Infographics provide a way to convey an idea using visual representations to supplement the information being presented. For digital marketers, infographics present an opportunity to blend interesting information with a fun presentation, generating a diverse range of inbound links, while building a unique brand and driving potential traffic.
Here are the ten best practices for creating and sharing infographics, with the ultimate goal of creating brand association between the audience and a company.
Content is King – Present information to your audience that is both valuable and informative. The ultimate goal of an infographic is to inform. Before the creative process begins, it’s critical to evaluate your brand. By doing this, you will be able to identify a target audience. A clear understanding of the target demographic and the role that the brand will play will make it easier to brainstorm topics for the infographic. Don’t stop at one idea! Having several concrete ideas will make the company more confident with the final choice. If worst comes to worst, you will have a few leftover ideas for infographics.
Know Your Audience – Create content that will speak directly to a designated audience. An infographic will fall flat if the topic doesn’t resonate with an audience. Whether the target audience is the demographic that typically patronizes a company, or a demographic the company is looking to communicate with, the target audience must be clearly defined before the topic is decided upon.
It’s Not an Infomercial – A sales pitch can leave a sour taste in the reader’s mouth. Understanding the role an infographic plays is key to the ultimate success that it brings. Simply put: it’s not an infomercial; the purpose of an infographic IS to inform, but it is also to entice. By creating an infographic that is overly branded, you run the risk of alienating your target demographic, thus nullifying the effectiveness of the content.
The Design – The design and the content should work together as a team. An infographic’s strength lies in its ability to convey the information in an unorthodox way. Writing a white paper on a subject is good for people who want to read A LOT about something; an infographic will inform the reader in a charming, poignant manner that leaves them wanting more. Create a theme that visually works well with the topic and the content.
Establish Roles – Though they will work together, clearly plan what the graphical portion of the infographic will illustrate, and what the text will say. An infographic’s design captures the reader’s attention, while the content informs them. A successful infographic will blend these roles, giving the reader variety in the ways they are consuming the information. Think of a sports team: it’s better for a lot of players to do a little bit of everything than having a few that can do one thing really well.
Balance – Balance the effectiveness of the illustrations with the information in the text. Going too heavy on the design aspect may leave the reader wondering why they are reading it, but relying too heavily on the text will make the content seem like homework. Creating a competitive balance can leave the text to clash with the graphics; instead the graphics should compliment the information, while creating an interesting respite from having to read sentence after sentence.
Entice the Audience – Keep the audience reading with a little teasing. In the world of content, the role of an introduction is to simultaneously entice and tease the reader to continue reading. It’s no trick; plenty of great articles exist that start too slowly, or transition poorly. A few light, brief sentences at the top of the infographic will capture the attention of the reader, leading them to the first section of the piece. Enticing is one thing, transitioning is another. If the introduction is the promise, what it transitions to is the proof that the content will be well worth their time.
Use the Right Sources – Make sure that the information in the infographic is factually correct. The “Sources” section of an infographic is where you give credit where credit is due. Mentioning which websites you used in your research for the infographic is the least you can do. But before you take the tantalizing statistics or the scandalous facts and add them to the copy, it’s best to verify that the information is actually factual. Finding incorrect material will lose the content its credibility, and leave the readers with a sour taste in their mouths.
Give Yourself Some Credit – Let the readers know who created the content! An infographic shouldn’t be utilized for self-promotion, but the reader should know who created it. Finding a place to insert the company logo shouldn’t detract from the overall aesthetic appeal, or its focus. The bottom of the infographic is the best place to serve as the “end credits” for the infographic, and since it’s the last thing that the reader will see, it will be hard for them to forget who created the content.
Sharing and Caring – Make the infographic as shareable as possible. Remember: the infographic’s format makes it more likely for readers to share, and because of that other sites will want to host it. When sharing on the company’s website, create a separate landing page for the infographic with a simple, easy-to-remember URL that includes the title of the infographic. Draft an introductory paragraph for the infographic, and optimize the page with the appropriate meta data. Once the landing page is created, double check to include the correct website URL, image destination URL, and image ALT tag in your embed code. This ensures that link equity is passed on to your site when others use the code to host the infographic elsewhere. Adding a call to action like "if you enjoyed it, please share…" and including social media buttons is often enough motivation for readers.
Once the infographic is complete, you should compile a list of relevant sites, infographic submission sites, and industry influencers who might share the infographic on their social media accounts. Having several introductory paragraphs for different websites will boost your chances of having the infographic hosted on a wide variety of websites, and creating introductions for the more influential sites is a good policy. Once all this is done, the only thing left to do is engage your audience, and continue to further the brand association.