Stop Killing Us With Boring Infographics – Do This Instead

Are you creating or thinking about creating infographics?  Got your data ready and thinking about how to turn it into “data visualization” with pretty pie charts turned into globes or cityscapes, shopping baskets or mountains?

I want you to stop. Read this post. Then add something to your (potentially) boring infographics. Until you add this one thing, you really are missing out on valuable traffic, shares and all round love for your infographic.

Stop Killing Us with Boring Infographics
Bored Man – by Shutterstock

Here’s the thing straight up:

Unless your infographic helps me, I won’t retain what’s on it.

Which essentially means I will forget it.

Getting someone to re-pin your infographic is one thing. Of course we will all do that, because it looks pretty or has a cool design or some fancy data. But getting us to click through and read the blog post it is embedded on, get lost on your site, read more content, subscribe to your list and love your content – that’s another thing entirely.

As is getting us to return to the infographic and actually use it or share it.

To ensure that your infographic gets shared, saved and loved,  you need to make it helpful.  Click to Tweet

Simple, right?

Well, one would think so.

Yet, surprisingly, most people still think that an infographic has to be restricted to boring data.  Wrong!  You are not restricted by anything.

In fact for a while, I thought there were unwritten rules about infographics, that they had to be about the data (made pretty with great design which was the cool part).  But they don’t.

There are no rules. I wrote about that here with regards to infographics we produce for clients, and I recently talked about it on Rich Brook’s podcast. You can listen to it here.

Think of infographics not as data made pretty with visuals, but as visual content that is useful to your community..

It’s that simple.  Here are a few examples of “helpful” infographics, that in most cases, are surprisingly simple.

#1  Give me a recipe

I love the following infographic because it serves one purpose: to solve a problem.  How do you create a great green smoothie when swapping out ingredients? How can you change up your favourite recipe?  Here is the solution from Simple Green Smoothies:

Infographic by Simple Green Smoothies
Give a “secret recipe” or industry secret in your infographic. Click here to view 

Now, if you are a green smoothie lover like me, then this infographic is super helpful.  Not only is it helpful, but it is embedded in a detailed blog post so you can get more information.  You can read about it here and view the full infographic on the blog.

Data about green smoothies or health food on an infographic might look pretty, but information that helps us goes a lot further to winning a brand advocate.

Remember: Help people with your infographic, don’t bore them with data (no matter how pretty it is!).  Click to Tweet

What recipe or formula can you convert into a super helpful infographic?  

#2  Show me the way to great places

This one I looooove. I was preparing for my final keynote at a seminar for Tourism Queensland last week and I was searching for great examples of tourism-based infographics.  My search took me all the way to Maui in Hawaii (nice!).  I found this awesome infographic all about beaches on Maui:

Infographic about Maui Beaches in Hawaii
What could be more helpful to a traveller than a beach infographic? Click here to view.

Do you know what is so special about this infographic?… apart from it’s inherent usefulness to beachgoers and surfers in Hawaii?  It’s that it was not created by a surf shop, or a hiking company or a company doing snorkelling tours or stand up paddle boarding…

It was created by a resort. Outrigger Resort.

Outrigger Resort Website Infographic
Outrigger resort (not a surf company) creates infographics about local beaches!

In fact, there are more of them, 4 in fact:

More beach infographics Outrigger Resort
Want beach information? Outrigger has it all packaged up for you!

The Outrigger actually asked their Facebook fans to help them create the perfect infographics:

Outrigger Infographic
Not sure what to put on your infographic? Survey your fans!

What does this mean?  It means that you don’t have to create an infographic about your product or service. You can create it about something related or even better…something that helps or inspires your target audience.

Think of it this way.  Outrigger resort’s primary purpose is to book people into their hotels.  So, why not create an infographic about hotels and accommodation? Because, by helping their customers experience something they love, on the beaches, they will be remembered…for more than providing the great room that they sleep in.

They will be remembered for the experience.  The room might be great, but the overall experience gets shared.

Even if someone doesn’t stay at the Outrigger, and they are “helped” by this content, the Outrigger will be top of mind when booking their next holiday.

#3  Help me make sense of it all

The following infographic can be quite useful should you lose your measuring cup in the kitchen.  It’s the type of graphic you want to bookmark, keep, share…and use. Yes, use. Not just gaze at, marvelling at the outstanding data visualization (although you might do that too).

In the words of the designer, this infographic allows you to find the right measuring implement for the recipe you’re tackling (when you can’t find the one you need in your kitchen drawer!).

The next time you find yourself asking “how many…” the chart can save you – whether its converting cup measures to tablespoons or working out how many cups in a pint – this chart converts it for you

Here it is below, and if you love it, you can buy it as a wall sticker that will grip on to any surface.

