Infographics have become more popular as people gravitate toward online visual content. According to HubSpot, 49% of marketers rate visual marketing as “very important” to their marketing strategy. Infographics are engaging and effective for branding and sales because combining words and images can make it easier for people to remember the details you share. This guide tells you all you need to know about the creation, use, and importance of infographics, including topics like:
Image via Unsplash by @uxindo
An infographic is a visual representation of information. It uses text, charts, images, icons, and other elements to present interesting information that’s easy to read and understand quickly. Infographics share comprehensive data stories on a subject or topic. They can cover both data-heavy topics with statistics and subjective topics, like what type of images to choose for your website.
The primary purpose of an infographic is to explore a concept in more complex detail. They educate viewers about a certain topic to encourage them to make their own decisions about the information when they reach the end of the graphic. This is in contrast to an article or blog post that may tell the reader what they should think or feel about the topic at the end of the piece.
There are multiple benefits to creating and using infographics in your content marketing strategy. They allow brands to present information in a user-friendly format. The images drive traffic by bringing people to your site, and their eye-catching designs help keep an audience browsing and returning for more information. Infographics are also helpful for information processing and retention. FastCompany speculates people retain only 10% of what they read and 20% of what they hear. However, people remember 80% of what they see.
It’s also easier to make sense of visual materials more quickly. Visual processing can take place faster than other types, like auditory processing. With people’s attention spans shrinking, you have a smaller window to capture an audience’s attention. Using visuals, like infographics, can help.
Creating infographics is about more than just graphic design. There are many other steps involved in planning, writing, and revising to get to the published product. Follow these steps to learn all the individual tasks that go into making an infographic:
What do you want your infographic to accomplish? Why are you creating it? Setting a goal for your infographic within your content strategy can help guide subsequent steps of the research processes, such as picking the right audience segment and choosing the most effective infographic design type. Common infographic goals may be to nurture leads, provide information, or encourage conversions.
Who do you want to see and resonate with your infographic? Just as you may segment your clients, leads, and general audience for other areas of your content marketing strategy, you can do the same with your infographics. Consider demographic factors like age and geographic location, or personal attributes like interests and social status to determine what message, elements, and distributions channels may be right for your design.
Choose the exact topic you intend to cover with your infographic. Consider one with tangible steps or a wealth of facts and statistics. More specific topics may help your infographic have a better focus for the audience. For example, instead of creating an infographic on the broad topic of content marketing, you may instead refine that to something more actionable, like “5 Steps To Create a Perfect Blog Post.”
Conducting a topic ideation session with your team, agency, or freelancer can help the design team truly understand the goal and reasoning for creating the image. Doing topic ideation can also help to make sure that your infographic ideas align with your sales and marketing goals. To help with this step, request your content marketing analysis report from CopyPress. This document shows gaps in your content strategy and presents keywords your audience is searching for online. These may help spark infographic topic ideas.
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There are two primary types of infographics: static and interactive. Static infographics look like still images and don’t change, no matter where they appear online. Interactive infographics are dynamic. They can change and potentially even present different information depending on who’s viewing them or where they’re shared. After choosing the presentation type, next pick the content type. Options for organization styles include:
Once you’ve chosen a topic, you can begin your research. It’s important to have an editorial team or agency that understands the difference between fact and opinion, and how to source the most accurate information. This helps maintain the bonds of trust and loyalty your brand creates with its customers. Make sure you’re vetting your sources and double-checking your information.
Using your own data and topic experts can help assure that you’re promoting the most up-to-date facts to your audience. When researching, it may be helpful to collect more information than you need for the infographic and then pare it down as you work through the rest of the design steps.
Get an idea about how you want your infographic to look by creating a design rough draft. You or your designers can choose to sketch the rough draft or use a computer program to create one. In this phase, don’t worry about sizing, colors, or other key design elements. The top priority of a rough draft is to figure out the placement, flow, organization, and length of the content. The rough draft also helps designers when creating the wireframe design later.
Infographic content may differ from other written content pieces. It needs the right balance between statistics, data, and narrative messages. You may also use persuasion if the infographic includes a call to action. Trained copywriters can help with this because they understand how to find the right ratio of facts and a story to make the infographic flow from start to finish in a way that fits within the rough draft design.
Before you create content, know which program you intend to use to design the final infographic. You may choose online software with templates, such as Canva, a graphic design program like Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, or a program like Microsoft PowerPoint. The software you choose may depend on your design experience, accessibility, or cost.
A wireframe is a technical term for a visual project outline. It helps you understand what the finished product may look like when it’s done with the correct placement and dimensions. Wireframe design may take a few stages and revisions before you get the one you want. The designer may not initially understand the direction of the infographic and may add elements you’d rather eliminate.
This may be less likely if the designers take part in the project from the ideation phase so they truly understand the direction of the project. This can increase the chances of shortening the wireframe phase.
After wireframe approval, you can start the traditional design process. This is the stage where the actual infographic takes shape. All the data and text combine with the visual elements to create the piece your audience sees when they visit your website, social media, or host location. Now it’s time to focus on key elements of your infographic, like:
The title may be the first thing your audience notices about your infographic. Like the titles for other types of content, it may be a deciding factor in whether someone stops to read or continues to scroll away from your infographic. Brainstorm titles that tell what your piece is about, but that are also eye-catching and engaging. Using numbers and relevant keywords about the topic can help.
