Infographics as an Effective Content Marketing Tool
In this era known as the Information Age, we are presented with thousands of digital data every single day. Naturally, we only pick and choose the data that are most useful and relevant to us and disregard the rest. If you were to provide information of your own, therefore, you’ll have to make sure your target audience deems it relevant, useful, and interesting enough not to disregard. You’ll have to come up with creative ways to present your data. In the world of SEO and content marketing, infographics has been identified as one of the most effective ways of online marketing.
What are Infographics?
Simply put, an infographic is a set of images and short lines of text that’s meant to quickly convey a lengthy message or complex data. The message could be an explanation of a product or service, a set of statistics, a presentation of industry developments, or anything you want your audience to know. The fact that it is visually intensive makes it compelling and keeps it from being boring. It is considered among the most efficient ways of telling a story through a combination of text, images, and design.
How Effective are Infographics?
Research has revealed that text alone can be very useful because it allows readers to analyze concepts deeply. However, it is limited by the reader’s ability to process the information presented, thus making it an imperfect form of communication. Graphics, for its part, is useful because it is a lot easier for most people to understand. However, it is limited by the fact that abstract concepts cannot be easily converted into images. When you combine these two forms of communication, you can effectively benefit from their strengths while cancelling out their weaknesses.
Statistics further show that you increase the chance of people actually reading your data by 30 times when you present it as an infographic as opposed to sharing the information in a text article. The reason for this is that people have a visual nature, thus making visual presentations seem more attractive. Further proof of this is that the term “infographic” was used on more than 300,000 search queries in 2012 and in the month of March alone the term was tweeted more than 56,000 times. How’s that for being effective?
This example of an infographic effectively depicts the importance of videos in Internet marketing with just a few choice words and graphics. Flickr.com photo by JenTravelsLife
Why Make Infographics Part of Your Content Marketing Strategy?
We’ve already established that infographics are indeed very effective in conveying messages and that should be reason enough to convince you to include them in your content marketing strategies, right? Well, some of you may need further convincing, as you may be wondering exactly what makes infographics so effective. What draws people to it and what’s in it for you?
- Attractive – As mentioned above, people find infographics very attractive. Take some time to observe people and you’ll realize that they have a natural love for facts and figures, especially when these facts and figures are presented in full color through graphics and images. Can you remember the last time you had to pore through several pages of pure text? Simply looking at those pages can be enough to give you a headache. When you’re presented with data in full-color images, however, poring through facts and figures becomes a lot more enjoyable, doesn’t it? Well, your target audiences are people, too, so they’re likely to feel the same way.
- Easy Viewing and Scanning – Did you know that 90% of information that enters the human brain is visual in nature? This means our brain is designed such that we are able to process a lot more data when they’re presented visually rather than in textual form.
Imagine yourself observing people at a buffet. You will soon realize that those who place a little bit of everything on their plate end up eating more than those who place an entire serving of selected foods on theirs. In most cases, those who heaped food on their plate won’t even be able to finish their first servings whereas those who tasted everything first will go for second or even third servings of the foods they liked best.
In the same way, when you bombard people with facts and figures in a full text article with detailed analysis, most of them will likely go to another site without finishing your article. When you present your data in an infographic, however, people are more likely to appreciate the tidbits of information and will most probably come back for more.
- Easily Embeddable – When you design, develop, and publish an infographic on your site, you can make it easily available to others via an embed code. This is a very effective way of build organic links from authority sites to yours. As you’re probably well aware of, links of good quality can offer a lot of benefits in terms of increasing brand awareness, extending your reach, and SEO.
- Global Coverage – With online publishing, you have the chance to reach a global audience in an instant. This means a person on the other side of the planet has the opportunity to view your infographic the very minute you publish it! This is something you can never achieve with traditional methods of publishing.
The real value of this global coverage, however, lies in the fact that every person who views your data has the capability to share it to other people with just a few clicks of the computer mouse. The fact that an infographic is a lot more attractive than text articles increases the chance of people wanting to share it with their online circle. The possibility of your content going viral is therefore doubled or maybe even tripled with an infographic as compared to full text content.
- Brand Awareness – Whenever you create an infographic, don’t forget to display your brand name and logo. Make sure your branding is positioned such that people are sure to see it. It is generally a good idea to place your branding elements towards the end of the infographic because someone who has enjoyed the content is likely to glance automatically at the end logo to see who published it, but is less likely to scroll back up to seek that information.
Just as the goal of an infographic is to make it easier for your audience to grasp your message, you should also make it easy for them to see who you are. The more interesting and useful infographics they see from you, the likelier they are to patronize your products/services and even recommend it to others.
