Infographics have proven an essential member of the content marketing family. Infographics are visually stimulating, graphical representations of data. They tell the story of a data set in a way that is easy to digest and pleasurable to read. But how do you build an Infographic worth reading?
When designed well, Infographics are highly shareable. As a result, they provide a rich source of web traffic and free inbound links from social media. This is great for SEO.
Design an Infographic badly, and not only will you not get any benefits you might damage your brand. If you don’t think you have a brand think again, but that’s a point for another day. A decent infographic requires planning, research, creativity and promotion.
Here are our 5 Essential Steps to the Perfect Infographic.
Step 1 – A Great Topic and Enticing Title
You must have a point you are trying to make. A useful, important or amusing idea to present to your audience. Your title needs to accurately reflect the topic and draw your intended reader in. You should also optimise your title with related keywords for SEO.
When writing an infographic always stay close to your point, waffling off topic will confuse the reader. Have a fixed idea of what you are trying to communicate. If in developing the concept you wander away from the original idea you might have a good base for another Infographic. But keep each concept independent.
Avoid, if possible, using exactly the same title as an infographic that already exists. Change the title slightly, even by one word, to make the infographic title unique. When creating the infographic don’t plagiarise, own the information. You don’t have to produce the data yourself, but you do need an original reason to use it.
Step 2 – Great Research
Once you’ve picked your topic and decided on a title, the research can begin! One way to research is by identifying keywords associated with the topic. Then reading through articles that rank for those keywords. This will help with ideas, data and also expand your knowledge.
If through research the topic appears thin or not compelling feel entirely free to change the focus. If you are making this for someone else make sure to tell them!
When developing themes from other content try and make your ideas original, never copy. Always put your personal spin on things. When using resources from other websites cite them by adding them as a source at the bottom of the infographic. There are fancy tools you can use to embed them, too. If researching online, use highly authoritative websites which are likely to be more accurate and reliable.
Step 3 – Creative use of data
All great infographics are underlined with powerful, compelling data. The challenge for designers is to creatively use this data to tell a story. The design must have a logical flow to guide the audience towards the conclusion you want them to reach. It must be easy to read and easy to understand. Add variety into the design; you could include charts, graphs, bulleted lists, specially designed images, icons, creative colour use, varied fonts and typography etc. Mix up the design elements to stimulate interest, as the saying goes “variety is the spice of life”. But not all in one infographic!
Readers will value expertise so the infographic needs to show that the author is an expert on the subject. Ensure the data is error free and that statistics quoted have been verified. If data is enticing to use but questionable in authenticity then DON’T use it in the infographic.
Step 4 – Visually Stimulating
The final infographic needs to excite readers by being visually stunning. The infographic needs to use a sensible mix of design elements and complement the Company or websites branding.
Infographics deliver a tonne of information. So, it needs to be presented clearly and succinctly through an organised structure. Simplicity will ease content digestion and entice the reader to explore the detail further.
It’s important to remember that whilst a visually stunning design is important it’s not the purpose of the infographic. Infographics need to deliver value and have at least 1 takeaway that the reader can use
Step 5 – Include Subtle Branding and Promotion
Behind any good infographic will be a message and a brand. The infographic should embrace and not hide the brand. If you regularly publish infographics establishing a branding toolkit will make it quicker to develop your infographics. It will also help build a relationship with regular readers.
Infographics should promote the Company Brand and message, but promotion needs to be subtle. Avoid self-indulgence in infographics as this will irritate the reader. As with blogging, focus on giving the audience something useful without being pushy. In fact, why not try supporting your infographics with a blog post! This will help with promotion and is also great for SEO.
Provide HTML embedding code. This will help external sites to embed the infographic directly into their website with ease. Incorporate social sharing buttons into the design and share the infographic on your own social accounts. Visual sites especially such as Pinterest or Instagram. Not to mention Infographic specific sites such as Infographics Archive or Daily Infographic.
If you did produce the data used yourself, then why not publish a press release sharing your insights. Link back to the infographic on your site and reap the benefits.
This is not an exhaustive list, but a guide of some of the most important elements to consider when creating a stunning infographic. Only your audience can decide how effective any new infographic has been. However, if you work to these guidelines you’ll increase the chances of delivering engaging value to your readers.