Key Elements of a Great Infographic
Key Elements of a Great Infographic
Do you want to create amazing content that people will remember long after they’ve left your site? Are you interested in producing marketing deliverables that are shareable, unique and engaging (and can easily be branded to increase exposure for your company)? If these are your goals – and they should be if you care about bringing more traffic to your site and increasing leads – you need to create an infographic.
Blog content is a great foundation for a content marketing strategy, but unfortunately, people will only remember so much of the text content they read, while 80 percent of information conveyed visually is retained. Infographics still require the great writing and research that you use in your written content, but they’re laid-out and designed in a way that allows people to quickly understand information and remember it for longer. If you’re new to creating infographics, don’t worry. There are plenty of tools out there to help even beginners create nice-looking infographics and our guide can help you decide what to include. If you’d prefer to stay hands-off, these tips are still helpful for compiling research, creating written content, and working with a designer to bring your idea to life.
A Well Thought-Out Infographic Topic
Choosing a topic for an infographic is really not that different from choosing a topic for a blog post. You should select something that will matter to your readers and that hasn’t already been overused by others. Think about your industry and come with topics that people should know about, whether you’re answering a question, displaying important new research or explaining a difficult concept. Make sure that whatever topic you choose, you take a structured approach to presenting it to your readers. Instead of simply throwing together a bunch of statistics on a topic area, aim to find the story or the unique focus within the data. When appropriate, give context to the data you’re displaying and show your readers why it’s applicable to them.
Essentially, infographics are about telling a story with data, but you don’t always have to take the same approach. According to Alberto Cairo in this Marketing Land article, infographics need structure, but not necessarily a narrative structure. Basically, your infographic needs to make sense in terms of what information you include and how it’s arranged.
This infographic from Funders and Founders, for example, presents productivity tips broken up into a variety of categories depending on what the tips pertain to.
Legitimate Research and Facts That Wow
Thorough research is important in all content, but in an infographic where interesting facts and figures are usually the main focus, it’s mandatory. After you’ve chosen a subject and a focus, find the data that supports your facts. When possible find the primary source of the research instead of citing a secondary source (someone who mentioned the primary resource on their site or in their content).
With so many infographics out there, you’ll probably notice that a lot of them repeat the same statistics. Some overlap is inevitable, but you should make an effort to find information that is new or surprising to your audience and that helps them or enriches their life in some way whether that means improving their work strategies, helping them do something better or more efficiently, or informing them about something they didn’t know. Ask yourself: how does this infographic help my target audience?
It’s also good to include a list of all your sources at the end of your infographic for two reasons: first, so you can give proper credit to the people that did the work to find those statistics; and second, so people that enjoy your content can find out more about it from the sources you consulted when making it.
Well-Written Infographic Content
A quick review of the infographics out there shows that there’s a lot of variation in how much text infographics contain compared to the amount of visual imagery. There’s no one right answer to how much text you should include, but it does need to be high-quality and error-free writing. If you’re reusing content from a blog post to make your infographic, the most important task is to pare that content down and use only the most impactful sections for the text of your infographic.
If you’re creating an infographic from scratch, consider writing up a bare bones outline for the information you want to include and writing small blocks of text and bullet points that could be used to introduce your content and state your data. Then during the design stage, you can take the outline and rework it into a full infographic, making any needed changes at this point.
Thoughtful, Innovative Design
Whether you’re designing your infographic or you’re handing that part over to a professional designer, have an open mind to all sorts of design, from photographs to flat design to illustrations. Here are a few examples to give you ideas for your own project.
This infographic from Optics Central discusses the different phases of the moon using Oreos as a visual. Similar to an object lesson you’d use in a child’s classroom, this infographic teaches concepts in a simple (and delicious) way.
Here’s another example of using photographs (and food references) to display information. This infographic, from LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, based off of content from HubSpot, shows how to create the perfect mix of blog content.
This example from DesignMantic features a pleasing, retro-style design and a warm, slightly muted color pallette.
Another important thing to remember about infographic design is that it should bear some resemblance to your branding. This example from Classy shows how fonts and colors in an infographic can match the rest of your brand identity.
When you’re ready to design your infographic, you have a lot of options. If you have a graphic designer on staff, work with them to translate your ideas into an infographic. If you don’t have access to an in-house designer, you can find a freelancer or use a web-based infographic-making tool such as Canva or DesignWizard.
Each design approach has pros and cons. The main con to hiring a designer is that their services may be costly, though if you want professional, high-quality design, the cost is probably going to be worth it. Making the infographic yourself will be much cheaper, but if you don’t have strong design skills, the quality of the finished product might not be what you were hoping for.
A Thorough Review Process
Typos aren’t acceptable in infographics any more than they are in written blog content. Before you deem your infographic ready to publish, make sure it has gone through just as much review as any of the other content you put out. In addition to proofing grammar and spelling, make sure that your infographic is fact-checked and has a logical flow. It can be helpful to pass your content off to someone who’s not as familiar with it for review and to get a sense of how your infographic will be received by your customers.
A Promotion Strategy
The best infographics won’t get any traction if you don’t have the right promotion strategy for them. There are several sites that you can submit infographics to for wider reach, and of course, you should include your infographic on your blog, in addition to promoting it on social media and via email. If you create a joint infographic with a business partner, your options for promotion double as you can both use all the options at your disposal to get more eyes on your infographic.
Infographics are great as standalone content, as a complement to another piece of content or as a way of recycling old content. They’re attractive, popular, shareable, engaging and can reach and influence people in a way that text content can’t. Use the tips above to start producing more effective visual content for your company.