You’ve probably noticed that more and more infographics are starting to pop up all over the web, illustrating anything from the latest sports statistics to the growth in social media. All of these infographics have at least this one thing in common: they all represent text-based content or data in a visual form, whether it’s a chart, graph, or diagram. So what’s behind their continuing increase in popularity?

With about 65% of our population being visual learners, infographics are a valuable resource for those who prefer to learn from visuals rather than text. Often, something that’s complicated in textual form can be represented as a simple infographic, making information and ideas easier to scan and digest. As we move into an age that places a greater emphasis on data-driven visuals, companies are starting to realize the potential of infographics and graphic design. For example, The New York Times now has about 40 graphic “journalists” on their staff, demonstrating the growing importance of visual content.

That being said, how can you make infographics an important part of your marketing arsenal? Try using the 8 tips below to start designing an effective infographic that can help you meet your marketing goals:

1. Audience. Designing an infographic begins the same way that you would begin any other marketing task: with your audience. Who are you targeting with your graphic? Do you want it to be informational or editorial? Do you want it to go viral? These are important questions to ask yourself before you even put pen to paper to start brainstorming.

2. Sources. Since infographics often deal with statistics, make sure you get your data from a reliable source. Infographics have a higher potential of being shared than textual content, so you’ll want to make sure the information you put out there is accurate.

3. Design. It’s easy to get carried away with content and data once you get started. Make sure your infographic isn’t cluttered with too much information and that it has an intuitive flow. You don’t want your audience excessively scrolling, zooming, or tilting their heads to read your graphic. That can get annoying fast.

4. Content. Infographics aren’t just for data. There are tons of opportunities to represent content in visual form. Try creating infographics for complex models or processes, hard-to-understand concepts, product comparisons, cheat sheets, and even cartoons. Just keep in mind that your content shouldn’t be too text heavy, or it will become difficult to read.

5. Sharing. Make sure your infographics can be easily shared. It should be easy for people to retweet them, share them on Facebook and Google+, repost them to their blogs or LinkedIn, or pin them on Pinterest. There are even several boards already devoted to infographics on Pinterest! Shareability is one of the most important qualities of infographics, and one of the most useful for marketers striving to maximize social impact.

6. Optimize. Consider creating an HTML page out of your infographic. That way, you can use it as a landing page for inbound traffic, include social sharing buttons, and optimize it for search engine crawlers.

7. Measure. One of the great things about infographics is that they are trackable. Keep an eye on the number of retweets, repins, shares and blog mentions your infographic receives on other social, news or industry sites. You can also monitor feedback through comments, depending on where the infographic is posted. As with all marketing tactics, tracking and measuring the success of your infographic will help you to determine what works and what doesn’t.

8. Resources. If you don’t think you’ll have the time or resources to make your own infographic from scratch, there are several resources out there than can help you design an infographic using templates and tools. Visual.ly is one example, and there are plenty more out there.

Infographics have a lot of potential, especially in the B2B space where they are just now starting to gain leverage as marketing tools. Do you think they can be helpful to marketers? Have you seen any good infographics lately?

Jenna Hanington

Posts Twitter