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Content Checklist for Writers

There are people who find writing a hard task. Some say there are too many rules on grammar or that they’re not confident about their pieces. The latter is a subjective matter; they would have to build their conviction first. The former, though, is the objectivity of the creative craft—the hardest part of it all, some will say. This is why writing is studied, why writing is an art, and why writing is not easy.

When it comes to the rules of writing, there are certain aspects you really have to study—grammar, punctuation, and spelling are by far the most obvious when it comes to reading a draft. A mistake in any of the three can be a great blow to your great copy and an object of scrutiny for the author (perhaps why people are afraid to write in the first place).

There are also the subtle points you need to fulfill. Like a few ones below. Familiarize yourself with all of them, and soon, you’ll be ready to write anything.

Put An Effort When Writing

Like every form of art, writing needs effort. If you don’t take it seriously—and that fact will show on your drafts—then don’t expect readers to do the same.

Also, don’t be disappointed when your piece doesn’t live up to your expectations. Sure, you spent a significant amount of time and effort into it, but you can’t please everyone. If you’re trying to do that, then writing certainly isn’t the best craft. If you cater to too many interests, you’ll lose focus of why you’re writing and what you’re writing about.

Lastly, have fun during the process. As in the infographic, if you force yourself to write, then it’ll become more and more of a chore. Then, you’ll place yourself into a creative slump—a writer’s block—and there’s only a downward spiral from there. If you need inspiration, inspire yourself. Need food to write? Buy some and satiate your hunger. Feel you can’t write without music? Play some tunes. Be creative.

Need a writing prompt? Write about your interest… in a different way.

Resources:

Sambuchino, Chuck. “10 Tips for Writing.” Writer’s Digest. August 7, 2015. www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/10-tips-for-writing

Scocco, Daniel. “34 Writing Tips That Will Make You a Better Writer.” Daily Writing Tips. n.d. www.dailywritingtips.com/34-writing-tips-that-will-make-you-a-better-writer

Weinstein, Mindy. “One Colossal Content Checklist: 37 Tips For Writers.” Search Engine Journal. March 25, 2015. www.searchenginejournal.com/one-colossal-content-checklist-37-tips-writers/127122

Make Your Team Presentation a Combined Effort

Behind every movie are hundreds of people working behind the scenes to get the project going from start to finish. You can say the same thing when it comes to presentations and pitches. Sure, you can create visually appealing PowerPoint slides (or let a presentation design agency do it) and deliver an effective speech, but do you have the technical know-how to arrange the lighting and sound of your stage? That’s when the cavalry comes in. But with all that back support, you’d still be alone in that platform.

When you have more than just yourself up in front and speaking to an audience, the whole dynamic changes. It’s not just about you anymore; it’s about the team. There are a lot more considerations to think of and added tasks for the leader—you.

Research suggests that a team does better than individuals at intelligence analysis. This isn’t just a specific niche, too. It is common thinking that two heads are better than one.

While there are some who think otherwise and say that a great individual can outdo a good team, these are specific instances. Generally, though, there are reasons why being a team player is a sought-after trait: it fosters more than just a challenging atmosphere and encourages growth of more than one member in a shorter span of time, among others.

Those same reasons apply to team presentations as well. You already have the pros, like teamwork; here are a few guidelines (in quotes!) to remember before sortieing your squad for the battle they’re assigned to win.

Even though you can pitch a presentation alone, don’t discount the power of a team behind you. Your individual members also feel the support of the whole team. This cyclic encouragement reminds you all that, sure, you can do it alone, but you can do it better when with other people. Humans are social beings. It makes sense for one to do—and be—better when in a social setting.

If it brings out the best in you, do it. You’ve got nothing to lose. Who doesn’t want to be at their best? Just be careful not to get overconfident.

Let’s Get Visual: 3 Reasons Why You Should Use Infographics

Infographics are a popular medium of data presentation. While they don’t necessarily replace research, it’s become a go-to medium for quick information sharing.

In her article on Piktochart, digital strategist Nevyana Karakasheva explains how infographics compress your content into easily digestible visuals that can go viral online, depending on how much social shares you generate. The potential for sharing makes it an effective marketing tool, both for sharing relevant content to your prospects and subtly promoting yourself.

