Archives for March 2017

How to Make a Viral PowerPoint Infographic

Making a PowerPoint infographic is relatively easy. Making a viral PowerPoint infographic is difficult. The five steps listed below can help:

STEP 1: Start with a popular topic that is in the news or trending on social media. If your subject is not highly sought, find a way to connect it with one that is popular. For example, if your subject is about file sharing technology, perhaps you link it with keeping files safe from hackers, such as “Stop Hackers with Safe File Sharing Solutions.”

STEP 2: Choose a provocative headline that mentions an in-demand topic. This becomes your title. The title should give your target audience a reason to care about your infographic. They must quickly know the benefit(s) to them for reading it. If there is no benefit, why would they want to share it? (The benefit can be implicit or explicit, but I recommend the latter). Sharing a specified number of tips, tricks, or secrets is a popular approach to get more “likes” and “shares.” Here are a few examples:

  • Retire 10 Years Earlier with this 1 Life Hack
  • Conor McGregor’s Top 3 Fitness Secrets
  • 20 Websites for Free PowerPoint Graphics
  • 5 Ways to Win Proposals in the Trump Administration

STEP 3: Write or find supporting data and content that can be chunked in your infographic. (Chunked means breaking your information into bite-sized, digestible pieces then assembling them to tell a story.)

STEP 4: Render and export your infographic. Start by changing your page layout. Select dimensions that are optimal for the amount of content you include. (To change the size of your PowerPoint document, select Slide Size and then Page Setup in the Design tab. Enter your new height and width.)

Next, use a grid. Depending upon your version of PowerPoint, you can show your Gridlines under the View tab or make a grid. A grid ensures your content is evenly spaced, aligned and easy to read. The following is a sample layout using a grid guide. I made the grid by drawing one horizontal line that was the width of my page. Next, duplicate and move the copies of the original line so that they are roughly evenly spaced and fill the page. Next, select all of your lines and click Arrange/Align/Distribute Vertically under the Home tab. Group all your lines using Arrange/Group. Copy your line group and paste a duplicate. Now, rotate the duplicate line group 90 degrees. Scale vertically and add or delete lines as needed. Be sure to delete your grid when your design is complete.)

To download the grid as a template, click here.

Arrange your words as needed as placeholders. Below is an example of an infographic that has an alternative layout using the same grid guide.

Next, choose your color palette. I recommend using a website like to select a visually appealing color set. Pick colors that complement and echo your subject matter or target audience. For example, if you are talking about the United States Army, use their colors. If you want to communicate danger to a Western audience (color has different meanings in different cultures), consider a palette that uses red.

Next, look online for PowerPoint graphic elements. These are my two favorite websites to find and download PowerPoint graphics:

For high-quality, affordable photographs, I search these stock websites:

Alternatively, you can build graphics within the software using PowerPoint’s Shapes, Merge (or Combine) Shapes, and built-in charts. If you know how, you can make professional icons, symbols, and graphics quickly and easily, because basic, simple shapes comprise every graphic. Follow the step-by-step instructions below to better understand how to use PowerPoint’s built-in tools to create graphics. Give yourself a project to practice. Explore and play around.

Tip: Use this Graphic Cheat Sheet to help you pick the right graphic type.

Next, using your grid, color palette, content, and imagery, arrange and format the elements to tell a story. Here are three examples of PowerPoint infographic templates I made using this process.

Finally, export your graphic as a JPG to make you file easy to share and protect the integrity of your design. (JPG “flattens” your infographic and is not easily edited.)

Tip: For print resolution (on Windows), use’s Image Export to save your file at 200 or 300 dpi.

STEP 5: Upload your infographic to social media, your website and blog. Include it in your newsletter. Share it wherever your target audience will find it. Remember to include hashtags on social media that highlight the subject matter and benefits. When posting it, tag organizations and individuals in your field that may be interested in the content and will likely share it. For example, if your infographic favorably mentions a company, tweet it with the company’s hashtag (e.g., #powerpoint, #applecomputer, #urbanoutfitters)

Contact online news websites and ask them if they would like to share your infographic. (They are likely to do so because it is free content for them presented in a popular format.)

Tip: Click on the following link to get Piktochart’s “20 Websites You Should Leverage to Promote Your Infographic.”

Experience is the best teacher. Over time, expect to get better and better results the more you apply what you learn.

