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Visual content is a powerful strategy for grabbing attention and sucking in your audience. It’s seductive, promising to quickly impart knowledge with a lower “effort threshold” required by the reader.  Somehow, whenever we see an infographic, we cannot help being drawn to study it. Maybe we are hardwired to seek out information sources that are visually pleasing and that break down complex subjects into a format we can easily absorb.

Whatever the reasons, it’s pretty clear infographics are exploding right now. Some of our clients are achieving impressive results with infographics, and whether it’s deployed as a lead magnet or as a free, downloadable resource any visitor to your website can download right from the page, we’ve put together this exclusive, deep-dive study into infographics so you can take advantage of the visual content revolution this year!

Find why visual content works so well, why it’s more important than ever to include visual in 2016, how much more quickly pictures are absorbed into the brain than words and more.  Hold on tight – here we go!

Section One: Consider What You’re Up Against

In all human history, we have probably never been faced with as much information to consume on a daily basis. There is a wealth of media in all formats available to the target audience of your business blog, 24-7. Some of it is coming at them whether they ask for it or not, but mostly, they are going after the information, choosing what they want to digest, and what they do not.  Every day, the number of pieces of social content that are shared number into the hundreds of millions. The majority of marketers now realise the need to add value to their audience through content marketing, so they are all piling in…..with more and more content.

It’s a veritable snowstorm of information!

With so much to choose between, readers can afford to be very discerning. Of course, sub-standard content will never achieve the results you need, but the sad thing is that it’s perfectly possible that even well-written content could fail to make enough of an impact. The average human attention span online is just 8 seconds! That’s not a lot of time to grab someone’s attention, and if you present them with a block of text, there’s always a higher proportion of users that will simply turn elsewhere.

Even highly relevant information might not be enough on its own to hold the attention of your audience. What you need is something that provides great value, that will educate, inspire, and illuminate, but most of all, be interesting and enjoyable to study. An increasing amount of buying decisions are made around online research done before purchase, so it’s clearly essential you provide lots of useful information on your website – but how to present it in such a way as to capture the attention of the largest audience possible?

Drumroll, please…..

Section Two: Enter Visual Content Marketing – A.K.A. “Infographics”

The smart choice for businesses faced with an important concept to convey and a busy and distracted audience, infographics have for some time now been gathering momentum. To begin with, they were used by government departments and in the education sector. Since then, they have exploded into just about every sector you can imagine.

What’s the secret of their success?

A good infographic presents information in a way that is easier to absorb and understand.

A great infographic makes information highly memorable, so your audience will continue to benefit from the information, maybe years after it was first created.

It’s not about turning words into pictures for the sake of doing it. The written word is still used, just not where a picture can do the job instead. In a great infographic, you will find words and pictures working together to open up a topic and help you understand it in a logical sequence. Which leads us neatly to….

Section Three: Why Infographics Get Higher Page Views than Text Posts

The first place that infographics score highly is in attracting attention.  Did you know, for example, that a mere splash of color increases the brain’s willingness to read by up to 80%?  Or that our brains can process images 60,000 times faster than text?

Now, you do! It’s not that your readers are lacking in intelligence. It’s more that they have so many demands on their time, and an infographic offers the brain a pleasing treat, a visual feast if you will. We cannot help being drawn to great infographics, and will study them not just once, but many times. If it’s helpful, we are far more likely to download the file and save it for future reference. Maybe we will send a copy by email, or print it off and keep it by our desk (more on this in a minute.)

This is why it’s well worth investing time and money into a good infographic – once you have someone’s attention, you are far more likely to be able to retain it. They will follow on to your written posts, and see what products and services you offer. They may sign up to your email list or take advantage of an appropriate special offer. None of these good things would have happened had you not first got their attention and interest. It’s an old formula, but it still works well even in today’s increasingly technological marketplace!

Moving on….

Section Four: Different Types of Visual Content – Deciding Which to Use

Infographics come in all shapes, sizes, and styles. Some use a theme or metaphor – for example, a growing plant shape for an infographic depicting food variety changes over the years, or a rocket shape for an infographic about launching a new business. You can have a flow-chart style infographic to show a process, or a chart style one to depict comparative information.

Some are incredibly long and detailed, some are square and brief, some have a simplistic color scheme, others have quite complex ones – one of the great things about infographics is how easy it is to make yours totally unique in appearance as well as in content!

Deciding on the style of your infographic is largely dependent on what type of content you need to convey, but careful consideration of your target market is also important at this point. If you are employing a graphic designer to help you, make sure they are fully up to speed on the sort of audience you are looking to attract, so they can take this into account when coming up with concepts. (Also, you need to make sure they know what your main goals are for the infographic – see Section Eight for more on this….)  There are many inspiring examples of great infographics out there. It’s a good idea to save the ones you like to a folder on your computer and use this as a source of ideas for designs.

Here are a few popular visual content categories you might want to consider for your next infographic:

  • Checklists
  • Survey Responses
  • Case Studies
  • News Stories
  • Topic Research
  • Emerging Market Trends
  • Cheat Sheets

These useful tools are not restricted to a page on your website, either. They can be used in print media, in slidesh