What exactly influences the infographic’s overall appeal? When reading infographics, people ask these three common questions:

Why are infographics the current trend?

What’s an infographic’s selling point?

Will using these visual aids attract your target audience?

Here are some answers that could help:

Q: Why are infographics the current trend?

Visual learning is in. With 65% of the population identifying as visual learners, according to professor Patricia Vakos of Pearson Prentice Hall, it’s no wonder why infographics are an attractive option to the majority.

An infographic’s strategic use of color, layout, image, and text appeal to the visual learner’s desire for creative knowledge. Even for the not-so visually-inclined, infographics help break down the data overload many of us experience in today’s world.

In a world bogged down by too much information, having something to summarize data into appealing and easily digestible points is like a breath of fresh air. Because of its all-around charm, an infographic can attract the interest of most audiences, making it perfect for presenting facts and statistics.

Q: What’s an infographic’s selling point?

It helps explore your creativity when planning its design and layout. You can opt to place content to an existing infographic template or play around with design elements.

Challenge your creativity while dishing out valuable information. After all, the sky’s the limit when it comes to creating an infographic.

You can make use visuals to point and connect to facts or illustrate them. This makes your material engaging and more attractive than plain textual overload.

Q: How will using these attract your target audience?

It’s accessible to users, mostly online. Because they are being shared over social media, infographics are more appealing and accessible. Their various layouts and visual designs also make plain data more interesting to look at.

An infographic turns difficult statistics into discernible information. It also makes your brand easier to share and understand. The added exposure and clarification help expand your network, boost your page views, and introduce you to prospective clients.

Although nothing beats a face-to-face presentation, having infographics on your site or your slide deck saves you time explaining facts.

Conclusion

Infographics are striking sources of information.

Contrary to popular belief, they don’t just cater to visual learners; they also attract all types of people. The visual aspect leaves you free to explore the infographic’s creative possibilities.

At the same time, they also break down difficult data into easily readable information. This lets viewers easily process them and share it with their friends. If you want to get yourself out there, consider putting up your own infographic.

Need advice for your infographic design? Let our SlideGenius experts assist you. Contact us today for a free quote!

References:

Karakasheva, Nevyana. “Why Infographics Are An Inseparable Part of a Successful SEO Campaign.” Piktochart Infographics. June 1, 2015. www.piktochart.com/why-infographics-are-an-inseparable-part-of-a-successful-seo-campaign
Vakos, Patricia. “Why the Blank Stare? Strategies for Visual Learners.” Pearson Education, Inc. 2003. www.phschool.com/eteach/social_studies/2003_05/essay.html
“The Visual (Spatial) Learning Style.” Learning Styles Online. n.d. www.learning-styles-online.com/style/visual-spatial

Featured Image: “Visual Acuity” by Elizabeth Hann on flickr.com

Informing through Graphics: Visualizing Data in Infographics

65% of people identify as visual learners. That explains a demand to revolutionize traditional presentation methods to be more creative and visually stimulating. Among visual aids, infographics are beginning to gain momentum. Quickly, it’s becoming one of the most popular means of visualizing data in recent years.

Its clean and straightforward delivery of otherwise complex data adds to the infographic’s appeal. But just like any data presentation, infographics take time and effort to make. Knowing how to strategically clean and place material is important in pulling off a good infographic. Randomly throwing things together would confuse potential viewers and deter them from looking further at your material.

Here are three ways to making an effective infographic:

Info + Graphics

As its name suggests, infographics are a mixture of your actual information and a bit of graphics. The word “infographics” is, after all, a portmanteau of the words information and graphics. The key to a good one is a balance between data and visual impact. You have to translate your raw information to graphics without compromising one for the other.

Otherwise, you either fail to deliver your main point to your infographic viewer, or they get bored with what they see. To marry your info and graphics seamlessly, highlight key information and keep any supporting or minor details in smaller text. Maintaining a consistent theme is also helpful in providing structure to your graphics.

Don’t Oversimplify

Although an infographic aims to steer clear of being too complicated to digest, oversimplifying your data is just as bad. Avoid seeming one-sided in an attempt to cut the figures you have in your infographic. But don’t bombard people with statistics.

