Back in 2000, when I was waiting to run up to the podium to give a speech on Internet PR at a conference in New Jersey, I overheard one grey-haired attendee say to another, "I only have 5 years left until retirement and I wish it was sooner, because I just don't want to learn all this new stuff."
I instantly felt superior. New stuff was heaven to me. I was the queen of marketing tactic early-adopters.
It didn't occur to me that I was also still in my 30s.
Now that I've cracked the 50-mark, I finally have some sympathy for that guy. The pace of marketing innovation has been dizzying for the past 13 years. Sometimes I just want to lie down all afternoon on a velvet sofa -- with a box of chocolates, a thick novel and a cat on my lap -- instead of diving in to learn the next hot new thing, and the next one, and the next one after that.
But, when I force myself to tackle my job, and get over the lazies already, the juices still come flowing back. Last Friday I decided to invent my first infographic to help promote our big upcoming conversion optimization trade show... yes, I'm about 3 years late to the infographic party, but better late than never. Here's what I learned:
#1. If you're wordy, you suck at infographics.
I'm a writer. For infographics, this is not a good thing. After DRASTIC cutting, slashing and burning, I still ended up with probably 75% too many words for the medium. Ok, so room for improvement....
#2. Don't break in a new designer for your first infographic.
We have an awesome in-house designer, but I knew he was already overloaded this week, to the point of nearly cracking. So I decided to get all 21st century and outsource to TaskRabbit. It's fast, cheap, and you can surf people's portfolios before you pick the winning contractor.
Turns out breaking in a new designer to your branding -- not to mention direct response philosophy -- over the course of one sleepless weekend is a terrible idea. His design was artistic, professional, lovely ... and you couldn't read a word on it, much less find the call-to-action button.
In the end our in-house designer Ron Perry came riding in on his white Mac to save the day.
#3. Creating infographics is addictive.
The instant we published this first one today, my head suddenly was SWARMING with ideas for more, and much, much better ones. (Do not tell my designer this because he will probably wallop me over the head.)
OMG it's so much fun. I am all excited. And relieved, because I don't feel like laying down that velvet sofa anymore.