by Warren Lutz – Contributing Writer and PR Professional
In spite of the proliferation of infographics, many marketers are still avoiding them. The main reason—they’re a lot harder to produce than they look! Yet few tools help companies communicate complex marketing messages as well as the elegant infographic.
Stuck at the starting line? Here’s how to move forward:
1. Know your ‘why.’
Don’t create an infographic because it’s “cool” or just because your boss wants one. Infographics were invented because certain stories, usually those with lots of data, are better understood when presented visually. The best infographics take the hard work out of comprehending something new. Readers are typically relieved to see them!
The first goal should always be to educate and illuminate. If you want your audience to understand the risks of online security, for example, you might show the percentage of Fortune 500 companies that lost money over the recent Heartbleed attack. On the other hand, if your “data” is simply a list of price discounts, you aren’t educating—you’re selling. Don’t do that.
2. Set goals.
Seems obvious enough, right? Yet many marketers underestimate how versatile infographics can be, and all the different ways and places they can be used.
Will you post your infographic on your website, blog, and on Pinterest? Will you email it, and if so, to whom? Will the news media find it interesting? Will you measure how many times someone clicks on it? Will it do double duty as an ad? Should it?
Gather input from stakeholders, write all wants and desires down, and get buy-in on those goals before you begin.
3. Gather data—but use only the right data.
It’s not enough to cram a bunch of numbers into your infographic. They have to mean something. Mine existing market research and customer surveys to determine what’s already available, and highlight numbers that are surprising or challenge assumptions your audience may have. Be sure to attribute all data to its source or your credibility will surely suffer.
4. Be brief.
Your infographic should not take 15 minutes or even 10 minutes to read. In fact, if your audience can’t swallow the gist of your key messages in a minute or two, the whole purpose of the infographic is lost.
Have no more than a handful of points. Break up facts and figures into bite-size chunks. Use short sentences—and by short, we mean 10 words or less. Having trouble finding and cutting the fat? Enlist the aid of a professional copywriter.
5. Think visual.
You probably already know that creating an infographic is more than using a bunch of cool fonts. But you should also be wary of downloadable infographic design templates. Sure they’re cheap, but they’re not very professional-looking or unique.
Consider having professional designer to bring your story to life, one that has actual expertise in the medium. In fact, outsourcing the copy and design work to a fully-staffed marketing agency is usually the best way to get results you’ll truly be proud of.
Keep in mind that creating a great infographic takes a lot more time and energy than your reader will spend digesting it. But if your goal is to win trust and create fans, few tools are more effective than the infographic.
Do you have a great infographic to share? Send us a link below!