What is an Infographic and Which Types Should Your Business be Using?

What is an Infographic and Which Types Should Your Business be Using?

The infographic is a visual form of content marketing that helps to simplify complicated information or give life to boring subject matter. Used properly, the infographic provides a captivating visual for the reader who is already inundated with text in articles and stories around the web. The infographic in a sense gives the reader a visually engaging experience on data and content that appeals to the target audience.

When done correctly, the infographic becomes share-worthy and click-worthy, giving the reader reasons to spread the word and reach of any company to a global audience.

Why Should a Business Use an Infographic?

In terms of business, the infographic will be perhaps the most cost-effective way to market and increase website traffic yearly. Not only will sharing the infographic help to expose the company to a global audience they might not have had the resources to reach in the past, the infographic becomes the source of valuable leads, shares, and inbound links, all of which that have the potential to lead to new customers. These links also help to boost the ranking of the website in the eyes of the major search engines, because those earned links are crucial to how the search engine spiders index and then rank content.

Compare the benefits to that of paying for leads through traditional advertising methods. The amount of money needed to reach a global audience of targeted customers could be in the thousands if not millions over the years. The infographic is a powerhouse in the content marketing world because it has a return on investment that is even better than pay-per-click advertising. One other reason it is imperative your company use infographics, most of the competition is spending a fortune this year on PPC, usually ignoring content marketing altogether, this is your opportunity to take the road less traveled and enjoy the long-term benefits.

When are Infographics Appropriate?

When your company is trying to get a point across on a challenging subject, introduce your audience to the benefits of a product, or to show a timeline of events for subject, data visualization is the key to that information sticking with the intended audience. This visual representation of data is what the infographic is all about, because it clearly reveals information instantly that resonates with the reader. Being able to drive home a point in the blink of an eye is far more effective than trying to convince a reader to stay focused through thousands of words in an article to get the same result.

With the infographic, it takes a complicated story and presents it in a way that can be visualized in far less time. By easily sharing a story in an infographic, the reader is then able to understand the story and share the information more easily. When the subject matter is lost in an article, the reader is far less likely to want to pass on that information to their inner circle. That being said, when they are able to visualize the information by looking at the infographic, they get excited about the idea of giving their audience that same rush.

Let's look at the complicated process of trying to learn a new language by reading about translations in an article. The audience for this particular article are Americans traveling to Italy, and it helps them to better understand some of the native language in a number of key situations. By comparison, using an infographic that shows the actual image the word represents makes it easier to comprehend, easier to remember, and easier to reference. In the blink of an eye, the reader can recall dozens of foreign words solely based on the images each represents in the infographic.

The same can be said when trying to motivate the sales team by showing them charts about how they performed compared to where the sales numbers need to be. When using the infographic correctly, those basic graphs and charts almost come to life right on the page. Complex data points are more easily explained and recognized by the team, allowing them to easily see their strong and weak points compared to other variables. When the use of the infographic is done properly, they tend to be meaningful and beautiful at the same time. Each viewer is left to decipher the information that pertains to them and touches them differently than a person looking at the same information.

5 Different Types of Infographics

The infographic comes in numerous forms, and each is categorized based on flow of information, types of objects, and purpose of content. Although one single infographic might not fall into one category, there are a few that seem to be more popular than others. Today we will take a close look at five (5) different types of infographics and how they could meet your needs.

1. Informational Infographics

The informative infographic focuses on displaying information effectively and efficiently. Usually a very broad design, this image is broken down to encompass several design disciplines. Different from data visualization, the information infographic isn't made of specific data points, it is more in line with allowing the reader to visualize concepts like chronologies, anatomy, or a hierarchy. For example, the information infographic could compare the price to put a child through school versus the costs of keeping an inmate in prison for the same time frame.

Everyone encounters information infographics in their busy day, they may have become so used to seeing them that they don't even realize how powerful a tool they can be. These information infographic come in the way of timelines, organization diagrams, and flowcharts. By eliminating text, these images clarify structure using diagrams instead. Other examples that fall into this category are anatomical illustrations, cartography, and instructional diagrams.

2. Editorial Infographics

Major publications are starting to utilize editorial infographics in their design because of the shift in readership through social media. Many of the top publications have been using infographics in one form or another for decades, but the design today is more focused on creating content that will be easily shared. When the infographic is shared, it opens the door to a whole new audience and helps to embrace the customer base in a more personal way.

In the past, the editorial infographic might have only contained pies, lines, and bars. Today, complex designs map areas or showcase the anatomy of objects, in a more compelling manner. While many start-up publications are already embracing the editorial infographic, the larger commercial sector is just now beginning to realize they have the chance to engage more readers using charticles, or graphic content, to display their leadership in a niche or market.

3. Pie Charts Infographics

The pie chart has been a staple in the marketing industry for years, so using the pie charts infographic is the perfect way to seamlessly engage readers who are already accustomed to working with this form of marketing. The pie charts infographic is an incredible tool that gives the reader the ability to compare different components of one item at a glance. For example, pie chart infographics showing the age of users for a particular product allows someone analyzing the chart to see where more attention is needed and where the sweet spot really lies. The pie charts infographic can also be utilized to compare one value to another at a glance.

4. Timeline Infographics

The timeline infographics help the user to be able to visualize actions and events that took place in chronological order. The timeline infographics are being used these days to help demonstrate the development of a product, the evolution of an idea, or a historical trend. Utilized with the timeline infographics could be images, icons, and other graphic elements, all used to drive home a specific point. With the timeline infographic, the format can be effective as winding, horizontal, and vertical. The horizontal timeline infographic will work best where space is not going to be a constraint, winding and vertical formats are far more easier to read.

5. Chart Infographics

The charts infographic usually will have a chart that becomes the centerpiece of the visual design. To add explanation or emphasis, icons, shapes, and colors, can all be added to the charts infographic. When trying to compare the basics of one item to another, the charts infographic drive the point home more effectively. For example, the charts infographic is best used to show the population of different cities, number of students in the schools throughout a city, or the Instagram followers of different NFL football teams.

One Last Thing About Infographics

The infographic has become an extremely powerful marketing tool that helps the user to analyze complex date in a simplistic visual manner. Although designing the infographic may have been a challenge in the past, numerous inexpensive online tools allow anyone to quickly create quality infographics that drive home complex points.

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