About the author:

Mike Parkinson (Microsoft MVP and APMP Fellow) is an internationally recognized visual communication and presentation expert, professional speaker, and award-winning author. Mike is one of 16 Microsoft PowerPoint MVPs in the United States. He regularly conducts workshops and creates graphics, presentations, and learning materials for companies like Microsoft, FedEx, Xerox, Dell, and Boeing as well as at learning institutions and organizations.

Mike owns both 24 Hour Company ( and Billion Dollar Graphics ( He authored a popular Do-It-Yourself Billion Dollar Graphics and is completing his latest book on PowerPoint for educators. Contact Mike at now to learn more about how he can help you hit your goals.

The Effectiveness of Visual Infographics as Content Marketing Tools

Content marketing continues to be more “image-centric,” which is why an infographic is often the best way to visualize any data set and engage your target audience in a conversation about your message. It could be as simple as liking it, sharing it, or starting a discussion about it in their community. You get the buzz going for your content and enables you to visually present content so it is effective and not lost in an Excel “eye chart” so small it is not readable. You are looking for a way to stand out among your competition. And if your infographic is widely distributed via website traffic, social shares, backlinks, and more, then you have a strong case that its ROI proves it to be a great content marketing asset.

So, are you worried you might not have the budget to design an infographic? Or, creating one on your own might beyond your skill set? It is not. It is easier than you think. In his article this month, Mike Parkinson offers a great step-by-step tutorial on how to create an infographic in PowerPoint. He has a great tip, suggesting you follow the link to get Piktochart’s “20 Websites You Should Leverage to Promote Your Infographic.

Before you start designing and creating your infographic, you should create a social marketing plan that will maximize the number of impressions your infographic gets. Having it trending amongst social media targets will increase its visibility and see it trending. So how do we get there?

Do your homework. Spend time before you create your infographic to understand what your target audience likes. Is there a topic or a style of an infographic that seems to work better than others? Your content may be different but you want to appeal to your target audience.

Know your Data and its value to your audience. This is critical – your data must be relevant and actionable. If your audience doesn’t perceive that the data you are sharing has value to them, then they won’t share it. An infographic is a great way to tell your data story and control how it is presented.

Big Data

by wakeuptj. From Visually.


Be creative. Use out-of-the-box ideas to design a memorable theme for your infographic. Find a fun, innovative graphic to illustrate your information. You want to create that “aha” moment with your final infographic. Unusual facts such as (insert infographic themes). The best infographic designs are ones that are laser-focused on giving the audience what they need. Don’t be too generic for an infographic. Don’t lose sight of the fact that you want high-interest, high-value leads from your target audience. Remember that you are competing for people’s attention amongst a crowded and overwhelming digital world. When designing a persuasive infographic, tell your data story with the most important information first to get their attention. The litmus test for your information is to think about from your audience’s perspective. Can you answer: What is in it for them? If your information passes this test, you are moving in the right direction.

Be social and smart about it. Create a social marketing plan before you create your graphic. Mike’s advice on chunking your graphics is a great way to think about how you could use it for your social marketing. Let me explain. Your infographic is built on key messages. You can reuse and redistribute your infographic as one image or a series of images. For example, in the “Whistle While You Work” infographic, you can see that there are five key messages. You can focus on each one as a topic and do social marketing around each topic on this infographic.

By using each section as well as the whole infographic, you are gaining multiple impressions of your data. Chunking each section gives you a snapshot of each of your key facts. You link it back to the complete infographic which you have explained in your matching blog!

Check out this infographic from Feldman Creative. They use each letter in the word, HEADLINE in their YOUR CHEAT SHEET FOR WRITING HEADLINES. It is clever and very marketable as a complete infographic and focusing on the content of each letter.

Social Marketing Tips to Promote Your Infographic
  • Share it each one on social media.
  • Send it out at multiple times using hashtags and multiple channels.
  • Create a blog that tells the story of the infographic and allows readers to share it.
  • If you use an expert in this field, then use their social network to expand the reach of your information to their network.
  • Use the aggregators that you find on Piktochart’s “20 Websites You Should Leverage to Promote Your Infographic.
  • Use the right tags for Social media so your infographic is widely distributed.

Think of it as your Twitter Hashtag search engine – they have both a free and a pro version. You can identify the value of a hashtag by searching to see how it is used. They have both a free and a pro version. Is it is trending? Are any of your industry influencers or target market using it?

Let’s do a search using #presentations. And look who we found: Nolan Haims and the Presentation Guild.


