You’ve seen those eye-catching infographics all over the web, and now you want one on your website. It’s about time. According to Graphs.net, infographics are increasingly popular and the volume of search activity has exploded by more than 800 percent from 2010 to 2012, so it would be insane not to want in on the action. Graphs.net also pointed out that traffic website increases by 12 percent after the publishing of an infographic with more than 87 percent of visitors likely to read its content.
So, good call on your decision to use infographics on your site. But maybe now you’re wondering, okay, how in the world do I start? Here, we give you some tips on how to come up with awesome content for your infographics to make your viewers love them and want to share them.
For those new to the subject, where have you been in the last decade? Okay, it’s possible you just don’t know what it’s called but you’ve definitely seen an infographic or information graphic, which is simply an image that uses visually appealing graphics to present information in a way that is more engaging to read and easier to understand.
An example is this infographic on the history of SEO and web copwriting. Many people tune out at the mere mention of history and timelines because they imply a barrage of information. But when you put that kind of information in an infographic, suddenly it becomes easier to digest because the text is concise and interesting and colors, images and visual representations of data are used to draw you in.
To state the obvious, there are two parts to an infographic – data (info) and design (graphics). Of course, both are important, and you must strike a balance between the two. If you have great text and blah design, it won’t work. Nobody would know you have useful information in there because nobody got interested enough to read it. In the same way, if your text sucks, not even the most mind-blowing graphics would make it really matter. All it would say is that, wow, you have a really talented designer and that’s it.
When creating an infographic, you can’t be doing data and design at the same time. While the design aspect is really exciting, you want to push brainstorming that to the backburner for the meantime and focus on the content, which is the meat of your infographic. The text is always the foundation, so you have to build the graphics around your content. When you’ve nailed down the content, then that’s the time to think about how to make it look cool.
Keep in mind that an infographic is not about making bad content look great. Maybe two or three years ago when you had the advantage of novelty, you can get plenty of visits to your site even when your infographics had poor content simply because they were new to the eyes. Today, if you do that, you may succeed in getting viewers’ attention at first, but when they see that you really don’t have anything worthwhile to say, you’ll lose some credibility.
So, now it’s really about starting with good content and then making that better understood with graphics. You have to invest time and effort in thinking about a topic and streamlining it. You have to understand and analyze your topic and data so you can present the most important points as clearly and concisely as possible. If you don’t understand your topic yourself, there’s no chance you can make other people get it let alone share it.
Before you start looking for inspiration from the best infographics out there, do yourself a favor. Answer one question first: what exactly makes great content? Without knowing this, you can start searching for inspiration and ideas without really knowing what you should be looking for. So, here are three things that answer that question:
As explained in the previous section, the data or text is the essence of your infographic. It’s what gives your infographic meaning and is the main reason your target viewers will connect with what you have created. This means you have to think about a broad topic that is relevant to your service or product and will provide value to the reader.
If you constantly produce infographics that are timely, informative and relevant to your client’s business, your existing clients and prospects will regard you as an expert resource. If you create content that has value for your clients, they are very likely to pass it on to other people who may also find value in it. This can directly lead to your content getting passed through social networks and creating more traffic to your website.
Some of the most popular infographics are the ones that offer helpful tips and advice to people. Use infographics as a quick source of help for your target audience. Stop thinking so much about link building and instead focus on what information is relevant to your business that you can share that would help your target audience. For example, if you’re in the wedding planning business, you can come up with a wedding infographic all about planning weddings, wedding budgets, or other helpful tipsfor couples.
In addition to providing content that is useful, great content must also be compelling and capture viewers’ emotions. Include a data set in your infographic that will strike an emotional connection with your audience. Make viewers relate to your content. Make them laugh or even tear up a little. Make them stop and think. Give them something to be curious about. You want a part of the infographic to connect to people emotionally to spark conversation, which will lead to content sharing and linking or brand awareness.
Once you know what kind of content you want to put out there, it’s time to dig for actual ideas so you can zero in on one brilliant topic. And you do this by research, research and research. Even if you already have an idea of what your content is going to be about, you still need to do some research about it. This is the stage that eats up a lot of time in content creation, but you just cannot bypass it and expect to end up with great content.
Simply put, what you need to do is determine what topics are popular in your business niche. What are your customers and prospects currently talking about or interested in? What are the most relevant and trending topics in your industry or your business area? What topics are likely to become popular in the near future? What do I do now, is probably what you’re thinking next. How do you get all this information?
After you’ve decided on a topic, how do you want to feature it? It’s terrific if you have something new to add and you can come at the topic in a totally different angle. But there are also many ways to present one topic using the same angle but with different approaches or positioning.Would you like to make it into a “how-to” guide or a “did you know” kind of piece? Maybe you can give it a humorous or satirical spin.You can also do an overview, a checklist, a workflow or a comparison of things. How about focusing on just one specific bit of information? Or, if it’s a big topic, you can break it down to different chunks of information. Look at different infographics in various fields for ideas in style and presentation.
Infographics are brief and direct to the point, so they should be a breeze to write, right? Unfortunately, it’s not always the case. They do take time and effort to develop and create. If you’re finding this out for yourself as you struggle to produce an infographic, consider outsourcing to a competent copywriter who can devote time to research your topic and produce your content. Just provide the copywriter the topic of the infographic and a simple outline or project brief to let them know your expectations.
Headlines should be short, direct and filled with keywords. More importantly, they should grab attention instantly. Good headlines always have one strong word that creates an emotional hook to attract viewers. Create interesting headlines that pose intriguing questions or a promise to share useful information. Addressing the viewer directly in your headline and using numbers are other great tricks to draw attention—a perfect example of this is the headline of this post!
In addition to your main headline, use sub headlines to highlight the different sections of your infographic. Create sub headlines as you would the main one, using them to keep your audience interested to read the rest of your infographic.
As with any content strategy, branding is important when creating an infographic but too much will kill it. Of course, you want to brand your infographic to let viewers know your company created it, but you want to do this in a subtle way. You’re not putting together mere promotional material but an infographic.
Don’t be tempted to stuff your content with mentions of your brand name or product/service names because then you’ll only come out as being too “salesy” and that’s a big turnoff for viewers. Remember, if you have engaging and interesting content, people will be naturally interested to find out more about you, so you don’t have to constantly sell yourself.
Obviously, half of the equation of an infographic is the information it contains. The very purpose of an infographic is to relay information. You want to put content that people can use, so it must be accurate. Whether you’re the one supplying the data or you will be presenting facts taken from another source, always get your facts straight. If you’re including statistics, make sure to use the latest figures.
Check your data and check it again. Use only trustworthy sources and cross-reference them to verify facts. There are many reliable websites to get correct data from, so it doesn’t reflect well on you if you have inaccurate information in your infographic. It shows you’re lazy and sloppy. Of course, don’t forget to list your sources at the bottom of the infographic to establish credibility.
Side Tip: If you’re planning a long-term content strategy using infographics, make sure any data you include can be used and is still accurate 6 months from release.
Wrap up your infographic the same way you started it – with impact! Whether it’s a question or a statement, end with something thought provoking.
Needless to say, a powerful infographic can greatly boost your organic web search ranking. In order to succeed with your infographic, it’s very important to choose the right idea to begin with – one that matters to your audience – then make sure the actual content is informative, compelling and tight. Follow this with effective design and distribution strategy and you’ll have a winner in your hands.