The 6 Angles That Shape Your Infographic

Recently, I was part of the team responsible for creating an Infographic.  Two months in, I’m still a relative newbie to Distilled, and it quickly became clear there was a lot more to think about than I initially appreciated.

There are several different parties with a vested interest in the final product and the production process, and balancing the criteria of each can be tricky.  You can help yourself out massively by becoming aware of the different factors early on in the process.

The creative process for producing such a piece of content is unavoidably iterative, but having a clearer idea of the guidelines could mean the difference between minor refinements and a major overhaul.  So, to the different parties...

The Client

Depending on the purpose of the project, the client is likely to desire some mix of links and traffic, and the more shrewd will want to see how this ultimately leads to a justifiable ROI (probably not in isolation but as part of a larger strategy).

Branding is another important issue to many clients.  Is the content relevant to what they do and their target audience?  Is it something they are proud to put their name to?  Do the colours, design and editorial style tie in with the rest of their site?

Depending on their background and experience, the client may have other particular concerns.  As with every party mentioned here, these are generalisations, and it’s always a good idea to ask!

The Lead SEO

Links, links, links!!!  No surprise there then.  Well, actually, there is a touch more to it.  What factors are likely to enhance people’s desire to link to and share this content?

  • A catchy headline – always a good place to start, and well worth investing extra time in getting this right.  Try to avoid slapping a title on it as an after-thought.
  • Large enough to catch the eye
  • A few attention-grabbing quotes highlighted, so it’s easy to share (particularly through social media) – eg Did you know monkeys have 17 thumbs, but lose 14 of them by the age of 3?  (That was Tom’s suggestion – I’m pretty sure the monkey bit’s not true)
  • Something of real substance – data comparison or research

Okay, so I’m actually sliding into what’s important to the linkerati, twitterati and glitterati here, but that’s really how an SEO needs to be thinking to satisfy the goal of the project.

The Researcher

This is the person who’s going to put the grunt-work in, and actually find the raw data, make comparisons, and draw out the most interesting, entertaining or useful of the bunch.  Depending on the project, and the organisation, it’s quite possible a number of these roles will be performed by the same person, but it could be worthwhile thinking about them differently, and being aware which hat you are wearing at any given moment in the project.

The main consideration is how easy is it going to be to find this information, and how trusted and reliable are the sources?  It’s not always easy to know from the start, but it’s worth dipping your toe in the water to find out how much time and resource your ideas are likely to take.  It might take a little re-working at this stage.

And it’s not always possible, but it can be good to somehow engage the interests of the researcher.  If he or she is completely uninspired, this could come through in the production of the content.

The Designer

Each designer probably has different preferences for this, but at Distilled, Leonie likes us to provide her with 5 or 6 fun or interesting facts with supporting details for each.  Bullet point is fine, and it’s helpful if you can provide a headline for the whole piece and sub-heads for each fact.

It’s a good idea to put your most attention grabbing fact first, and your second juiciest one last, and all the rest in the middle.

If the designer needs more info to assist with the visual element, you should be prepared to provide them with more.  On that note, always note the sources of each piece of information you gather.  You can quickly lose track, and journalists will give it a wide berth if you can’t name the origins of the data you’re portraying.

The Outreach Team

If you have a relationship with journalists and editors, it can pay to know in advance what they’re going to be writing about.  That way you can be of genuine service to them.  Even if you don’t know that many individuals closely, you can always try tying it in to upcoming trends (large events, seasons, public holidays, back to school etc)

One of the key questions when pitching (and therefore designing) the infographic is to consider the simple question:


“So What’s New?”

What new angle are you taking on the situation?  What new insights or commentary are you providing?

When I used to work in the events industry, we often didn’t design an event until we’d sold it – all we were really selling was the concept and framework.  I’ve read similar accounts from successful authors and information marketers.  A small dose of the same approach can go a long way to helping your efforts here.

You could consider contacting a sample of potential sites and media in advance to find out if they’d be interested in your idea, and if so, what they’d like it to contain.  You can’t please everyone here, but it can make the pitching of your infographic when it’s done, a lot easier.

Target Sites

Ultimately, target sites are likely to post something that is relevant to their audience.  To that end you want to ensure that what you are offering adds real value to them.

Allowing them to post the infographic on their own site easily can be a benefit.

Media, in particular, will want to be assured of the accuracy of the research.  To this end, it’s a good idea to cite your sources, and make sure they’re trusted ones.


Image Credits:

Jarry Maguire - LocateTV

Obama - Chicagoland Television

Andy Warhol - Art Fag City

Stretch Armstrong - Keep On Gaming

Research books - University of Southampton

SEO Geek - Cultural Snow

Extra Extra - Czech Folks

Respect my Authoritah - US Message Board

Get blog posts via email