Creating Awesome Infographics

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Creating Awesome Infographics That People Want to Read, What Tools to Use and Where to Share Them.

How to make an infographic

2014 will be the year to lead with analytics, and what better way to communicate (complex) data with a wide audience that daily processes 174 newspapers worth of information than with an infographic. Infographics blend the best of content, images and design to present deep data telling an interesting visual story that can potentially go viral.

According to Bit Rebels’ research comparing 500 of their latest published infographics with 500 latest traditional posts, the infographics significantly increased the site traffic and the shares, comments, likes, tweets and all other sorts of social interactions skyrocketed – these posts were retweeted 832% more than the regular text posts, had 746% more pageviews on StumbleUpon, and were shared 629% more than regular on LinkedIn. Crazy huh? 

Infographics Stats: (source: Graph.net)

  •  Over 22 million search results will be generated for the term “infographic” on Google.
  •  On averge, the traffic to a website increases by 12% after uploading an infographic.
  •  Over 87% of visitors read text placed on an infographic.
  •  Infographics enhance your business by 82% by creating brand awareness.
  •  Over 32% of all marketers agree an infographic makes you more relevant.
  •  Anything, be it content or statistics presented in an infographic will seem 53% more dynamic.
  •  Use of visualized information increased by 400% since 1990.
  •  The use of visualized data has enhanced 9900% on the net since 2007.
  •  Search volume for Infographics has increased by 800% between 2010 and 2012

Here are the basics to help you build your first infographic (yes, now anyone with a data set can make them):

First, Know Your Goals: Branding, Acquiring Customers, SEO, Traffic

What do you want to achieve with the infographic? Do you want to build a brand, find new customers, educate your readers, …? Knowing this will help you find the right approach. If it’s for branding, the infographic can be about making your products, or delivering your services for example. For SEO purposes you can collaborate with a related website and put together an infographic that they too would want to share and market. If your goal is to increase your traffic look for topics that would interest the social media world so more people would share it on different platforms. But you have to know what you are after to be able to make the right choice.

Be Relevant to Your Target Audience

Define who the people are that you are trying to reach, who do you want to see it, share it? You need to know who your audience is and what they are looking for to be able to produce a story that is relevant and resonates to them. Make sure that the topic connects with the readers you target.

Go for a Timely Topic

Great infographics are about something that’s current and trending. Blowing the dust out of old content will not engage any readers. Check out what’s latest in your industry, go through the news, stats, or even popular culture events to find inspiration. 

Focus on Something People Would Be Interested in Sharing

Focus on topics that are interesting to people, and that they also may want to share with others in their circles so you can multiply your hits. The content that goes viral usually plays on something that’s already being shared – people, places, current events – but with an original take on the subject. Maybe you can try to use something that’s popular in the public eye to tell a story adding different aspects of information and knowledge that your readers would want to share.

Also, make your title captivating. You need to draw in readers to your infographic first, so you can expect them to like it and share it.

Gather the Content/Data Needed for the Infographic

Once you know your subject you can start collecting the data that you will use as content for the infographic. Do your research so you can back up your story with facts and figures. This data can be from your own original posts and articles (if they fit the above criteria), or from third-party sources. In the second case, make sure to cite your sources as you would want them to cite you. You can either include them at the end of the infographic, or add a link that takes readers to the post you are using to publish the graphic where all individual stats and sources will be listed.

Choose the Template You Want

There are tons of sources you can use to create infographics, and later in the article I will list few of the currently most popular and creative tools. However, when customizing your graphic make sure to select a template that works for the type of content and data that you want to present so readers can easier follow the story.

Tell a Story

Think of your infographic as a story you are trying to tell at a party with friends – it needs to be interesting, have an effective narrative and rhythm, and it needs to be short. The same thing applies for your infographic. Create an engaging headline, add an attractive introduction, and connect the data with images so it would read like a visual magazine article. Stay relevant – the story should have a meaning. And don’t forget to finish the post with a strong summary because it is the last thing your audience will read.

Size Matters

The ideal horizontal width is 735 pixels. Do not go larger than this to avoid resizing. Keep it under 5000 pixels high to keep readers’ attention.  Make sure to compress your image before uploading to reduce load time.

So, What Are The Best Tools For Creating Your Own Infographics?

