Do you share advertisements on your personal Facebook page, or tweet links to whitepapers? Come on, let’s be honest: Even if you’re a marketer by trade, when you’re off the clock advertisements are rarely something you go out of your way to share with friends and family.
But that doesn’t mean that when you’re on the clock, there’s no way to make your message link-worthy. You don’t just want to grab their attention — you want them to share what you have to say in blog posts and LinkedIn pages and Pinterest boards.
Infographics are great at this sort of thing. You just can’t approach them like a typical advertising project: Instead of telling your audience what they want, you give them what they want, in the form of entertaining and fascinating facts paired with visuals that pack a punch. Here’s how to make your infographic worth linking:
If 52% of all web page visits last less than 10 seconds, how do you make them stay?
You start by not giving them a reading assignment. Web users read only about 20% of the text on a given web page. That means your message is getting buried in a wall of gray text, with compelling stats hidden from potential customers.
Infographics provide a solution to this problem, but lots of people still want to pack too much text into what is essentially a visual medium. The visuals will grab your audience’s interest, and the stats will grab their curiosity. So pick the most compelling stats of all and cut the filler.
Make Them Laugh
You own a pizza restaurant, but no matter how delicious your pies, you’ve got some hefty competition. How do you stand out?
Humor has been proven to stimulate memory — whether you’re taking a class with a funny professor or recalling a humorous sentence, the humor helps you remember better. Use this to your advantage. For instance, pit two iconic American foods against each other in a “vs.” infographic: “Pizza vs. Hamburger.” Pack it with quirky factoids about how each food was developed, when and where each has fallen into favor, and the moves each would make in a boxing ring (slice or uppercut?).
Who’s going to share this one? For starters, just about every college student that likes pizza and burgers. And hey, that’s a pretty big slice of your demographic! (We couldn’t resist one more “slice” pun.) They will share it because it’s funny, and they will also remember your company because it’s funny.
An Illustration Is Worth 1,000 Words
Your company sells insurance, but let’s face it: not a lot of people like to read about insurance.
So perhaps it’s better to show them what your product can do. After all, it’s estimated that about 65% of people are visual learners, so the more visual you can get, the better.
Bring a typical American home to life through illustration — perhaps a dollhouse-style cross-section of the interior. Label all the valuables within that home, marking each with a price tag, to show your audience how much they could lose if they’re not insured. It will remind them of all that they value in their own home.
Illustration brings the emotional resonance of your message to life, and makes us think of our loved ones. We link and share information like this because it’s genuinely useful and convincing.
Follow the Trends
Internet trends can be fickle and fleeting, but links for your infographic can be a sure thing if it ties into trends that have really captured people’s interest.
Look for something that’s a great balance between current events and a topic of lasting interest. For instance, the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” is anything but a fleeting news item. It’s an ongoing discussion, and a complicated topic about which 57% of Americans feel they do not have enough information. This is a job for infographics! And in fact, we’ve already put together a few infographics explaining some of the nuances of this topic.
Even years down the road, these infographics will be relevant. Almost 3 in 4 Internet users say they’ve looked up health information online in the past year. People’s interest in health issues isn’t going away.
Your topics certainly aren’t limited to health. Just follow this rule of thumb: If it’s trending already, your infographic is more likely to trend, too.
Stick to the Stats
Your company has created a revolutionary new smartphone platform, and you know that a lot of your potential customers are busy people. That means grabbing their attention won’t be easy.
So don’t explain the benefits of your platform in long, florid, expository sentences (like this one). Don’t list the 14 ways they’re going to use their new smartphone, all of which they already know. You need the cold, hard stats. People cut their work time by 18% using your platform. Pow! It’s got a 97% approval rating. Wham! It works 100 times faster than Android. Whoosh! Now, that’s grabbing their attention.
Who will link this one? Product review sites, programming geeks who love dissecting new gadgets, and also anyone who’s looking to buy a new phone, or knows someone who’s looking.
Just remember: a few compelling stats trump a dozen dull ones, and any stats beat out an infographic without a single shred of proof for its message.
You’ll also get a better-looking infographic. After all, the medium is designed to visualize data in the most compelling ways possible. Make that work for you.
Of course, we offer up all this advice with the caveat that much depends on how you’re planning to use your infographic. So ask yourself who you want to reach. Do they enjoy a good laugh? Are they seeking some useful information or guidance? Whatever it is, give them what they want. They’ll thank you for it.