The basics about why they work, what they are, and how to use them.
Why to use them
- We process images much faster than text.
It makes sense, doesn’t it? Imagine a world where all the road signs looked the same, but had different messages. Stop. Deer crossing. Yield. School zone. How effective would these signs be in keeping traffic informed at the speed of travel?
- Images are engaging.
We humans are wired as visual creatures. Don’t get me wrong, copywriters – I love a well-written piece. But when it comes to getting me to click something to get to that great tidbit of writing, there’s nothing like a compelling visual.
- Visuals aid memory.
Think about your first experiences with reading. A is for…apple, right? When it comes to memorizing data, visuals are a key strategy. That works unintentionally, too. When it comes to getting your clients to remember you, a good visual can be a key aid.
What they are
An infographic is a graphic used to convey information. Seems obvious, right? Regardless, this term is used loosely to describe a wide variety of graphics. Here are a few key features we look for to define an image as an infographic.
- The pictures do the heavy lifting.
Infographics do often have text. However, the best ones don’t rely on text to do most of the communication. Keep the text short and sweet, and let the pictures do the talking.
- There’s a clear message.
Can you get the main theme of the message in three to five seconds? Congratulations, you have an infographic. No? Maybe you have a really cool graphic. But it’s not an infographic.
- It’s cohesive and concise.
Infographics tend to cover a single topic. Think of them as 30-second commercial spots. You’re not going to cover the history of your business, the work you do, and your founder’s backstory; it’s too much. Instead, you’re going to make a single, very compelling statement about your business, and back it up with some relevant facts.
What they aren’t
Infographics are not well-designed flyers. They’re not sell sheets, or white papers. There are compelling reasons to have those, too. But these things aren’t the kind of shareable, hard-hitting, visual data-drivers that infographics are. Don’t ask for an infographic and expect it to contain a full page of text!
How to use them
Infographics can be a great addition to your marketing toolbox. Whether you are looking for compelling social media content, shareable blog visuals, or handy reference guides, an infographic can make a great contribution to your communication plan.
How do you use infographics? Let us know in the comments below.