Infographics can build brand awareness and boost SEO. Here’s a trifecta of tips to help you get started with data visualization.
You don’t have to be a veteran graphic designer to create top-flight infographics.
You do, however, have to know how to find interesting data that will grab your audience’s attention.
Here are three tips to help you find data worth turning into an infographic.
- Tap into R&D. Sales and marketing departments are rife with factoids and statistics. Those data, however, have usually been published in sales or marketing collateral already.
That’s why infographics expert Bob Zeni recommends starting with your company’s research and development department. “They should be a goldmine of unique and under-exposed data,” he says.
Forecasting and strategy departments are also options. “The only problem with the strategy department is that they can be wonkish about proprietary data,” Zeni says. “Be prepared for a rigorous approvals process.”
Watch PR Daily’s virtual summit “Amazing Infographics: New Techniques to Attract Audiences with Visuals” to add powerful visuals to your content program.
- Look outside the company. If you can’t find compelling data internally, start with your industry association. “Associations can be great resources,” Zeni says. “Most of the data they have on file is non-biased.”
Federal agencies are another option. “The government has reams of unbiased data and can really help with your credibility,” he says.
Zeni specifically recommends the U.S. Census Bureau, the National Archives, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Library of Congress, especially for visuals. “The library actually has a huge repository of images you can plug right into your infographics,” he says.
He warns against using data provided by think tanks or news outlets. “Think tanks are biased, and you can’t trust the media’s data, because they cherry-pick it. TV news is especially guilty of this, so run away from any data you find there,” he says.
- Think like a storyteller. Getting your hands on relevant data is only half the battle. You also must sift through the data to find nuggets that will attract audiences and compel clicks, shares or comments.
“The easiest way to find infographic-worthy data is to approach it like a journalist,” says Zeni. “Look for a narrative thread in the data.”
Find a riveting story in the numbers by asking yourself what’s surprising, what doesn’t make sense or what seems incongruent. “Then ask why it’s that way—and that’s your story. That’s the hook for your infographic,” he says.
You can find examples of strong story-driven infographics posted in the “Infographics for Communications” LinkedIn group, which is moderated by Zeni.
Brian Pittman is a Ragan Communications consultant and webinar manager for PR Daily’s PR University. Infographics experts and communications execs Britt Klontz, Bob Zeni and Laura King-Homan will share more infographics tips in PR University’s virtual summit, “Amazing Infographics: New Techniques to Attract Audiences with Visuals.”