Despite the ever-popular claim that infographics are dead, I’m here to tell you that they are not only alive and well, but they are a necessary part of any content marketing strategy. There are numerous benefits to creating and publishing infographics as well as a multitude of types to choose from. Infographics can help you vary your content and help your readers interpret and understand the information more quickly.
Before we dive into the types of infographics you can create, let’s first explore what makes infographics so useful. When used correctly, they can be the most effective way to present the information to your reader. Let’s see why.
They Capture Attention
When infographics are designed well, they can clearly explain complicated concepts that text-based content cannot. Not only do infographics capture the reader’s attention, but they also are more effective at keeping their focus.
This study from Nielsen Norman Group indicates that the average user spends 10-20 seconds on a website before deciding whether it is useful or if they should move on to the next site. This means that you only have 10-20 seconds to grab the attention of the reader and convince them to stay on your site.
Furthermore, according to NeoMam, we are able to process images faster than text due to the enormous amount of information we take in all day long. In fact, it takes the average reader approximately 60 seconds to read 200-250 words and only one tenth of a second to interpret an image. Since a reader will interpret an infographic more quickly, it is more likely that you will grab their attention and keep them on your site.
They Drive Traffic
The number of searches for infographics has been steadily growing and is continuing to grow. People want an easy-to-interpret, visual representation of data. So, while some may say that infographics are no longer useful, the search volume proves otherwise.
Ideally, you want your content in front of as many eyes as possible. You can only do so much of your own content promotion before the general public takes over – and that’s exactly what you want! The more shares and retweets your content gets, the better.
In order to increase the number of shares of your content, it is wise to incorporate visual components into your strategy. Visual content, like infographics, is three times more likely to be shared than non-visual content, according to HubSpot. So, if your goal is increase shares of your content, try incorporating an infographic or two.
They Help Readers Remember Information
One can argue that content is more effective if a reader can recall it days after reading it. This article explains that when images are paired with information, 65% of readers will remember that information 3 days later.
If you are looking to present complex information that you want your readers to remember, create an infographic. Not only will your readers be able to easily interpret the information, but they will also be more likely to remember it too.
Types of Effective Infographics
Now that you know why you should be using infographics, it’s important to understand what types of infographics will work best for the information you are looking to publish. Let’s take a look at the various types of infographics as well as examples of each.
Informational – Informational infographics are used to communicate text-based information. By organizing the information into small snippets of text (as opposed to large, complex paragraphs), the reader is easily able to interpret the information.
Informational infographics are not just text-based, though. Include relevant images or icons to help your reader understand and retain the information. Typically, an informational infographic will also use some type of hierarchy or clear organizational structure to effectively organize the information.
Our first example is “Your Summer Financial Checklist” from Community Tax, an accounting firm. They could have very easily listed these financial tips in a regular blog post. However, by including the information in an infographic, it’s more likely that readers will take the time to quickly read through the information presented.
Process – Process infographics can be used to explain the steps needed to complete a task. These infographics, which are normally presented in a linear fashion, allow readers to easily follow a sequence of steps. When creating a process infographic, remember to stick with either a numbered or bulleted structure. Again, it may make sense to incorporate graphics or icons, especially if they help to break up the different steps.
This process infographic, titled “12 Steps for Improving Your Google AdWords”, comes from Smart Insights, a marketing advice blog. Each step is clearly defined using colors and separate boxes as well as apparent numbers. This helps the reader to easily read through the process of improving their own Google AdWords.
Statistical – Statistical infographics are a great way to take complicated data and visually represent it in a way that is easy to interpret. More often than not, if the sole purpose of your content is to publish statistics, an infographic is the way to go.
Statistical infographics are not just a list of numbers, though. Rather, they typically include visual interpretations of statistics using things like graphs and charts. By adding a visual component to the data, a reader is able to interpret the information more quickly and is more likely to remember it.
Let’s take a look at the “26 Renting Statistics that Every Landlord Should Know” infographic from SmartMove, a tenant screening service. The statistics are emphasized using graphics so that they stand out to the reader. The graphics also help to indicate what the stat is about, helping the reader to digest the information more quickly.
Geographic – If you have information that corresponds with a specific location, a geographic infographic is the perfect way to visually represent this data. While it’s perfectly fine to list the data in a linear fashion (like in an informational infographic), oftentimes a map allows the reader to better visualize the data.
Depending on the information you have, you may want to call out specific spots on the map with more details. Or, it may make more sense to color-code the entire map and include a legend. Whichever direction you choose to go, make sure that the information and which part of the map it corresponds to is clear.
This infographic from National Geographic, called “The Power of the World”, uses a map to represent where they predict renewable energy will come from in 2050. The legend at the bottom allows readers to quickly determine what each symbol stands for and therefore which countries will be supplying certain types of energy.
Comparison – Comparison infographics can be used to illustrate the differences and/or similarities between two things. This side-by-side comparison helps you to logically lay out your points. Make sure that when you’re setting up your comparison infographic you clearly define the two sides (either with colors, dividing lines, graphics, etc.).
This next example comes from NutriLiving, a division of NutriBullet, and is titled “Kale vs. Spinach”. As implied by the name, this comparison infographic goes through the various health benefits found in both types of leafy greens. By using this type of infographic, they clearly portray which side “wins” in each category and then calculate each side to announce an overall winner (which, if you’re wondering, is kale).
Timeline – This final type of infographic is used to help explain the order of a series of events in time. This helps the reader to visualize what happened and when. As with many of the previous types, make sure to use graphics that will emphasize a particular point on the timeline. Additionally, make sure that each point is clearly defined, either with spacing, headers, or colors.
Our final example, titled “History of a Diamond”, comes from Brilliance, an online jeweler. Had they simply laid out the sequence of events without a visual element, it’s likely that readers would pass right over this piece of content. However, with the images included, a reader is more likely to take the time to read through the entire infographic.
While these are the main types of infographics, don’t feel like your content has to fall into one of these categories. Be creative! Just make sure that the type you choose is the most effective way to present your information. Remember, the purpose of an infographic is to visually represent complex information in a way that makes it quicker and easier for the reader to understand.
Now that you know all about the benefits and types of infographics, it’s time to incorporate them into your content marketing strategy. Start today!
Nicole Stelmar is a managing editor at 365 Business Tips, a website that provides businesses with everything they need to succeed. Nicole specializes in helping small businesses improve their digital presence through SEO and content marketing.