One my favourite books is ‘Information is Beautiful’ by David McCandless. He powerfully demonstrates how the way you present information has a direct correlation to how much people engage with it. Whilst this isn’t a new idea, the content marketing world has recently rediscovered one of the truths any ad-man of old would have told you – that visual impact matters. And, so we’re now awash with the Infographic as key a content element. Question is, do you need this on your list for effective small business marketing?

What is an infographic?

Essentially, an infographic is an interesting visual representation of information. Charts and graphs are fine, but people have seen them before. They don’t make people think, or make connections between different parts of the brain. If you can find a way of presenting information that makes people think, or think differently, about what that information means, you’re onto a winner.

When we hooked up the Valuable Content team to create a piece for information security specialists, Ascentor. The power of a good visual was clear. We helped them to conduct an extensive survey of how and why people would sabotage their own employers by way of their information – an infographic was the perfect vehicle for communicating the findings.

You can tell people that their employees represent an information risk. But, showing them is much more compelling. When an infographic is good, it really draws you in and brings the information to life, in a way that a bar chart just won’t. It helps to connect the emotional and logical sides of the brain… and when you do that, an idea really sticks.

One of my favourite graphic devices from the fuller piece was a ‘Wanted’ poster that brings together the data to show the most likely culprit for this sort of activity. It’s impactful, a little bit playful, and totally unexpected in this context. See full infographic.

Information Saboteurs

See the full Information Saboteurs infographic.

What makes a good infographic?

Process flows and facts & figures work particularly well for infographics. Where a good ad is usually about communicating a single idea with real impact, an infographic is often about communicating lots of information and ideas quickly. There needs to be enough information to give variety and depth, but not so much that it has an ‘information overload’ effect.

We worked with Oli Corse at Creatrix Marketing on the piece for Ascentor. He gave us his three top tips for effective infographics:

  • Keep it simple – don’t over complicate things otherwise you’ll turn your readers off.
  • Stick to a few colours – if you use too many it will look messy and be hard to emphasise important points.
  • Make sure the information is relevant! It doesn’t matter how good it looks, the priority for the reader is the content.

Other types of visual content

Infographics are just one form of visual content. You may not have the data to do this. But, this shouldn’t stop you thinking of adding visual interest to your content. With Pinterest and Instragram bringing visuals to the fore in social media, investing in excellent visual content for your small business can really help to get the message out, and draw people in to thinking about your offering.

Some further ideas to get you started:

  • Cartoons to get an idea across (I’ve done this extensively in Watertight Marketing)
  • Interesting photography of your people or products
  • Visual give-aways that people want (posters, original illustrations, framed photos, etc.)
  • An illustration element to your branding (Desynit do this with panache)
  • Beautifully drawn diagrams of your processes and ideas (again, this has been a key investment for Watertight Marketing)
  • Caricatures of your key people
  • Photo albums from your events or office

As a starting point, Hubspot’s recent download ‘55 brands rocking social media with visual content’, will give you some ideas. Don’t be put off by the big brands being used in this. You don’t need a huge budget. It may be as simple as a digital camera… which you probably already have on your phone!

Do you have examples of any great visual content?

© Bryony Thomas – The Watertight Marketer

Bryony Thomas

Bryony Thomas

Author & Founder, Watertight Marketing

Bryony Thomas is the creator of the multi-award winning  Watertight Marketing methodology, captured in her best-selling book of the same name. She is one of the UK's foremost marketing thinkers, featured by the likes of Forbes, The Guardian, Business Insider and many more, and in-demand speaker for business conferences, in-house sales days and high-level Board strategy days.

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