Infographics may not have lead the media charge that has been taking place over the last few years - pictures of cats, animated GIFs, and video between them probably make up the vanguard - but they have certainly had an impact. It seems that almost every technology announcement - major or minor - is accompanied by an infographic. Take this one for the announcement that women spend longer playing games on their smartphones than men and this one which reveals that 91% of B2B marketers use content marketing. But why are so many people making them? Should you be? And how can you make use of these powerful marketing assets?

Why Build Infographics?

Tweets and Facebook updates are great. They’re instant, simple ways of communicating with your fans and followers. If you’re at an event you can live-tweet about it, you can use hashtags to piggyback on that day’s trends or try to start your own, and you can get in front of potential customers right now. The problem is, as soon as tomorrow comes those updates are pushed down people’s feeds never to be seen again.

Statistics are also great. They help us to grasp concepts like how much it would actually cost to be Batman (because who hasn’t wondered about that at some point?) or which country’s residents consume which type of alcohol. But let’s face it - and I say this as someone who loves manipulating data - statistics can be rather boring at times. They don’t exactly jump out and pull on the heart strings.

Infographics are a great way to connect with the people who engage with your brand by creating permanent content that takes statistics and makes them highly visual. Journalists like infographics because they are an exciting way of getting ideas across to an audience, so launching an interesting, timely infographic can even lead to exposure for you and your brand.

They also support your other online marketing efforts. You can:

  • Tweet about them every few months
  • Share them on Facebook
  • Repurpose them into white papers (or even take white papers and turn them into infographics)
  • Blog about them
  • Use them as a reason to get in touch with influencers in your niche
  • Reference them next time you write a guest blog post
  • Or even turn them into printed brochures

This makes them very useful as everygreen content – content that keeps its value for a long time after its launch.

Should I Build Infographics?

Infographics probably aren’t for everyone. In the wrong hands they can end up as awful, awful mistakes; link building is part of every SEO’s job but I wouldn’t want a link from this Top 10 post. If you do decide to make one you’ll also be looking at both research and design time, which between them can easily take a couple of days. So if you’re working with an agency then they can be quite an investment.

But if you can find some statistics that will interest your clients (and if the different shapes of computer game controllers are interesting enough to make an infographic about then your industry will be), have some existing relationships with influencers or the ability to create them, and have even the beginnings of a social media following then infographics can be well-worth that investment.

Making The Most Of your Infographic

As I’ve hinted at, making the most of an infographic means not just publishing it, sending off a couple of tweets, and then forgetting about it. Because creating an infographic involves so much work there is both the need to do more with it – to realise your investment - and the opportunity to do more with it.

Maximise Social Media Coverage

Publishing an infographic on your website is of course your first step. And tweeting about it, sharing it on Facebook, and generally engaging your social media following is the obvious next step. The problem is that when you share something, a good proportion of people are unlikely to see it. And even when people see it they may be too busy or distracted to share with it. This is fine when your update is a witty one-liner, but when it’s an asset you’ve invested a not-insignificant amount of time and money in you want as many of your followers to see it as possible.

So, if your initial tweet is at 1pm on a Tuesday then make sure to share again at 6pm when everybody is sitting bored on the train or bus. You’ll also catch the eye of your followers in the US (which you almost certainly will have, no matter how location-bound your niche is. And you want as many people to share your work as possible) by broadcasting at this time. Some people check their tweets first thing when they get to work - especially Social Media Managers, Marketing Executives, and Community Managers – so schedule a tweet for 9am on Wednesday as well to make sure they see it. That – along with your updates on Facebook and elsewhere - is your first salvo of sharing. But what about all those people who are on holiday? Or who still haven’t had time to check your infographic out? Or people who aren’t following you yet but will be in a month? Well, you can schedule more tweets a week and a month and three months and six months ahead to make sure all of those people see it at some point. There are plenty of very successful Twitter and Facebook feeds out there which regularly feature “from the archive” content; the Twitter accounts of Jeff Bullas and Art of Manliness are two good examples of how to successfully get your old content in front of new followers and fans.

Blog About It

You’ve published your infographic, but who’s to say that’s all you can do on your website? If you have a company blog you can get your new asset in front of all your subscribers by blogging about it. Simple, really, but not an opportunity you want to miss.

Turn it into a Webinar

In the process of preparing your infographic you will have come across a wealth of data. You’ll have kept the most interesting pieces and mentally thrown a lot away, because while infographics can be long they can’t be infinite. But you still spent time to harvest and analyse all of this data, so how can you make use of it?

One possible answer is to use your infographic as a hook to get people watching a webinar. By putting together a webinar you can take people through the data, include nuggets that you didn’t have space for in the original infographic, and discuss what it all means for your customers and clients. That last bit is really the important part: people always ask “that’s great, but how does it affect me?” Give them the answer to that question and you will have their attention.

Oh, and don’t forget to post your presentation deck on SlideShare so you can share it over social media later.

Turn it into a White Paper

If your audience isn’t likely to watch a webinar, maybe they’ll read a white paper. Who knows, they may even do both!

A white paper is another great way to up-cycle the content from your infographic into a benefit-led, problem-solving asset that your audience will appreciate.

Find Influencers Who Will Get Excited By It

Sharing your content over social networks will only get you a certain amount of exposure. Another great way of increasing your reach is to find influencers – people who have a large number of social media followers – and work out how you might excite them about your content. Then get in touch with them, say why they’ll love it, and point them in the direction of your site. You may only get one influencer to share it on LinkedIn or tweet about it, but if that influencer has a large number of connections then that could have a great impact.

The other option, of course, is good old-fashioned PR. Create PR campaigns based around the findings of your infographic and get your knowledge out there.

The Key to A Successful Infographic

As you have probably worked out over the course of this post the key to making the most of your infographic is planning. Don’t just work out what you want to talk about, work out who will be interested in that topic, why they will be interested, and how you can get them interested. Then work out how you can tie that back to your products or services, pulling these people through your sales funnel. That way your new asset will get you great exposure and pay for itself many times over.