Infographics are widely used today and you cannot open a newspaper, turn on a news channel or drive for long without bumping into one. Infographics are used widely online by media savvy businesses looking to build their brand identity and also because they are able to transfer a great deal of information using a graphic – they are much, much more than a simple picture.
We created Infographics Showcase a year ago to help with our clients’ link building and branding needs and it has been a wonderful tool for us. It has also lead to some infographic design work which has been a nice source of income for Big Oak Studios.
The format for an infographic is varied, but there are some common themes; they are very relevant plus how they render up the information to the user is easy to understand plus there is an added bonus of playing to a humorous aspect of the information or context.
Infographics are also widely shared – instead of people sharing a news article or blog post, it is simpler to share the infographic. The propensity to be shared is what makes an infographic such an excellent tool for SEO – not only are they highly relevant and easy to understand, but they create a lot of links by being shared or adopted by other users.
Infographics lend themselves to almost any situation; if you have even the most convoluted business model or idea, you can convey the fundamental features and benefits effectively using an infographic. An online storage company, Mozy.com, had a problem in getting people to understand how much data storage was provided by a petabyte. Many users are familiar with a gigabyte, but they do this by equating what a gigabit of data actually represents – for those downloading video, a gigabyte is a couple of episodes of a favorite TV show, or 300 to 350 songs on an iPod. The problem is consumers don’t have a conception of a terabyte (1024 GB), and the idea of a petabyte (1024 TB) is beyond any day-to-day equative understanding. How much data is represented by a petabyte falls into focus when you are told that it equals the information stored in 20 million 4-drawer filing cabinets though.
Infographics do take a lot of time to design because the different strands of information need to be drawn together. The designer needs to have a good view of the “big picture” and be able to handle large amounts of information as well as understand how the target audience is looking at the world. Companies using infographics tend to start off with small examples and work up from there; there is a degree of trial and error to find the right format, the right level of information to pitch at readers and the overall impact and feedback they generate for the business. You should not lose sight of the fact you are using an infographic for a specific set of business reasons – link backs, sharing of information, delivering relevant information to increase consumer awareness of you and your products/services or indeed, sales conversions.
Touching on the link backs for SEO purposes; if you create an infographic then you should be credited as the owner of the work. This means including your copyright mark (© 2010) and the link to your own website together with the small print stating the infographic can be shared but with attribution. This is also a good time to look at whether you have a company logo or not, because you should be aligning your brand identity with the infographic.