What are Infographics?

Updated on January 8, 2017

Infographics are a hot trend in the content marketing arena. But exactly what is an infographic? An infographic is a graphical presentation of facts, figures or other information to showcase or simplify key points.

Infographics can be used to:

  • Distill key points from research data, blog posts or larger documents.
  • Showcase important or surprising information.
  • Explain relationships between people or things that may be difficult to understand.
  • Provide instructions quickly and simply.
  • Explain processes (similar to a computer programming flowchart).
  • Show timelines.
  • Persuade an audience by highlighting talking points for a given position.
  • Quotable quotes (that you've said yourself OR quotes of others that you have obtained written permission to use).
  • Curating information from several sources.

Infographic example.
Infographic example. | Source

What Goes Into an Infographic?

Unlike standard graphs and charts from research or data collection, infographics typically do not show an entire graph or chart. Rather, they extract and highlight one or more key findings. This is done so that viewers do not become overwhelmed with the sheer volume of data. As well, many viewers may not be able to properly interpret a standard graph or chart and may come up with a wrong or irrelevant conclusion.

For example, a data chart may show the household incomes for a studied population. The chart of raw data may not properly describe how those income values relate to standards of living or how they compare with similar populations. An infographic could showcase a key income statistic and explain how it relates to specific economic benchmarks.

Why are Infographics So Popular?

For audiences who are oriented to communicate visually and quickly (such as those who communicate with emojis), infographics help them absorb key information faster. As well, infographics are popular for sharing on social media because they are quickly and easily digestible.

A small infographic example.
A small infographic example. | Source

Tips for Information Gathering and Selection for Infographics

What's Your Story? The key to creating a successful infographic is selecting the data that should be included to tell the story you want to tell.

Don't overwhelm your readers! Only include the amount of information that is needed to make the points you need to make. For those viewers who want to dig into the data, you may want to consider providing a link to more in-depth or explanatory documents that are suitable and available for public viewing.

What not to include. It should go without saying, but NEVER, EVER include confidential, proprietary or personally identifiable information.

Cite your sources. If you're curating information from a variety of sources, make sure that you: 1) Have permission to include that information; and, 2) Cite your sources somewhere in the infographic. Not only will this help give your infographic authority, it will also help promote the work of your sources.

The key to creating a successful infographic is selecting the data that should be included to tell the story you want to tell.

— Heidi Thorne

How to Create an Infographic

There are several ways to create infographics. Most methods utilize a software program to help the user place data and other graphic elements. Popular software programs and online services to create infographics include:

  • Free or paid online graphic or infographic design software (e.g., Canva, Piktochart and Visme)
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Adobe Illustrator or InDesign
  • Corel Draw

Many of the online infographic design software programs have templates to make creating them as easy as entering and formatting text and dragging-and-dropping graphical elements in place. These templates can help create a professional looking graphic, even if you're not a designer. Bonus feature for many online services is that they may have built-in tools for social media sharing.

Because infographics may be viewed on a mobile device, selecting a software program or service that will create a mobile responsive design can improve your viewers' user experience.

Example of a quote infographic.
Example of a quote infographic. | Source

How to Use an Infographic

Like blog posts, infographics can be a cornerstone of your content or inbound marketing program. As well, they can be helpful in sales or educational presentations. Here are some of the key ways they can be used:

Share on Social Media. Infographics are highly shareable, especially if the information is relevant for your followers! Social channels with visual orientation or capability (Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.) can be ideal venues for posting and sharing.

Include in Your Marketing Materials or Media Kit. Your infographics may help you secure media interest if it gets a lot of social media sharing and buzz. The media may be interested in republishing your infographics (only with your permission of course!). So consider including them in your digital media kit.

Highlight Quotes from Self Published Books. Authors can promote their self published books by using infographics highlighting quotes from their books. Consider including a link to where the book can be purchased.

Use in Presentations. Infographics can easily show key points in your presentation. Only caution is to use those that don't require scrolling... or squinting. Long infographics scrunched into one slide will be impossible for an audience to read at a distance. Consider splitting up one long infographic into several smaller highlights, with maybe a single highlight per slide.

Put It On Your Website. If you create your infographic with a program such as Microsoft PowerPoint, you would create a JPEG (.jpg) or other graphic file and upload it to your website as an image. Make sure your image alt text attributes describe the information you're presenting to help your SEO. Some online infographic design services offer embedding capability. In that case, the graphic is still hosted by the design software service and you simply copy and paste some HTML code on to your site. These embedded graphics may also offer your website visitors easy social media sharing capability.

