The modern marketing landscape is the Internet full of content authors all vying for the same broad audience. The path to building organic reach is paved with a variety of different types of content — all hoping to be found, liked, and shared. This, combined with our increasingly short attention span ( Thanks, Snapchat!) can make it complicated for content curators to reach their ideal following.
Often 8 seconds is all you get to make an impression on someone and grab their attention.This means your content marketing strategy needs appealing and engaging visual content to stand out from the competition.
What Is an Infographic?
What is an infographic exactly? The easy infographic definition is a piece of content that is an artistic representation of data and information using different visual elements including images, graphs, diagrams, text, timelines, lists and other analytic facts and figures. According to data expert, Bernard Marr, “Infographics allow us to tell a more complete story of the data and are more engaging than most traditional ways of communicating data and information. The focus of good infographics is always on communicating insights.”
Before learning how to make infographics, it’s essential to understand the building blocks of this particular medium. While these graphics should absolutely be aesthetically pleasing and eye-grabbing, it’s important to remember that the goal of an infographic is to share valuable and helpful data that speaks to the viewer.
Breakdown of a Quality Infographic
Before you can create an infographic you have to understand the various elements that, when brought together, make a powerful impact.
When a client sends me a request for an infographic, the biggest hurdle is the content. Infographics work best when they have clear and focused content. The jumble of information, crammed together, can easily become a confusing mess if thought isn’t put into establishing clarity within the design. For best results, the graphic needs to be broken into easily digestible chunks that flow and transition in all the right ways.
What could be included in an infographic?
- Quality vector or photograph images
- Graphs, pie charts, bar charts
- Maps and flow-charts
- Raw data, statistics, analytical comparisons
- Typographical elements
- Poll or survey results
- Tips related to a specific topic or result
- Instructions or steps (how-to)
It’s OK to share the message in multiple ways — making a pie chart and a line graph to show the data in two different ways vs. trying to make one super complex image or chunk of unappealing text is perfectly acceptable.
Size is also a popular question and not one with a specific answer. Infographics, by nature, need to be larger than traditional images to incorporate all the necessary data. Also, images that stand out won’t fit the traditional mold—imitating similar pieces won’t make that happen. There are no hard and fast dimension rules when it comes to building an infographic. However, images that become TOO large are hard to view and nearly impossible to share successfully. While there is no right or wrong answer, Kissmetics recommends a limit length of 8,000 pixels and a max file size of 1.5 MB to reduce load times.
We keep ours to under 600k when possible, and typically start with 600px wide for vertical layouts. Below are a few of the infographics we have created in the past for our clients.You’ll notice that each section has a clear visual break, the content is easy to digest and not deendant on other sections. The graphic style, color, and typography all relate to the topic (and the brand) which allows the user to quickly determin the topic before reading the content.
How Do You Create an Infographic?
Once you know what you want to say, it’s time to figure out how to put it together. First, do you need a graphic designer or can you make your own infographic? Knowing how to create infographics isn’t the same as having the ability to get it done. It’s important to understand your strengths, and design isn’t something that everyone has the talent or desire to accomplish.
Whether you are going to do the design in-house or not, it’s helpful to have a purpose for the design, a breakdown of desired content, and sources for data/analytics. This is a great starting point for you or a designer.
Have A Purpose for Your Infographic:
What idea are you trying to communicate with your audience? What impact will sharing this information have in their daily lives? How will your brand benefit in return for creating and sharing this information? Knowing how to build an infographic is one thing but understanding the potential ROI has greater benefits than just shooting a concept out there and hoping for the best. This means coming up with an infographic that is both engaging and useful.
Generate Quality Content for Your Infographic:
Before graphical elements can be created, the data and text need to be drafted. Are the stats reliable? Do you have dependable sources? Is the information valuable? How does all the content flow or blend together? Do you have transitions from one set of data to another that are simple and make sense? Creating a simple bullet point outline (with all content proofed and edited) will help your infographic take shape before you even think about what colors to use.
