I think it was around 1993. Having settled down to the computer, a super fast P-90, I opened AOL and navigated to my favorite site, a web forum for Highlander fans. It was early social networking: all text, lots of imagination (like you wouldn’t believe), and key words ruled if you wanted to find anything. (Insert sounds of modem dialing.)
I’m not sure how long it took for the text-based interweb to transform to rich media, likely because adding images and video seemed like such a natural progression of the medium. If Blakestone could have sharp graphics, then so could everyone else.
Why should social media be any different?
In March, Social Media Marketing World declared 2015 the year of native video. In addition, media loaded directly to applications such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and multitudes more are getting preferential treatment. Images are displayed larger with PLAY icons ready to stream content. Video may also appear in Facebook feeds sooner than text only updates.
Have you noticed your social streams coming alive with rich links that show images and perhaps a summary of a blog post? Are you seeing more video in your feeds? With so much social sharing, text posts are getting lost. Visual posts are squirrels pulling audiences to the side to entertain, inform and educate.
Blog posts that are large blocks of text get skimmed or skipped. There’s a reason glossy magazines have images, lists, bullet points, and lots of white space. It’s not an accident, it’s years of experience and training in the hands of a graphic designer with the purpose of making the words easier on the eye and mind of the reader.
Enter the age of the infographic.
You know those clever digital posters that step you through instructions or ideas, and plot the history of something that otherwise would not be very engaging. Another upward trending phrase for these is “snackable content”.
Infographics create white space on your blog page and provide a snackable image to share and entice readers to your content.
You don’t need a graphic designer to have designer looking graphics. There are many free sites that allow you to make your own memes, post headers and info graphics using their templates. If you can fill in the blanks, you can add easy to share images to any post on any platform.
Wouldn’t it be great if your blog post had Pinterest worthy images?
Let’s get started.
Start with a very messy draft of what you want to say. It can take any form: thought bubbles, lists, annotated outline – any form that helps you put your thoughts on paper.
For the next step, I find using a highlighter makes finding the most relevant points fast and visual.
Refine your notes and put each step in the best logical order to help another person understand what you want to share.
Keep trimming your text until it is as concise as possible and still makes sense. The layout and associated images will help convey the rest of the meaning.
So how do you ACTUALLY make an infographic?
If you have a graphics editor program like PhotoShop or Gimp, and feel comfortable starting from scratch, then you’re on your way. Look at top blogs and magazine layouts for inspiration of what makes a page highly readable.
If you need a little help or want to save time, here are a few websites that can help.
- Canva Free with some low fee upgrades.
- Easel.ly Free templates with more paid templates available.
- Meme Generator Find quick memes & custom caption.
- Free Marketing Resources from Hubspot
- Google Search How to Make an Infographic
A web search is a great way to discover what’s available. New sites and programs are launching all the time to help with creating social worthy graphics.
What content makes a sharable infographic?
- Key Point(s) – By setting aside a line or key point as a graphic, you draw attention to it that’s fast and readable in seconds.
- Bullet Points – These are perfect for Pinterest & Twitter shares linking back to your post.
- Book promotions & Launches – Lay out the buying process or how to find your titles. Got a series? Show all your titles & covers so readers recognize them when they go to buy.
- Lists (Take your next “Best Of” to a new level)
- Instructions & How To’s
Why do they work?
Let’s break it down.
At a glance, which one will give you a split-second impression of what you’re about to read?
In our busy world, our brains are trained to scan for what’s relevant. We make snap decisions without even being aware that we’re doing it. Your next tweet, post, caption will be judged in under :03 seconds. If you have video you may get up to :07 seconds to win a person’s attention.
Graphics break up your blog page and give the eye somewhere to rest, preferably on the key information you want to convey.
In an endless social media stream of reality TV updates and spam tweets, a custom image will catch the eye of your audience and draw them to follow your link.
Infographics gives your audience relevant, usable, SNACKABLE content at a glance.
Do you know a great site for making memes or web graphics? Have a time-saving tip in your back pocket? Leave a comment and share your ideas.
Have a great weekend!