It’s important to review and edit your design closely before you publish it. The tiniest detail on a polished infographic could be the difference between getting or not getting a conversion. With an entire team on the project from start to finish, the review and revisions period may take just a few days before your content is ready to publish. Going through longer rounds of editing during the writing stage and the wireframe stage can make the revision process go faster. Think of the revision stage as quality assurance. It’s about checking for minor mistakes rather than completing large content overhauls.
The last step is to share your hard work with the right audience. There are multiple ways you can share and distribute your infographic when it’s finished. Good options for distribution include:
Use these tips to help you when designing your infographic:
Infographics present a lot of information, so organization is important. If you cover too broad a topic and include facts that don’t relate to one another, it might confuse your audience. Consider the story you’re trying to tell with your infographic from start to finish and review it for flow. Are all your pieces of data and blurbs necessary to tell the story? Can you remove any and have the infographic still make sense? Delete any unnecessary parts to give a more succinct overview of your topic.
When you’re working on a digital creative project, save your work often. Saving repeatedly throughout the process can help preserve your work in the event of a computer glitch, internet outage, or another technical issue. Consider saving your work in multiple locations and formats, including on your device and in the cloud. This allows you to have a backup in case the original file becomes corrupted. Saving in multiple places and formats also helps if you need to revert to a previous version of your work.
If you don’t have the help of a graphic designer or any design experience yourself, you can use a template to create your infographic. Websites like Venngage and Canva have templates that you can use within their services to create customized content. You can download the finished products in a variety of formats for your distribution needs.
Choosing different font styles can help you create a text hierarchy. It’s common to use three different fonts and sizes within a content document to denote different key areas of text. For example, you may use one font and size for the main reading, a different one for section headings, and a third for all body copy.
Color can help you brand or theme your infographic, but it can also help draw attention to important facts or figures. Use pops of color to communicate important concepts. Choosing strategic places to add colors that stand out from the rest of the graphic helps the reader notice and remember the most key information.
Consider using a symmetrical grid layout when designing an infographic. This is a way to organize all your content. It’s also a way to ensure that the viewer consumes the information in your desired order. Grid layouts make use of the learned reading habit to consume information from right to left.
Question pyramids can help organize your thoughts and ideas for an infographic. Using a hierarchical structure, add your main idea to the top of the pyramid. Then add supporting questions below that answer questions like “what” or “which” that relate to the topic. Below that, add “why” questions about the topic. Creating this type of outline can help you develop content goals, flow, and structure.
You can increase your organic reach on infographics as you would on other content by optimizing them for SEO. Some tactics for optimizing an infographic for SEO include:
Browse this list of questions and get answers to some of your important infographic questions:
Infographics tell a complete story so you can use them almost anywhere on any topic. They’re viable content options in most industries, like finance, education, health, law, and sales. Infographics can stand alone as their own pieces of content, but they often work best when paired with another type. Some content pieces that benefit from the addition of an infographic include:
Because infographics are so versatile and beneficial for many industries, there are many types of professionals who use them in their content strategies. Some of these people include:
The cost of an infographic depends on who you’re choosing or hiring to make it and how professional you want it to look. You can make infographics yourself using a free online program like Canva or a template service. Freelance designers on gig websites like Fiverr may charge as little as $5 for a design, while others may ask for closer to $500 for the service. But these prices and services may not include the full scope of creating the graphic.
There are many places you can collect source data for your infographic facts and statistics. The type of data you’re researching may influence where you look for information. Resources for different types of data may include:
Whether you’re creating the infographic yourself, hiring a freelancer, or working with an agency, it can help to have a checklist to make sure you’re producing the most quality graphics for your audience. Some questions to ask and things to consider when planning and reviewing your designs include:
Similar to the cost, the time to complete an infographic depends on the quality you want and the size of the team working on the project. A single freelancer may create a carbon copy infographic in one afternoon. A meticulous graphic designer may take months to prepare a piece.
Infographics and data visualizations are similar but have distinct purposes. Though some people use the terms interchangeably, there are unique properties for each one. Data visualizations represent a specific set of numerical data. They focus on a single set of statistics to answer a single question. It may be easy to generate data visualizations automatically into charts, graphs, or plots. They require minimal customizations to make them look polished.
In contrast, infographics show a comprehensive collection of information in a visual format. They use multiple sources and datasets to answer more than one question about the same topic or to summarize a concept. Infographics may include multiple data visualizations within them, along with blurbs, quotes, or text for additional explanations.
You can make an infographic in any shape or size to fit your topic, vision, goals, and target audience. But it’s important to remember user experience and readability features like page speed and font size when creating an infographic to make sure your design doesn’t interfere with SEO strategies or best practices. It’s also important to remember how your infographic may appear when shared by clients, followers, or others online. Recommended sizes for infographics on different platforms include:
In the digital world where readers have shorter attention spans, infographics are helpful ways to tell your stories. Your interesting statistics and narrative can help make the visuals memorable for your visitors and turn them into brand-loyal customers or readers.
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