- Aids with SEO – We have already mentioned that infographics are much likelier to become viral than pure text content. This viral nature encourages people to link to your site, thus increasing the chance of Google and other search engines indexing your web pages. The more people link to your site (particularly from authority sites), the more value search engines will place on your site. As you know, more value translates to better optimization and higher SERP rankings.
- Increased Site Traffic – Influencers in your industry will be compelled to link to your infographics or have them embedded on their own sites owing to their viral nature. Your online audience will be compelled to click through to your site in hopes of finding more infographics and other content that are just as interesting. All of these activities are bound to increase the number of visitors to your website and also increase the frequency of visits. Ultimately, such increase in traffic can lead to more people trusting and patronizing your brand.
- Establishes Expertise – Infographics may be presented as tidbits of information, but they require a significant amount of research. The more people view your infographics, the more they will realize how much effort went into its preparation. You will therefore be able to effectively showcase your knowledge and expertise in the niche. This should help you build a reputation as an authority in the field.
How Do You Create a Truly Effective Infographic?
Now that you’re aware of exactly how infographics can help you grow your business, the next step in the learning process is, of course, to learn how you can ensure that your infographics do what they’re meant to do. Here are a few principles you need to keep in mind when creating your infographics:
There Is Value in Uniqueness
As more people recognize the value of infographics as a content marketing tool, more businesses have started using them in their content marketing campaigns. This is why you need to make sure each infographic you create has a unique twist and a different flavor, even when you’re talking about an issue or topic that everyone else in the industry is discussing.
Let’s say you’re talking about Google’s latest algorithm update, the Penguin 2.0. Instead of showing the same old Google logo with a penguin drawing to introduce the update, you could show a picture of a real penguin, say, sliding on ice. If you want to show how the Penguin 2.0 has affected the rankings of various websites, you should veer away from the usual graphical interpretation. You could perhaps depict a penguin acting like Pacman, eating away at site rankings. These techniques show a fun side to your brand and make your infographics a lot more interesting.
There Is Beauty in Simplicity
Making your infographic unique and interesting doesn’t necessarily mean you have to include as many details as you can. In fact, having too many details can end up overwhelming your audience such that they decide to seek information elsewhere. When you create an infographic, try not to use too many images or too much color. You’d also want to avoid using designs that are too loud or too crowded. Keep things clean and simple, and make sure all images in your infographic carry a similar color scheme.
Less Is more
This adage holds true where text in an infographic is concerned. Just as you need to keep your images clean and simple, you should also keep your text short and sweet. You need to learn the art of delivering your message in as few words as possible. If you’re a regular Twitter user, you shouldn’t find this task too difficult. It may be a good idea to set a standard for yourself when creating text for your infographics. If Twitter has a 140-character limit, you may want to limit text for each image in your infographic to 100 characters. This may require a bit of trial and error, but you’ll soon find the combination that works best for you and the time and effort you spend on the task will surely be worth it.
It’s also a good idea to write tweetable versions of the statistics provided within the infographic at the bottom of your content so users can easily share it on Twitter. Going back to the sample infographic posted above, you could write these statements at the bottom: “Video now accounts for 50% of all mobile traffic” and “Video is 53% likelier to get top ranking on Google than text” and then place a “tweet this” link beside each statement so users can help make your content go viral.
Creativity and Boldness Are Key
I know, I know. We just said you need to keep things simple. So what do we mean when we say creativity and boldness are essential to the success of your infographics as a content marketing tool? Well, if you are creative enough, you can be both bold and simple at the same time. Being bold simply means making your message obvious to every single person who views the infographic. The infographic also has to be creative enough to attract a person’s attention such that the obvious message will be seen.
When creating text, for example, you could choose a fairly common font such as Arial for the sake of simplicity. To make your message obvious, you could then highlight the most important keywords in the text. To showcase your creative genius, you could use shapes and images in lieu of some letters. Thus, instead of simply writing the word “Penguin,” you could replace the letter “i” with a little penguin with prominent eyes to signify the algorithm update’s focus on finding and penalizing link-building tactics.
There’s an Art to Publishing
Publishing your infographic isn’t as simple as posting it on your website or official blog. You also have to take your audience into consideration. If they like your content enough to share it with their friends, will they be able to do so without any hassle? You have to make sure the answer to this question is a resounding YES! You can only feel the real impact of an infographic when people are freely able to share it with others.
The next time you publish an infographic, don’t forget to include those little “share” buttons that allow your audience to pass the message on in just two easy clicks. There are very few people with enough patience to go through a series of clicks just to share information online, so be sure to limit the forwarding process to two clicks.
Infographics can indeed be very powerful content marketing tools. The key is in making sure your infographics are informative, relevant, fresh, entertaining, and easily sharable. With the above tips in mind, you should be able to launch a more successful content marketing campaign.
And of course, creating and publishing an infographic won’t be marketing without promoting it. So make sure to read our article on how to promote an infographic.