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Every individual takes in information and learns differently. Some people remember what they read rather than what they hear and others learn when they see things written out. According to research by the Social Science Research Network, most people (65 percent) are visual learners and process information based on what they see.

This statistic is very important for content marketers who often get stuck in a text-only world. Adding visuals to your written content such as photos and videos is important. Today, marketers are also embracing infographics because they can quickly deliver information to the user. In fact, according to AnsonAlex, a technology education website, publishers who use infographics grow traffic an average of 12 percent more than those who do not. Digg revealed that since 2007, infographics on their social network have increased by 250 times.

What are infographics?

Infographics make use of a mix of text and a variety of visual images in order to tell a story and convey statics and other information. Such visuals include charts, diagrams, graphic designs, maps, drawings and colors. When well-designed, an infographic can enhance statistics that would otherwise be boring and make them interesting. Or, an infographic can simplify a complicated topic or instructions and make it much easier to understand. It’s a visual shortcut for deep data.

Overall, a good infographic is visually engaging and, most importantly, fits into your content marketing strategy in a way that supports your marketing goals. An infographic shouldn’t distract so much that it becomes confusing to the consumer, muddles your message and disconnects the customer from your brand.

Novelty or not?

Some people may argue that the “cartoony” effect to convey important data is simply a novelty. However, if you want to get a message across, visuals do this effectively. In fact, according to the Visual Teaching Alliance, the human eye can register 36,000 visual messages per hour. That can kind of impact on a consumer can mean everything to a brand.

The major consideration should always circle back to the target audience. Infographics can be an incredibly valuable tool if used correctly. Just like incorporating photos or video, you can’t just decide to add infographics. Your content must be compelling and relevant to your target audience. If it is not, it becomes just a novelty, a fun way of showing off some information. If your customer is not going to care about that content, it will not matter what it looks like visually.

Where to start?

In an article for Business 2 Community, Kevin Johnson, a Digital PR + Social Media Manager for Fusion 360, a content marketing and SEO agency in Utah, says bluntly that, “The problem is, many infographics produced today are pretty horrendous. Many are confusing or simply fail to provide relevant facts.”

Infographics are best designed by people who have a great visual sense. Using or hiring a graphic designer is worth the investment. That said, many times graphic designers are focused on what they know best: creating imagery. They aren’t always experts at spelling or fact checking. Thus, before handing off information with data and text, be sure everything is accurate. Business Weekly notes that 80 percent of the work in creating an infographic is not in the design, colors or fonts, but in the gathering of data and checking.

The goal of an infographic is to create quick bites of information that can be quickly digested. As a January 2014 article in Forbes noted, “When your content is compelling, design can and should be used to communicate this information.” Putting data together in a way that is neat and orderly provides a lesser chance of misinterpreting facts and figures. Thus, an infographic cannot simply be visually appealing, it must convey accurate information. When the graphics look great and the content is correct, this helps convey that you are an expert on a topic. This will have positive effects on your brand.

Also remember to keep it simple. Having too much accurate information all over the design weighs heavily on the overall visual appeal. Keep infographics clear of clutter and put in only the most important information. Too much text in an infographic makes it just as difficult for a customer to digest as a lengthy written post. Designers should also limit colors and fonts.

Be the brand

In addition to being clear about your message, infographics can help tremendously when it comes to building brand awareness. Think about what you see day to day. Do you immediate recognize a red can with white lettering as Coca-Cola? Do you see a “swoosh” and know it’s a Nike athletic item? Creating infographics that incorporate your company’s colors and logos help to immediately tie the information to your company. Consumers will recognize your infographics and your brand awareness becomes successful.

Make them shareable

Most infographics are created for online publishing: websites, blogs, social media. When you decide to incorporate infographics into your content marketing strategy, make sure they are engaging and appealing enough that consumers will want to share them. Do not impede the process; be sure that every infographic you post is easily sharable. You want to “go viral.”

Creating infographics that are evergreen allows for republishing at a later time. Start a library of evergreen infographics that help promote your overall strategy and recycle them. Track engagement with Google Analytics to see what is most successful: what gets the most initial engagement and what gets shared. Monitoring these metrics helps identify future opportunities for infographic creation and use.

While infographics are typically online and make for easy sharing, also consider printing them as well and handing them out at events, trade shows and other appropriate public gatherings. Make the infographics part of your overall collateral and put into brochures, flyers and booklets.

If you have a content marketing program, or are planning one, download our ebook:  100 mistakes businesses make when starting, optimizing and scaling content marketing programs.  Learn from the mistakes of hundreds of other companies.  100 mistakes walks you through common and uncommon challenges that they faced with their content marketing programs.

Michael Marchese is the founder and CEO of Tempesta Media. He is responsible for corporate strategy, executive team leadership and overall business operations across all the company’s segments.

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