In this article…
- The Importance of Information Design
- Developing a Visual Content Strategy
- How to Use Infographics for Business
- Benefits of Infographics for Business
- Key Infographic Types for Businesses
- How to Create Infographics for Business
- Quick Tips for Great Business Infographics
Infographics are a popular pick for content marketing. These highly visual creations work well because they draw on the naturally compelling nature of imagery. Content that’s colorful increases the viewer’s willingness to read by 80 percent. Visual content is 40 percent more likely to get social shares than other types of content. Harness the power of infographics for business and learn more about how to incorporate this feature into your next big campaign.
The Importance of Information Design
Image via Flickr by Timmy
Information design is the way you share critical details with your audience in a visual format. There are many different types of information design, of which infographics are only one. No matter how you’re framing and formatting your information design, it’s important to understand the key purpose of these pieces.
Information design is a key part of your business’s branding. While voice and tone will determine how your written content takes shape, the visual aspects of your imagery and infographics are far less subtle. Your information design furthers your brand, sending an important message about your company. The right design elements can distinguish your company as casual and child-friendly or formal and refined. Your imagery might be light and cartoonish or richly realistic. The design elements are as important as the information.
Informational designs can share your message in just a glance. The data and text featured on the piece tell only part of the story. The colors, typography, and imagery will provide additional information. Whether you’re looking for a way to say more with less text or you want something that will reinforce your rebranding logo and style, information design will play a critical role in getting the job done.
Developing a Visual Content Strategy
Infographics are just one component of a solid strategy for visual content marketing. There are many other types of visuals that you can use in addition to infographics or even within these pieces themselves. Infographics are, after all, little more than a collection of data visualizations gathered in a meaningful pattern that will tell a story.
Make sure your visual content includes all the necessary parts and pieces for success, which may include:
- Screenshots – Any software or app developer knows the importance of a screenshot. From video games to budgeting tools, any digital product or service is best explained with appropriate screenshots.
- Presentations – Whether you’re posting to SlideShare or giving live demonstrations, a well-crafted presentation is a powerful tool that will help you get your message across and better connect with your audience.
- Videos – Videos can bring your demonstrations to life, give you a humorous way to advertise to your customers, or add personality and punch to your next marketing campaign. Rich and engaging, well-produced videos are one of the costlier forms of advertising, yet well worth the investment.
- Images – Images are essential for everything from your product catalog to your infographic design. Think about the type of imagery that you want to use so you can stay consistent in style.
- Memes – Witty and highly shareable, memes are an extremely trendy way to connect with your audience, particularly if you’re marketing to the younger set.
How to Use Infographics for Business
You can use infographics to accomplish many critical business goals. When you’re first developing your infographic ideation, you’ll want to think about the ultimate purpose for the piece. Some important goals that your infographics can help you with include:
- Facilitating faster decision making
- Making complex reports more readily understandable
- Establishing thought leadership in your field
- Quickly sharing in-depth study results
- Highlighting the perks or functionality of a product
- Simplifying internal communication
- Visualizing demographics accurately
- Complementing a well-rounded sales kit
You can use an infographic internally to help your sales team better understand the people they’re targeting. An infographic with visual profiles of each fictitious persona is easier to understand than a lengthy report that’s heavy in text. Your customers can better understand your products, services, or overall industry with an infographic that’s designed to answer common questions in an engaging and visual manner.
Benefits of Infographics for Business
A well-designed infographic can serve many key benefits for your business. Consider how infographics can instantly spice up your marketing campaigns. You can use your infographics to diversify your content so scrolling through your blog is more than just scanning subheadings. Add an infographic each week or two to break up the monotony of the text.
An infographic is an effective way to make information more memorable. If you have an important point that you want your customers to carry away with them long after they’ve left your page, featuring it in an infographic is an effective strategy to make sure this happens.
Infographics are visual in nature, so they’ll grab the eye anywhere you need to stop the viewer in their tracks and make them pause and consider for a moment. Include an infographic in your email message to make it more interesting. Feature an infographic in your social stream to break up the endless stream of updates. Infographics are interesting and shareable, giving them undeniable value in your marketplace.
Key Infographic Types for Businesses
Infographics come in many shapes and forms. When you’re designing an infographic for your business, it’s important to identify the best layout for your needs. Begin with some of these common and highly informative options.
A flowchart typically shows the decision-making process for a single question with multiple end points. While designing a question and answer flowchart is a complex process, this type of infographic is highly engaging because it provides personalized answers for each viewer. Use a flowchart for topics like “Which vacation destination is right for my family,” or “Which party theme should I choose for my New Year’s bash?”
