How To Create Powerful Infographics

woman-painting

One of the biggest challenges for most companies is developing consistent and quality content for their internet marketing needs. Of course it’s no surprise that visual content rules for grabbing attention. Getting your point across with graphics is another way to spread the word, be shareable and become top of mind with your customers.

Putting some thought and structure into planning your infographic is extremely important. There are so many bad infographics out there that SaveDelete posted an article called “Top 13 Infographics that Mock Infographics”.

We all pretty much know what an infographic looks like. The definition of an infographic is information expressed graphically with charts, maps, statistics, timelines, etc., that is focused on one theme or subject. Typically they are laid out in such a way so that the user scrolls down to read the sequential message.

The best ones are narrow so that the copy and images are still visible when the infographic size is reduced on a mobile phone. This is actually a very important point. Since the infographic is one big image, the content inside the image cannot be mobile responsive by itself.

The infographic below is entertaining but it doesn’t work well for mobile devices because the copy is too hard to read.

infographic

I would suggest going no wider than 600 pixels for best viewing on all devices. Of course if you want your entire infographic to show in a social media post you have to adhere to the posting guidelines for that social network. Most infographics though have more data than can typically fit in this aspect ratio though and require the click through. Just make sure people can read it on their phones.

Don’t Promote – Educate or Entertain

Don’t make your infographics one long advertisement. That’s what your advertisements are for. The best infographics provide some compelling information that is more easily digested in a visually way than say a massive spreadsheet.

Typically topics include historical information, the state of an industry, a list of resources or advice in checklist form, comparisons, and data studies. But of course the list of topics is endless.

One of the best ways to use an infographic is to provide education. So of course think about what would resonate with your audience. We see them by the thousands for B2B use, but infographics for B2C companies can work just as well.

Most infographics are based on facts not opinions. So if you create one to emphasize your opinions it may be confusing to your readers unless you use the infographic to show the data behind your opinions. Do your homework too. A blog post about a study is not as good as looking at the actual study to pull from for your facts.

Get Organized

Before you fire up Illustrator or Photoshop, ask yourself “what is it I am trying to say here?” and try to boil that down into one sentence if possible. This forces you to really focus on that objective for your infographic. Always refer to your objective statement as you work on your infographic. You’d be surprised (or maybe not) how easy it is get distracted and start down the wrong path when creating image based stories.

If you end up changing your objective, fine do that, but always have something to refer to when creating your story. Now create a brief outline of the components of your infographic so you can think about the “flow” of the visuals which is very important.

Don’t try to cram every fact on the subject into one infographic. Consider the infographic the summary and if you need to continue the story do that on your website and link the infographic to this site page.

I like to take a pencil and an unlined piece of paper and jot down my ideas all over the page with my objective at the top. Then I draw arrows and circles to help me organize the brainstorming and the sequence for my story. For me, the pencil and paper is a breath of fresh air from typing on my computer.

I have been really getting into outlining lately for even smaller projects and it really saves times and allows you to tell a cohesive, structured message. Try it and see if it works for you.

Your copy is important too as that really ties everything together. A graph by itself is just a graph. What clear and concise point are you trying to get across and how can your copy emphasize this point?

Since visuals are crucial, the images you create or use need to look great of course and be consistent with the color palette you’ve chosen.

Check your facts, figures and spelling. There is nothing worse than incorrect data in an infographic.

Set Up for Success

If you create infographics that are valuable or entertaining, people will want to share them and this is one of the best things about infographics. Make sure you use the share buttons that reside on the page with your infographic. If you post to a WordPress blog, Digg Digg has a great floating share bar that stays with the content.

Using an app you can put an infographic on a mobile responsive Facebook page along with your page Like and Share buttons.

Pinterest is tailor made for infographics since the entire infographic is shown in the pin.

Use the Google Power

One of the least used SEO techniques is to properly name images. Do you want your infographic to appear in Google Image search results? Then when you save it, name it properly. Don’t ignore this technique because most do!

“3456b-history-560-wide.png” is not a good name for an infographic about the history of the guitar because the search engine spiders only know this image has something to do with “history” and that’s all. A better name would be: “history-of-the-guitar-infographic.png” for example. Put your company name at the end if you like.

Also use that description field to properly name your infographic in the web code when posting or inserting on your site.

If you put a call to action in your infographic just make sure it relates to the story and it’s not too spammy. And put this message at the bottom. Remember to get it right the first time because once it’s out there being shared, you can’t correct mistakes.

Easy Creation

There are many services that let you design your own. You can do a search and find them quickly. A service I keep hearing about is Piktochart. This company has been featured on the Huffington Post and Forbes sites. They are reasonable at $29 a month for the pro account. You can try it for free.

So grab a pencil (what’s that?) and some paper and define what you want to do and go for it. Images and video rule. Very educational or entertaining content that gets a lot of shares will work for you long after it’s posted.

If you need some internet marketing advice, contact me and we can talk about pencils.

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I don’t use them. This just sounded really cool on their website page.

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