We’ve all heard the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Well, that simple premise can lay the groundwork for many exciting advocacy campaigns. With so much data available to advocacy groups and the speed at which people want to find, digest and share information, infographics can be a powerful communication tool for campaigns.
First, the “Info”
Infographics are more than just cute drawings. They simplify complex data and help people visualize information in an accessible, engaging and memorable manner. Good infographics start with an advocacy group identifying and centering in on its single most persuasive idea (SMPI). The best SMPI’s come from a combination of research and aspiration: what’s important to your audience and what compelling data do you have to share? The SMPI then becomes a driving force behind data sets, content buckets, storytelling and even design.
The infographic will likely evolve as the data story unfolds from further analysis. As you’re looking through the data, it’s important to look for stories that are newsworthy and intriguing. The hardest-working data is:
- Substantial and concrete
- Surprising and unique
- Focused and emotive
Then, the “Graphic”
Of course, you need to think about the visualization of the data. How can the story be told from a visual perspective that drives your point home? It’s more than bar graphs and pie charts. A strong infographic provides a unique opportunity to tie the data back to the message in an expressive manner. It can be presented as part of a single visual (as in the infographic below) or animated into a video. The format all depends on your audience and how you want them to use it. Are you hoping they share it on Facebook? Integrate it into their own presentations? Either way, the more visually pleasing, the greater opportunity to increase share- and usability. Be sure to:
- Keep the design simple and focused
- Avoid heavy text and take advantage of great type design
- Design for digital by making it shareable and clickable
- Give it an intriguing title
An engaging infographic will provide an opportunity to connect your message with your target and potentially gain traction from an earned media perspective. However, the other big benefit to visual content is its ability to improve people’s understanding and retention of the information being shared. Some research indicates that our brains process visuals 60,000 times faster than plain text. Plus, people remember 80 percent of what they see and do vs. only 20 percent of what they read.
Now, Get It Out There
When it comes to helping people “find” your infographic, there’s no doubt that social environments are where this kind of information flourishes. Where does your audience “live” from a social perspective? What other outlets does your audience frequent where they can discover your infographic and position themselves as thought leaders by sharing? Don’t forget blogs and news outlets, which are always hungry for good content.
Finally, measure your success. Those re-tweets, re-posts, new followers and fans, inbound links and image loads are what will show you just how well your infographic does the talking for you.
Author: Andy Anderson
Date: December 18, 2014