Content marketing is constantly evolving, and new ways to deliver your message crop up every day. But no matter how cluttered the marketplace, one thing remains constant: the power and glory of visuals. With every website scrambling to add quality content with the goal of appeasing the SERP gods, why do so many waste time and money on terrible infographics?
Infographics allow you to present complex (and often boring) information in an exciting way your customers will happily share. If you do it right.
Statistics are dull. Present them in text, spreadsheet, or graph format, and most of your customers won’t even bother to look. Those who do may not interpret the information correctly, and fewer still will understand your point.
Enter infographics. The visual impact of attractive graphics, statistics in context, and focused information facilitates delivery in a memorable way. They make difficult subjects easy for anyone to understand…without talking down to your audience.
Your customers are looking for information. Deliver what they want in shareable format, and you can trump your competition and reinforce brand awareness.
Make Your Infographics Share-Worthy
While visual content delivers results, putting facts and statistics in a visual format isn’t always enough. Your infographic has to be focused, visually appealing, and professional. Here are ten tips for creating a memorable infographic.
1. Hire a Talented Graphic Artist
Don’t take shortcuts. There are plenty of generic templates available and most of them are awful. A well-done infographic might seem a little pricey because you need a writer with specific skills and a designer who knows what they’re doing. But it is a waste of your time and effort to cheap out. You won’t get the result you want.
2. Color and Style Bring the Pizazz!
Match the color palette and graphic choices to the subject matter. Bold primary colors on a black background might work great for an exciting infographic about fast cars, but if your subject is the environment, you’ll be better off with pastoral greens and blues.
3. Verify Your Sources and Fact-Check
Don’t settle for unverified information that comes from blogs, other infographics, or questionable sources. Look for in-depth reports from reputable publishers in science, education, or industry leaders. Don’t add to the bad infographic plague.
4. Leave ‘Em Laughing
Neil Patel took an in-depth look at nearly 400K tweets and found 62% of the images shared were funny. Funny or surprising themes work very well for infographics.
5. Keep Wordiness to a Minimum
Think bullet points, not paragraphs. Words to live by for infographic writers:
“Brevity is the soul of wit.” – William Shakespeare.
Along the same vein, use laser-like focus to stick to one subject. No matter how many facts and stats you include, the infographic should deliver a single, cohesive message.
6. Tackle the Topical
Tap into what everybody’s talking about by introducing relevant hot-button current events. The most-shared infographics are about things that directly affect your customers by addressing their concerns, passions, habits, health, or fears.
7. Don’t Forget QA
Anyone can make a mistake, so make sure to do a careful fact-check and quality assurance check before releasing your infographic. Typos, information pasted under the wrong heading, graphics not lined up consistently, or other mistakes can result in negative publicity and an unprofessional image for your company. This is NOT the impression you want to make.
8. Make it Easy to Share
Provide embed code and share links…and make sure the image is branded in case people reshare or bypass your code.
9. Don’t Oversell
Infographics, and content marketing in general, shouldn’t be direct sales pitches. Instead of using your content as a sales vehicle, share interesting industry information, make it entertaining, or provide in-depth buying advice.
10. Provide Visual Context
Give your viewers something to work with by providing contrast or comparison to your facts. How does this information stack up to something customers can imagine?
You might also want to consider interactive infographics…they’re a little more involved, but fun and shareable. Here’s a great one from Avalaunchmedia.com (interactive version):
Where you publish is often as important as what you publish. If you have a fantastic infographic and you publish it on a low-traffic blog, it’s not going to help much. It might be better to consider shopping it around to high-traffic sites with a focus on your industry.
Most multi-author sites are always on the lookout for quality content. Look for one that fits your subject or industry and offers submission guidelines, or contact a high-profile blogger and make an offer. Quicksprout offers some great advice on their post, How to Find the Best Places to Guest Blog, which you can use to find infographic publishers.
One note of caution: it can take weeks to find a publisher, get your content approved and then posted. Plan well in advance if your content is seasonal or will be outdated quickly. Many publishers prefer evergreen content that will still be relevant a year or two down the line.
In most cases, you’ll also be asked to provide an introductory paragraph…which is your chance to include a link back to your site. The first sentence is your hook. It should explain the purpose of the infograph and be personable and enticing. The title and first couple of sentences might just be the most important words on the page – they grab the reader’s attention and make them want more.
Promote, Promote, Promote!
Did you think it was over once you published your fascinating infographic? Oh, no. A very small percentage of what’s published on the web everyday goes viral. Unless you’re lucky enough to get your infographic featured on the first page of The Huffington Post (like this infographic about poop that was shared more than 130,000 times) or some other site that garners hundreds of thousands of views, you’ll need to promote heavily. Use your social network, don’t be shy about engaging your influencers.
Measure Your Success
Some publishing platforms (thanks, SEJ!) come built-in with share-counters that tell you how many unique views your page has and how often it is shared on social media, but that doesn’t always give you enough information. Other metrics to check:
- Pageviews: If the publisher doesn’t provide this information or it’s published on your own site, Google Analytics will help you track unique pageviews. To dig deeper, try Contently Insights to find out how long visitors stay on the page, their level of engagement, and reach, and other useful stats.
- Social interaction (shares and comments): Use a social media management tool such as Hootsuite or Buffer to track tweets, retweets, and mentions on Twitter and share posts on Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn.
- Inbound links from high-traffic sites/reblogs: Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools offer a range of tools to measure how many sites are linking back to your infographic. Be sure to check the quality of the inbound links. Links coming in from low-quality sites can hurt your rank.
- Search engine page rank: Google PageRank might be dead, but make no mistake, your site is still being ranked. Measure your success against your competitors and find out if your infographic is attracting more attention by tracking interaction across all the major social media networks with Rival IQ. The beauty of this particular tool is you don’t need to be the site owner to track the metrics.
- Conversion rates: Assuming you included a CTA on your landing page (you DID include a CTA on your landing page, right?), how many people signed up, subscribed, or made a purchase or donation?
The real takeaway from all this is simple. If you’re going to spend time, energy, and money on an infographic, make it count. Deliver what your customers want to know in an entertaining manner. A good infographic offers statistics in small bites, an attractive presentation, and a strong, coherent message. Put it all together and it tells a story…and hopefully a compelling reason to remember and engage with your brand.
What can you add to help marketers build a better infographic? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.