For an infographic to be successful in sending a marketing message or sharing valuable information to a business community, it should be backed by credible research. Without it, the entire content piece will falter altogether, and no one would ever look at your infographic again.
Making sure that research is solid and used appropriately is the most important fiber in infographic creation. Sure, dazzling visual content is what this type of media is all about, but the research aspect is what intellectually satisfies the hungry minds of the readers.
Research typically happens somewhere between the conception of a great idea and the production process. Although for some creators, ideas are conjured up during or after the research process.
Basically, the research process is pretty much the same as article creation, only with minor differences:
Scouting for your sources
The beauty of infographics is the fact that it directly caters to the logical needs of its readers. The very point of infographics is to pick only the necessary details of information and present them upfront, without the fuss of creative writing or storytelling. Therefore, the source of the idea to be used must come directly from the audience:
- You can start by simply talking to your prospects directly.
- Also try to go outside your marketing department and gain ideas from people from a different point of view. Ask them what they think your business readers need to know.
- Consider tools or services for gathering feedback from your other content platforms.
Referencing your sources appropriately
Most infographics simply include a list of the source domains (or titles of articles) at the end of the presentation to keep it free from clutter. If you are to integrate it with an article, make sure you have a list of the full URLs just in case people would request it (or you need to go back to your sources).
However, if someone makes a particularly noteworthy quote and you intend to feature that on the image, consider citing its source right next to it to lend credibility to the infographic.
The worst thing you could do is to create an infographic that contains countless statistical data without indicating a single source. Bear in mind that there are lots of business people who take these content images seriously, and the things you include in your infographic could very well be the cause of their success or demise. Be responsible by double-checking your data and citing your sources.
Structuring your results
The meat of the research can only be presented effectively if its results are systematic:
- Title. Infographics contain straight data, so it needs a straight title.
- Appealing introduction. Highlight some of the key facts from your research to encourage people to read the entire infographic rather than just give it a casual glance.
- Sections. The content on most infographics are typically segmented into several categories. The task for your graphics designer is to make the segmentation aspect very clear and understandable.
- The ‘OMG’ factoid. Most infographics have a fact or statistic that really stands out from the rest and most likely invokes the strongest emotions. Determine which part of your image can be highlighted to give it an explosive impact if necessary.
- The visuals. It isn’t an infographic without the cutesy little images and icons that represent information that would otherwise be boring to read with just plain words.
Drawing out feedback
The research process doesn’t end at publishing the infographics (surely you’re not planning to produce just one within your company’s entire lifetime). It’s still within marketing responsibilities to determine whether the infographic was effective in terms of reaching out to people who are supposed to make use of your content.
You also need to identify whether the discovery of your infographic has led to other pertinent actions, such as people tending to visit your company website or signing-up for more content. These can be easily tracked and measured through the use of modern online marketing tools.
But feedback doesn’t have to be a complicated process; you can simply look at the comments generated by your infographic on whichever online platform was used to publish it, just like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or your business blog.
Getting better at infographics
As you produce more and more images, you’ll be able to get the hang of making it more polished and effective in conveying a clear message. Eventually you will thirst for more creative approaches and would be more inclined to try new designs (especially that infographics seems to look a lot like each other nowadays).
Even in this aspect, research is still valuable. You can use case studies and other measurable tools to determine whether a new strategy can be more productive than the old ones. In the end, it all comes down to the basics: creating a wonderful, insightful image that could paint a thousand words.
Image courtesy of master phillip, Flickr.