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The Most Important Thing You Need to Know About Infographics
Posted on September 8th 2013
The volume of infographics goes up more than 1% each day. I must confess: I never saw the attraction. It’s not like I didn’t realize infographics had become raging hot. I just didn’t get what the big deal was.
I mean, you take a subject worthy of content creation, sprinkle in some icons, graphs and such and what do you have? A little picture show? A decorated article? A busy page?
What’s so great about these things?
People love them.
There you go. Again, people love them. That’s all you need to know.
They devour them. They rave about them. They save them. They actually collect them. Most importantly, they share them.
We could get into the psychology of it all, but why complicate the issue? And why question it?
Create an interesting infographic and you draw a crowd. You build authority. You accomplish precisely what we strive for as content marketers.
So, since people love them, you should create them. Case closed.
They may not be the juiciest burgers you can buy, but they are being consumed in the billions.
You don’t have to like them to understand it’s a good idea to make them.
I’m in now.
- Demonstrate expertise on your topic
- Stand out amongst less visually interesting formats
- Take advantage of the fact that 90% of information enters your brain visually
- Help visualize statistics for easy understanding
- Often go viral—or at the very least—are readily shared
- Get increased mileage when you provide the code to embed them
- Encourage links back to your site to generate higher traffic
- Help heighten brand awareness
What’s stopping you?
If you’ve never created an infographic and made it a part of your content marketing mix, I’m going to assume you were thinking along same line as I was until about six months ago. They’re a big pain to do.
I learned otherwise.
The truth is, I’ve never even explicitly set out to create one. By that, what I really mean is, I never made the infographic my first expression of a content idea.
How I got engaged with infographics.
In late 2012, I read a well-researched article called “The Science of Engagement” created by Canvas8 and Weber Shandwick. With that—and some additional online research—I was inspired to create a fairly simple slide deck I titled, Engagement: How to create a love affair between your brand and your buyers.
I published my piece on SlideShare and it did well (3K+ views). It reached a good size audience on SlideShare, but it was also embedded in a post on my blog, shared across social media, and also embedded on a few other sites.
Some time around the first of 2013 I read a post about the best web services offering free premade templates and tools for creating infographics. I tinkered a bit with a few and decided Piktochart was the one I liked most.
But don’t you need graphic design skills? Yes and no, mostly no. I’ve been in advertising and marketing for a long time and have been a creative director long enough to say with some confidence I have a good eye for design and pick up the skills to decorate a page reasonably well. But I’m not a graphic designer.
Judge for yourself. Here’s a glimpse of the free template I chose.
And here’s a part of the infographic I created from it.
Granted, there was a learning curve. Also, I had to make a lot of decisions about images, colors, fonts, and layout. I don’t want to juke you into thinking the infographic designs itself. But when I was done, I was convinced I’m perfectly capable of creating infographics.
The next question became: was it worth the effort? I believe it was. My infographic, “Elements of Engagement” has been viewed close to 4K times, embedded on 8 sites, pinned often on Pinterest, and downloaded 93 times to date. Given its theme, engagement, I introduced it just before Valentine’s Day. I might give it a second spin next February. There’s no rule against re-using content, especially your own.
My next infographic was less effort and a bigger hit.
Frugal infographic creation, Part II…
My next infographic was also inspired by an article. This time, I decided “11 Reasons Why Prospects Don’t Convert Into Customers” would be a strong choice. The article featured an insect repellent bottle as its main visual, which I conceived with an assist from the Convince and Convert editor, Jess Ostroff.
I thought I’d recruit, or at least try, an infographic designer who’d consider partnering with me for the exposure instead of a paycheck. I made my plea via a LinkedIn Group. I got a pretty good response and chose a talented designer.
This infographic has been viewed 20K times on SlideShare alone. Do a search for its title “11 Website Conversion Killers” and you’ll see it was republished and shared like mad.
A third approach to getting an infographic made.
Once again, a popular article of mine, “Meet the World’s Greatest Social Media Marketer,” begged to be “infographicked.” The article’s publisher, MarketingProfs, put me in touch with a partner of theirs, Placester, and we created this one.
I could give you the SlideShare count, but it wouldn’t mean much because this infographic has gone viral. In fact, it’s being shared and posted in new places every day (which I guess you could say is the definition of “viral.”)
Here I go again.
I just created this infographic, once again, based on a popular article. I went back to Piktochart to do this one and kept it very simple.
What do you need to create and publish an infographic?
An idea—As you gathered here, your infographic idea could easily come from a report, article, slide deck or any type of concept you feel lends itself to an infographic treatment. If you’re already creating content regularly, but haven’t yet done an infographic, I strongly suggest get started by mining your current content.
Copywriting—Your copy should be adopted to the short caption style appropriate for quick reading. You’ll want to emphasize key points with typographic treatments.
Design—Depending on your skill set and available resources you’ll want to make a call about using a DIY service, working with a graphics partner who you’re willing to share the credit with, or hiring out.
Platforms for publishing—Infographics will work well on your blog, as a guest blog, and available content networks such as SlideShare. Visual.ly is a popular outpost for publishing infographics and can give you access to a large and growing audience.
Examine your resources and decide how to capitalize on your infographic. You might supply the concept, copy, design or any combination and invest in the talent you need. Depending on what you do and don’t outsource, the fees you can expect to pay may vary from as little as a few hundred dollars to one-thousand and up. Of course, like any form of content, you’re likely to get what you pay for.
But remember the most important thing: people love them. I think I might have mentioned that.
Questions? Comments? I’m listening.