It’s no secret that human beings are visually oriented, so we respond to images more than words most of the time. In this day and age of our consciousness being dominated by the Internet, innovative use of images is very important in capturing an audience and making sure that they get the value we want them to have through that power.
In combining informative content with visuals, the infographic became one of the best ways to convey information as it makes whatever statistics needed more digestible and comprehensible. Even those who may not be that good with figuring out facts and figures can understand them through the use of infographics. It’s the epitome of showing and not just telling.
The Advantages of Infographics
Infographics are also quite shareable and linkable, making them perfect for social media. When people see infographics on Facebook and Twitter, they can get it right there instead of having to read through paragraphs on a long article. If you’re a startup or a small business who is trying to make a mark with content, then infographics are a great tool for doing just that.
Due to them being great for social media and linking, they can do wonders for your SEO. People who are doing research and stumble upon your infographics can link credit to your website, making you more of an authority and boosting your visibility online. Also, just by having tons of people share your infographics, you already get so much exposure. If the facts and figures presented by your infographics are that compelling, they will indeed be shared.
Having said that you need to encourage sharing and linking by adding embed codes etc. Since you have already created the info-graphic you can go that extra mile and start marketing your info-graphic as well. Check out this great article about how to make your infographic go viral.
Creating infographics also lets you figure out your brand’s go-to graphic design. You definitely need to have your branding go with your design, so the colors and visual style you incorporate must be consistent with your brand. By doing so, you make your brand a lot more recognizable.
Do’s and Don’ts in Infographics
First of all, you must determine the original source of data by looking at its sources and tracking it back to the original page where it’s cited. That’s then what you put on your infographic as one of your sources. Never under any circumstances neglect citing your sources because plagiarism is a serious breach of conduct and trust.
Also make sure that your data is the most recent available. Using outdated data is poor form, so you have to go the extra mile in determining from what year that data is from. With that in mind, you’d also want to limit the number of sources you’re using since it’s easy to have too many, and they might conflict each other. Pick the most recent ones with high online rankings for best results since you’d want to have sources with considerable authority online.
Don’t put down a user-generated website as your source since that information may not be entirely true. Since pretty much anybody willing enough can change and add to whatever is on that page, it may not be entirely reliable. You may check out the sources and references cited there though and see if they’re indeed authoritative and trusted, and then you may be able to use those sources as your own.
Tell a story with the information and make sure that there are no gaps and hanging questions in it. The worst thing you can do is to have lots of gaps and leave the audience with more questions than answers. Telling a story with it means having a progression from fact to fact that makes sure audiences don’t get lost along the way.
Finally, take the initiative and share your infographic on social media. Don’t wait for your audience to take notice, take it to them as soon as you can. The more visibility you can have, the better chances your infographic can gain an audience. If you can turn it into a press release, then definitely do so. Also, don’t promote only once; do what you can to promote it as long as it’s still relevant to the times.
Websites for Getting Infographics Data and Content From
Sources are not that hard to come by, but it can be confusing as to which ones are the most trustworthy ones. Here are some you can make use of.
The Guardian Data Blog is all about data journalism and visualization that lets you take a look at what goes on behind The Guardian’s journalistic efforts. There’s also a Presenting Data Master Class offered by The Guardian that can help you do better infographics and other data presentations.
The United States Census Bureau is a great source for seemingly obvious reasons. It gives you quick and easy access to facts on people, business, and geography. It also has a Data Visualization Library, which should give you ideas on how to present in your infographic.
The World Health Organization website provides data and analyses for monitoring the global health situation of past and present. You can review the Publications section if you don’t know where to begin.
Data.gov is the US Government’s home for open data. Whatever data you need that involves the US, it should be here.
CIA World Facts is great if you want more in-depth data that you can’t find anywhere else. It also has the added benefit of making you feel like a secret agent, if that’s your kind of jam.
Google Public Data Explorer is powered by the most powerful Internet company in the world, so it’s bound to be full of data that’s mostly up to date.
Google Scholar and Google Consumer are some of the Google-based tools for gathering data from various sources on the Internet. Ask Your Target Market and Mechanical Turk are similar in this regard as well.
Infographic Online Tools
If you’re not a graphic designer, don’t have tools like Photoshop, and/or don’t have the time to carefully craft a design for your infographic, then you may want to get into online tools that can help you make one yourself in no time.
Creately’s online infographic tool comes packed with many features to quickly come up with info-graphics. This include separate libraries for business shapes, people shapes, charts, country maps, world maps, US state maps etc. Check out the blog post about creating infographics online with Creately.
Google Developers has chart tools that are simple yet powerful, as well as free to use. Not only can you choose from a variety of charts, but you can also configure an extensive set of options to make it suit the look and feel of your website.
Easel.ly is a free online infographic tool with a dozen free templates for you to choose from, with each being easily customizable. You can also access a whole library of elements like arrows, shapes, connector lines, fonts, colors, text styles, sizes, and so on to let you fully customize your infographic.
Piktochart is a lot like Easel.ly that offers three basic themes for free and a subscription plan for those who want to use it more extensively for a longer period of time.
There are many others like Easel.ly and Piktogram such as Infogr.am, Visual.ly, InFoto Free, Venngage, Dipity, Get About, and more. Explore each one and find out which one is best for you.
About the author: Jay Manangan is a web content writer and a designer of Your Company Formations UK and Co-Founder of Shift Stream Media. His main interest are online marketing, business management, web design and tech. Follow him on Google+ and Twitter.