Managing infographic production for my clients at DK New Media and for the Martech Zone, I’ve learned a thing or two about producing infographics. It takes time to improve your workflow and design over time. Infographic production can take weeks or months to produce if you don’t have a proper plan in place, or a proper workflow. Here are a couple tips to (hopefully) cut down time and get you on track.
1. Brainstorm a “share worthy” concept.
Whether you’re producing an infographic for a client or for your own business, you need to come up with an overall theme that will work for the business at hand. Being “share worthy” involves a couple of things:
- Is it relevant?
- Is it hot? Sizzle.
- Does it surround a topic that is “search worthy”?
Once you have a concept, create a couple title possibilities. Make sure they appeal to your target markets and that they include keywords in the title. 3 – 5 word keyword combinations work the best. Example: Our latest infographic includes the keyword combination “mobile content marketing,” but is titled appropriately to attract clickthroughs.
Concept tip: Please, please, please don’t over think this. This should take no longer than a week to figure out and pin down with your client (or internally).
2. Research, research, research.
It is more important to have more data to pull from than not enough. Come up with a bullet point list of the types of stats you’re looking for. There are cost effective resources that will go out and get the data for you. But you also have the Internet at your fingertips. Carve out some time to go out and research the topics you’ve decided on.
Research tip: I recommend copying and pasting all the links you found useful into a document, then going back and reviewing each links from there. Copy and paste the information from those links that you find relevant into the doc, then put the link directly underneath the data from that source so you know where it was pulled from (this will be important later).
3. Story time!
Here are my steps to creating a cohesive story:
a. Once you have finished the research phase, go back and read through the entire document. What is needed? What is “meh”? Only include what you think is truly compelling, unless the supporting stats are imperative to demonstrating the importance of a certain stat. Make sure to edit the content so that it is in “your voice,” but make sure that it still reflects what the stat is saying that there is no confusion.
Content tip: Check the length of the doc. If it’s over 5 pages (roughly – depending on how chart or text heavy it is), go back and cut more.
b. When the doc is cut down, look at the order of the data. See if it tells a story or is cohesive. Group data together in sections that make sense. Put the most compelling data towards the bottom.
c. With a concept, there is an overall message or call-to-action. What is the most important information you want your audience to take from it? At the bottom of the content doc, include a short paragraph or sentence reflecting this. In you have a thought leader in your business, think about including their headshot and title next to it to personalize it.
4. The fun part: design.
A designer should have a finalized content document in hand, with title, content flow, and resources. This will save time in the design phase. Another thing to pass on is examples of infographics you have seen and liked so they can get an idea for colors and fonts.
Remember that note I said about putting your resource links directly below the content you pulled from them? Have the designer put superscripts next to the end of data (1, 2, 3) which will reference the content links at the bottom of the infographic. Check out our sales enablement infographic we did with TinderBox to see an example.
Don’t have a designer in-house or on a budget? Here are a couple tips for small business infographic production.
Design tips: Provide timely, clear feedback on the design. A good designer will provide you with a snippet of the design before filling out the whole infographic so that you can see if they’re going in the right direction. Don’t be afraid to say “I like what this designer did here with this infographic” or “change the colors.”
Overall timeline: My best record was 3 weeks, but generally, I see it taking about 4 – 6 weeks to produce a solid infographic. Especially if you’re working with a client.
Have fun with it. Be prepared, but have fun during the ride.