Design Your Infographic:
Here’s where you get to play around with the various design elements. Be certain that you are using images with good resolution… nothing pixelated or blurry. Also, make sure you have permission to use the images. Copyright infringement can get pretty expensive, pretty quickly. Ensure that the chosen colors do not clash and that every single element of the design is easy to view and easy to understand. Don’t forget whitespace!! If you fill up every single inch of your image it comes across as cluttered and hard to read. A good designer understands the value of white space.
Infographic Tools & Resources
There are a ton of resources available for helping you create an infographic. Keep in mind, even the best tools don’t have the same sense of graphic design as an experienced professional. They often also give novices too many options which translate often into designs that are not concise or clear and often cluttered. However, if budget is paramount and you have your mind set on giving it a go — here are some infographic design tools for you to look at.
Canva: The perfect tool for people who can’t design.
This is a popular, free infographic tool for creating easily and quickly regardless of design experience and ability. They have their own drag and drop infographic creator. If you are already using Canva to design your social media graphics, this tool is a no brainer.
Easel.ly: This website exists solely as an infographic design tool.
They claim to have created over 4,000,000 infographics so far with 1,000s of templates to choose from. They have a video showcasing how they solve the DIY infographics problem.
Vennage: Not a designer? No problem.
Whether you’re creating infographics, presentations, reports or social media visuals, the Vennage customizable free infographic templates will help you create a design in a few clicks.
Piktochart: another tool for non-designers.
When it comes to infographic tools, Piktochart is an online tool for creating visually-appealing, fully-customizable infographics, yet remains straightforward to use, even for non-designers.
- Business 2 Community put together a large list of 21 tools to help create engaging infographics including size cheat sheets and resizers, gif and screenshot tools, backgrounds and patterns, color palette tools and more.
- Feel like you still need guidance? Hubspot offers free templates and a simple process for creating your first infographic in 15 minutes.
Be aware that some of the best tools may require a subscription or cost. Unless you are planning to churn out the infographics on a fairly regular basis, it might be best to hire a designer instead. If you have your content nailed down, and even maybe a rough sketch, then your design costs will be minimal. An expert with knowledge in infographic design can create stunning results with just a bit of information and a few hours of time. And, the likelihood of your infographic being shared skyrockets when you hire a professional designer.
Benefits of Creating Memorable Infographics
Does this seem like a lot of effort? Perhaps, especially if you are attempting to do all of it on your own. However, the benefits of creating memorable infographics are what makes this approach so popular.
One of the major struggles of digital marketing today is gaining traction with organic reach. Creating quality content isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Infographics are valuable because they grab attention, share information in a concise manner, and they are easy to share! They will increase your company’s presence, brand awareness, and reach.
Sharing infographics also help with SEO since the algorithms love it when content is popular and being shared by others. Links, sharing, comments… they are the backbone of a solid SEO strategy… driving traffic to your website and social media platforms.
Plus, as mentioned in a previous blog post, infographics make you a better blogger than just copywriting alone.
Publishing & Promoting Your Designs
The error that too many companies make is spending time, money and effort creating quality content and then not implementing a way to promote it. Once your design is ready, it’s time to share it with the world!
Have a strategy for publishing and promoting your infographic.
Social media is a great place to start. Pinterest is a haven for infographics and is definitely a place to publish your work. Write up a blog post around your image and then promote it whenever, or wherever, you can.
Don’t forget to repurpose the content. You could create a short video talking about the content, create a Slideshare document, or pull out specific elements and use them separately in your social media. Get the maximum benefit when it comes to sharing the information you’ve taken the time to pull together.
Unfortunately, the one big drawback of infographics is the fact that, as an image, the text and information in the design cannot be crawled by the search engines and used for SEO purposes. The good news is that you can modify the information in the image to be SEO-friendly. I go into the details of how to make your infographic SEO-friendly in this article.
Don’t forget to make it easy to share! Size is a major factor here. Also, if you are posting on social be sure the post is set to public so your audience can share anywhere and everywhere. If you post it on your blog or website, incorporate a widget designed to make the image easy to forward on to others.
Are you sold on infographics yet? Great! I can’t wait to see what you come up with. If you love the idea but are feeling overwhelmed by the implementation, let us know. Hiring a designer could save you a massive headache and also achieve some pretty stellar results for your brand!