How To Create The Perfect Infographic
Okay, so it’s not an exact formula as you can never really know when something is going to go viral (that black and blue/gold and white dress is a very good example of this). However, you can increase your chances of infographic success with a few helpful hints and tips.
We’ve created quite a few infographics over the last few years, including one for our very own website called The Mobile Marketing Takeover, which has gained hundreds of social shares. After analysing the best performing infographics we have seen a few trends and patterns that help us to better understand what we need to do to make our graphics better and more socially shareable.
The aim for any company is for an infographic to go viral, but even getting a few hundred shares can really help to boost traffic. Don’t believe me? Okay, so here is an example of the true power of an infographic. We recently shared an infographic by Tech Spartan called In An Internet Minute 2013 Vs 2014, which has gained over 6,000 social shares thus far.
We’ve had a little word with the guys and girls there and before the infographic was posted they had zero traffic to the website (because they were a very new website), in a single month – December – they went from 0 to 3,932 visitors to their website. In January this became 3,981, showing that just one infographic can make a huge difference!
So, why did their infographic do so well? To put it simply it was not only short and to the point but was aimed at a very large target audience, anyone who uses the internet. There are 3 ways you can go about creating an infographic, you can make it like this one and make it simple and aim it at everyone, you can create a long and detailed one aimed at a slightly more specific audience or you can create an interactive infographic.
All can gain goods amount of social shares (which turns into traffic), so below is how you should approach each way of creating the image, start to finish.
Short, To The Point With A Large Target Audience
To start you need to come up with various ideas for your infographic. You can’t just come up with one or two and expect them to just work well, you need to thoroughly research the infographic to make it a success. You want to think about aiming your infographic at a wide audience, so just think about general topics that your business comes under.
Let’s take a hairdresser for example, you could of course create a graphic aimed at styling your hair. Doing this is okay, as you may see that there is quite a lot of search for hairstyle how to’s. However, if you’re aiming for an even wider audience you can create an infographic talking about general beauty topics.
So you’ve got a topic, beauty, but how do you then come up with infographic ideas? You can start by using Buzzsumo to see what kind of content is widely shared in the beauty sector. It’s free to use this website for one search, however you do need an account if you want to see more in depth details (and it’s a service we couldn’t recommend enough).
At the time of writing this article typing in “beauty” into the search bar reveals the top shared post is “She Was Tired of Being Photoshopped, So Here’s What She Did About It“. This has been shared 1,707,984times, but it’s not really related to hairdressing. You could create a blog post called “Hair Styles You Won’t Believe Aren’t Photoshopped”, but it’s not really suitable for an infographic as it has to be just as informational as it is visual.
There are many posts about Photoshop in this search, but if you scroll down a little you’ll find a post. I’ve just found one called “I Photographed Women From 37 Countries To Show That Beauty Is Everywhere” which has had 302,820 shares. This may not seem like it, but it is the base for a potentially great infographic. What I see, when I read that title, is “Hair Styles From Around The World”.
This might not be the best idea, you should really come up with between 5 and 10 ideas before you settle on one. For now, let’s assume this idea was picked out of 10 ideas. So next you’re going to want to start your research, which is vital to your infographic being truthful.
From the idea above, you’re going to want to choose how many countries you wish to showcase and then one by one find out what the most popular haircut is there (for both men and women). Don’t be afraid to talk to people directly, you can very easily email hairdressers in certain countries asking them what the most popular cut they see is.
The more sources of information the better, as information you do gather from certain websites and companies can result in them sharing your infographic (as it refers to them as a trusted source of information). Do make sure that these sources are trusted, poor information can result in a lack of shares and too many mistakes will make your infographic redundant.
Try to throw in a few facts here too, you want to keep people reading, right? So alongside the most popular cuts you might want to add in a few hair related facts (if they can relate directly to the country, even better). Once you’ve got all of your information (which should ideally fill a page of A4 paper) you’re going to want to pass it onto a professional designer/illustrator.
If you don’t employ or know one then don’t be shy to shop around, make sure you look closely at their portfolio before taking them on. If they create an infographic you do not like, you still have to pay for it as they have put the hours in. Our superstar illustrator Rowena is an incredible artist and can work with many different styles.
Long, Detailed With A More Specific Target Audience
Just like with the short and sweet version of the graphic, you’re going to want to start by throwing around ideas/topics to cover. We’ll stick to the business being a hairdresser so that it is easier to compare ideas. Instead of aiming at beauty as a general topic, you’re going to want to do the opposite and think about things that are more specific to hair.
A few ideas you can throw around are haircuts, hair dyes, hair products and hair styles. These might sound a little general still, but you can narrow down the audience further after a little research. Get back onto Buzzsumo and start searching under your slight more specific topics to see what you find.
When searching for “hair dye” the first post visible is a post called “What Crazy Color Should You Dye Your Hair?“, which could create a great infographic. So, again, let’s assume this is the best idea out of 10. The next thing you’re going to want to do is find the 15 most popular hair colours, or something similar as a base for research. Because this you want this infographic to be more specific, you’re going to have to work hard when it comes down to the actual research.
Once you’ve got your most popular colours you can then create facts based around those colours. You could list what kind of face shapes and skin tones that the hair colour suits, how easy it is to create that colour and some statistics surrounding those colours. I’ve seen in this very same search that the second most popular post was called “Women Are Choosing To Dye Their Hair Grey For The ‘Granny Hair’ Trend“, so you would want to include grey as one of your top colours.
Remember, this infograhic needs to be packed full of useful and interesting facts. If you read a fact and you go “Ahhh” or “Oooo” out loud you should probably include it in your infographic. It will be extremely tough, finding the exact same figures or stats for various colours may be very difficult, but you must try to keep your information as uniform as possible.
Once you’ve got your figures you will again need to get your image created and push it out first to those who you went to for your initial research as there is a higher chance of them sharing your infographic. The difference, when it comes to sharing this infographic, is that you are going to want to share it with industry experts rather than the general pubilc. This topic is good for both, but you’ll want to make it ore appealing to those in the know.
These are a slightly more advanced way of showcasing imagery and actually involves both an illustrator and web designer. Unlike your average infographic, an interactive infographic is one that you can (for its namesake) interact with, so it involves a lot of code that needs to be created by a web designer. A good example of this can be seen in one we created recently for Physical Gold called Worldly Wealth which has already naturally gained over 100 social shares. Have a play with the infographic below!
Just like your average infographic, you have the ability to embed the image on any website. The approach is very much the same for an interactive infographic, you can make it short and sweet or specific depending on its needs. Interactive infographics work best when there are elements that would move in real life.
So this one, for example, works well as it begins with a spinning globe and each “section” is a country. Not all ideas can be made into an interactive infographic, so our previous idea of different hairstyles around the world could work a treat whereas the hair dye idea perhaps wouldn’t work so well as it would be difficult to make it interactive (unless of course you made various hair strands clickable, but it would be very fiddly).
So there we have it! If you’d like to talk to us about infographics or would like for us to create you one, you can simply tweet us via Twitter or send us an email via our contact page.