Infographics have been around for a while now, but not that many of us use them in digital marketing today. There’s a word on the block that they’ve passed the sell-by date. But don’t listen to the vile mouths. Get it right, and you may be the author of the next viral sensation.
What are infographics for?
So let’s start from the beginning. What do you actually use infographics for? Infographics can help you simplify complex information and present it visually in a fun and highly engaging way. They’re easier to digest and entertaining if done well. They’re used by all kinds of companies, from retailers to charities and even government institutions. Some say that infographics died back in 2014, but others take a different approach – there was just too many of them that it became harder to stand out of the crowd. But if they’re done well, they’re highly engaging and shareable. Lori R Taylor from Team Caffeine, states: “To this day, our infographics remain some of our greatest sources of traffic.”
So if you haven’t yet, we think it’s about time you jumped on board the infographic ship – here’s a simple 3-step-guide to help you navigate the journey to viral stardom.
Step 1 – Organise your data
You wouldn’t build a house without laying the foundations first, would you? The same applies to infographics. So before you start designing your first infographic, you need to decide on a clear idea of what kind of data you want to show, as well as who your target audience is. For instance, if you were a… I don’t know… marketing agency? you could create an infographic that shows the web browsing trends and click rates of millennials as opposed to generation X. Once you’ve decided on your data, you need to pull out those spreadsheets and load your analytics tabs, and get these organised in categories that you can display on your infographic.
Step 2 – Choose a design
Now, there’s a number of ways you can approach this, depending on your technical abilities.
Expert level – Photoshop
If you know how to use Photoshop, you’ll probably be ok creating an Infographic template on your own and you’ll have a good idea for the background image and colour scheme. But what you might struggle with is how to fit all the information in. Once you’ve plotted all your data onto your template, find an appropriate image or icon to represent each. For example, if you were showing how many miles your car has driven since last Sunday, you could Google ‘Car icon’ and stick it in there. It will probably take a few tries (and several coffee breaks) until you get that infographic right, but don’t give up!
Intermediate – GIMP
This free open source image editor is a little gem. It’s only a tiny step-down from Photoshop, incorporating tools like photo editing, fonts, colours and hand drawing. A word of caution though – if you’re not familiar with this software, then you may need to learn a fair amount. Then again, designing your first infographic could be just the challenge you need to boost your digital marketing skills! When you do, follow the same process as the one outlined above for Photoshop.
Absolute beginner – Canva, PiktoChart and other online tools
If you’ve never tried your hand at designing something, don’t despair. There’s plenty of free online tools available in the wild web plains, and they come packed with instructions, how-to-guides and templates, ready to be customised. Here’s a curated list of the 20 top online tools that will make creating infographics a walk in the park.
*Whatever your abilities, there’s one thing you need to bear in mind – stick to your brand colours and fonts, where possible. Of course, you want your infographic to stand out and become a viral hit. But you also want people to associate it with your business, so make sure it’s in line with your overall brand marketing guidelines.
Step 3 – Use a mix of text, data, images and quotes
The best infographics are the ones that present a variety of elements. It’s always nice to see a range of data, supported by some powerful quotes and appealing imagery. If your brand guidelines allow you to, don’t shy away from being funny either, like Contently’s contributor Andrey Popov has.
Contently’s contributor’s Andrey Popov’s take on the content hierarchy of needs in the field of digital marketing, published in The Content Strategist.
Feeling inspired yet? Then let us know how you get on by tagging your infographic on our Instagram page. And don’t forget – we’re a marketing agency who can design a range of marketing materials for all your business needs. Just sayin’.