5 Tips to Creating an Infographic People Actually Want to Read
Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or still have WebTV like my grandparents...) you surely have across at least a few infographics over the last couple years. While they are still popular and widely shared, many people feel that they are being over-produced and often lazily executed. That said, an infographic can still be widly successful on many levels if done right and organized strategically where the audience benefits from the information and story you are telling. From my experience in producing several widely shared infographics for MBA@UNC, here are five tips on how to create a great infographic:
1. Define your goals: branding, SEO, traffic?
What are you looking to accomplish with your infographic? Are you looking to build a brand and get attention? Are you looking to improve your SEO (search engine optimization) or boost your website's traffic? Knowing what your goals are will help you find the right approach. If the infographic is for branding purposes, maybe you can design something around how your product is manufactured or service delivered; if it’s SEO-driven, you could more closely target a list of related website by putting together an infographic they would likely share with their audience; if it’s simply for more traffic, you look for a subject that will resonate across the social media space to inspire more sharing on multiple platforms. The thing is, you first need to decide what you’re pursuing.
2. Select a timely subject.
Your subject needs to be up to date in terms of current events and trends. There are endless interesting subjects to choose from, but blowing the dust off of last year's news isn’t going to engage the reader. Be sure to stay current and topical. Look into the latest industry news or even pop culture happenings for inspiration.
For a solid example of a timely infographic, you can check out this one from HowToMBA.com on a comparison of NBA stars and MBA graduates that was released during this year’s NBA Finals: http://howtomba.com/mbas-vs-the-nba
3. Focus on something people want to share.
Make the content of the infographic something that people want to share. Simply attaching interesting facts to a colorful graphic isn’t going to multiply your hits. Include a current trend or someone who is popular in the public eye so to add another aspect of knowledge that your readers will want to share with others. Playing on people, places and objects that are already being shared, but adding an original take on the subject is usually a route to creating viral content.
4. Be relevant to your target audience.
You need to know who you are trying to reach with your infographic. While a graphic on Justin Bieber may resonate with a lot of users on social media, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will hit who you are targeting. Who do you want to see this graphic? Who do you want them to share it with? Work backwards from there to ensure your subject connects with your audience. Ultimately, you should ask yourself if this is an infographic you would want to share.
5. Tell a story.
Great stories contain effective narratives and enlightening content, and so do great infographics. Your graphic should read like a visual magazine article. You want to have an engaging title, a hooking introduction, and then set a tone and rhythm to the data that you connect with images. Perhaps the most enlightening (or shocking) information needs to be placed near the end? Maybe dragging out redundant facts might cause the reader to lose interest? There are many points to consider, so think of your infographic as a story you’re trying to tell at a party to your friends. Keep it interesting, keep a rhythm and, as a rule of thumb, keep it short.
Bio: Harrison Kratz is the Community Manager at MBA@UNC, the top online mba program offered through the University of North Carolina which also offers one of the nation's leading executive MBA programs. Harrison also sticks to his entrepreneurial roots as the founder of the global social good campaign, Tweet Drive.
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