Leaving gaps between your facts defeats the purpose of presenting information. Organize your data efficiently for a better end product. In her article on data visualization, The Guardian’s Rachel Banning-Lover, suggests that one way to reconcile this dilemma is to narrow down your focus to a specific issue. This segregates your data into main points and sub-points in relation to your chosen topic.

Once you have that in mind, you’ll know how to go about your visual arrangement better.

Lay out the Layout

Once you have your data ready, the next step is to decide how you’re going to incorporate your graphics. In an infographic, everything is meant to affect visual impact. Graphics aren’t the only part of your visual presentation.

It’s a matter of making text, image, and even space work together to attract viewers and relay information. You’re free to design and layout your elements however you like. But as a general guide, always consider whether people can easily read through your visuals. A pretty and comprehensive infographic will be wasted if it can’t be read.

Make use of whitespace to give your reader’s eyes a break. Whitespace, or the absence of text or objects in a layout, helps ease the eyes into reading. Encourage the viewer to read on, don’t intimidate them by saturating your infographic with text and images.

Conclusion

An infographic is a handy communication device. But don’t be fooled into making it an excuse for lazy data presentation. Making hard facts visually palatable is by no means an easy task. Pay equal attention to your data and your graphics.

Don’t let one overshadow the other in your overall layout. At the same time, make sure your infographic is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also readable. You’ll be able to get an audience’s attention and create a lasting impression.

Need help with your presentation needs? Contact our SlideGenius experts today and request a free quote!

 

References

Banning-Lover, Rachel. “How to make infographics: a beginner’s guide to data visualisation”. The Guardian. August 28, 2014. Accessed October 12, 2015. www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2014/aug/28/interactive-infographics-development-data
“Go Visual: Use Infographics to Give Your Business Pitch Maximum Impact – Piktochart Infographics.” Piktochart Infographics. October 1, 2015. Accessed October 12, 2015. www.piktochart.com/blog/go-visual-use-infographics-to-give-your-business-pitch-maximum-impact

 

Featured Image: “2.26.09: color wheel” by Team Dalog on flickr.com

Content Creation / Curation: Find the Sweet Spot [Guest Infographic]

Have you ever met someone who only ever talks about their own interests, qualities and successes without showing any concern whatsoever for your input?

It’s not always the most engaging conversation for both parties, and by the end of it you’ll likely think of them as a self-centered and arrogant individual whom you would do anything in your power to avoid.

The same idea applies to businesses that use overly self-promotional advertisements, or create content that points all fingers back in their direction.

You don’t want to be stuck with absolutely no chance of being seen either.

The trick is to find a balance between how much of your content should be curated, and how much should actually be original content.

First, let’s get a better understanding of the difference between content creation and content curation.

Content Creation

According to Curata, content creation refers to “… the original creator of the content, either the author, illustrator, researcher or whomever is the original source.”

Content creation is necessary for influencers and marketers to position themselves as thought leaders within a particular area of marketing.

However, content creation can be extremely time-consuming, and crafting content that stands out requires a lot of research.

Content Curation

Content curation is similar to content aggregation (i.e. collecting a bunch of articles or references on a particular subject), except that this content is handpicked by the author.

This is a great way to take existing ideas and either provide an opinion on them or simply provide your audience with a selection of refined resources that you recommend.

So how do you find the sweet spot of content curation and creation?

Convince and Convert did some great research on how well an article performs based on where your outbound links lead to, and how frequently you should lead to your own work.

The following infographic by Venngage visually summarizes just how you can find the content curation and creation sweet spot.

content curation infographic

This infographic was made with the Infographic maker Venngage.

Polish Your Point with PowerPoint’s Comments Feature [Infographic]

Want to digest this blog post in a more visually-compelling manner? We’ve repurposed this topic into a handy infographic. Just scroll down to the bottom of this article to check it out!

What if there comes a need to revise particular copy in each slide, and adding remarks to someone’s deck is the only way to track specific elements?

PowerPoint is more than just a software for creating presentations.

Not only does it allow you to create a visually-appealing deck, but it also lets you pinpoint what needs to be improved and removed to deliver an error-free presentation.

Are you still worrying about how you can give comments without messing up the slide itself? PowerPoint can address your concerns and reduce your workload without missing a spot.

