Any content marketing is only as effective as the content. Mindlessly creating mountains of content may get temporary success, but it doesn’t necessarily fulfil your business goals and your marketing requirements. While there are multiple criteria to decide what type of content you should be creating, based on your content marketing strategy, certain types of content have their own place in the universe of content marketing, and become a smart choice for fulfilling certain marketing objectives.
Why Should You Use Infographics?
Some common content marketing goals are driving traffic to your site, SEO, collecting leads, list building, building your brand, building brand authority in your vertical, helping close a sale, etc. The goals are usually based on the buyer journey and where content marketing fits into it. Infographics are a good content choice in many scenarios in the buyer journey, and marketing goals.
Fulfil Multiple Content Marketing Goals
Infographics, by virtue of their diverse uses & flexibility to convey information in a meaningful way, find application in fulfilling most of these content marketing goals.
- Lead collection: When created masterfully, infographics can inspire action from prospects, like requesting a demo of your product, based on the message conveyed by the infographic. Compelling messages on infographics are an important factor in getting qualified leads.
- List Building: Infographics are one of the best ways to build your list. As opposed to many other types of content, most people really like seeing infographics. They are read quickly, understood even more quickly, and convey the message more creatively. When you have a good library of infographics pertinent to your vertical, it is far easier to grow your list.
- SEO: Infographics are good for SEO, both as text (when created in web format) as well as graphic. Image searches rank infographics independently, and hence, they add to your SEO rankings. They also improve the time on site of your website visitors, hence adding to your SEO rankings.
- Branding: Building your brand image, voice, tone, position, can be achieved via infographics which convey your unique story, combined with your messaging and design style. When it comes to branding, visuals are far more effective than text. 90% of all the sensory information sent to the brain is visual. Infographics add up in this 90% as opposed to text-based content.
Content Marketing goals are not limited to these, but these are some of the most common content marketing goals. The relevance of infographics in these scenarios illustrates their versatility in increasing the ROI of your content marketing.
Visual Content Meets Interactive Content
Visual content and interactive content are content types which have a wide array of uses, and appeal to viewers of all demographics. They are a refreshing break from walls of text, and from the monotony of reading poorly differentiated text over and over again. They add a layer of differentiation to the core message of your digital presence. Visual and interactive content is far more seen and read than written text, and an easier means to communicate ideas – from small ideas like what people like to eat in different regions, to very big ideas like the damage caused by World War II.
Infographics are a combination of visual and interactive content. When created as web embeds, they serve a function beyond merely visual – they allow the user to interact and see “tooltips” with additional comments or information. Some infographics also show further statistics or data based on the input entered by the user. This makes infographics unique in their value-add, as the content is way beyond just “informing,” but is interactive and directly relevant to the user.
In many cases, infographics are the neat way of presenting data which is otherwise overwhelming. Many numbers and figures are just that to people – numbers. They don’t carry meaning beyond being just one more number. Infographics, when made cleverly, illustrate what that number really means or implies. For example, saying that 6 million Jews died in the Holocaust may sound like just another figure. But saying that this is enough people to fill 100 Olympic size stadiums, suddenly adds weight to that figure. Infographics present such visualizations of data in a digestible and creative way.
Mix And Match With Other Content Types
Infographics are the most unique and flexible content type, in that they can be easily mixed and matched with other content types, as well as have an independent existence and utility.
Infographics can (and should) be used in whitepapers and case studies, where they give a good visual understanding of heavy data. Unlike some other long form content, whitepapers and case studies are intended for a highly sophisticated, hyper targeted audience. They convey research and analysis. But, at the same time, they are intended for the purpose of marketing. Infographics make these content types more lightweight and better suited for marketing, without diluting the depth of the research gone into the work.
Blog posts, guest posts, emails all benefit from infographics. As per Pearson research, 65% of the population are visual learners – they process visual information far more easily than written content. The visual breaks afforded by infographics also make for easy reading of the same content.
Social media content is a content type on its own, which requires special attention, and cannot be limited to sharing existing blog posts. To be successful on social media, the shared content should interest, excite or trigger the reader immediately, else it gets lost behind a stream of posts in the reader’s timeline. In this scenario, where much of other content often struggles to get eyeballs, infographics stand out by a wide margin. They are one of the most popular and most widely shared content type on social media, like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.
Quizzes are another content type which are upcoming and interactive. An addition to the already versatile features of quizzes is infographic representation of the answers of quizzes. This is possible only for web-based quizzes and infographics, and not all apps offer this feature yet, but definitely something to look out for in the further milestones in visual and interactive content marketing.
Who Should Use Infographics?
Though infographics are highly adaptable formats of content, their best uses lie in some specific business models.
B2B enterprises are the most likely to benefit from infographics. Most of the B2B content is high on technicality and low on style. For the same reason, though it serves their target audience well, it may over-reach the attention span of the reader. Infographics help bridge this gap. Eg VISA infographic – VISA by the numbers.
