How to Create a Successful Infographic for the New Year

Posted on January 22nd 2014

How to Create a Successful Infographic for the New Year

ImageNever underestimate the power of the infographic. Quick to read, visually appealing, and easily digested, people online absolutely love infographics. And they have an astounding amount of staying power. Back in July, my company released an infographic on the seven fastest growing industries of 2013, and six months later it is still being reblogged and reposted, which ultimately drives traffic back to our site, and our business. Since this was our first infographic we expected it would only get a few views. Instead the response and shares went above and beyond anything I could have imagined, which caused me to wonder what separates a strong infographic from a weak one. Countless infographics are constantly being released by businesses hoping to see the kind of reaction we did, but never get more than a couple hundred hits. Releasing a new graphic at the beginning of the year can help drive traffic all year long, but if it is poorly made, it’ll just wind up sitting on your company blog and never really go anywhere. After looking around a bit, I narrowed down the elements of most of the successful infographics generated by for-profit businesses to three points.

Stay relevant to your industry

Infographics that perform the best visually display hard data – not your opinions, or your best qualities, or a list of your favorite books. Your infographic should be based around whatever industry you work in and the facts therein. Just as with blogging, you can’t just turn an infographic into another form of self-promotional advertising for your business – that won’t stick and no one will want to plug it for you. The best way to start spreading brand awareness is to find hard, statistical data that related to your industry to design your infographic around. Give your reader a reason to read the graphic and engage with it and they will. Use it as an opportunity to blatantly plug whatever it is you do or talk about how awesome you are, and it’ll be ignored.

Pay your designer

Our company is lucky enough to have an awesome in-house graphic and web designer, but I understand that many start-ups cannot afford a salaried designer. It’s a good idea to look into contacting a graphic designer to help you out especially if it’s your first time putting together an infographic. The goal is to have the infographic circulate and gain traction online and if it looks shoddy or is full of misspellings and misquoted information, it will reflect poorly on your company. Avoid relying on clichés or pointless themes – I remember seeing an infographic put out by an SEO company that, for whatever reason, was built around pictures of ducks. The information was relevant to SEO, but the ducks were out of left field, and I have a feeling they trusted someone without design experience to put their graphic together. You’ve probably invested in signage, logo design, and possibly even corporate merchandise – consider your infographic akin to other forms of branding for your business.

Post it properly

Don’t scale down your infographic to fit on your blog. Infographics should have an actual message to them, which means you’ll have to include some text. But the minute you start scaling down, some of your text is going to become illegible. Opt for a Lightbox instead or link to a larger version of the graphic. It is also good for marketing to put a link to the infographic into some of the outlets you contribute to. However, don’t just pitch a piece that is the information from the infographic in paragraph form. Offer an interview, or write on a related story, and put the link in there. Make sure your infographic has a good title too. I usually try to figure out what the average person would Google in order to find the information in my graphic. When in doubt, go back to the research stage – what were you searching for when you found the data that eventually became your infographic?

Only a few infographics ever really become viral, and most will never skyrocket into the internet hall of fame. But the internet hall of fame shouldn’t be the main focus for your infographic anyway – taking the time to research the market and carefully write up and design the image should be your main priority for your business’ infographic. So long as your infographic informs or educates your readers about a subject that is interesting and hasn’t been covered to death, it will be worth the investment of time and money that you put into it. 

Deborah Sweeney

Deborah Sweeney

CEO, MyCorporation

Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation. MyCorporation provides online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing startup bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark and copyright filing services. You can find MyCorporation on Twitter at @MyCorporation and Deborah at @deborahsweeney and on .

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Comments

blakejonathanboldt
Posted on January 22nd 2014 at 5:02PM

The paragraph "Pay Your Designer" is gold. Sometimes there are too many cooks in the kitchen, and the ingredients just don't match. A core message should be determined before beginning the creative process. Thanks for sharing!

Deborah Sweeney
Posted on January 22nd 2014 at 6:49PM

I definitely agree with you Blake - it's important that everyone is on the same page before getting started because otherwise it's a waste on everyone's time and energy spent working on the project all around.

I am also extremely pro-designer pay, whether it's full-time or on a freelance basis. Everyone on a team at a company, even (and especially) your interns, deserve to be paid for their hard work.

Avtar Ram Singh
Posted on January 22nd 2014 at 11:07PM

Basic pointers. I don't think any of these points by themselves constitute the making of a successful infographci in any capacity. They're probably the three things you want to check off your list first, but making an infographic successful is about a lot more than just doing that.

For me, a few more pointers to add on would be:

  • Present something new. Talking about Facebook? Everyone's heard the 300 million photos a day, 1.3 billion users spiel. Give us something new. Provide insight. Give me something USEFUL.
  • Involve charts. Involve pie-charts and graphs and bar graphs. Too many infographics these days have just text and ONE stat. That's rubbish. An infographic should give me data. Not just "54% of Pinterest Users are Women between 18-24." Show me the entire split for all ages - that's useful.
  • The infographic should tell a story. Make a point. At the end of the infographic - is there a takeaway or do I just have 25 pieces of stats that I got from 20 locations?

And so on and so forth. So much more should be said about infographics. And Deborah - what would have been awesome would have been had you presented this post as an infographic. ;)

Deborah Sweeney
Posted on January 23rd 2014 at 3:43PM

Thanks for your feedback Avtar, espiecially the point on keeping the content fresh, useful, and creative. I'll keep that note on presenting future posts on infographics in infographic format in mind! 

Vf2
Posted on January 23rd 2014 at 2:58AM

Respectfully, a more accurate title for your piece would've been, "How to Create a Successful Infographic for the New Year - If You Have Access to a Graphic Designer".

You're right in your assumption that not everyone has this facility in-house. And outsourcing would just be yet another drain on a small company's limited resources. While not disputing that professional help might produce the slickest results, it's not the only way to produce an infographic.

Consequently an acknowledgement that these can be produced by anyone after a single online search for 'Infographics', to see who's offering what (free !) off-the-shelf services - and a pointer towards the good/better/best/worst of these - would've been infinitely helpful.