infographics

How to Create an Infographic with Keynote

Infographics are an incredibly popular way to visualize data and a valuable marketing tool. If you need proof of that statement, check out this infographic on infographics. Infographics garner orders of magnitude more social shares than regular blog posts. When I set out to create an infographic for Feastie Analytics on "How to Make Your Recipe go Viral on Pinterest", I took a look at several online tools including visual.ly, infogr.am, Piktochart, and easel.ly. My conclusion: it's exhausting to figure out which one to use, and then learn it. I tried with a few and wasn't blown away with the user interface (too much to learn) or the results (the chart designs didn't thrill me). They all offer themes to work with, but not many. One offered only about six themes unless I paid a monthly subscription fee. It doesn't make sense to pay a monthly subscription for something I only use occasionally. Plus, having limited themes that dozens of other infographics are based on, and the tool's logo at the bottom could dilute my branding and thus marketing effect. On top of all that, I was afraid that I would get started, invest the time, and then realize I can't finish because an essential feature is missing.

Then I realized I already had the perfect tool for creating an infographic. It has a drag and drop interface that I already know, the ability to add any icons or photos, basic drawing tools and visual effects, alignment tools, and most importantly, chart building tools all built in. It's Keynote. Keynote may not be intended to create the types of infographics that are popular on the web, but when you think about it, a slide presentation is a lot like an infographic. By creating a one slide presentation with custom dimensions, you can easily use it to create great infographics for the web. Here are the steps I used to build mine:

  1. Set a custom slide size. From the inspector, go to the 'Document' tab and under 'Slide Size', choose 'Custom Size', then enter your dimensions. I made mine 640px wide because that's the width of my blog post template and 4000px long because that's the maximum length allowed by Keynote. Note that if you change the dimensions after adding objects to the slide, Keynote will rearrange your stuff in a failed attempt to be helpful. I recommend using the maximum length allowed. You can always crop any excess out later.
  2. Design a "theme". Visual style and pieces of flair are what separate an infographic from just a boring old set of charts. Choose an interesting background and some kind of visual element that separates the sections of the infographic. These visual elements should reflect your subject matter. I used a stock photo of a corkboard as my background. Then I created rectangles using the Keynote shape tool and the picture frame effect to look like sheets of paper with shadows. Finally, I used another stock photo of a pushpin to create the illusion that the papers had been pinned to a pinboard. Cut, paste, repeat.
  3. Fill in your sections. Import various graphics and use the built in Keynote chart tools to your heart's content. Customize the look of your charts with colors and textures that fit in nicely with your theme. A note of warning: the funky dimensions of your slide will confuse Keynote, causing it to create awkwardly sized charts. It helps to have another Keynote presentation open as a scratch space to create your charts and copy them over to your infographic. Another tip: make the type and visuals large so that the infographic is still readable when it's posted on Pinterest. The new width for Pinterest pins is around 240px so you'll want your infographic to work at about 40% of it's original size if you choose the same dimensions that I did. Don't forget to include a section that includes your name or the name of your company and the url of your website.
  4. Export as an image.  From the file menu, choose 'Export', then click on 'Images'. I recommend using a PNG to avoid funky JPEG artifacts.
  5. Crop it. If you had excess space at the bottom of your you'll need to crop that out using an image editing tool such as GIMP. While you're at it, you may want to create a "title only" image to include above the fold in your blog post.

You're done! Now you have a great infographic to share on your blog and across all social media channels and you didn't have to learn any awkward new tools to create it.

Using Data to Create Viral Content. [INFOGRAPHIC]

Pinterest_Infographic_teaser Netflix recently used their own data to drive the creation of the hit series 'House of Cards'. A similar approach can be applied to other forms of media to create content that is highly likely to become popular or even go viral through social media channels.

I examined the data set collected by Feastie Analytics to determine the features of recipes that make them the most likely to go viral on Pinterest. Some of the results are in the infographic below (originally published here). The data set includes 109,000 recipes published after Jan 1, 2011 on over 1200 different food blogs. Each recipe is tagged by its ingredients, meal course, dish title, and publication date. For each recipe, I have a recent total pin count. I also have the dimensions of a representative photo from the original blog post.

The first thing that I examined is the distribution of pins by recipe. What I found is that the distribution  of pins by recipe is much like the distribution of wealth in the United States -- the top 1% have orders of magnitude more than the bottom 90%. The top 0.1% has another order of magnitude more than the top 1%! Many of the most pinned recipes are from popular blogs that regularly have highly pinned recipes, but a surprising number are from smaller or newer blogs. A single viral photo can drive hundreds of thousands of new visitors to a site that has never seen that level of traffic before.

For the purposes of this analysis, I defined "going viral" as reaching the top 5% of recipes --  having a pin count over 2964 pins. Then, I calculated how much more (or less) likely a recipe is to go viral depending on its meal course, keywords in the dish title, ingredients, day of the week, and the aspect ratio of the photo.

Some of the results are surprising and some are expected. Many people would expect that desserts are most likely to go viral on Pinterest. But in reality, desserts are published the most but not most likely to go viral. Appetizers have the best probability of going viral, perhaps because they are published less frequently, yet are in relatively high demand. The popularity of cheese, chocolate, and other sweets in the dishes and ingredients is not surprising. What is somewhat surprising are some of the healthier ingredients such as quinoa, spinach, and black beans. The fact that Sunday is the second best day to publish is surprising, as most publishers avoid weekends. However traffic to recipe sites spikes on Sundays, so it makes sense that recipes published then have an advantage. Finally, it's no surprise that images with tall orientations are more likely to go viral on Pinterest considering how they are given more space by the Pinterest design. But now, we can put a number on just how much of an advantage portrait oriented photos have -- they are approximately twice as likely to go viral as the average photo.

Hungry yet? What other forms of content would you like to see this approach applied to?

Check back tomorrow for a tutorial on how to create an infographic with Keynote.

How to Make Your Recipe Go Viral on Pinterest