Guest post by Ronita Mohan.
Content marketing has become pretty much…just marketing. Anything you publish online is content. Anything you mail out is content. The information you deliver at live events is content.
But the combination of information (text) overload, shorter attention spans, and greater use of mobile devices has led marketers to turn to visual content to make an impact on their audience.
One of the most common forms of visual content used by marketers are infographics. Some might even say that infographics are too common—to the point they’ve been good-naturedly mocked by infographics about infographics So are they even effective anymore?
Yes, they are. Here’s why you still need infographics in your content marketing.
What Happened to Infographics?
At the peak of infographic mania—between 2010 and 2016—marketers were creating infographics for the sake of making them.
Once marketers realized that this was a format that attracted attention from publications and journalists, everyone started producing infographics. These addressed a variety of subjects, many of which didn’t warrant an entire infographic dedicated to them.
Additionally, because of the demand for infographics, marketers tried to churn them out quickly, with little thought to quality. It was all about maximizing the format, and as a result, a huge number of poor quality infographics were sent out into the world.
Consequently, it wasn’t a surprise that infographics fell out of favor with journalists and online publications. After all, they never knew what kind of quality they were going to receive.
Infographics Have Changed
But the landscape has changed in the last couple of years, and infographics are now making a comeback.
According to the latest visual content marketing statistics, 36.6% of marketers said they preferred to use original imagery, like infographics, in their content marketing.
One of the major reasons for the resurgence of infographics is that there just aren’t as many being created now. Marketers are being selective with their infographic marketing, which has also produced an improvement in quality.
With the increased push towards mobile marketing, infographics are now being created with responsive design in mind. Large fonts, which are easier to read on a small screen, are being incorporated. There’s also more of a move towards vertical graphics, rather than horizontal visuals, which are also easier to read on a mobile screen.
In general, the infographics being designed today keep the audience in mind. No longer are marketers slapping together graphics and text on a background of garish colors in an attempt to attract attention. Instead, they are now working on making infographics as informative (as the name implies) and shareable as possible.
Why Do Infographics Still Work in Content Marketing?
With the dramatic increase in content marketing over the past few years, there is so much content to consume. Social feeds are constantly being updated with more content than people can read.
And despite the amount of content available, people have little time to read most of it. Between consumers’ primary jobs, their secondary jobs, their families, and their chores, people feel lucky to get 20-30 minutes for content discovery.
Within that little available time, internet users try to consume as much news as possible. They often simply do not have the time to read long articles packed with information.
For marketers to reach this demographic, they need to adopt different methods of information-sharing. To improve content engagement, marketers have returned to infographics.
Infographics are easy to absorb in a limited amount of time. They compress large amounts of information into bite-sized morsels.
They also make for excellent shareable content, with the potential to become viral. They can be shared as individual social media posts or blogs, or can be combined with existing posts.
Website heatmaps have shown that visitors tend to spend more time on visuals, such as infographics, than on other parts of a page. Using infographics can reduce your bounce rate and increase engagement.
Additionally, infographics cater to the internet’s newfound love of data, which makes them even more shareable. Websites now reference infographics created by other sources, and even embed them within their own content (with permission).
For marketers who want new content, but have little time to produce it, an embedded infographic serves as new and shareable content, which requires only a short write-up to accompany it.
Despite a dip in form, the way infographics combine data visualization and the power of storytelling make them a great tool for content promotion in today’s marketing landscape.
How Can You Make High-Quality Infographics?
With infographics becoming popular again, there is a danger of falling into the old pattern of creating large quantities of poor quality infographics. But there are ways to avoid those pitfalls.
Using infographic templates that are well-laid out, attractive, and highly customizable, not only makes it easier for marketers to create infographics quickly, but also ensures that there is no compromise on quality.
But don’t fall into the trap of creating an infographic just because they get views. Find the story you want to tell through the infographic. What question is the infographic answering?
With that in mind, create an outline. Write down your focus keyword—like you would do for an article or blog post. Map out your headings, the data sets you will include, and the color scheme.
Remember that more color doesn’t equate to greater attraction. The colors you choose need to fit the theme of your story.
Colors also relate to the charts you use. Choose the right kind of charts that will share your data effectively but concisely. Don’t add too much color to your charts—color should help distinguish the data points from each other. It should not be overwhelming.
Play around with the fonts you use but your limit your infographic fonts to no more than three—one for your heading, one for the sub-headings, and one for your body text. Too many fonts will crowd the design and look amateurish.
These are some basics of creating an infographic. But what it all comes down to is finding a good story to tell. Quality, not quantity, is the key to making a great infographic.
Critics were quick to declare the death of infographics, but with the growth of visual content marketing and the expanding range of content marketing tools, infographics are staging a comeback—which is good news for marketers.
With template sites making attractive infographics that are easier to adapt, the quality of the visuals being produced have become far more useful to marketers.
Content marketing can be overwhelming to create and to consume. But with infographics, marketers can reach their audience, improve their on page SEO, and boost engagement.
The infographic is far from dead—it is very much alive and it is a visual tool you need to use today.
Ronita Mohan is a content marketer at Venngage, the online infographic maker and design platform. Ronita regularly writes about digital marketing, visual design, and small business growth.