Piktochart

Piktochart is an amazing web-based tool that lets you drag and drop different visualization elements, shapes and images, simple lines, bars and pie charts, to create innovative infographics. You can try it for free and get access to few decent themes, but if you find it worth paying for, there are whole bunch more great graphics in the paid version. The yearly package is $14 a month, and their list of clients includes Red Bull and GE. This is a community of 500,000 users.

The infographics you create can be exported to PNG and JPG in either print or web quality, but if you are using the free version they will be branded by Piktochart.

Infogr.am

Infogr.am is another free and very popular platform for creating charts and infographics. There’s a built-in spreadsheet for easy data editing that lets you process raw data from imported XLS and CSV files, and create some really interesting displays like scatter charts, bubble graphs, tree maps and simple pies. You can also add your own images and video to make your infographic more interactive. When the graphic is finished you can publish it online, which makes it sharable and embeddable.

Infogr.am is now announcing the world’s first video infographic creator to be coming soon… Here’s where you can leave your email if you want to be among the first to know when they launch: http://infogr.am/video/. And also check out their introduction video.

Visual.ly

Visual.ly is really a one-stop place for creating data visualizations and infographics. With its community of half a million members, data analysts, visual designers and motion graphics artists, illustrators and journalists, you can get real help as well as inspiration from the tons of available visual eye-candy graphics. They are like matchmakers between the infoghraphics creators and the companies currently hungry for such data. The site’s project timeline component enables you to also track the progress and to make sure the deadlines and budget limits are met.

You can connect your account with Facebook and Twitter to let Visual.ly analyze your social data; you can create interesting Venn diagrams, or graphics that evaluate hashtags, feature Twitter showdowns. There are lots of possibilities for everyone here, and that’s expected considering their starting prices are around $1.50.

Easel.ly

Easel.ly is one more free, fun and simple tool to create infographics. If you have real data that you want presented in charts it may not be your best choice, but if you are more into conceptual visuals and storytelling you should definitely try it. There’s a modest selection of few vhemes (visual + themes) to start with, but you can drag and drop a bunch of icons, shapes, animals, landmarks, maps, edit and alter text, or upload your own artwork to completely customize your infographic. Once finished, you can download a web-quality version of the graphic as a JPG file. Easel.ly is currently in beta, but seems to work just fine.

InfoActive

Today, when readers don’t just want to read but to become part of the story too, a platform like InfoActive (though still in beta) is a huge plus. The tool lets you easily create interactive, responsive and mobile-friendly graphics and information-driven stories embedding live data to allow readers deep dive and explore your story while boosting the engagement. If you want to join the waiting list you better sign up with your email.

Venngage

Venngage is another great web-based tool for creating and publishing custom visualizations and infographics. There’s a free version with limited access to themes and templates, charts, icons, images and backgrounds, and those with premium accounts for $19 per month can add call to action widgets, buttons, coupons and links, as well as export their creations to PDF and PNG. Aside beautiful and smart infographics, the site also offers social media analytics packages to track the performance of your social campaigns.

3 Free places to share you Infographic you may not have considered.

1. Slideshare - The Slideshare player detects an infographic at upload, displays it for best viewing and includes it in the infographic directory. Infographics need to be saved and uploaded in PDF format. We used a free online tool to convert our jpgs to pdfs. 

2. Infographics Directories - Here is a list of online directories where you can share your infographic and monitor traffic. We use visual.ly and you can check out our profile here.

3. Press Releases - A press release is simply an announcement prepared for distribution to the media. It is a fantastic way to generate tons of free publicity. Not sure how to write a press release? View our guide. 

4. ScribdScribd is a self- publishing platform where you can not only publish articles, but also share files, like infographics. 

Supernova Tip: Optimize your image captions and metadata to enhance their performance!

We’ve recently introduced infographics into our content marketing strategy and are jumping up and down (for real) with the results. I think you’ll find they’re worth your time and effort. Good luck with your visuals! As always, if you want to ask or suggest something feel free to drop a comment below.

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About Nancy Bain

Our services include building optimized, functional and self managed WordPress websites, Nova Scotia social media training and consulting, interactive full screen high definition virtual tours with lead capture and print advertising. For most of our clients, we are their one stop solution for all things marketing, branding and small business development related.

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