Presenting… PowerPoint’s Comments Feature!

With PowerPoint’s Comments function, you can insert feedback into certain slide objects, allowing you to add, modify, and delete text or visual elements, while giving comments and suggestions to specific objects.

This limits the use of text boxes and shapes, where you can also type in your observations. This method, however, makes it harder for you to adjust and place your remarks on specific slide texts or objects without getting in the way.

Comments enable users to point out unnecessary words or information that can negatively affect your presentation’s overall message.

So before presenting in front of a crowd and delivering your message with informative copy and visuals, make sure to check if:

  • Each point supports the presentation’s main idea to provide a more comprehensive message.
  • There are filler words you can eliminate to convey a more direct and concise approach.
  • Every word or statement is free from any issues regarding punctuation, spelling, or verb tenses.
  • The sentence structure and organization of ideas promote consistency for a smoother presentation flow.

Refine your deck by identifying all the details that can either make or break an otherwise effective presentation.

Here’s an infographic to give you an overview on what to look out for when adding comments and recommendations to specific slide texts with less hassle.

Share this infographic!

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Does Keynote Have the Keys to Overpower PowerPoint? [Infographic]

PowerPoint gets a lot of hate because of all the slides that have accompanied boring lectures and business pitches. Mac users propose a solution to all your presentation problems in the form of Apple’s very own Keynote – a similar program which boasts better effects and stronger editing engine.

PowerPoint no doubt holds the seniority between the two, but as a relatively fresh contender, Apple Keynote’s release in 2003 has already marked it as notable competition. Compared to its predecessor, Keynote arguably has an engine better suited for graphics editing. Its fine-tuned tools are more organized and impressive. It also has more visually appealing slide templates. But because it’s been around longer, PowerPoint’s already undergone all the trial and error of a presentation tool.

Despite its cluttered interface, PowerPoint decks are compatible in both Mac and Microsoft, giving it extra points in terms of convenience. It handles text-heavy presentations better than Mac, too — although whether that’s a strength or a weakness is up to the user to decide. Mac’s graphics-friendly interface may be more suitable for visuals-heavy presentations, but PowerPoint can accommodate all types of presentations for all types of presenters.

The points raised in defense of each are valid, but these programs are undeniably still evolving. Both hold their own strengths and weaknesses, and still have plenty of room for improvement. This could get confusing pretty soon, so we created a short infographic to compare these two programs’ strengths and weaknesses.

Who will come out on top as the champion of presentation design software?

Take a look and see:

Creatively Explain Statistical Concepts in Presentations

Statistics are numerical values that support your presentation’s main idea. While they’re popular in building arguments, they can be boring and confusing to your audience.

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Not everyone can understand a series of statistical data, especially when they’re presented verbally.

Present this information without making your discussion less interesting and less effective. Below are some engaging ways to throw out stats.

Use Graphs and Charts

Your audience members may have different learning preferences. Since most people today are visual learners, using graphs and charts help your listeners comprehend a large numerical data set quickly and easily.

Graphs and charts not only visualize data, they also compress it so that only the most important parts stand out.

These visual representations are best for displaying data analysis such as measurements, trends, or comparisons. Maximize this graphic display of data so your audience remembers your point.

Use Analogies

As renowned authors Chip and Dan Heath have stated in their best-selling book, Made to Stick: “Statistics will, and should, almost always be used to illustrate a relationship. It’s more important for people to remember the relationship than the number.”

These relationships and associations are often present in analogies. Analogies effectively simplify a difficult statistical concept by associating a number with something relatable and concrete.

If a company experiences an increase in sales, it’ll also have a high score in revenue growth, business reputation, and human relations. Analogies are ideal for link building, problem-solving, and decision-making.

Use Infographics

Infographics make great marketing tools. They get the message across in a more concise and appealing manner. They’re also a visual tool that makes the complex understandable.

Of all the tools discussed, infographics are the most effective for both informing and entertaining. They’re also great for comparing and illustrating processes.

Look at sample infographics that visualize a statistical value while summarizing intended messages.

Conclusion

Statistics are great for supporting a point or purpose that you’re sharing with your audience. Always be on the lookout for creative ways for showing them off in your presentation.

