There are many ways to tell a story. In my last post, Jazz Up Text with Graphics to Capture Reader Attention, I discussed why infographics are so important to communicators – and to the story you’re trying to tell.
From comic-like images to instructional diagrams to traditional charts and graphs, visuals can increase readership and drive traffic to your website. But where do you start with creating a visual or graphic that helps you tell your story? Here are a few tips I’ve learned from developing infographics that you can easily use to make the most of the stories you need to tell.
Keep your audience in mind. This is first and foremost, as with any communication. What information would your readers find most useful? What challenges are your readers facing? How can you help them solve their problems? If you’re not sure, survey your readers. This can provide useful quantitative data that can be used in an infographic. Also, consider following your key stakeholders in social media forums for qualitative information that you can pull into a story.
Do your analytical homework. What are your top performing web pages and which ones fall short? What keywords are driving people to your website? Which resources get frequent clicks or downloads? Knowing what your visitors are already reading will help you understand the type of information they want most.
Shape your story. Once you have identified your readers and their interests, you can shape your story. Depending on the content you are publishing, certain graphics may be better suited to sharing your story more effectively. For instance, if you have information on the impact of the flu, a map is a great visual to help you tell that story. Or, if you want to share the average time it takes for a bill to move through Congress, a timeline can be helpful. Make sure you identify the sources of information on your graphic. Doing this builds trust and also serves as an additional resource if your audience wants to learn more.
Publish your graphics in a dynamic design that appeals to your readers. Accompany the graphic with text and use the word “infographic” when naming it to increase search engine optimization. Post the graphic on your blog and social media sites. Infographics with accompanying text not only help you tell your story better, they are also useful for social sharing and increased website traffic.
Share your graphics as broadly as possible. And allow others to share them. Pinterest is an ideal place to post your infographic, since it’s a social network built around visual pinboards. Share on Twitter and make sure to use the hashtag #infographic to optimize your graphic in searches. You can retweet the infographic several times, using different text or statistics from the graphic to generate increased viewership. Strategically choose which Google communities to share with for greatest impact. By now you probably have a visual in your own mind of the ripple effect you are creating as the audience for your key messages grows exponentially.
Decide what you want to measure. Before posting an infographic, decide what you want to measure so that you can determine if the communication is a success. This can be dependent on your mission goals. How many people have clicked to view your infographic? If the infographic is part of a larger campaign, like the StopBullying.gov infographic mentioned in my earlier post, include a call-to-action and measure the response. Which sources are people downloading from most (newsletter signups or other resources)? Has the interaction on your social media sites increased? Do you have more visitors to your website and more followers on Facebook? Are people sharing your infographic in their networks?
Release your infographic at the right time. Releasing your infographic at the right time can help maximize impact. A great example is the infographic released by the United States Census Bureau on Memorial Day honoring America’s veterans. There wasn’t a specific call-to-action, but it was timely and relevant with the US holiday and generated more traffic to the Census website.
These are some of my tried-and-true tips. How about you? Have you started incorporating infographics in the stories you tell for your organization? What tips do you have for other government communications professionals looking to enhance their messages?
To read my last post, click here.