Why We Love Infographics

*Note this post first ran December 3, 2015 via ANNUITAS.com

The infographic is a favorite for many reasons; they are visually appealing, easy to consume and typically relay a decent bit of information in a quick glance. In our data-heavy world, distilling complex information into an interesting visual format is like a drive-through Starbucks: it makes sense in theory, but doesn’t really work. Just as drive-through coffee sounds great, the reality of complex orders and the time needed to produce the product, a Starbucks drive through generally isn’t a time-saver, nor a pleasant experience. Sadly, it’s the same for many infographics. They sound like a good idea, but once produced, they often fall short of meeting expectations.

Infographic image

*Image courtesy of Mammoth Infographics

However, infographics have become the darlings of modern marketers for good reason and they are still new enough to create a buzz, can be super-creative and can help deliver a different perspective on a traditional topic. Here are a few tips to creating a useful infographic:

Visual appeal: Keep it interesting, not too busy and not heavily branded. Just like with great power point or slideshare presentations, the visuals are supposed to tell the story, not the words.

Simplicity: Generally speaking, the infographic should highlight a specific topic or showcase a part of something larger or more complex issue, not solve hugely complex issues like world peace (unless that is possible then please, go ahead). The goal of the infographic to is convey a message without too many words. Using simple, clear graphics go a long way to aiding comprehension.

Context: As much as you may want to develop an infographic to showcase something sexy or intriguing, make sure it has context and helps support the strategy. Is this going to make sense to your buyers? Is this topic already part of a Content Marketing/ Demand Generation Strategy and will be a seamless addition to the program? If not, think twice about it creating something just because it might be fun or new.

Continuity: This is an important aspect of any content asset, as everything should be part of a broader Demand Generation Strategy. Use an infographic to further explain an ongoing topic or theme, continue the conversation by presenting the information in a new format with the infographic, but don’t create something that is totally out of context and without a chance of continuity. Are there exceptions to this rule? Sure, but in general, continuity matters.

At ANNUITAS we have produced a total of two infographics. Why? Most of our content doesn’t lend itself well to the infographic format. However, when producing our B2B Enterprise Demand Generation Study, we knew the data collected and insights gained from our surveys would lend themselves well to infographics. Download the 2015 version here if you haven’t already seen it.

Keep in mind, not everything can or should be turned into an infographic. Always keep in mind the buyer when creating any content asset, and think about your buyer’s content consumption patterns before you dive into developing an infographic. Will your buyers consume content in this format? Does it help to clarify information or make it seem too complex when represented visually? After all, if your buyer isn’t going to Engage with your infographic, don’t create one.

However, if you think you have a good fit for an infographic, here are some examples to get you thinking.

Author: Erika Goldwater CIPP/US @erikawg is Vice President, Marketing for ANNUITAS