Visual content isn’t just pictures. It’s the information your audience needs, it’s a story, and often that story is told through words and numbers as well as imagery. Interesting, actionable data is 50% of a good infographic. But how do you know if your data is going to make a strong piece of visual content?
This blog post will give you four keys to make sure you’re finding good data, using it well, and visualizing it in interesting ways.
Use Credible Data
This should go without saying, but the web is littered with marketing materials that use information that’s out of date, untrustworthy, or just wrong. If you want to be a thought leader, you need to be credible.
The good news is that credible data is out there, and there are ways to identify it. The bad news is that sometimes tracking down credible, useful data can be a real challenge. Get familiar with the advanced search option, always Google for original sources, and, if your team has the budget, don’t be afraid to buy a report or whitepaper from a credible institution.
Tell a story
It’s easy to slap a bunch of statistics together, find an image to go with it, and call it content. But you need to use those statistics for a reason. Stories mean movement. Your content needs to move from one idea to the next in an organic way. A popular formula for infographics or motion graphics is to
- Introduce a problem
- Explain why this problem is significant
- Show the reader a solution to the problem
Keep it brief
There are other narrative hooks that keep people interested as well—comparisons, rankings, and lists, for starters—and it’s a good idea to use a mix of different types of stories throughout your content marketing campaign.
Change it up
Nothing will ruin the efficacy of your visual content as quickly as cluttering it up with a ton of extra words. The whole point of visual content is that it’s visual, and while the right words may be important, limiting your word count is too. Using a few well-chosen words will let the images speak for themselves. (And of course, don’t drown your visual content in extraneous visual detail either.)
Keep repetition in mind. Why use three statistics when one can tell your story just as well? It will save you time researching and designing the visual and it will save your audience’s attention span.