Infographics communicate a complex concepts more quickly than traditional marketing collateral and they have the benefit of delivering that complex data in an easily understandable visual format. Recently, I sat down to chat with one of our infographic writers, Nancy Langmeyer. Nancy shares her approach to transforming data and information into attention-grabbing infographics.
Our clients are requesting more infographics these days. What are infographics good for?
Nancy: Infographics seem to be replacing email and direct mail as a tool for lead generation. They’re a fast way to create awareness for products and services, and they have a call to action. They’re a lot of fun for me because it’s like putting pieces of a puzzle together.
How do you find the narrative?
Nancy: From my perspective, infographics tell a high-level, quick-glance story. Beginning, middle, end. Situation, pain, solution, product, call to action.
How do you approach actually writing the infographic? Is there an information hierarchy?
Nancy: One of the fun and sometimes challenging parts to creating the story is pulling out only a minimal amount of information and data, since this media doesn’t allow for a whole lot of copy.
To organize the story into a format that a designer can work with, I use a set of blocks and cells for each part. Typically, I plan three to five blocks, corresponding to the marketing story. I start with headlines that state the challenge or the problem. Then, I add the supporting data – typical in stats – about how the problem affects the business. After that, a block about the solution, and finally the company and a call to action. Each block has between two and five cells of supporting information
Nancy’s cell and block example is here (click to enlarge):
How do you work with the designer?
Nancy: The designer is involved from the beginning. Once I have a draft of the copy, we’ll have a meeting before we talk with the client so I can get the designer’s input. I always keep the design in mind, because I know too much information is a killer for the format.
What are some of the problems that you encounter along the way when you work on infographics?
Nancy: People try to do too much within the constraints of the infographic format: they often want to cram in way too much data and information. When this happens, we sometimes recommend that a different format, like a white paper, would be more appropriate.
What’s the best advice you have for writers and marketers who want to use infographics?
Nancy: The bottom line—people need to keep the medium in mind. What’s the intention of the medium? It’s a quick-glance story.
Nancy’s finished infographic is here (click to enlarge):