Visual content isn’t the only thing that can make or break an infographic. While many folks focus on the overall design, all too often they forget one crucial element: the copy.
Indeed, your work will go to waste if your infographics lack substance and clarity. Those are major turnoffs for most readers, leaving the impression that you don’t care about the details.
But I get it, not everyone feels confident wielding words! If you’re in this boat and need guidance on writing infographic copy, you’ve come to the right place.
Keep reading for tips to help you compose your own infographics like a pro. Plus, templates you can add text to in a snap. But first, let’s review where you might use an infographic to communicate.
Click to jump ahead:
- Where can you use infographics?
- Why great copy is the key to great infographics
- A step-by-step guide to writing compelling infographic copy
- How to guarantee high-quality infographic copy
- How to get faster at writing infographics
- Create excellent infographics with these proven writing tips
Where can you use infographics?
Infographics have endless use cases and communication potential. Anywhere you need to A) boost information retention and B) make complex ideas digestible, can benefit from these visual aids.
For example, infographics can be used to…
- Provide a quick overview of a topic for work or school
- Explain a complex process during training
- Display research findings or survey data in a blog post or white paper
- Summarize a long article or report for meetings or content marketing
- Compare and contrast multiple options within an email newsletter
- Raise awareness about an issue or cause on social media
Just to get meta with it, here’s an overview in infographic form:
Why great copy is the key to great infographics
While pictures are useful, they only tell part of the story. In other words, graphics, icons and images can be interpreted in many ways if you don’t supplement them with (con)text.
This defeats the purpose of using infographics to communicate ideas, since their power relies on creating strong connections between images and text. It also leaves your audience looking like this:
The bottom line: you absolutely must supplement visuals with equally compelling infographic copy.
A step-by-step guide to writing compelling infographic copy
While some of the same techniques for writing engaging blog posts apply, writing infographic copy isn’t an identical process. To write copy that works for infographics specifically, follow these tips:
1. Understand the goal and topic of your infographic
Before you start drafting anything, be clear on the aim of your infographic.
This isn’t limited to choosing the kind of infographic to use (i.e. informational infographics, timeline infographics, comparison infographics etc.) or researching the topic itself — you want to understand your target audience’s point of view too. This will impact your choice of words and whether to add more details.
For example, if you’re explaining a complex concept — say, a new piece of technology — to a broad audience, you should limit the use of technical terms. If you need to use these types of terms, simplify and add context to ensure your message is understood.
Your tone should also be consistent with the theme of your infographic. If it’s for professional purposes, it should sound like it.
If it’s playful, on the other hand, adjust your writing style to match.
2. Consider your infographic design layout
If you’re working with a designer, your infographic layout may be the last thing to arrive on your desk. But if you’re creating your own infographic (like when using Venngage infographic templates), be sure to take a quick look-see at the different layout options first.
Checking over the space will help you get a sense of your ideal word count per section and subheading. This saves you from having to revise your content down the road. (Three cheers for efficiency!)
3. Captivate readers with your headline
First impressions count — so make your headline clear, concise and compelling. (Think of all the blog articles that have inspired you to click based on title alone; that same logic applies to your infographics.)
One approach is to use numbers. This is a time-tested technique that hooks viewers by promising material that’s specific and important, priming them to be hungry for answers.
Another reason why numbers are great? They provide a clear, digestible structure that’s easy to skim through. After all, listicle-style posts are popular for a reason.
Another way to write an engaging headline is to employ an essential copywriting tactic: communicate the benefit your audience will receive from reading.
Here’s an example:
That’s why it’s important to know your audience and what they’re really after.
A word of advice: make sure your content delivers on your headline’s promises. That is, don’t use clickbait-y headline.
While you might attract attention initially, readers are bound to lose interest once they realize you’re not delivering on the initial promise. What’s worse, they’ll question your credibility as an authoritative source moving forward.
4. Craft a solid introduction
After setting yourself up for success with an intriguing headline, your introduction should offer a concise explanation of the content to follow.
The amount of words you’ll need will vary depending on your audience, topic and the space provided. Just make sure to start with a quick summary of what the infographic is about, why it matters and anything else your audience should know before reading. (In content writing, we call this a hook.)
