The popularity of infographics and content marketing has surged to record highs in the last four years, and there are no signs of slowing down.
Content marketing has proven to be one of the most efficient ways of engaging with users and converting visitors to paying customers. Global brands such as Gerber, Cisco and Virgin have had remarkable success by making infographics a cornerstone in their marketing campaigns.
In order to streamline the infographic creation and marketing process, I have put together a guide that will help you research, plan and create your own infographics, and promote them when they’re done.
1. Choose a Successful Topic
With seemingly infinite subjects available to cover, choosing a topic seems like a simple task. The trick, however, is choosing a topic that people in your niche are seeking. This first step is critical in making your hard work pay-off.
Choose Trending Topics
When a subject is relevant to your audience and researched properly, trending stories are a great place to start. Provided the timing is right, trending topics are the most likely to go viral. Check Google News and Twitter for popular topics that would be well suited to your audience. I would also recommend subscribing to authority blogs and following industry influencers on social media to stay up to date.
Find Your Inspiration
Researching infographics that have gone viral is a great way to find out which topics are popular and most likely to get social media shares. Sites like Flickr and Pinterest have listed thousands of popular designs to help inspire you. Use these platforms to search for relevant infographics. You can analyze their data, compare designs and look at social media statistics to get a better idea of what works. Once you found a popular piece, build out a more thoroughly researched version. The better infographic will always win.
Ask Your Audience
Sometimes the best way to find out what people want is to ask them. Seems obvious, but it can be a simple way to find topics that resonate with your readers. Analyze your user engagement on Google Analytics, or simply conduct a survey on your site by using a tool like Qualaroo. It’s easy to implement and provides answers directly from your users.
2. Collect Your Own Data
Data is arguably the most important aspect of creating a marketable infographic. While there are other vital factors, the research serves as the foundation for the entire piece. Finding the necessary data is not always easy, and gaining access to industry reports is often too costly.
Conduct Your Own Surveys
Creating surveys to collect your own data makes your content unique, and gives you the option of publishing a press release through news sources. People love statistics, and conducting your own survey will allow you to collect data that is catered to your content and narrative. Make the survey short enough to entice users to participate. I would even recommend offering a prize or discount code to incentivize the participants.
Use University Databases
University libraries have some of the most expansive archives of data, and many of the leading schools are making the information available online. This is an easy way to search for well researched data, absolutely free. You can also check Google for a University’s statistics department and ask for access to their published articles, they will be happy to share.
Here are three of my favorites:
Cite Your Sources
Any well researched infographic will have a section at the bottom of the image that cites their sources. This will tell you what sites and publications were used in finding the data, and give you a place to start researching.
3. Design Your Infographic
Not everybody is a designer with access to a team of rockstars to help with their infographic. This does not mean you cannot design great content. Thanks to intuitive DIY tools like Venngage, anybody can create an appealing design. You can start your design by using one of their beautiful pre-designed templates. This will save you hours of work and hundreds of dollars in designer fees.
While you create your own infographic, keep in mind these 3 fundamental rules of infographic design.
Keep It Simple
Simplicity is part of what makes infographics so popular. Putting complicated data into a simple and visual format, allows readers to review and digest the information easily. Maintaining simplicity throughout the design will eliminate any distractions and direct the focus to the flow of the data. Creating an overly complex design will overwhelm and deter users from consuming the content.
Limit Your Text
While readers want to learn about the data that is presented, you need to make it easy to understand. Try to limit the amount of text you include and depict the data with simple and bold visuals. Any text that you do include, should be big and legible to make it easy to read in any format.
Don’t Make It Too Long
The most popular infographics, thoroughly cover an interesting topic with visual data. However, many marketers make the mistake of producing pieces that are too long. With all this new content floating around the internet, the average reader’s attention span is short. This mean you need to get to the point and communicate your message concisely. Microsoft conducted a study that showed the average user’s attention span is only 8 seconds, so try to limit the length of your infographic to 8000 pixels.
4. Share and Promote Your Infographic
The goal of most content marketers is to produce infographics that go viral and help build awareness around their brand. Simply creating and publishing a great infographic does not guarantee success; you need to promote your new masterpiece to get the ball rolling.
Optimize For Social Media
Before launching your promotional campaign, you need to place your infographic into a blog post on your website, along with a write up on the topic. Publish it in an embeddable format with prominent social media sharing buttons. Once the post is ready, you need to create a promotion plan for your chosen social networks.
In order to maximize engagement, you need get the timing right. 1pm to 3pm is said to be the best time to share your content for maximum views. Create a four-day schedule, and aim to publish posts toward the weekend and afternoons. Repeat the roll-out after day four.
Publish on Directories
Although directories have lost their power when it comes to SEO, they are still very useful when it comes to content promotion. It is important to aim for quality over quantity. Many content marketers will search through the most popular infographic directories to find fresh content for their next article. This makes directories an ideal platform to showcase your work to marketers and bloggers that are ready to share your content.
These are four of my favourite directories:
Leverage Your Network
You’ve spent time and resources on creating a valuable infographic. Now it is time to call in some favors from your network. Contact friends, partners and influencers within your network to expand your reach on social media. Make sharing the infographic easy, so people you contact can help you promote the new piece effortlessly. Provide them with the embed code in your email and be sure to follow up until you receive a response.
Manual outreach is a time consuming process, but the results provide a significant boost to your campaign. Getting your infographic in front of decision makers, by reaching out to authoritative blogs, is one of the most effective ways of reaching a new audience. Put together a list, of at least 30 sites, that could benefit from your infographic and send them a quick email. And again, provide them with an embed code to simplify the process.
The benefits of using infographics in your marketing campaign are well documented. Social media posts that include visual content are shared and retweeted 35% more compared to posts with no images. This makes visual content a must when it comes to marketing your brand.
Now that you have all the knowledge and resources to create your own infographic, I suggest you start the process. Have fun and good luck!