Over the last 3 years that we have been designing infographics for a ton of different clients across different industries, we have learned alot about succeeding with infographics; whether success means driving traffic, links, or building brand and social channels. Like with any piece of content there have been huge successes, from infographics we never could have dreamed would drive the levels of traffic they did, to infographics that we thought were a sure hit, that did well, but not as well as we thought. Though these peaks and valleys we examined our campaigns to better understand what helped virality. Below are what we call the 3 D’s of infographic strategy that might not guarantee your data visualization will go viral, but will give it the best chance to.
Many would say this is the key to a great infographic going viral, but I would argue that it’s one of the last things to look at if an infographic does not do as well as you would like.
Let me explain what I mean. The design of many online marketing strategies such as infogrpahics or even websites reaches a value plateau, where making something look better does not increase the value or conversions (in this case driving traffic, getting shared, or gaining links) of that product. Thus, the ROI actually decreases as you invest more time and money into making something “look better”.
Infograpahic Tip: I will not dispute the fact that design does play a role, but just be careful when choosing the company to execute an infographic campaign, that they are not spending a majority of the the time (and your money) on the design, and missing what matters most (data and distribution).
Data is the backbone of your infographic, it provides the value, and is the primary reason your audience will engage with what you have built. There are a few key parts of the data that we have learned over the years that can make or break the success of your campaign.
- The data must be accurate
There are many places on the web to get data, and as long as you source your content, there is no reason that there should be inaccurate data in your infographic.
- The data must speak to your primary customer type
Much like with any marketing channel, targeting your consumer is key to driving conversions. Understanding first who your customer type is and then gathering the data they will care about, gives your infographic a higher probability of being successful.
Infograpahic Tip: Understand related and relevant things that your target persona would be doing at the same time, or just before they buy your product. This will help you create an infographic that grabs their attention while they are in the part of the buying cycle that has the highest probability of aligning with your product.
- The data must help your target persona
We have found that the best infographics help your target audience in some way. This can be in the form of a “Guide to doing something”, or “tips for choosing the best…”.
- The data must grab them emotionally (make the laugh, cry, or relate to your data)
Along with helping your consumer (as outlined above), there should be a data set within your infographic that strikes an emotional string with your customer type. This can be something that makes them chuckle a little or even feel sadness in some way. The primary goal of this part of the infographic is to help build that emotional connection that will lead to a conversion (share, or link, or awareness of brand).
- The infographic should contain at least 3 different sets of data
Many times we see “infographics” that have 1 piece of data and don’t provide value (thus just being what I would consider a “graphic”).
Design in the absence of content is not design, it’s decoration – Jeffrey Zeldman
Much like a piece of thin content that provided no value and was devalued by Google in their Panda Update, infographics can have the same problem.
Infograpahic Tip: We would suggest building out at least 3 content areas within your infographic that include a mix of data, graphs, and text based content.
- The data should not be short lived
There are tons of infographics that, because of the data sets they have used, their accuracy is short lived. A rule of thumb we like to live by when creating infographics is that if your data can’t still be used 6 months from now, and be accurate, it probably does not belong in a long term content infographic strategy.
3. Distribution (Marketing)
I am sure most people have heard the adage “if you build it they will come” used when it comes to any piece of content or website on the web. The days when a piece of content could be built or website designed and not marketed, has long since passed. Not only do you have to design and gather some great data, but you will also need to distribute (market) your infogrphic to help it earn value. Below are ways in which you can distribute and market your inographic.
- Infographic Directories
- Social Media
- Blogger Outreach
- Conversational Marketing
- Reach out to the people who originally had the data, and let them know you found it so valuable that you created a graphic about it