4 Things to Avoid When Creating an Infographic

Infographics are a great way to creatively deliver a message to an audience. There are a variety of different ways to design an aesthetically pleasing infographic, but it is important to avoid certain mistakes that may cause it to be less effective. It is always a good idea to map out what you want your infographic to look like before designing it.

Adobe InDesign is a great program to use when creating an infographic. A free 30-day trial is offered herePiktochart is also a good alternative and provides you with pre-designed themes and ideas; however, if  you want to build your infographic from scratch, using InDesign is the best option.

Here are four things to avoid when designing your infographic:

1. Too much text. Keep your infographic as simple and to the point as you can. An easy way to overwhelm the audience is to add a lot of text. Most likely they will not read it all and your message will not get across.

2. Disregarding the call to action. A call to action is the essence of your infographic. Without making this obvious, you miss out on telling the audience what you want from them and what message you are trying to get across. A call to action adds focus to your infographic.

3. Low-quality images. Low-quality images should never be used in infographics. A common sign of laziness is posting a google image onto your infographic and disregarding the fact that it may be copyrighted or low-quality. Take care when choosing images and visit free stock photography sites to obtain images that are legal and high-quality.

4. Not leaving any white space. It is good to use white space so your reader will be focused on the most important parts of your infographic. Using color and white space will highlight what you want the audience to read and not make your infographic look busy.

Here is an example of an infographic that I designed for my strategic public relations communication class. The instructions were to create an infographic for a client that was either cause-related or product-related. I chose the TOMS One for One ® campaign.

Infographic

Sources:

http://tech.co/mistakes-make-an-infographic-2013-05

10 techniques for an effective ‘call to action’

 

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How to Choose Credible Sources

There is no denying that much of the content that is posted on the Internet is not from a credible source. Any person is allowed to post information on the Internet. One great example of a source that is not always credible is Wikipedia. There are no guidelines to who can edit the content on this site so often it is not considered a credible source.

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It is important to always do research on where your information is coming from and who it is coming from. It is a red flag that a site is not credible if the author or organization is not stated. Even if a website ends in .org or .edu, it does not mean that it is for sure credible.

Here are a few steps to take when determining if the source is credible or not:

  • Figure out a starting point. It is a good idea to think about the topic you are researching and then think of credible sources that you know of without having to use a search engine.
  •  Look at the homepage. You should always look at what the website looks like that you are pulling information from. If the website has one, go to the “About” section to read more. If you are not familiar with the website or author, and there is no “About” section, make sure to do some  background research of your own to see if the author has written anything else.
  • Check the date. It is necessary to check the date that the source was written. There is a chance that it may be out-dated and irrelevant if it was written years before.
  • Check the sources. Always make sure that your source has sources. You need to know exactly where their information is coming from, especially if they are stating statistics and facts. This is always a great thing to check because you may be able to find even more sources by looking at where they got their information.
  • Look at the database. This is a great way to figure out if your source is credible. If you are finding information on a library database, chances are the information will be credible. If you are looking at newspapers that are published online, such as NYTimes, chances are these are credible sources as well.

These tips are crucial when determining if a source is credible or not, but they are also crucial tips to use in being a credible writer yourself. For a list of credible websites, click here.

4 Ways to Promote Your Production

 

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Whether it is a dance performance, an opera, a play or a concert, every production needs to be promoted to gather awareness. It is important to realize who your target audience is and how you can advertise to them. One major factor that plays a role in how people choose to market their production is budget. However, not all advertising requires a large budget. Here are four ideas for advertising your production to build awareness.

1) Utilize social media. Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are a great way to promote productions, and it is FREE! You can create a hash tag on Twitter and Instagram that relates to the performance, and you can create an event on Facebook that keeps people up-to-date and it’s a place where you can post pictures and information about your performance.

2) Team up with other productions. It is always a great idea to put an advertisement in the program of a different production to target an audience who you know is interested in the performing arts. Audience members usually have plenty of time before the performance and during intermission to look through the playbill, and often, this is where audience members discover other upcoming performances they would like to attend. This may not be the cheapest option, but it is very effective.

3) Hang up posters.  This is a great way to grab people’s attention and to get your local neighborhood businesses involved. It is also a low-cost way to spread the word about your upcoming performance. The easiest way to go put posters up is to go around to different areas in your town and ask businesses if they will allow you to put up a poster. Some businesses do not always allow this, but a lot love helping out the performing arts.

4) Create a commercial. This is a big one and more often than not, production companies do not have the budget for this. However, if you do have the budget, advertising your production on the radio or television is a great way to get the attention of others.

The most effective way to market your production is to use three or four of these techniques, depending on your budget. For information on how to launch a PR campaign or tips on how to use social media sites, click here.

National Dance Week

It’s National Dance Week and dance companies around the world are using this occasion to promote their companies more than ever before. This year National Dance Week falls on the week of April 25-May 4 and it is a way to promote and appreciate the art of dance. This week-long event was started in 1981 and was declared a non-profit organization in 2011.

