Content Marketing Best Practices: Infographic Dangers You Can Avoid

WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?)¬†strikes again.

Don’t get so hung up on the trend of making an infographic that you forget solid relationship developing principles. After all, an infographic is one way of using content marketing to build relationships online: show-and share- your expertise, give meaningful information to the right audience–these are the cornerstones of online (and modern) content marketing.

Infographic Dangers You Can Avoid

  1. I’m not sure a long list of statistics is that good of an idea. Who can compute all of that data! Amy Balliett in Smashing Magazine’s “Do’s and Don’ts of Infographic Design” referred to the concept of “telling a story” with your infographic. And as per usual, her graphic suggestions complement solid word-principles. A long list of statistics doesn’t really show us how to interact with the data – how to interpret it or what to conclude. So even if your infographic’s purpose is to be an Industry Data Report, it’s easier for readers to be given a suggestion of what to do with all of that data. David at Infographics Labs calls this the “knowledge” element of the infographic in his “infographic about infographics“. So explain to viewers what your data indicates (beyond a list of a bunch of data as to who is using Smartphones in what country) For example, you can explain what help this information provides (it usually isn’t obvious). Who would want to know this kind of information? Why did you provide or collect this data? What could one do with it? This kind of information will lead you nicely to a more effective “call to action.”¬†(By the way, by explaining this kind of information, you also are helping users share your infographic with people you want to see your infographic–i.e. your target market.)
  2. Test your references and make sure you footnote key information. If you just have a whole bunch of references at the bottom of your infographic, it’s kind of hard for users to go directly to the source. I like it when key metrics have a footnote or an endnote so you can see what each source has been used. It adds credibility to your statistics.
  3. Remember, infographics are often used as learning tools – a chance to finally understand something you’ve been wanting to know. For example, Infographics Lab made one called “20 Reasons to Switch to Google+“.¬†Sometimes in an attempt to be clever or funny, we don’t really explain a whole idea–and instead expect arguments like “because it’s super cool” to stand for themselves. But if users are coming on here to learn something – make sure you deliver by fully explaining your ideas. It’s the age of the skeptic and we are not so keen on people who take up our time with marketing hype rather than giving us fair and reasonable amount of reliable evidence so we can then make up our own mind about a topic or an idea. Stopping short of fully explaining your ideas in an infographic can be counter-productive, because we want to know we can trust your use of our time to learn something worth knowing.

Do you think infographics are a good content marketing tool?