Sharing via Embedding. Some infographic design services may give you the capability to allow your website visitors to embed your graphic on their own sites. It will be a piece of HTML code that they can copy and paste onto their sites. That code will feed your infographic to their sites. It can be a good way to gain greater exposure for your website and work. However, carefully assess whether you want to offer this embedding capability to everyone or to only select sites.

Disclaimer: Both the publisher and author have used their best efforts in preparation of this information. No representations or warranties for its contents, either expressed or implied, are offered or allowed and both parties disclaim any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for your particular purpose. The advice and strategies presented herein may not be suitable for you, your situation or business. Consult with a professional advisor where and when appropriate. Neither the publisher nor author shall be liable for any loss of profit or any other damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential or punitive, arising from or relating to your reliance on this information.

Questions & Answers

    Comments

    Submit a Comment

    • heidithorne profile imageAUTHOR

      Heidi Thorne 

      15 months ago from Chicago Area

      Hi Flourish! In the past when I self-hosted my blog, I had a couple of inquiries very similar to the one you describe and also from non-US companies. They had an infographic that they wanted me to post, along with their text. Nope, not for me!

      However, what I've seen some infographic producers do is offer their website visitors the opportunity to embed the code for the infographic wherever they want. That's the way to go. If a visitor finds it valuable enough, they might certainly want to include that infographic content on their own sites. It becomes an invitation, not a beg.

      Thanks so much for the kind words! Appreciate your support. Have a lovely day!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      15 months ago from USA

      I did a health article in the past few months and was contacted by someone associated with a British consumer products company who wanted me to "look at" his infographic. It was very well done but there were those irky differences between UK/Australian and American English. He was suggesting that I write a related health article on specific topic, and I knew he probably wanted me to include his infographic. (I wasn't going to do that.) As it turned out, that's precisely what he wanted, but he was also seeking to write a brief introduction. Other than the link backs that that he was probably searching for, why was he doing this? Would you ever recommend pursuing this type of strategy (from either side)? As a writer, I'd rather have complete control of my own content, so I encouraged him to open his own HubPages account. The company already has a blog that this fella writes on.

      On a separate note, I notice that so many of your articles are on niche sites. That speaks well of your authority. You're a first class act, Dr. Heidi Thorne.

    • heidithorne profile imageAUTHOR

      Heidi Thorne 

      16 months ago from Chicago Area

      Hi poetryman! Thanks for the kind words. Infographics are cool. :) Have a great day!

    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 

      16 months ago

      cool information. Thanks.

    • heidithorne profile imageAUTHOR

      Heidi Thorne 

      21 months ago from Chicago Area

      AliciaC, infographics are definitely hot right now. I can see why. Actually, I like this content marketing trend better than video or audio since these graphics are so much faster to digest. Definitely give them a try. With some of the informative content you post, they might be a good fit. Good news is that some of the software options online are free. Can't wait to see what you come up with. Thanks for stopping by. Happy New Year!

    • heidithorne profile imageAUTHOR

      Heidi Thorne 

      21 months ago from Chicago Area

      MsDora, yes, it does take some practice to get the hang of using infographics and the software for them. It took me several tries for the ones you see in the hub! Thanks so much for your kind comments. Happy New Year!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      21 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for sharing some great advice, Heidi. Infographics certainly seem to be popular. They are something that I need to think about.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      21 months ago from The Caribbean

      Very helpful and useful. Your illustrations are easy to understand. Now for some practice. Thank you, Heidi.

    • heidithorne profile imageAUTHOR

      Heidi Thorne 

      21 months ago from Chicago Area

      Flourish, using an infographic for education recruitment would be a great idea! Let me know if they do one and how it works out. As always, thanks for stopping by. Have a wonderful week ahead!

    • heidithorne profile imageAUTHOR

      Heidi Thorne 

      21 months ago from Chicago Area

      Billybuc, honored to be stored in "the warehouse." Thanks for your support and hope you have a great week ahead!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Great tips, Heidi! I gather information...I use some of that...I store some of it...and it all helps me to grow, as a writer and a marketing exec. Thanks for always adding to my warehouse.

      Happy Monday!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      21 months ago from USA

      You've given me an idea with this article! My daughter attends a high school Governor's Academy for Engineering Studies and it would be a terrific way for them to beef up their recruiting by highlighting some of the key benefits of the program this way. Very succinct, visual and shareable. Thank you for the tips!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, toughnickel.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://toughnickel.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)