Tale of an Infographic: Why We Reached for the Stars ***

Some of you out there might be sipping your coffee or Drambuie (what a strange choice of drink) and thinking:

“Yeah, I know Neil’s a great recruiter, but what else has this guy got in his locker?”

Well, boil the kettle for another brew and let me tell you a story…

Those of you that are regular readers of my blog (I shall assume that is all of you) will know that one of my buzz-terms at the moment is ‘content marketing’. From a personal perspective this is the best way of raising engagement and digital visibility for my comedy night due to the fact I have a very limited budget. But it’s not all about doing things on a shoe-string; content marketing, if done well, can be fantastically effective and efficient.

This brings me to our story. I hope you’re sitting comfortably.

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The Idea

About six months ago, when we launched our not-for-profit approach towards graduate recruitment, we knew we were going to need to raise awareness and engagement, but without breaking the bank since this was a loss-making division. Neil called a well-known media owner who promised that for £1,000 we could take out a banner ad which would gain 33,000 impressions (so £33 CPM). This sounds reasonable but with the knowledge that the CTR (click through rate) for banner advertising is approximately 0.1% this meant that for Neil’s thousand quid, he was only going to get around 30 clicks (also £33 CPC).

NeilsRecCo banner

Knowing this, a banner ad didn’t sound like the best way to drive engagement, nor the best use of a thousand pounds, given limited budgets. We wanted to develop something that was going to develop interest – something useful, sharable and engaging. The idea of mapping out the media market was a simple one but seemed to be the sort of thing that would achieve this. When Neil put pen to paper and started to draw it out it started to look a little like a solar system, so the format sort of suggested itself.

sketch planets

Anyhow, this being the case he thought that if he accurately mapped out the digital market as a star chart infographic it would serve a number of purposes. Firstly it would be a useful tool for graduates as well as being interesting. Secondly he could use social sharing and viral marketing to spread the brand in a cost effective manner, being richer in time than budget for this project. Thirdly it would serve to cement Neil’s Recruitment Company as being experts in their field.

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Design & to Market

So now Neil set about putting together a digital agency star chart infographic. Before the design stage he had to collect and process the data that was to be the basis of the star chart. He sourced the data from various places where it was freely available such as the company websites, LinkedIn and Econsultancy, as well as people working in the field. This was quite a sizeable task, requiring a significant amount of data, organisation and planning.

Now we enter the design stage and although having quite a clear idea Neil needed some help so brought on Jack Hagley to help ‘realise the vision’! As the gallery below depicts, such a complicated project required several rough drafts – it went through various stages, with the timeline element being included to add another layer of interest to the graphic (mainly to demonstrate the birth of the newer/more niche businesses). The inversion of the colour from white background to black background actually occured quite late in the process.

Design complete it was time to go to market but the question was who would be interested in this and therefore be most likely to promote and share it. Certainly tech companies who wished to sell their products within the market and also Google who want to promote their services. Neil approached some of these and offered a free A1 copy of the star chart in return for a promotional tweet here and there. He also ran a Facebook campaign where he specifically targeted people who worked for the companies featured on the infographic. That looked something like this:

FB Ad

This attracted a high CTR (click through rate) on a CPC basis and was a good way to drive interest and engagement with the graphic.

Finally he approached the Guardian (one of our clients) to see if they would be interested in publishing the graphic within the media network. The answer was yes and they decided to publish it. The extra exposure here meant it was also picked up by designweek.co.uk who were interested in the design element. All of this digital attention meant that during and for some time after the campaign, Neil’s Recruitment Company ranked first in organic search for the term ‘recruitment company’ (a good example of accidental SEO since we were running this is a PR campaign).

The epilogue to this tale is that for the period of the campaign, Neil’s Recruitment Company’s website received nearly 3000 extra unique visitors a month, 100 times more than the 30 promised for the banner ad. Plus, leaving man hours aside (of which admittedly there were many), this was all done for less than the quoted £1000.  To this day, we still receive a higher unique visitor and returning visitor rate (aided by the content from yours truly of course).

So put down your coffee or Drambuie (why you are drinking a whisky liqueur in the middle of the day is beyond me) and start collecting some data because you are going to need quality content if you plan on reaching for the stars.