30 Jun Infographics Are a Content Marketing Secret Weapon
I love an infographic. It forces a company to explain a topic simply and clearly. Combine that straightforward messaging with intentional design, and what do you get? A memorable piece of content marketing.
Well, as long as it’s done right. An infographic is a premium marketing asset, just like a website or meaty, research-backed report. It takes time, expertise, and money to create an infographic that people will remember and share.
How do I know this? Well, I am not an infographics expert, but my friend Brian is. His agency, NowSourcing, specializes in infographics that people will talk about.
Brian and I caught up recently, and I started prodding him with questions about infographics. I learned a lot, so I’m passing along notes from our conversation below.
As with so much in marketing, creating an infographic that people will talk about and remember is more complicated than you might think.
Four ways infographics can support content marketing
An infographic can help you explain, in a non-salesy way, what you do. This is incredibly helpful if the work you do is complex but delivers high value. (If clients can’t explain what you do until they wrap up a project with you, an infographic can do the heavy lifting.)
It can also challenge your audience to think differently about a topic or provide them with a better way to learn about a new topic. As Brian pointed out, so many people like to over-explain things using business jargon that’s meant for an insider. (Amen to that!) A good infographic uses plain English and introduces one concept at a time.
An infographic can help you reach new clients at the beginning of their discovery or sales journey. They’ll remember the infographic, retain information in it, and probably share it with others.
And let’s not forget that decision-makers, influencers, bloggers, and the media all find infographics interesting. If they publish, share and link back to your infographic, your website’s search ranking will improve.
Think big when deciding on an infographic topic
A lot of business leaders fail to think about the bigger story around their message, whether it’s related to a product, service, new brand, new launch, anticipated funding round. But those bigger stories are what yield the right topic for an infographic.
Brian told me about one his company did years ago. Their client, a startup, provided ebook analytics. Not super exciting on the surface, but they had data that showed which books did well by genre. That was the right topic, and the infographic exploded nearly overnight.
I loved Brian’s suggestion for finding an idea: If you stripped out everything and were only left with the infographic headline, would a journalist open it? And would they respond? If you answer yes to both questions, you have the right idea.
Now, you don’t have to create an infographic to get press. But journalists are very busy, and they are always chasing a new story. If your infographic headline will catch their attention, you know you’re onto something.
(By the way, Brian shared something really interesting with me that I hadn’t been paying attention to – probably because I am not in public/media relations. He said there have been some interesting tectonic shifts in the media.
(In November 2020, BuzzFeed bought the Huffington Post. Two weeks later, three-quarters of the staff were axed. This is just one example, and the consolidation of media publications is leaving companies with a small staff just as media consumption is at an all-time high.
(Journalists are grateful to be handed stories, but they don’t want a white paper. Food for thought.)
If you’re going to invest in an infographic, keep these three things in mind
Make sure you keep reading time between two and five minutes – and publish this info. People are busy, and they like to know how much time they’re going to spend with your infographic before they dive in (also true for blog posts, videos, and podcasts).
Leave your ego at the door. It’s not about who’s right or which idea is good. Make friends in the media and discuss ideas you have. They’ll tell you what will work, and they’ll tell you what they need.
Hire a professional (Brian was quick to point out that this is not a pitch!). Working with a graphic designer who doesn’t specialize in infographics will take longer, cost more, and probably won’t support your content marketing goals. Look for a company with a team of ideators, researchers, and designers (who are good at data visualization, typography, and illustrations) and a proven track record.
If you’re going to invest the time and money, do it right.