if you can tie them into more of your main keyword on your article, it could be important such as my article was on visual content, so maybe having visual content in the title of the image more would be helpful and also..

Jason:

Right in the file name? Literally, write those words, that text, in the file name?

Kyle:

I don’t know if you’d do it all the time. I would just put it in kind of sparingly, because it starts to look pretty obvious these days if you just have 100 – if the keyword is visual content and it appears hundreds of times in your article, but yeah, just kind of make it within content. I had a bad habit for a while of just throwing up an image and it was, you know, had those weird, random like QH5X2.png kind of thing. So, I would just take basic steps. I think really when it comes to content, you should be designing for people, not for robots.

Jason:

Not for computers? Right, okay. We’re all trying to get Google’s love, you know?

Kyle:

I think the best way to show that is, you know, visual content, having something that people can dig into and see and stay on your website for longer and have more engagement. I think that’s really where Google is going to see that you’re doing something different than you have something valuable and that’s kind of the new way in search engine optimization is designing for people.

Jason:

Well, okay, that’s a good point, because Google is certainty looking at the length of sessions and so forth, so very good point. Kyle, give out your website, tell people where they can find out more. If you want to give out the actual link to this article or some keywords where people find it, but it’s entitled 12 Ways to Increase Engagement Through Visual Content.

Kyle:

Yeah, you can find that on WPCurve.com and we’ve got years of other content gathered. Lots of good content marketing guides, email guides, and WP Curve is a good place that if you have a WordPress site and you need a little bit of help, you’ve got small fixes, codes not working properly, we do unlimited small fixes for $69.99 a month.

Jason:

We had one of your founders Dan Norris on just a little over a year ago, I think. It’s a really cool service. It’s a great business model. I think it’s obviously working for you guys, I’m sure it’s working for the customers too.

Kyle:

Yeah, it’ll be great. So, come check us out at WPCurve.com and you can follow me @KyleTheGray on Twitter.

Jason:

Alright, awesome. Kyle Gray, thank you so much for joining us.

Kyle:

Thank you, Jason.

Announcer:

This show is produced by the Hartman Media Company, all rights reserved. For distribution or publication rights and media interviews, please visit www.hartmanmedia.com or email [email protected] Nothing on this show should be considered specific personal or professional advice. Please consult an appropriate tax, legal, real estate or business professional for individualized advice. Opinions of guests are their own and the host is acting on behalf of Platinum Properties Investor Network Inc. exclusively.