Comparison infographics hold two concepts up side-by-side to show how they compare to one another. This is an outstanding choice for a business infographic because you can use it to compare your product to one or two top competitors, highlighting where yours stands out. If you have several similar products or services, you might also use this type of infographic to show how they differ from one another. A neat comparison chart can make it easier to choose the right vehicle, internet plan, baby monitor, or bird feeder. This powerful and diverse layout works for nearly any item.
Timelines are just as they sound. They demonstrate the evolution of a product or concept throughout the ages. Consider this timeline on The History of Shipping. It demonstrates how an essential service has changed over the years into the complex offers that are available to consumers today. You might also use a timeline to show how your products have become more eco-friendly over the years, or how your app is the latest in a long evolution of ever-improving tech developments.
A roundup gathers several similar products and provides an in-depth profile for each. You might round up popular milkshakes, trending cell phones, or birds of the Midwest. Consider what your customer is looking for. Perhaps you’re marketing to hikers who are looking for a roundup of the best trail snacks, or you want to give cat owners a roundup of toys and treats. With your infographic in hand, viewers won’t need to do the research themselves. You’ll have the information they need carefully curated already.
How-to infographics can take a few different forms. You can offer a step-by-step explanation of a certain process in cases where there’s one primary path to completion. An infographic on how to change the chain on your bike or how to pack a backpack for a week in the Appalachian mountains might take on this style.
A how-to infographic can also offer a more flexible look at your topic. If you’re discussing how to pair food and wine or how to choose the right seasonings for different dishes, you’ll find the topic more flexible. There are several possible answers to the topic, so your how-to won’t be a simple step-by-step, but rather a more informative piece that offers several options along the way.
A data story infographic is a very flexible design style. This is best for topics where you’re presenting a collection of facts and statistics. You might use a data story infographic when you want to share the findings of your study on social media trends. This type of piece could explore the demographics of your gaming audience or provide data on the spread of an invasive species. This is a flexible choice you can use for many topics.
While any infographic can contain clever metaphors, some rely on an all-encompassing metaphor throughout. Perhaps you’re showing how getting through college is like playing through a board game, or how putting together a startup is like mixing a cocktail. This is a tricky approach to truly master, but when you do it well you’ll have a fascinating and highly shareable piece.
How to Create Infographics for Business
Infographics are an important tool for any business. Though you can outsource much of the content creation to a professional for a sleek look and experienced approach, it’s useful to understand the entire process, whether you’re performing it all yourself or not. When you’re creating infographics for business, you’ll typically work through all the following steps:
- Determine your purpose: What are you trying to accomplish with this infographic? Are you aiming to inform shoppers about your new product, assist your sales team in understanding their audience, or provide a how-to for a complex software update? Outline the audience and goal for your piece early on.
- Ideate your topic: Determine what your infographic will be about specifically. Develop a working title and brief description of what the infographic is about.
- Gather the data: This is one of the most important steps in the infographic creation process. You should use only those sources that are reliable and informative. Opinionated blog posts won’t serve the purpose of most infographics, unless you’re looking for a short quote to call out in a speech bubble. If your topic is lacking statistical research, consider doing some studies of your own to fuel the infographic creation.
- Sketch the story: Outline your infographic story and set out the key facts that you’ll be featuring in the piece. This is where you’ll identify which story style is best for your project. Is this a timeline or a how to? Make sure you’re clear on the format the piece is taking.
- Set your style and branding: What colors, typography, and image style will you be using for the piece? Where will you feature your logo? Will you include live pictures, cartoons, or another type of graphic? Identify these elements before you begin designing the final piece.
- Develop the infographic: This final step will pull together all the work you’ve previously done on the project, giving you a finished piece that’s worth posting and sharing to serve your business’s purposes.
Creating infographics takes a great deal of thought and research, finished with outstanding organization and design. Done right, your infographic will become a valuable piece of content for various marketing campaigns. You can feature it in your whitepaper, on your blog, on social sites, and more.
Quick Tips for Great Business Infographics
Infographics are rapidly growing in popularity, so you’re likely surrounded by competitors who are using these pieces as enthusiastically as you are. As you’re entering this space, it’s important to keep a few best practices in mind. Follow these tips to make sure your infographics are sharp, engaging, and carefully designed to success.
- Minimize the use of text
- Avoid overused templates
- Search for original topics
- Conduct your own research for never-before-seen facts
- Make it shareable with social media widgets and pared-down callouts sized for each site
With a thoughtful approach and plenty of attention to detail, you can create outstanding infographics that will make an impact anywhere they’re shared.
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to use infographics for business efforts in your company. The next time you’re tackling a complex topic, try this approach to handle it in a fresh and engaging way.