Step away from simply verbalizing facts. Instead, present them in a way that stimulates fun learning. While speaking, compare the info you’re discussing with easy-to-digest visual images or situations. People remember relationships more than they memorize random numbers.

For more technical and formal clients, charts and graphs are a simple way of presenting hard data. On the other hand, infographics engage audiences more to talk about information while entertaining your audiences at the same time.

Got a presentation requirement to work on? SlideGenius is pleased to help you. Email us at sales@slidegenius.com and we’ll contact you ASAP.

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References

Dig into Your Presentation Audience’s Key Learning Styles.” SlideGenius, Inc. May 8, 2015. Accessed June 29, 2015.
Heath, Chip, and Dan Heath. Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die. New York: Random House, 2007.

Design Crash Course: Color and Typography

Design is a crucial part of all presentations. With visuals that stand out, you can leave a more memorable impression on your audience. People respond to visual stimuli a lot more, and great design can help your audience process and retain information. Aside from integrating pictures and illustrations into your slides, you can also experiment with color and typography.

DesignMantic came out with 2 infographics that can serve as a design crash course for those looking to improve their PowerPoint decks. In it, they outline some useful tips to guide your color and font choices.

Design Crash Course 1: The 10 Commandments of Color Theory

This infographic breaks down everything you need to know about color theory. Aside from helping you choose colors that match the mood of your presentation, it also offers tips and tricks on how to come up with a solid palette.

Courtesy of Designmantic.com; click on image for full view

Design Crash Course 2: The 10 Commandments of Typography

Typography turns the written word into a visual treat. For this infographic, DesignMantic breaks down everything you need to know about combining different fonts together. As you know, choosing the correct font type is crucial in PowerPoint design. Like color, it can contribute in setting the over-all mood of your presentation.

Courtesy of Designmantic.com; click on image for full view

Get more design tips and PowerPoint ideas by reading back on some of our previous blog posts. To create the best slides for your presentations, always keep your core message in mind. Allow the purpose of your presentation to guide the choices you make when it comes to color and font type. Your designs should elevate the core message of your presentation. It should to highlight the goals you want to achieve, instead of distracting the audience. In other words, presentation design is both aesthetic and functional.

If you need more help, don’t hesitate to contact us and consult with our PowerPoint design experts.

 

Featured Image: Cropped from DesignMantic infographic

Helpful Infographics for Your Online Marketing Plan

Anytime you browse through different social media channels, you probably always come across graphics that detail facts you probably never knew before. These images usually have cute and eye-catching drawings or designs. As we mentioned in the past, infographics are a growing trend. They offer an element of fun while conveying key facts and data. A good infographic can condense useful stats and information without overwhelming viewers.

To illustrate how effective they really are, we looked around the Internet to find some infographics that can help your online marketing strategy. Here are 5 that we think are particularly well-designed and informative:

How to Sell Without Selling

This infographic by Stride shares details and statistics you’ll need to improve your online marketing strategy. As its title suggests, it offers useful information on how to connect with consumers that are looking to be engaged, rather than to hear sales talk.

by Stride via Daily Infographic
20 Captivating Marketing Statistics

Here’s another set of enlightening data for entrepreneurs. These statistics were gathered by WebDAM.

WebDAM via BufferApp
A Well-Balanced Blog 

In this infographic, LinkedIn breaks down the different components you need for a successful blog.

LinkedIn Marketing Solutions via HubSpot
Email Cheatsheet

Email marketing is one of the best ways to engage with your target audience. As Marketo points out in this infographic, a majority of consumers prefer receiving marketing communications through their inbox. Don’t waste a good opportunity by keeping in mind some useful tips they offer.

Marketo via BufferApp
It’s All About the Images 

We all know how powerful visuals can be. In fact, an image can make a huge difference in how your content is perceived and received by consumers. In this infographic, MDG Advertising offers great advice on how you can get the most mileage from your image-based content.

MDG Advertising via JeffBullas.com
The Ridiculously Exhaustive Social Media Design Blueprint 

And since images are important to online marketing, Tent Social created a cheat sheet to tell you the perfect dimensions to use when sharing pictures in different social media platform:

Tent Social via BufferApp