Okay, the title may be slightly misleading, because there's no such thing as "easy" link bait, but easel.ly sure can make the process much easier. We all know that infographics can be an incredibly powerful tool for attracting links and social shares, but we also all know that infographics are insanely difficult to do right and often cost a great deal of money.
How it Works
It really is basic stuff. This is about all it takes to make an infographic that looks surprisingly professional within an hour or two.
- Go to easel.ly
- Click on "register" in the top right corner and create an account.
- Take a look at the infographics on the front page and pick one. Personally, I always "start fresh."
- Wait for it to load. (This really is the most strenuous part of the process if your computer isn't exactly top notch.)
- Go up top and hit "clear."
- Click "backgrounds," choose a size and color, and drag and drop it into the editing space below.
- Click on "text," choose title, header, or body, and drag it into the editing space.
- Click "shapes" to drag and drop shapes, like arrows, onto your infographic.
- Click "objects" to drag and drop icons of people, symbols, and so on onto the graphic.
- Use the clone, color, and opacity tools to do exactly what they sound like. You can also adjust the size of images or rotate them after clicking on them.
- Mess around until you've got a professional looking infographic.
- Click "save," and name your project. (You should probably do this several times before, as well.)
- Click "home," at the top left, click on "view|share" below the image of your infographic, and click "download." You're done. It's ready to be uploaded to your site. You can also embed it and share it through your social networks.
Prepare for the Changing Tide
I see an infographic gold rush around the corner, followed by a backlash. These infographics look professional now, but once they overpopulate the web and people start noticing how similar they look to one another, they are going to lose some of their value. I'd like to hope that easel.ly will stay my little secret, but odds are that's not going to happen.
Here are a few things you can do to separate your infographics from the chaff:
- Do the research. End your infographic with a citation from a seriously reputable source. Contact the source and make sure you haven't misrepresented them (and use this as an opportunity for building an influential relationship). Choose data that nobody else has prominently shared in a visual manner on the web.
- Take your time. Make sure there's a good reason to represent the data as an infographic, that it's genuinely visual, and that it doesn't look sloppy.
- Upload some of your own images if you have any graphic design skill. This can give you the edge over other infographics. Do this wrong and it could "break" your infographic with an image that doesn't fit their look. Stick with minimalist shapes and silhouettes, unless all the images you use are produced in-house.
- Prepare to scrap easel.ly and hire a graphic designer when your budget allows for it. Eventually you will need to be able to differentiate yourself and that's not going to happen with any easily used online tool.
Have you tried using easel.ly to build infographics? How are you leveraging infographics to build links?
Image credit: easel.ly