Kitchen Conversion Infographic
Want to make sense of your measurements? This infographic maps it out!  Click here to pin original infographic. 

Created by Shannon Lattin (who also makes some pretty “sharp” and useful infographics).  

Here it is below:

Measure Up Infographic by SB Lattin Design
Does your infographic measure up to this one? Check the original here.

Do they have one in the metric system, I wonder?

It doesn’t matter if you are a designer, a hotel or a smoothie website. If you create visual content and infographics that are useful to your target audience, then your inforagraphics will get shared and drive traffic back to your business.

And if you embed that awesome, helpful infographic on an equally awesome, content-rich, helpful blog post it is likely to get shared even more.

In today’s digital age, helping is a pre-requisite for selling.  Click to Tweet

So what about you?  Did you like these infographics? Are you interested in producing more “helpful” visual content? I would love to hear your comments below.  

Want to join me and thousands of others online at the World’s Biggest Online Social Media Conference?  Check out Social Media Success Summit – tickets are still discounted for a short time. It’s 100% online and recorded so you can even attend in your PJs!

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Donna Moritz

Visual Social Media Strategist at Socially Sorted
Donna is the founder of Socially Sorted, a Top 10 Social Media Blog Winner in 2015 & 2016, and winner of the 2014 Best Australian Blogs Competition (Business Category). Donna helps businesses, bloggers and entrepreneurs use visual social media and content strategy to get more traffic, shares and sales in their business. She is a contributor to Entrepreneur Online and Social Media Examiner and has been featured in Forbes, NBC, Yahoo, the Huffington Pos, Entrepreneur and Problogger.
  • brian

    I find this article really good!

    an eye opener

  • Loved reading this, Donna! I was expecting to hear about starting with good data, but enjoyed this approach too.

    • ha ha yes, that was a bit cheeky Cindy! I do love good data of course, but I find that people shy away from infographics because they think they have to be data heavy, when some of them can be quite useful and surprisingly simple, or even tell a story. I think it is definitely a place we can think laterally and get creative. I do feel the urge to cook or go to Hawaii after writing it though… :o)

  • marklongbottom

    Makes sense, so many infographics are just text with colour background and the number enlarged. Usually rubbish from people with no understanding of design and layout even when using templates. Many are also too long and boring just like videos of business people doing face to camera monologues becasue someone told them video is good, only if you sound like you believe yourself 🙂

    I had an idea the other day about making all infographics viewable on instagram, challenging but thought provoking. I like the map inof’s abpve for the fact they cpuld can and should be printed too. The kitchen one wins, as it’s easy to navigate and understand, useful and memorable 🙂

    • Yes, I like the kitchen one too Mark! And I am curious about your instagram idea – go for it!

      • marklongbottom

        Just got to get my head round it but will do, basics are to keep it simple and as you say not boring. To be honest so many onfos are passed their sell by date. But like things like punk which was really done and dusted by 1977 it hung in there and even now it’s influence is seen on the high streets of the world. What is better than looking like you are trying to find the next big thing is to simply live a little.

        Instagram can be so quick in getting things out there, last week I was in Brick Lane, London photographing an art show going up. I took a photo of two small faded stickers on the wall outside. Hashtagged them and within 20 minutes one of the artists was telling me one was his sticker and the other he tagged to the image also.

        What’s all that mean to businesses desperate for ROI absolutely nothing, what’s it mean when we are talking about people absolutely everything. As the person who replied helped me start what could be a very long and eventful relationship and who knows where they go.

        Business people are often negative about relationship to sales, but they’re the one thing that helps them – we listen to those we are loyal to and trust, they’re our friends and everyone has networks of friends and they might not like to read all the cr4p on an info but they will share the life out of a meme. There’s where my thinking is going, simple stuff i’ll tag you when i do the first 🙂

        • Totally agree – the best businesses successes I have had have been about a small conversation, a tweet or a photo that lead somewhere were there was no expectation of ROI.. and the ROI ended up being something I can’t yet measure as it is still sending returns, so yes, the people factor is huge (the sticker story is cool, by the way!).

          • marklongbottom

            Ooops sorry looks like I went off on one there, just posted my first instagram infographic and tagged you. More to come that maybe a little more loose than this first one 🙂

            Getting to know people has to be more than handing out business cards, liking, following or connecting. Earlier today I was in a barber shop to chat not hair cut and talked with them about instagram simply because it’s relevant to them in work and life.

  • Fantastic post, Donna!! Nice work. 🙂

    • Thanks so much Mari – though I did get distracted by the Maui graphic. It’s a good thing my husband is convinced we all should have a little Hawaii stopover when I come over to SMMW next year. We had a great time in Fiji on my way back this year, so I think the infographic is speaking to me about a change of destination!

