A good portion of this blog post was originally posted on the Market Domination Media blog. I am a big believer in the power of infographics, and feel strongly that businesses should be using them in their content marketing strategy.
What is an infographic and why are they so popular?
An infographic is a way to present information, data, and knowledge in a visual manner. They have been popular for several years and have become extremely popular in the past several months as a "safe" search engine optimization method. The recent Google Hummingbird and Penguin 2.1 updates have resulted in many SEO professionals turning to more "natural" link bait methods.
The Google algorithm change history shows that they are working hard to eliminate spammy link building methods and reward those sites that are receiving natural links and social signals. Infographics are a great way to engage readers because they draw attention and they result in a lot of social sharing. A well thought out and well-designed infographic will be shared across social media platforms and get shared on relevant websites. This is the natural link building that Google loves to see, and they reward websites accordingly.
Aside from the SEO benefits of infographics, they also do a great job at building brand awareness and getting a specific message across. Consumers do not want to read a lot of information and it is a fact that the majority of people absorb information better if it is presented in a visual manner. Businesses are using infographics as a way to engage their target market and drive traffic to their website. After all, isn't the point of SEO and online marketing to drive laser targeted traffic to a website that results in conversions? When an infographic is done correctly with the right content, design, and layout it can provide the serious return on investment (ROI) that every business owner desires.
A successful infographic needs to be...
UNIQUE: There are many infographics that look the same and consumers will not engage with an infographic if it has the same look as the other 2,346 that they have seen. There are a lot of infographic template programs out there that allow the user to input information into a template and it spits out an infographic. These are easy to spot and they lack the special element that draws consumers to them. NEVER use a template because your customer base can easily pick them out. Sure, the price might be a lot less than a custom solution, but the results will reflect that. Not only will consumers not interact with your template infographic, but also websites will not share it because it is not unique. Remember, the goal of the infographic is to get consumer interaction as well as other websites to share it.
SIMPLE: The trick to creating a good infographic is to make it visually appealing while keeping it simple at the same time. If there is too much going on many people will lose focus and they will not get the "message" you are trying to get across. This is visual marketing at its finest and a great opportunity to attract a whole different customer base. Many people try to be impressive with ridiculous statistics and data, but that can sometimes backfire.
CREATIVE PACKING A PUNCH: This is where the design comes into play and it needs to punch the reader in the face when they look at it. Kind of like getting a big bucket of ice cold water to the face. "Hey YOU! Check this out!" It takes a very special level of creativity to design an effective infographic. Just like in every industry there will be good designers and there will be great designers. This has everything to do with the content and message as much as it does with the actual design. The combination of these elements results in the success or failure of the creativity.
MINIMAL TEXT & HIGH IMPACT: The point of an infographic is to use a visual medium to capture an audience and create a buzz and gain some traction. So, do not kill it with too much text. You want the reader to take a glance and immediately be interested in learning more. If there is too much text to digest it will push a lot of potential views and readers away before they even have a chance to find out what your message is about. Use hard hitting factual data and high impact graphics to deliver the one-two punch!
EASILY SHAREABLE: Infographics are great because they are often shared across social media and other websites. Well, this won't happen unless you make them easily shareable! It is amazing how many businesses will spend thousands of dollars on an infographic and post it to their site and expect it to become social without giving their readers the ability to share it! Once it is posted on the website the business should share it across their social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc) and then make sure that the post has a social sharing widget installed allowing the readers to quickly share it across their social profiles with a click of their mouse. Another good idea is to provide the html code so other websites can display the infographic with a link back to the blog post. This is great link bait because websites benefit from content that is engaging, and you benefit by gaining natural links.
The benefits of using a infographic content and design service are numerous and as a business owner you should really consider adding it to your content marketing strategy.