National Dance Week’s Mission Statement:

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National Dance Week has become a bigger event over the past few years due to the increase of users on social media sites, such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Dance has also become more appreciated around the world because of the amount of entertainment shows that include dance. For example, So you Think you can Dance, Dancing with the Stars, Dance Moms, Breaking Pointe, etc.

This year, Dance Oregon, a student-run group at the University of Oregon, has decided to honor National Dance Week by offering free classes to anyone and everyone. The classes offered are a variety of different levels and feedback is given to help others improve. This is to help others become more aware of dance and step out of their comfort zone by taking a free dance class.

Dance companies and organizations built awareness of how they were participating in National Dance Week by posting pictures on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and hashtagging “NationalDanceWeek.”

To see updates of what others have been doing this past week, look up #NationalDanceWeek on social media sites!

“Surprise!”: This One Element Can Make Others Pay Attention

While watching television and listening to the radio, it is rare that a basic commercial will ever catch my attention. Myself, as well as many other people in this world, tend to tune out commercials because they can be boring, long, and disengaging. However, what if a commercial broke the normal patterns that everyone expects? And what if that commercial gave you some sort of insight? These surprise and concrete elements that are found in some commercials are the ones that stick with people.

A great example of a commercial that uses surprise and concreteness is below:

This commercial breaks the normal patterns of a regular commercial by including only music. Normally, we are used to hearing someone ramble on and on about why you should buy a product or what time a new episode of a television show is on, but the sad music that is used in this commercial instantly makes the audience wonder what is going on.

This commercial also uses a surprise element by quickly changing the direction of the story. It starts off telling the story about two sisters who are living their dreams together and then takes a turn when announcing that one sister is ill and the other one gave up her spot to compete in the Olympic games. It is a heartwarming commercial that does a wonderful job at drawing the audience in.

One interesting fact about this commercial is that after a short period time of being aired, it was banned. The ad was no longer allowed to be shown on television due to the rules of the United States Olympics Committee that said no business that was not an official sponsor could use Olympic athletes for their benefit.

Although this commercial was banned, it was a great example of a commercial that made the audience pay attention. It had the element of surprise and concreteness that made it stick.

For more information on this advertisement, click here.

From Ballerina to PR Aspirant

Photo by Blaine Covert

Photo by Blaine Covert

Transitioning from high school to college is not always the easiest, especially when you have to drop a lifestyle that you have become so accustomed to. For me, the hardest part of my transition was learning to live without dance. I grew up in the ballet studio, it was my second home, and I spent most of my time with dance teachers and peers who become like a second family to me. Giving that up was not easy and it was an extremely hard decision to make; however, as I am diving into the study of public relations, I am finding that there are ways to still incorporate my love with dance into a career of PR.

I want to help others weigh their pros and cons when deciding between college and pursuing a career in the performing arts. Here are a few tips that I would like to offer that I wish someone had told me:

  • Think about what decision will be best for you in the long run. Do not worry about the opinions of others or what other people think you should do. What matters most is that you are happy with your decision.
  • Contrary to what many may say, it is really important to have a clear idea of where you want to be headed by freshman year in college. It is even more important to have an idea of a major before you even apply to colleges. This will make life a lot easier and will help you choose a school.
  • If you are on the fence about pursuing a career in the performing arts or going to college, think of ways that you can do both. There are so many great schools out there that offer programs that will allow you to do both. Check out the links below for some ideas.
  • If you know you want to go to college, but are unsure about a major, think about possibly careers where you can incorporate the performing arts. For example, I have chosen public relations because I know I will be able to still incorporate my love for dance into a career. It’s a win-win situation!
  • Never feel like you have to follow the “norm.” If pursuing a professional career in the world of performing arts is what you want to do, then do it. You can always go to college or take online classes in your free time.
  • My last piece of advice is to never give up on your true passion. Words cannot express how happy a ballet class can make me and having access to classes that fulfill your passion is a must!

Here are some great schools with performing arts programs:

Tisch School of the Arts

SUNY Purchase

University of Utah

Indiana University

Also, if you would like to hear more about my story, check out my autobiography below.

3 Ways to Find the Core

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Core messages are a very important component of writing. They draw the reader in and set the tone for how the rest of the paper will go. Without it, the reader may feel lost, bored and unengaged.

Here are three things to think about when trying to find the core message:

1. Evaluate who your audience is

It is important to do this so that you are writing for the appropriate audience. This may be a determining factor when trying to decide on what your core message will say. If you are writing a piece that is targeted towards PR specialists, then make that clear in the first sentence so that your audience is able to have a clear view of how the paper will continue.

2. Determine the most important message in your writing

This is essentially the most important step when finding the core message. Think about what it is that you really want your audience to remember and what the main point is that you are trying to get across. This should always be the lead in your writing. It is important to start with the most important message and have the unimportant components at the bottom. This way, the message will stick with the reader.

3. What do you want your audience to do?

If you are writing about skin cancer awareness and you never say what you want the audience to do and how you suggest they prevent it, then the core message must not be that strong. Always consider what you want the audience to do when writing the lead sentence. This is a very important step.

For more information and tips on core messaging, click here.