By Diane Saeger
Want to engage more readers? When it comes to sharing complicated information, your readers might sure appreciate an eye-catching graphic over exhaustive text.
Infographics are visual images—like a chart or diagram—that help you simplify data and present it in a captivating way.
But what makes a great infographic, how do you design it, and then how do you share it with the world? Here are five steps to creating your first infographic:
Step 1: Find a Great Subject Matter
Like good writing, a powerful infographic starts by knowing your audience and knowing your subject matter. Who are your readers and what do they care about most? What’s a topic or complicated subject that you want to convey in a strong, captivating way? And how informed are you on this subject? If you’re not well educated and inspired by the topic, your audience won’t be either. So before you ever start designing your infographic, spend some time brainstorming topics—the same way you would think of blog content to create.
Step 2: Start Data Mining
Once you’ve found the subject matter, then it’s time to bulk up your message. Start digging online and—if you feel crazy—through books and magazines, researching reputable sources for facts and figures you may want to include in your infographic. Then, check and double-check the information. Even the swankiest, most vibrant infographic will mean nothing if the data’s wrong. And finally, be sure to keep a record of all your sources. You’ll want to credit them in your infographic and give your readers easy on-ramps to find the same information you explored in your research.
Step 3: Create Your Short Form Content
Now it’s time to start assembling and refining all that data into your infographic content messaging. But unlike a blog or webpage content, don’t focus on bulking up your infographics with 2,000+ words. In fact, Siege Media studied the science behind infographics and discovered the most popular ones included an average of just 396 words. So, like this paragraph, keep it short to make it easier for your audience to digest.
Step 4: Get Designing
By far, this is the hardest step of the infographic creation process, and the reason many businesses don’t even attempt to create their first infographic. And if you don’t have or know a graphic designer who has the skills to morph words into graphics, it can be challenging to create a powerful infographic that grabs people’s attention.
But don’t fret. There are some good tools available now to help even the most graphically inept person create a great infographic. Two of my favorite resources are Piktochart and HubSpot. Each one offers free templates to swap out your facts and figures, add in your own graphics, or simply inspire you to create your own.
And if you do decide to create your own from scratch, be sure to choose a consistent color scheme—Siege Media found blue to be popular—and make sure to save the finished file as small as possible, without losing quality. (Don’t get me started on my pet peeve about slow load times.)
Step 5: Put it Where People Can Find It
Now that you’ve spent all this time creating a strong, compelling infographic that the world’s been missing, it’s time to start sharing it. But be smart about how you distribute it. Shotgunning it out won’t help you reap the ROI you desire. Instead, take some time to create a solid distribution plan—the same way you would for your other content marketing pieces. Find the right outlets and right times to share your infographic. After all, you spent all this time creating it, so make sure people see it.