How to Write for Infographics

By Connie Howard, ETMG VP & Founding Writer_new

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):

Microsoft Word - citrix wireframe.docx

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):

215311.3 SmartStack Infographic_purple_110615


Further Reading:

Creating Infographics: 5 Things to Know

Color Theory for Marketers—How to Create a Winning Palette for Your Next Project

Book Review—Infographics: The Power of Visual Storytelling


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