The above example does this quite effectively. It’s easy to read, and you know what you’ll get from the infographic at a glance.
5. Be straightforward and avoid jargon
I know, I know. I touched on this earlier. But it’s worth reiterating, since it’s a trap many fall into. Especially when you’re discussing a familiar topic or trying to conserve space!
But again, if your terms are too technical for your audience, you’ll lose them. And you’ll also lose sight of the fact infographics are meant to provide a quick overview without requiring additional information.
If you have any doubts over whether your viewers will “get” it, go back to the drawing board and find new ways to simplify those complex ideas. It can also be helpful to share your copy with a team member who’s not familiar with the topic to see if anything is unclear.
And of course, if you have a copywriter on your team, get them to take a peek before distribution.
6. Don’t forget to label your visuals
While labels aren’t always productive for society at large, they darn sure are in your infographics. In fact, they’re integral. Repeat after me: visual aids are only helpful if your audience can understand them.
Imagine if there were no labels in this infographic template example:
Even though icons are used, there would still be way too much room for interpretation.
So whenever you include graphs, charts or other statistical information, ensure they’re labeled properly so viewers can comprehend them. This is a basic data visualization principle; your charts and graphs will be a waste of space otherwise!
7. Use subheadings wisely
Subheadings aren’t just easy on the eyes. Aside from adding line breaks and breaking up blocks of texts, they’re an essential writing tool to engage and inform readers.
That’s because most people don’t look at infographics in a linear fashion. Instead, they’ll scan the page first according to its visual hierarchy, and they’ll look at the subheadings for clues. If the subheadings are interesting enough, they’ll read the rest.
So use clear subheadings that spark curiosity and add value!
Check out this template below for an example:
Even without reading the body, you’ve already learned a couple of tips that make you curious to know more.
Once you’re done writing your infographic copy, you’re not out of the woods yet. Keep reading for two essential tips that’ll help you finish strong.
How to guarantee high-quality, effective infographic copy
Before you publish or share your infographic, use these best practices to ensure everything is up to snuff.
Use software to check for grammar and spelling mistakes
Eyes can be deceiving… especially, if you’ve been staring at the same page for a while. Fact is, even if you read over your copy multiple times, it’s likely you’ll miss some errors. (Just human nature, nothing personal.)
A good solution is to use online proofreading assistants or software to screen your text for grammar or spelling mistakes. Again, this doesn’t mean you suck at self-editing. Instead, think of it as taking a look over your work with fresh eyes.
Which brings me to my next point…
Ask someone to take a second look
I’ll say it again: fresh eyes make a copywriter wise! If you can, get someone to read over your work. Ideally, that person would represent your target demographic. (If they don’t, just be sure to explain who your infographic is for before they have a look.) This helps you get an idea of how your audience will interpret the text.
If you have a pool of loyal clients or customers, it’s a smart move to ask for their thoughts and advice. This is a win-win situation: you’ll gain insights to inform your writing, and they’ll appreciate your effort to get them involved.
How to get faster at writing infographics
The best way to produce infographics quickly is to start with a pre-made, editable template. That way, you won’t have to wait around on designers or create one from scratch just to see the layout (read: space) you have to work with. Instead, you can focus on what really matters: writing infographic copy that engages.
With Venngage’s Infographic Maker and huge selection of easy-to-edit templates, you can swap out the text (or any design asset, for that matter) in no time, and iterate as needed.
All it takes is three steps:
- Create an outline for your infographic copy. (Read this blog for tips.)
- Pick an infographic layout that suits your topic and audience from our library of professionally-designed templates.
- Sign-up for a free Venngage account.
- Now that you’ve got a great starting point, it’s time to add your text and make it totally your own. Customize the template by swapping in your copy to each pre-made section. Then, if you want, continue personalizing by adding images, icons and colors with Venngage’s intuitive drag-and-drop editor.
Cue: that was easy.
Create excellent infographics with these proven writing tips
Your infographic communications are a visual representation of your brand — so don’t waste time creating poorly written, unhelpful infographics that only hurt your image. Instead, use these tips to craft captivating infographic copy and maximize the value of your designs.
And remember: Venngage gives you the freedom to focus on your written content by dramatically reducing design time. Check out our huge selection of professionally designed infographic templates, and start producing effortlessly engaging communications today.