Successful infographics are those that have a clear story, are engaging, and are memorable. They can inform, explain, or give directions. But this is not the time or place for calls-to-action (CTAs) and other sales tactics – this is about relationship building. Think of them as a nice little present you’re giving to a specific audience to stake your claim to a piece of their hearts and minds. While infographics have been around for a number of years, the experts think that they still remain a valuable form of content marketing.

The possibilities are endless for the direction of an infographic, but as with any marketing tool, you have to start with a solid foundation. Below, we’ve put together the do’s and don’ts of infographics to help you stay on track and ensure your next infographic starts out on the right foot.

Do:

Take great care in crafting your narrative. 

Your infographic’s goal should be the most important element of the project. Before jumping into any fancy design program, take a minute to outline the story. Step away from your computer and sketch it out, break out the whiteboard, or shuffle around a bunch of index cards.

Analyze your initial outline and ask yourself if it has a logical flow? Consider if it has a clear beginning, middle, and end. Don’t forget that you’re creating this for a specific target audience. Will they be able to follow the progression of the story? Will they find the information you include useful and informative? 

Keep your infographic simple and focused with data and graphics that are relevant to your audience and core story. 

Design it to be engaging and accessible

Once you’ve locked down the skeleton of the infographic, you can start working on the graphics. Feel free to experiment and be creative. Choose 2-3 colors and different values of them. If you can keep with your branding colors, that’s great. But don’t be afraid to break outside the box a little. The color palette you choose should also be appropriate to your data and main message. 

Choose combination fonts with a clear hierarchy and that are easy to read at small sizes. Think about the infographics you see online, aren’t you frustrated when you can’t zoom in close enough to read the explanatory font under a specific data point? 

Ensure that the imagery you use supports the information you’re trying to provide – this includes the data conveying graphic pieces like charts, graphs, and especially icons. 

Design your infographic to be modular. This will enable you to pull sections out and recycle that content in newsletters or as social shares. 

Have a distribution Plan

Think of the life of your infographic. Where are you going to share it? Are there any publications you can submit it to reach your audience and which social platforms are best to reach them? 

Don’t:

Rely too heavily on online creators and stock templates. There are hundreds of free online creator tools for infographics. While they may give you easy access to well designed graphics and colors, a template can quickly undermine your message if not relevant to your core story or to your audience. 

Ignore the length of your infographic. A few years ago, when infographics were quickly gaining popularity, it was trendy to have extremely long infographics that seemed to scroll on for hours. Back then, it was unexpected. Today, it’s bad practice, with shorter infographics showing more success. Again, keep your narrative simple. 

Forget to cite your sources. There are a couple ways you can tackle this. You can choose to include the sources near the graphs or data points, or you can include them in a footer section. Citing your sources isn’t law, but your information will be more credible, and your company more trustworthy, if you take the time to do so. 

Final Thoughts

Don’t think there’s a place for this medium in your digital marketing strategy? Think again! Infographics are not only a great way to convey complex information related to your products and services or a survey you’ve conducted, but they can also be used to share behind the scenes information about your processes or company culture. This can help your audience grow an emotional connection to your company. With proper strategy, infographics can help you increase brand awareness, be used as a powerful lead magnet, and even help communicate your employer brand.