What's an Infographic and is it a Good Content Marketing Tool?

Today I came across this Infographic, called “Who’s Sharing What: The State Of Social Sharing in 2013
thanks to my Tweep @Faydra_Deon (aka Ms Social Media) who shared it.
The infographic was published in #SaleWritingToday (Tangible Words’ Paper.Li issue of articles that are aligned with our content marketing goals for best practices) on June 4th and I shared it on my Linked In profile ¬†and Twitter.

FYI Paper.Li curates these articles on our behalf based on our Twitter Feed. It’s a neat shortcut to make sure I don’t miss any “hot topic” articles each day, without spending tonnes of time surfing Twitter. I do a lot of my professional development to make sure Tangible Words is following best practices on Twitter, and I rely on the people I follow on Twitter to share good information with me so I can continue learning. It’s part of our Continuous Improvement Plan at Tangible Words.

Infographics are getting a lot of attention online these days, and for good reason. Infographics are a pretty neat way to share some complicated information in a way that is very “internet-reader-friendly.” But despite all the appeal of Infographics – like any “cool new thing” online – it’s quickly catching on and people are forgetting some pretty important website copywriting rules – in terms of upholding the expectations of online readers. But before I talk about what’s good about info graphics–and the dangers to avoid, let’s get one awkward thing out of the way.

Some of You are Wondering, What is an Infographic?

An infographic is a VERY visual display of an idea, argument, or definition. I suppose some people will say it’s also a way to display a whole bunch of statistics – but if you’re in that camp – jump to the Infographic Dangers Should You Avoid in our next article.

Why are Infographics Appealing to Online Readers?

Because online readers are nearly always skim-reading, visual images have a tendency to stand out really well. (That’s why as website copywriters, and in our E-Writer Content Marketing Training Programs, we always recommend that you use Graphic Text, and not just a whole bunch of long essay-like paragraphs on your company websites and your business blogs.)
Because an infographic displays information in a logical sequence, you still manage to understand a complete idea, but it’s like training-wheels for online readers. You don’t have to try to separate the ideas in your mind in each sentence. (And on that note, my English Teacher Literacy Expert wants to interject: “that’s actually a main reading hurdle for less experienced readers.” As you read, strong readers are always forming mental pictures of each explained idea. They compute each sentence before moving on to the next, and do the same with paragraphs. But there are fewer strong readers in 2013 — especially online–than there are better readers. Hence why “literacy” has become such a hot-button topic in Western Education the past 10-12 years.)
60% of learners tend to be visual learners (instead of auditory or kinetic learners). That means most people like visual displays. Complement that fact with the idea that we’re moving too fast online to read slowly, and that illiteracy is a bit of a pain point–and you can see why Infographics are becoming so popular.
Instead of writing a text article, an infographic takes the same ideas you would normally have to explain in a text-based article and turns every idea into a visual display. Each idea is separated by colours and complemented with a graphic, wherever possible.
Thus, infographics are a great way to do content marketing because you can explain an idea visually and more people are likely to give it a quick skim – and still be able to digest it – getting your message across to potentially more people.