In the past year, a number of KoMarketing clients have come to us looking for assistance in creating a standout infographic. And, according to the Content Marketing Institute’s (CMI) “B2B Content Marketing 2017: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America” report, they’re not alone when it comes to having an affinity for infographics in the B2B marketing space.
CMI data shows us that B2B marketers use an average of eight different content marketing tactics as a part of their overall content strategies, and 58 percent of them regularly use infographics. This content marketing tactic presents organizations with a compelling visual way to share data in a story format, and in addition to being a nice “change of pace,” it’s
This content marketing tactic presents organizations with a compelling visual way to share data in a story format, and in addition to being a nice “change of pace,” it’s been reported that infographics are liked and shared more than 3x as often as other forms of content.
In this post, I’ll walk through the steps we take with our clients (from start to finish) to create an infographic that they’ll be proud to promote.
1.) Recognize the Need
Before you can even start thinking about a concept or design, you must first ensure it makes sense to put the time and resources into infographic development. Like any other form of content, you should think about the results you want to get from the effort. Here are a few of the potential benefits that infographics can offer marketers:
- They are a change of pace: Is your blog littered with text-heavy content? Often times, that same 1,000+ word blog post idea could be turned into an attractive infographic with a little outside-the-box thinking.
- They can improve brand awareness: When an infographic is created, it should always include a prominent brand theme, including your color scheme and logo. This way, when the infographic is promoted at a trade show or on social media, your audience will be exposed to your brand in a creative way. Additionally, a well-thought-out graphic will show your audience that your brand is an expert on the topic at hand due to the amount of research and knowledge that’s required to make it all come together.
- They benefit SEO: High-quality earned links are extremely valuable in today’s world of SEO. The viral capabilities of infographics give your brand an asset that can drive links from reputable websites, and as a result, improve your reputation with search engines.
- They are great for promotion: An infographic has the ability to lift a social media account from a relative unknown in the industry, to a must-add for social media users overnight. On the flip side, if your brand already has an established social media following, an infographic could lead to an influx of engagements such as likes, shares, and link clicks.
2. Identify the Topic and Theme
Now that you’ve committed to creating an infographic, it’s time to think about a topic or theme to pursue. Here at KoMarketing, we look for key client themes across a variety of analytics platforms to pinpoint what might resonate best with the audience. Tools like Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and BuzzSumo are some of our favorites. BuzzSumo is especially useful in this process, as it allows you to view the top-shared content across the industry as a whole, or more specifically, by a competitor.
For this example, let’s say your organization offers cyber security solutions. When looking across analytics platforms, you notice several pieces of top-performing content (views, shares, links, etc.) that focus specifically on cloud security. Armed with this data, you can continue down the road to creating an infographic with confidence that the topic you’ve selected will perform exceptionally.
3. Gather the Data
The “info” portion of the infographic is the most important ingredient. This is why it’s critical to meticulously collect data that strongly supports the overall theme. Before taking our research efforts online, we take the time to sit down with our clients and ask around the organization for things like gated content (whitepapers, data sheets, etc.) or presentations that may have been used for the last speaking engagement.
Secondary sources are great, but primary data is what could make your graphic truly unique – look internally first.
After you’ve asked around the organization and conducted any research of your own, it’s time to start browsing the web. Look through industry trade journals, studies, and the works of other researchers for data to that could support your story.
However, there are a few very important factors to consider when using secondary resources for infographic development:
- Always make sure you’re using recent data. Outdated sources could mislead the audience.
- Make sure the data is accurate. Check to make sure the correct figures are displayed on your infographic and ensure they’re from reputable sources.
- Try to find (and link to) the original data. With so many content assets available online, it can be easy to link to a source that might not actually be the original.
4. Form a Story
Now that you’ve collected an abundance of high-quality data, it’s time to think about how you want to present it.
Similar to a blog post, you want your infographic to begin with some type of introduction that sets the stage for the rest of the story. From there, there should be a cohesive flow, or story, that ultimately ends with a conclusion that ties it all together.
It’s important to allow the data you’ve gathered to dictate the story. This is important because if you collect data with a story set in your mind, you may try to force points where they make not make sense.
After you’ve compiled the data and formed a story, be sure to ask your peers for their feedback. Make sure they understand the story you’re trying to tell before sending it off for final approval and design work.
5. Send to Design
The design portion of infographic development can be dependent on a number of different factors, including available budget and resources. If your organization has its own internal creative design team, it’s a good idea to use them. They will likely have the best understanding of the brand’s tone and style guidelines. And of course, it won’t impact the budget.
If you don’t have a design team, think about outsourcing the task. There are a number of creative agencies that specialize in infographic development, and with a little bit of collaboration, they’ll be able to turn out a polished final product.
Of course, if you’re tight on both time and budget, you could look to create your own infographic with help from a free online infographic tool.
Here are a few to consider:
Looking for infographic inspiration? Take a look at a few of our posts below:
- 6 B2B Marketing Infographics: Social Media, Inbound Marketing & Mobile
- Understanding Content Marketing Strategy: 6 Fantastic Infographics
- 8 More Compelling Infographics About Content Marketing
Don’t let the fear of the unknown keep you from developing an infographic. By following the steps above, you could improve brand awareness and SEO all while giving your social media following something to buzz about.
What benefits has your organization seen from creating infographics? Get the conversation started by dropping a line in the comments section or connecting with me on Twitter!