5 Steps to Building a Successful Infographic for Your Small Business

 Marketwired Chicago

Today it can be a huge challenge to rise above the digital clutter and get your message seen, shared and acted upon. That’s especially true for start-ups or small businesses without established brand clout.

If you’re not getting the results you expect from your content marketing and other outreach efforts, consider adding an infographic into the mix. Why? Pictures speak much louder than words on today’s internet, which has shifted to the age of the visual. Studies repeatedly show that content with visuals is shared at dramatically higher rates than text-only content. For example, tweets with images receive 150% more retweets than those without, according to Buffer. And a DemandGen report shows that B2B buyers prefer short-content format, with 39% of them saying they share infographics on social media frequently.

Since an infographic is a visual interpretation of data or information, it goes a step beyond straight images or video to quickly tell a story. That’s because it boils down key points of content to easily digested, visually compelling factoids so people don’t have to wade through a lot of text or complex statistics. Infographics can capture attention like nothing else. In fact, we used an infographic to announce results of a recent survey of PR and marketing pros to find out how they are using content. Check it out here: Will You Be a #ContentMachine in 2016?

If you’ve ever considered creating an infographic but decided against it because of a perceived lack of time, money, or skill to generate professional results, we’d like to share a few tips that might make you reconsider. But before you jump into designing the infographic itself, make sure you do the necessary planning.

Step 1: Pick the Right Topic

You can use an infographic to present study results, explain how a product or service works, convey earnings results, depict a chronological series of events – and much more. An infographic is the perfect vehicle for making complex information easily understood. Don’t use an infographic as a thinly veiled ad, however, or to rehash information easily obtained elsewhere, or to simply transform a written article like a blog post into a visual asset.

Step 2: Clear the Cobwebs from Your Message

An infographic can bomb if you don’t approach the development process the right way. We can’t stress strongly enough that whether you create an infographic yourself or have a professional design it, if you don’t spend the up-front time identifying the precise, compelling points you want to make – points that tell your story clearly, deeply and convincingly – your infographic will fail.

Step 3: Plot the General Flow of Information

Once you know precisely what points to convey in order to tell your story, determine how best to depict them – charts, percentages, graphs or pictograms, for example. Before you get too deeply into this step, check out some of the free tools described in Step 4, below. They all have templates you can select based upon the type of information you’re presenting and will help get your creative juices flowing.

Step 4: Design and Build Your Infographic

In years past, this was a task relegated to a designer. Today you don’t need to be a design pro to get professional-looking results, thanks to a host of free or low-cost tools. We’ve included a few of them here to create your own infographics. As you do, however, keep in mind that the more you customize the template with interesting graphics and text, the more unique and compelling your infographic will be. You don’t want it to look like everyone else’s. In addition to uniqueness, keep your infographic as clutter-free and easy to follow as possible – and go light on the text.

·       Piktochart http://piktochart.com/: PiktoChart’s marketing message is “Take your visual communication to the next level, without hiring a professional designer” and promises that non-designers can create beautiful infographics in as little as 10 minutes. PiktoChart provides hundreds of ready-to-go, customizable templates and a library of over 4000 icons and images.  It offers a free version and a pro account that gives you more theme and image options.

·       Easel.ly http://www.easel.ly/: With thousands of free infographic templates and design objects, you can create an infographic in just a few clicks. Using the site is as easy as dragging and dropping design elements. You can choose a template from Easel.ly’s library or upload your own background image and start from scratch. If you select an Easel.ly template, you can add in more images and text to make your story unique. The basic version of this tool is free.

·       Visualize.me http://vizualize.me/: Although Visualize.me focuses on infographic resumes, the tool’s templates are not limited to that. Connect to this free tool via your LinkedIn profile and it will pull your information into the program, or you can manually add it. Select from a wide range of themes, maps, timelines, charts and pictograms, then share your infographic on social sites, your website and email. Vizualize.me also includes a dashboard that charts page statistics.

·       Infogr.am https://infogr.am/: If you have a lot of data that you want to bring to life and encourage sharing, Infogr.am may be just the ticket. With this tool you simply “pick a template, visualize the data, and publish & share.” You can connect charts and graphs in your infographic to live data as well as add interactive visualizations. Subscriptions start at $15 a month, or you can select a free, more limited plan to test the waters.

·       Visme http://www.visme.co/: Visme is a browser-based tool that makes it easy to create infographics as well as presentations, banner ads, and other content. It has more than 50 customizable templates. You can choose from thousands of free images, background types and icons as well as embed YouTube videos, or you can simply edit the text in the existing template text and publish. Visme offers a free plan and two subscription-based paid plans.

·       Venngage https://venngage.com/: Venngage is an easy-to-use, web-based tool that includes hundreds of templates for creating infographics as well as posters, reports, promotions, and social media posts. With a drag-and-drop interface, it includes a wide library of icons, pictograms, maps and built-in graphs and you can even import spreadsheets. Venngage offers a free, limited-option plan and two premium plans as well as special pricing for education and non-profit users.

Step 5: Post, Promote and Share Your Infographic

Once your infographic is ready for the limelight, how do you get it to into the hands of the people who will value and share it?

First, think about who your target audience is. What blogs do they read? Which social networks do they frequent? Who are the most influential bloggers and social leaders in your market space? You probably already know many of them. Here is what to look for when identifying influencers who will be valuable to your brand. After you’ve identified your influencers, the next step is to establish relationships with them. The better you know your influencers, the more successful you’ll likely be in getting them to help you promote your infographic and brand. To make sure the time you spend researching is effective, work smart, not hard. Use these 5 questions to guide your process.

Be sure to feature your infographic on your website. Publish a blog post about it and add Click to Tweet so people can easily share key points (tweetables). Post it on social sites such as Pinterest and Instagram. And promote it via a press release. That way you drive it to your target audiences as well as create broad visibility on search engines and social channels.

Creating a successful infographic takes a bit of work, but the payoffs can be huge. When you lay the proper groundwork, add your spark of creativity to the design and development, and promote it sufficiently, your infographic will inspire social sharing. That not only gets your message across to your target audiences, but also builds brand awareness and search engine visibility across wider groups of people and can even open up new markets.

To learn how Marketwired can help you build your brand and generate more business, visit our Built In Community Members page for ideas on generating publicity, promoting your products and services, and building a loyal customer base.

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