Infographics are becoming part of everyday life. Sites like Pinterest and Facebook are full of them, and even weather apps are getting into the act with shareable forecasts.
An upgrade from bar graphs and charts, infographics arrange information in a visual presentation that's eye-catching and easier to understand and remember. They show information in picture form, and are a boon for audience development.
Because information is absorbed with minimal effort by the viewer, they also let you grab the attention of casual clickers who might not spent a lot of time in one place. The bonus is that once a viewer notices the infographic, she's more likely to share. Infographics are clever, and clever content is sharable content.
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Before you dive in, first things first:
Decide Which Information to Include and How to Present It
Kathy Schrock gives an excellent example of how to decide which information belongs in your infographic and whether it's presented effectively.
Topics should be current, specific, and convincing, and the presentation should enhance the information you're sharing. For example, an infographic about how airline travel has changed through the years might include a timeline and have an airplane in its imagery.
The data should be as concise as possible, and the font can be artsy, but not too artsy to read. Other factors such as colors and layout all make up an effective infographic.
Searching Google Trends and Twitter can help you learn what people are talking about right now. With a current topic, your infographic is more likely to see a lot of shares.
Sorting and organizing the information that you want to share is the first step, but the real appeal of infographics is making them eye-catching. This is basic graphic design.
You can create them on your own using an editing program such as Gimp, which is free, or Photoshop, which is not. Sites like Vector Tuts+ offer tutorials for putting it all together in a modern-looking package.
Pinterest, with its high visual impact, is a great tool for helping you decide on a presentation that people will notice. An infographic with a lot of repins is one that people spot and take the time to share. Sometimes the colors and layout have as much to do with those shares as the information that's in it.
Flowcapping Enhances the Infographic
Flowcapping turns your infographic into a video presentation. Think of it as a stop-action movie that shows how the infographic was created, start to finish. Although unnecessary for every creation, flowcapping can boost the infographic's attention and shares as well as your personal brand reputation by showing the work behind the scenes.
Creator Jess Backman's Vimeo video shows how it's done and the enhancing effect it can have. By taking a screen shot periodically through the process and converting it into a video, viewers see where the information came from and how you organized it.
Effective Promotion Means More than Posting the Infographic on Your Site
Jason DeMers, a contributor for Search Engine Journal, believes promoting your creation should be the fun part, and goes on to say, ''Infographics, because they're both highly visual and informative, have the potential to go viral.''
Infographics have the ability to generate a lot of static links and social signals such as ranking based on Tweets, and Facebook shares, comments, and likes.
You'll need a homepage, obviously, and embed code for the infographic. Keywords in the body, URL, and filename also help. Search Engine Journal also recommends submitting to niche blogs and syndicating your creation using Visual.ly or Daily Infographics.
You might have the most important or most clever things to share, but getting it out there is more than half the battle. By condensing your message and presenting it in an eye-catching way, your chances of being noticed and shared increase dramatically, making it easy to capture attention with infographics.