Government institutions can benefit from infographics as well – one of the best ways of sharing dry, elaborate data is infographics! Government institutions are churning out these datasets and updates on a regular basis. They can drastically improve their digital presence with infographics.
Much of the impact of government enterprises is measured in numbers. These numbers by themselves may carry little meaning. When shared via infographics, their performance in different periods of time can be best represented by infographics.
Similarly, non profit enterprises can benefit vastly from infographics. NPOs usually rely on donations and other contributions from corporations or individuals. They can convey the value-add achieved by them, the challenge or problem they are solving, and their impact in their demography, skilfully and poignantly with infographics. This will greatly help them achieve their goals of raising funds and gathering a team of volunteers and other work force. Eg, Education in Conflict by UNESCO.
How Should You Use Infographics?
As with all other types of content, your content marketing can only be as good as your content. Well thought out, painstakingly created content wins head and shoulders above the mounting masses of generic content everywhere.
Here are a few things to keep in mind while creating infographics, to make sure you get the right ROI on your infographic(s):
- Pick a “storyline” or core message of your infographic. Many infographics look like loosely connected data items put together in one place without any real purpose. For an infographic to be effective, you should define what you want to communicate to your readers through the infographic and the data – data is the means, the message you want to convey is the end. For an infographic to be most effective, this message needs to be clearly spelled out in the beginning, and data sets compiled based on this message. Every data set should build upon the “story” of the infographic. The infographic thus created guides the reader’s train of thought smoothly towards the end which is already pre-defined. This “end” could be anything – the outstanding achievement of your company, the urgent need for action on an environmental issue, the rising cost of a certain product, or the corpus of funds spent on a certain endeavour. When this message stands out loud through the infographic, it comes closest to fulfilling the content marketing goals defined before starting the work.
- Come up with creative ways of showing the data visually. Simply adding charts and bar diagrams is the old-fashioned way of showing data. Think of visual representations and icons relevant to your vertical.
- Pick only relevant statistics. Adding just any data will dilute the impact of your infographic. It is important that you pick the most relevant and useful statistics, based on a core, pre-defined message of your infographic.
- Don’t make it all about you. Unless your infographic is to show your own progress or achievements, ensure that the content added to the infographic is not merely talking about you. Add content about how you are positioned in the industry vis-à-vis others or on statistics of the industry overall, and how your contribution to it has made an impact.
- Make it interactive. Wherever possible, making the infographic on your website interactive adds a nifty touch to it, and makes it even more interesting for the consumers. It is likely to improve the user’s time on site even further.
- Make visual comparisons. Instead of simply adding data, add comparative data. This may require some thought. Pick comparisons from within your industry or vertical or even from everyday life to convey the import of your data.
- Use your brand colours & brand logo. Ensure that your infographic is rendered in your brand colours and has your logo on it. This will go a long way in building your brand. Omitting this will undo your branding efforts.
- Make sure to credit sources of information. This is a step very often omitted by designers and marketers. Not adding the sources of information adds a question mark on the credibility of the data and leaves a lot to imagination. It is important to cite where you obtained the data from, especially when it is not your own.
- Add proper metadata to your infographic so it can get indexed in SEO. This is an important step whenever infographics are uploaded on any website. Missing the metadata will be losing out on the SEO opportunity of the infographic.
- Share the infographic in relevant channels. Though all social media runs on image-based content, LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest are especially good for sharing infographics. LinkedIn and Twitter are good for sharing professional content, whereas Pinterest is a good pool of images. Hence, these channels should not be missed while sharing infographics. You can also share infographics on other sites like Visually, Canva, etc to get even more visibility.
- Infographics are usually evergreen content, so can be reshared after certain intervals of time. Unlike other forms of content, infographics are quite popular and as relevant as the data they contain – which is usually a long period of time.
- Add your social media handles, contact information, website link at the bottom of the infographic, so readers know how to reach you. This is especially important as infographics get shared above and beyond your own range of visibility. Many people download and share infographics on their own social media handles. So, it is important to add your own contact information to preserve your copyright, as well as to make sure people know who the creator is, and how they can reach you. Without this, you could possibly be missing out on leads.
Infographics are some of the most fun-yet-informative forms of content. The biggest challenge with creating infographics is that they probably require more time and talent to create than the rest of the content items in your calendar. The best way to get around this is to pre-schedule infographics way ahead of the publish date, and allow enough time to gather the resources and information to create the infographic. This will make sure you are actually adding value through your infographic, rather than adding it as a filler without much meaning. Intelligent and creative use of infographics can very quickly make you stand out from the crowd and help you get miles ahead of your content marketing goals.
Cover Image via Vectorstock
Article originally published on Neal Schaffer.