  • Really useful post, Donna! And I see that the examples you shared (great by the way) have a clearly legible title even in a smaller format, and are not exceedingly long. With most of us accessing media on a mobile device, complex visual information does not make it to my Pinterest board 😉

    • Great point Catherine! I am more and more recommending that clients create snackable visual content/assets/images rather than the longer ones (though they have their place and we create them for clients). I just find that the smaller graphics are easily processed, especially on mobiles… and that’s why I like the first and third ones in particular. You can whip them out on a mobile and grab the info you need. Thanks for stopping by – really appreciate it.

  • Outrigger Resorts

    Aloha Donna:
    Thank you for your kind words about Outrigger’s Hawaii Beach Infographics! We’re so happy you find them helpful. I shared your blog post on our Facebook timeline @outrigerresorts. https://www.facebook.com/OutriggerHawaii?
    Mahalo and best.

    • Thanks so much guys – thanks for creating the awesome content for me to share. I have stayed in a few Outrigger Resorts before – always great quality. I just realised you have one at Noosa too here in Queensland (you used to have one at Mooloolaba years ago where I live but I think it is now in a different chain) – so you pick the great beaches!

  • Really nice. Thanks for the great infographics. I just bought a nutrabullet and the smoothie guide will really help.

    • Awesome – glad I could help with the green juices too – I am a big fan of green juices!

  • I’m not sure why I missed this article: I’ve checked my inbox and was nothing from you. Anyway, great content! Infographics are becoming very popular and because of this, they are starting to be overused in all sort of boring ways.

    Your tips should help everyone keeping focus on the main rationale for an infographic: provide data in a VISUALLY APPEALING way.

  • Guest

    Great post!!

  • Great Post!!

  • TracieDickson

    I love this post Donna, it is really inspiring! Can I also just ad your headline is awesome and what had me actually click through. Thanks

    • Thanks Tracie – yes it was a cheeky headline haha

  • Lyndsay Schumacher

    I love this post! I haven’t read one in a long time that really inspired me not only to do it but the examples you used got me excited as well! I’m having trouble with my password signing up so I’m signing in as guest but I would love to read more blogs from you.

    • Hey Lyndsay – thanks for your kind words – so sorry that Disqus is playing up for you to log in, but I am excited you are inspired to get creative. Also check out http://www.piktochart.com for some great infographic templates – it doesn’t matter if you don’t get them custom designed… as long as they are helpful and the templates are great!

  • This is great content! How refreshing to see infographics that are well organized, thought out, and HELPFUL! I’m going to pass this along to my colleagues and see if we can get out of the dredges of grey and boring. Thank you!

    • Go for it Daniel and be sure to circle back here or on Twitter and let me know what you come up with!

  • Megabyte

    I love the location infographics! They’re super simple, because half the content is already in the map. Plus location pins on Pinterest are also really hot right now.

    • True – you can do some cool things with location now!

  • متو لي

    Great article. I believe the bottom line is design it for your target audience and keep it useful as hell

    • ha ha yes, you got it!

      • متو لي

        😀

      • متو لي

        😀

  • متو لي

    Great article. I believe the bottom line is design it for your target audience and keep it useful as hell

  • Donna,

    Fantastic post. I love the recipe infographic. For starters, I am really bad with graphics! Seriously. Good fresh insights from this post and thank you!
    ~Reginald

    • thanks Reginald – don’t worry if you are bad with graphics – even if you can’t engage someone to do it for you, try playing with http://www.canva.com or http://www.piktochart.com (a great template-based infographic tool) – you can create awesome images without even being creative, which is why I love it!

  • Very informative and useful! I’m sure it would help me create a more beneficial infographic soon. Thanks for this!

    • Thanks so much – glad you found it useful – have fun creating!

  • Too true Bashia – yes we are always writing “how to …. xyz” into Google. Good point!

  • Donna another fantastic post! I see too many infographics now that just display statistics. Those days are gone. I love the idea of the infographic serving a real purpose.

    • Thanks Andrew – glad you agree. It’s funny I saw a post today with a statistic about how much people retain from presentations and it was hugely weighted towards the story vs the data… ie we remember the story vs data at a 95:5 ratio or something really high like that – I will have to chase it up but it was huge! I think with infographics you can definitely tell a story (or any piece of content). Data has it’s place but yes the data filled infographics are just too much!

  • learned a lot and spurred too many ideas in my head.. thumbs up

    • Cheers Muhammad – glad you found it useful – have fun with it!

  • very useful article. thanks for sharing

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