As the world’s collective attention span whittles down to nothing, lost in a tsunami of social media networks and a culture of instant gratification, businesses are faced with a mounting challenge: how to connect effectively with audiences amidst this growing clutter.
Reams of eloquent prose certainly aren’t going to cut it in the 140-character generation, and let’s face it; brute force probably has a fairly limited shelf life (not to mention a litany of logistical complications). So where does that leave us?
Luckily, us humans are still suckers for pretty pictures and compelling stories, which is why a technique first popularized by the cavemen (yes, the cavemen) has once again found favour amongst communicators the world over.
Infographics have taken the world by storm over the past few years, based on their ability to succinctly communicate a wealth of information in double-quick time. Similar in nature to 30,000-year-old cavemen drawings, infographics are designed to take their readers on a journey, using simple imagery to create hard-hitting narratives that cut through the clutter and resonate for longer.
Recent studies show that infographics posted on social media networks like Twitter and LinkedIn can generate as much as 800% more engagement than their regular status-and-picture counterparts, so it’s hardly surprising that marketers are rushing to adopt this information distribution technique.
But with increasing popularity comes yet another form of clutter, the result being that infographics are no longer competing against other forms of communication, but rather against each other. As such, a few hastily slapped together images linked by arrows and words are no longer going to do the trick – if you want to make an impact with your infographics, you’re going to have to get smart about it.
Here are four techniques to help you ensure that your infographics stand out from the crowd:
DATA THAT MATTERS
The first question you need to ask yourself before setting off on any infographic endeavor is this: do I have something relevant to say? If you want your infographic to stand out in the market, you’re going to have to make sure you use compelling, exclusive information that isn’t simply designed to tell people what they already know in a slightly more visually appealing way. Whether you’re opting to publish internal figures or collate existing data to paint a bigger picture, it’s important that your infographic is rooted in something accurate, interesting and of relevance to your intended audience.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
Whilst one of the inherent benefits of infographics is their ability to convey a large amount of information in a single serving, it’s important that you don’t abuse the privilege. Clutter is clutter, no matter what the format; so avoid filling your infographics with endless facts and figures if you want to keep your readers’ attention.
MAKE IT SHAREABLE
Statistics are great, but statistics packaged in a user-friendly format with just a touch of emotional resonance are better. Remember, one of the main benefits of an infographic is its shareability, and if you want your audience to pass yours on, it’s important that you douse it with just the right amount of whimsy. Whether you choose to use characters to convey your story, or simply opt to throw in a few facts that hit a little closer to home, don’t forget the needs of your audience when crafting your next infographic.
According to recent studies, the best infographics are those with a very clear messaging hierarchy. So while it might be tempting to get creative with all kinds of call-out boxes and cute illustrations, it’s important to remember that you do so at the expense of your main message. As a rule, start with your key message at the top, and then drill down through the various sub-layers, gradually exposing the intricacies thereof. A simple funnel structure usually works best, and is easiest for readers to follow.