As content marketing has grown in popularity, marketers have become more familiar with how customers like to interact with information online. Visual content is a great cure for short attention spans, conveying a message succinctly, and it has the added benefit of presenting information in a shareable format, giving the creator a greater likelihood of achieving viral visibility. When a customer can see concepts illustrated in colorful, well-designed and compelling infographics, that customer may be better able to grasp those concepts than if they were outlined in writing—after all, visual information is processed about 60,000 times faster by the human brain than written information—and will be more likely to share that information with others in their personal networks.
But if you want to make compelling infographics, you have to put some effort into it. Infographics are often driven by content, so it’s important to have a solid background before starting. Marketers should also have several unbiased people review the infographic to make sure it makes sense before publishing it. Here are a few ways infographics are gradually changing content marketing as we know it today.
Statistics are essential
Big data is already a growing trend in every area of business and infographics feed into that trend well. Often the information that pops the most in an infographic is that information that includes numbers. Statistics like “Businesses that market with infographics grow traffic by an average of 12 percent more than those who don’t” get a message across quickly. When that message is driven home by colorful, fun graphic design techniques, it’s even more effective.
Infographics are especially effective for “boring” industries, and for unsexy topics that fail to capture the interest or enthusiasm of a readership. Take, for example, this infographic about the sleep schedules of famous and influential minds. If you read an article about how various historical figures slept and worked, you’d be bored to death by the time you got to the 19th Century. But in this format, each historical figure is represented visually and in direct comparison with other figures. It allows the viewer to process information at a glance or in detail, and in a way that is not possible to achieve through written words alone. If you’re interested in the full-size infographic, you can check it out at New York magazine. The infographic itself is based on Mason Currey’s Rituals: How Artists Work.
Because of the growing popularity of statistic-based infographics, businesses are increasingly seeking out data to distribute to consumers. Using a variety of survey tools, marketers are finding ways to ask customers about their preferences, processing that information, and delivering it to the public.
Compelling infographics always tell a story
One distinguishing factor in infographics is that they tell a story from start to finish. Instead of just blindly throwing facts out, those facts should form some sort of cohesion. The above-mentioned statistic about infographics would be used as part of a larger infographic about visual marketing, for instance, complete with other data that supports that point. That information would all be pulled together to provide a takeaway to readers.
The popularity of infographics has also highlighted the value of using charts and graphs to tell a story. Even without a full-blown infographic, marketers have realized how powerful a visual like a colorful pie chart or bar craft can be in bringing a point home. As businesses gain more access to data, readers will likely see statistics making an increasing number of appearances in content.
A content supplement
Savvy marketers have quickly become aware that it isn’t enough to commission a top-quality infographic. For a variety of reasons, it’s important to craft quality content to go along with it, much in the way that the sleep schedule infographic and book I mentioned above have a mutually cohesive relationship.
One of those reasons is search engine optimization (SEO). Infographics alone won’t grab the attention of search algorithms, so it’s important that written content be created to accompany that infographic. Whether the content is created first and an infographic is designed afterward or vice versa, businesses are definitely realizing it’s a two-step process. Plus, because the infographic will likely be shared (one study found that infographics shared on Twitter get 832% more retweets than other images or articles), it will generate more links to your original article—meaning more referral traffic and higher ranks.
Another reason accompanying content is important is that an infographic can’t convey a topic as in-depth as text can. By providing both an infographic and an article or blog post to go with it, marketers give customers the option to read both the infographic and the text or just focus on the infographic. Readers who want a general overview at a cursory glance can rely on the visual presentation, while more intrigued readers with more time can dig into the guts of the article.
Infographics have a wide variety of applications, from blogs to case studies to whitepapers and beyond—imagine how much more effective your sales presentation would be if you had a strong, well-designed visual to go alongside it. As businesses create reports and articles to convey information to the public, they can also have an infographic created to go along with it. The infographic can be used as an item of interest to draw readers in, inviting them to read more if they’d like.
Best of all, one infographic can be repurposed across a variety of platforms. A business can use it to create a blog post, write articles for publications, and generate long-form reports like whitepapers based on the information displayed in the same infographic. For businesses commissioning surveys and having infographics designed, this allows them to get more out of that work than they would have otherwise.
Infographics are a fun, visually appealing platform for providing information to consumers. Using graphics and high-impact information, a business can convey a thought or idea more quickly than it could be conveyed in text. When combined with high-quality content, infographics are changing the ways brands communicate with consumers.