Infographics are a hugely powerful way to tell a story, often allowing to you engage with your audience in a much more direct and entertaining way. So effective is this form of visual communication for businesses, that infographics have had the biggest increase in usage among B2B marketers in the last four years - now at 65%, according to the Content Marketing Institute.
But, as you can imagine, all good infographics start with a strong idea, and the best design in the world won’t help you if the editorial is weak. So, how do you come up with good ideas?
We’re regularly tasked with coming up with content ideas, particularly in conjunction with our infographic design service. So to help you in producing your own ideas, we thought we’d share 10 places consistently find great ideas for an infographic:
1. News Items
Creating content around current news stories can be a great way to ensure your infographic is relevant, particularly if you can use your expertise to add a new spin on the story. Not only does this allow you to naturally insert your brand into the conversation, but it increases the likelihood of your content being shared or linked to. Naturally then, ‘newsjacking’ is a popular choice for those who place a heavy focus on search engine optimisation.
We regularly take this approach for clients, whether it’s creating content around the Brexit debate or taking a look at the management mistakes of Donald Trump. Just be careful that you avoid particularly controversial or tragic stories, particularly those that evoke a strong emotive response.
2. Industry Trends
Focusing on your own area of expertise should be an obvious choice - not only are you well placed to talk about it, but you’ll end up producing content that is relevant and interesting to your target audience.
We always advise clients to examine their own industry and produce content around current trends, or make predictions about the future. Whether you’re using your own in-house expertise to produce the copy, or re-purposing data you find elsewhere (such as industry publications, blogs and research papers), focusing on your industry trends is an excellent source of continual visual content.
We have a constantly updated events calendar in the Designbysoap office, including everything from sporting events and film releases to national holidays and anniversaries. The beauty of focusing your content around an event is that it’s current, relevant and you know it will be of interest to related news outlets, blogs and publications.
The key with creating content around an event is to keep it relevant to your business or industry, as people can generally see through cynical attempts to piggyback irrelevant events to gain links or social shares. If you can find a relevant angle however, you have an ideal opportunity to produce engaging, current content for your site.
4. Popular Culture
Popular culture is an excellent source for infographic ideas, often allowing you to reach a much wider audience. Whether you focus on music, fashion, gaming, TV, film or something else, these subjects are always current and trending.
As with events, however, it’s important to try and find an angle that keeps the content relevant to your business. If you demonstrate clear reasoning for your finance brand producing an infographic on Game of Thrones, for example, you’re far more likely to see a positive response in terms of links, shares and overall coverage.
5. Knowledge Sharing & Tutorials
Research has shown that people following directions with text and illustrations do 323% better than people following directions without illustrations, making infographics a perfect choice for tutorials.
Whatever industry you work in, there’s a very strong chance that you (or your team) have expertise and knowledge that would benefit others. Think about what you could teach other people to do, and look for opportunities to turn these into infographics.
Academic studies are often overlooked by content development specialists, but they’re an incredible source of extremely reliable and often under-cited data. You can use scientific publications or online sources such as Google Scholar to find scientific studies and data to support your key messages.
We use this kind of data all the time, particularly when we want to strengthen a story that’s relevant to our client industries. This might include the science behind the psychology of colour, or medical research on the efficacy of atrial fibrillation.
7. Government Data
Government departments are a treasure trove of highly reliable, peer-reviewed data, with every branch of government regularly publishing detailed, in-depth reports on a wide variety of subjects.
These reports are an excellent source of infographic ideas, as well as data points to strengthen key messaging. You can look at Public Health England, the NHS, the European Central Bank, The CDC, Environmental Protection Agency, the Office for National Statistics, Data.gov.uk and scores of other high profile departments in the UK, Europe and America.
8. Freedom of Information
If you’re looking for unique data that may not have been published elsewhere, you might consider making a freedom of information request (if you’re in the UK). The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) gives you the right to access recorded information held by any public sector organisation, from the NHS to the UK Government.
Although organisations can refuse these requests - for example if the information is sensitive or the cost of gathering it is prohibitive - but, in most cases these requests are granted in a timely fashion. This can be a great source of data or stories, and in many cases this kind of content is of great interest to the press.
Surveys are always an excellent source of data for infographics, often providing plenty of opportunities for visualisations and strong editorial. You can complete your own survey, for example of your own customers or of a specific demographic via Google Surveys or Quora, or you can simply visualise the survey results of a major organisation in your industry.
10. In-House Data
Another option that’s often overlooked, mainly because a lot of brands don’t understand the volume of value of the data they already have at their disposal. You might have sales data or case studies that help demonstrate a trend in your industry, or you might want to use your own internal data to help tell your story visually. There are a wealth of ways you can use in-house data to produce engaging content, you just need to look for it.
Of course, if you’re still struggling with coming up with consistent, strong ideas for your visual content, we’d love to help. Reach out to us using the contact form and we can start the conversation.