Content marketers in business-to-business industries have jumped on the infographic bandwagon over the last few years. Infographics, also referred to as data visualizations, have become one of the most popular ways for professional services firms to communicate complicated information in a simple, easy-to-digest format.  They have become widely used, very popular, and you can find an endless stream when searching Google, Twitter, Pinterest and other online sources. With this being the case, it has become increasingly hard for content marketing professionals to differentiate their data visualizations from the rest.

Although they have become increasingly popular and common, infographics are not a new concept. In fact, infographics outdate written language by tens of thousands of years – cave paintings are infographics.  We interact with and use them everyday without thinking about it. A map, a U-turn sign and the icons on your computer desktop are all examples of using visuals to communicate a message in a simple way that most can understand even without speaking the same language.

To this point, infographics do not need to be all about numbers. If your firm offers services or value that is hard to articulate, that complicated differentiator may be better clarified by sharing a visual story or walking through a process without numbers. It’s no wonder why businesses use infographics to communicate their message with visualizations.

So how do you stand out from the crowd? The simple answer is that not all infographics are the same, and cost does not define quality. Professional services marketers rush to develop these visuals by slapping together pie charts and lengthy text assuming that they have created a compelling piece of content. If your audience responded to that, then you could just create endless PowerPoint presentations and watch the leads come in.

Here are a few elements that will set your firm apart from the rest when creating an engaging infographic.

Choose the Right Information

Some infographics don’t succeed simply because not all information warrants this effort. Development can be time consuming, especially if your firm outsources design. Ask yourself: will the senior executives at my prospective clients’ firms find it valuable? Will the facts I convey help them make informed decisions?

One way to make the right choice is to look at your most successful content that received the most downloads or qualified traffic, and start from there. It may be a research study, or it could be insights gained from industry expertise.

Tell a Story

A list of data points with correlating bar graphs does not convey a message in a way that your audience can relate to. Think about how you would verbally explain your insights as if you are speaking to a colleague or client. It must have a flow similar to a 5th grade school paper.

You start with the overarching concept, include a handful of supporting facts in logical order, and end with a summary that ensures the reader truly understands and believes your message. Some B2B marketers will use infographics to explain a process like workflow or logistics. Do they truly understand what you do? Why not show them?

Develop a Theme

The theme of your infographic should fall in line with the story you are telling, but they are not the same concept. The theme is the unique design that supports that story. You must think about how to visually represent your story. This is likely the hardest part of the process, but it is also the concept that is most important for catching the eye of those prospects you are looking for.

If you are in construction, characters in hard hats can be shown building step-by-step while your story conveys the process your firm uses to be successful. The infographic theme gives you the opportunity to show expertise while being creative, engaging and fun. When choosing the visuals that you will use, be conscious of color, text size and other elements that can impact the user experience.  For example, a bright orange background with small red and yellow text may drive the visitor away before you have the opportunity to share your insights.

With these concepts in mind, B2B firms can develop infographics that can become powerful pieces of evergreen content. They can continue to drive qualified traffic to your website over time. There are also other long-term benefits that these visuals can provide. Visuals are increasingly important for search engine optimization and can improve the performance of your website. By developing an infographic with every premium piece of content you create, your firm will be able to increase the opportunity to get the most out of those efforts.

To see an example of how Hinge takes advantage of visualizations, visit this infographic we recently developed based off of the most important insights from our Inside the Buyer’s Brain research study and book.

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