In the pro version of Hashtagify, you have a great analytics dashboard. This gives you actionable results on the impact of your hashtag campaign.

Now you have the power of knowledge and resources to create an infographic on your own using PowerPoint and now you know what to do with it so have fun. Let us know your hashtag and we will social share it.

[Presentation] Dapper Design for the Non-Designer

This week, I was at ON24’s Webinar World 2017 in San Francisco. It was packed full of tips, tricks, best practices, and case studies, presented by marketers from both ON24 and their customers. I took over forty pages of notes so it was rich in content and well done.

One of the sessions was around slide design and I will admit to being skeptical about the content but I shouldn’t have been.  Kate Schmeisser, SendGrid, told us upfront that she was not a designer but she believes that design is your secret weapon.  She told us that she believes that the right design gives you and your message more creditability. And that content is king. She has the right eye and the right instincts to be a designer and the added bonus of being a content marketer.  She told a story of design, balanced with effective marketing content that resonated with the audience of marketers.  She has made her slide deck available to download – click here

She divided her presentation into three sections:

  • Why
  • Strategy
  • Design

Think about how your slides make people feel

Does this slide make you believe she cares about this presentation? It looks like what it is. Just text on a slide with no thought to her audience – good thing she did on purpose to make her point.

This is a better option, don’t you agree?

It is not what you say but how you say it. Which one of the next two slides works? A or B?



The second one is a great example of how you say it.

Design is your Secret Weapon

Here are two pictures of jeeps. Which one would you take a ride in? What do they mean?

Yikes, I would be very hesitant to take a ride in this beat-up jalopy. But the one below looks well cared for. Kate made the connection that it looks like this Bronco owner cares about their vehicle. We need to care about design.

She told us that she believes that the right design gives you and your message more creditability. Think outside the box both in design and how you share content.



Kate stresses that content is king. If you don’t bring value to the content than it doesn’t matter how it looks.

Her favorite strategy and a good place to start is to “Keep Your Design Bright and Tight”. To keep it “bright”, it must be “lively, engaging and smart”. Then you marry that with “tight”, organized, strategic, and targeted. Makes sense? Do your slides measure up?
We know about working with the Brand Police and why branded templates give life to themes.

Kate shared some great examples of how using a theme or analogy could be a great way to tell your story in a fun and creative way. One of the campaigns mentioned above, Stellar eMail Marketing, used the analogy of space and the stellar theme to deliver key messages. They were clever and make an impact.

She shared another one around a baseball theme – see below. They are clever and stand a better chance of appealing to a larger audience because they are interesting.

And another one about Good Taste

Tactics and Tools

Stock Photos are your Friend – Learn how to use them.

Good advice. Kate is a huge fan of stock photos. She said, “I think that they give energy, complexity, and beauty to slides.” I agree with her.

Utilize Design Basics such as using white space, sticking to a color theme, don’t use more than two fonts,lLook for natural lines on an image slide where you could add text, and many more.

Kate shared her “Quick and Dirty” formula for getting your slides done fast and efficiently. So, take thirty minutes and do the following:

The takeaways she shared offer great advice:
You need great content first
Limit the amount of text you put on a slide

Keep your strategy bright and tight (one of my favorites)

A little extra design effort goes a long way

Start small with the quick and dirty formula

Believe you can do it!

Then let your creativity flow. You can do it! The information was great and relevant to the audience in the room. But Kate sold it. She has personality, creditability and she made it fun. You wanted to listen. You can tell she is passionate about what she does. It came through in her presentation. She rocked it – content and presentation. I can’t wait to see what she does next. You can reach Kate Schmeisser via email.  Connect with her on LinkedIn. 

If you want to learn more about how to use imagery, watch Nolan Haims’webinar on Using Imagery to Create Powerful, Impactful Presentation Stories.

[Video] Dishing on Presentations and Infographics with Mike Parkinson, Microsoft MVP

It is always a pleasure to have a conversation with Microsoft MVP, Mike Parkinson. He is so knowledgeable and passionate about what he does. Infographics continue to grow in popularity and Mike has written an insightful article for us on how to create them in PowerPoint.  In his conversation with Editor, Sharyn Fitzpatrick, the Microsoft MVP shared his views on how to capitalize on the social marketing opportunities you can take advantage of in promoting your infographic. His nuts-and-bolts tutorial provides easy-to-understand instructions. For more information and to read his article, click here




Sharyn Fitzpatrick
Editor, PresentationXpert

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