How to create an infographic
Most infographics are about presenting potentially uninteresting or complex data in an interesting way. What statistics and information are available on your products and services that might interest your clients and readers? What would they find entertaining, educational or even controversial enough to read and share?
- Google Public Data
These resources can help you find the information to build an interesting story that speaks to your target audience.
When you’ve compiled your research, use design elements that contribute to the story and boil down complex ideas into simple charts, graphs and images. The point isn’t to blast your reader with a ton of information, but to simplify and beautify it.
Had this infographic about internet addiction been presented as a spreadsheet or even boring pie charts and bar graphs, it wouldn’t have been nearly as compelling as it is now with its clever blue and pink color scheme and its use of cute icons that represent so much without using words. This infographic is interesting, attractive and definitely worth sharing with your internet addicted friends.
Of course, infographics don’t have to be all statistics and graphs and such. It’s okay to create a fun infographic around a topic that doesn’t lend itself to that kind of data. Take this Cornhole Infographic for example. The publisher of this infographic simply turned a “Top Ten List” into an infographic with some fun cartoon characters and tongue-in-cheek one liners. It doesn’t provide a lot of information, but as an infographic, this simple list of backyard games is 832 times more likely to get shared across Twitter and other social networks.
Find other infographics you like and “borrow” their ideas. When you find one that grabs your attention and impresses you, determine what about it makes it special. Is it the powerful headline, the colorful graphs, the fonts and artwork, or maybe the content itself? Can you put your own twist on those elements and come up with an idea?
Build it yourself or hire an infographic designer?
If you’ve got the graphic design skills, go get ‘em cowboy. If you don’t, you can hire an infographic design company.
Companies like Visual.ly and TLA offer research, design and even distribution (which we’ll talk about momentarily) of your infographic starting at $1500. I haven’t used Visual.ly, but I know that at TLA, all you need is the seed of an idea and an example of an infographic you like, and they’ll take care of the rest. [Full disclosure, I work directly with TLA.]
You might also check out dribbble, a site that showcases graphic artists and designers. You can reach out to the ones you like and find out what they might charge to build your infographic.
Of course, if you’ve done the research, and have a structured idea, you’ve done a great deal of the hard work and are more likely to find someone with artistic skills who can turn your ideas into art . I’ve used cheapinfographic.com when I wanted my ideas brought to life.
Make it shareable.
When you place your infographic on your blog or website, include sharing buttons so that your readers can easily post the infographic to their Facebook or easily tweet it to their followers. Sure, they could take the time to copy and paste the URL, but by removing that step, they’re more likely to share your infographic. There are a lot of different options available that make this an easy add-on to your site. A popular option is ShareThis.
Include embed code. If a blogger can easily copy code onto their site that will automatically populate your infographic and link onto their site, all the better. Plus, if you design the embed code, you can choose the anchor text of your link. Do not include hidden links or use black hat strategies in your embed code. This is the kinda stuff that makes Google cranky. Using WordPress? Here’s a handy embed code generator.
Three ways to distribute your infographic.
There are a lot of sites that do nothing but feature and highlight infographics. Most will post your infographic for free if you just ask nicely. Here’s a pretty extensive list:
- Best Infographics
- Cloud Infographics
- Cool Infographics
- Daily Statistic
- I Heart Infographics
- Infographic Gallery
- Infographic Heaven
- Infographic Journal
- Infographic Love
- Infographic Post
- Infographic Site
- Infographics Archive
- Infographics Online
- Infographics Posters
- OMG Infographics
- Submit Infographics
- The Infographics
These can be good for traffic and social love, but one problem with these is that they aren’t category relevant. So while these are great for getting in front of infographic enthusiasts, they’re not necessarily going to put you in front of your potential clients and readers.
Find those sites where your potential clients spend their time. Let’s say you rent large outdoor tents for parties and have created an infographic about “The Top Ten Things to Plan for Your Outdoor Wedding” (Tent rental would obviously be on that list. See what I did there?)
Your ideal client is a bride or a wedding planner, right? What other websites might interest them? Sites about wedding dresses, destination weddings, catering or even jewelry? Yep. Find sites that are writing about these topics and who would be willing to post an infographic that is relevant to their readers. Offer to share your infographic on their site. Tell them how it will benefit their readers, and ask for that all important backlink in exchange. Is that backlink good for SEO? Yes. But it’s also great for actual traffic and real live potential customers.
Don’t have a lot of time to find, contact and persuade webmasters to post your infographic? TLA offers a service to distribute your infographic to relevant, authoritative publishers. [Full disclosure, I work directly with TLA.]
Of course, you’re going to post your infographic on Facebook and Google+. Then you’re going to want to Tweet the link and post it to your Pinterest and even your LinkedIn profile. Get that infographic into as many social circles as you can. Let the sharing begin!
If you can, reach out to big players in social media the same way you would webmasters. Share your infographic with them and encourage them to tweet it to their 50,000 followers or even Digg or StubleUpon it. There are even services that offer to do this for you too. Just be careful if the price seems too good to be true. $5 for a billion tweets? Really? Please don’t fall for that. You’ll just waste your $5 when that tweet gets lost in the great abyss of fake twitter accounts.
Finally, I’ll leave you with an infographic that sums up a lot of what I’ve been talking about. Here’s the “Why You Need an Infographic Infographic.”