Visual content has never been as powerful as it is today. Good storytelling helps you to grab people’s attention and infographics provide the best narrative for your topic. Learning how to create your own infographics can definitely help you leap ahead of your competition as this form of content is notorious for attracting social shares.
Basically, an infographic is like a sweet pill that crunches information into compelling facts through the use of visuals which keeps users engaged and inclined to share with others.
This post is designed to help you create your own infographics – with little or no money:
1. Collect Data For Your Topic
First, get clear on your topic. Identify the take-away and establish what you want people to learn from your graphic. Is there something you want them to do, like share, like or subscribe? Do you want them to feel a specific emotion? (e.g. amused, surprised, etc.) Or, do you want them to be more informed about a particular concept or topic?
The key is finding a topic that your audience cares about. It can be the “big thing” in your niche or just a freshly relevant issue that people have a keen interest in.
Here are a few useful resources you can use to collate topics for your infographics:
- Google Trends – If you want to go with a hot topic, then checking Google Trends is a must. This is where you see what information people in your industry are currently looking for. Enter your keywords and select “related terms” and then click “rising” – you’ll get a good dose of topics that are growing in popularity.
- Google News – For more timely topics, Google News offers a vast pool of information. It provides the hottest data that is both legit and reliable.
- Visual.ly – This is probably the largest infographic database on the web. Searching for popular infographics can give you a good idea of where people’s interest lies in your niche. Head to their homepage and search for the “Topics” section and select the topics closest to your niche.
- Google Scholar – This is another gold mine of information. Simply enter your keywords and search through the results. The great thing is that most documents cite many other research papers, so the hard work has already been done.
- Industry forums – Niche forums are packed with valuable insights on people’s most stringent problems and concerns. Identify the hottest threads by looking at the number of views and replies – these sections get the most attention.
- Twitter searches – Twitter search usually reveals content that doesn’t get on Google’s first page. Enter your keywords and browse through the results.
- StumbleUpon – This is yet another great resource, untapped by many marketers. Install the Stumble toolbar and start “stumbling” on great content and hot topic ideas.
- Pinterest and Facebook – Pinterest is a great source of infographics in a variety of industries. Just enter your keyword + infographic and search through the results. Also, don’t forget to check Facebook for a dose of inspiration.
2. Structure The Story
Once you have researched your topic, the next step is to compile the gathered data into a cohesive structure. Turn the information into a story by making each point flow into the next one. Try and limit yourself to 6 parts for the graphic or else it might overwhelm your audience with data.
If you want to provide tips and facts (rather than statistics), just gather the data from your website, your blog, other relevant sources, or even your own expertise. Open the infographic with an introduction, add a high quality photo and then outline 4-6 points that support your main idea. Conclude with a final statement, some statistics and your sources.
Here is a breakdown of the best practices for infographic design:
- Make your infographic vertical. Vertical graphics are shared or embedded significantly more often than horizontal ones. The reason is because most websites are designed vertically so people prefer sharing vertical graphics on their sites.
- Use complementary colors. Visuals that use complimentary colors instead of a bunch of random hues are more liked, tweeted and shared. Use a color wheel to pick 3-5 colors and start with the colors in your website or logo and add some neutral grey tones.
- Write a catchy title. No matter how awesome your infographic is, if the title is boring, no one will click on it. After the title, summarize your visual with a brief sentence to describe the title and the key pointers.
- Tell a story. Tell a story that grabs and holds people’s attention so that they read it from start to finish, which makes them more likely to share or embed it.
- List your references. Putting your sources at the bottom helps increase the perceived value of your infographic. These references can also help you get others to promote your graph for free.
- Include your logo. Infographics can help brand your business, so make sure to add your logo somewhere on the page.
- Conclusion: Similar to the title, write a gripping conclusion to wrap things up. Make your infographic interactive by asking a final thought-provoking question that invited to comments and shares.
Here is a list of free tools to create your infographic:
- Infogr.am: Create infographics
- Piktochart has have has six decent free themes for creating simple visualizations. Check out this quick tutorial to make a cool infographic in 2.5 minutes.
- Easel.ly: Create visual ideas online using your own images with simple drag and drop features.
- Venngage: create and publish custom infographics and track results
- PowerPoint – five fabulous Hubspot infographic templates you can download for free.
3. Promote Your Infographic
Here are the key steps for promoting your infographics:
Embedded code: First, create an embed code to make it easy for people to share your infographic and allow them to link back to your site. You can easily create an embed code using this embed code generator tool. Once you’ve entered your information, copy and paste the code in the infographic. If you are using WordPress, use this embed code generator plugin (see below for a sample of this embed code)
Social media: This is the first place you should go when you want to spread the word about your new infographic. Instead of just saying something like “Check out my infographic”, consider tagging or mentioning the people or references used in your graphic. Also, tweet out your infographic to a few influential people or sites that you cited in your work. Share the URL on StumbleUpon, Pin it on Pinterest and share it within Google+ whether it be your profile or a community.
Infographic directories: These can help you add some buzz and momentum for your work. Here are a few reputable directories that you might want to consider:
If you want to see a sample infographic I’ve made in the past, check out my power of Google Authorship infographic.
Hopefully, you pulled out some valuable insights from this guide and you’re already planning your next of first infographic. One you’re done, don’t forget to get back here and report on your results! We’d love to hear from you and find out even more cool tips and resources