Content marketing continues to become more and more “image-centric,” which is why some data you present would be best turned into an infographic at some point.

If you’re a new marketer, you might think this is for only the pros or something that requires a huge budget.

In reality, if you’re out to truly serve your audience, and want to stand out from the competition, you can make exceptional ones yourself.

And its ROI, traffic, social shares, backlinks and leads, is one of the best you can get with your content marketing efforts.

Here are 10 helpful tips to make it happen.

1. Know Your Data

If you want to create the most informative and relevant infographic possible, you need to have a complete understanding of the data you’re using.

This gives you the opportunity to rank your facts and information so you can present them in a logical and interesting way throughout the infographic.

2. Come Up With a Theme

Creating an infographic gives you an opportunity to get creative with the visual elements, such as coming up with an analogy or memorable theme.

A great example is this infographic about the morning rituals of successful entrepreneurs:

Mark Zukerberg infographic

It has a unique visual theme for each entrepreneur featured, which makes it more memorable than a plain-text blog post.

3. Target Your Audience

The best infographic designers know what their audience wants and is interested in. Make your infographic ultra-targeted by focusing on your audience’s specific needs.

Capture their attention by avoiding generic or widely popular themes and instead come up with a creative format that resonates with your audience the most.

An infographic that is widely popular has its own benefits, but won’t work as hard at drawing in the high value leads that come from your target audience. Here’s a sample of an infographic that’s specific and really helpful to the site’s audience.

4. Focus on What’s Newsworthy

With so much content crowding the blogosphere today, marketers are spending most of their time competing for people’s attention.

So when it comes to putting together a compelling infographic, the most interesting and newsworthy facts should appear front and center to draw them in.

Displaying the most relevant data first offers value for your readers and suggests the rest of the infographic has an important story to tell as well.

5. Create an Awesome Headline

Just like any content you create, a big focus of your infographic should be the headline. Make sure your headline is catchy and grabs the reader’s attention, but also offers a little bit of detail explaining what the infographic is about.

Focus on developing a powerful headline that draws clicks from search and social media.

6. Show, Don’t Tell

The best infographics always offer something clever in their narrative. There should be a healthy balance between visual elements and written data, but the point is that it’s a graphic representation of something that would normally just be text, so you should put an emphasis on showing your readers the data.

Spice up your infographic with visual imagery to turn your data into a more interesting concept than it was before.

7. Make it Skimmable

Almost no one is interested in reading your infographic in detail.

Focus on displaying the most important facts in a clear, skimmable format so people can understand the real message of your infographic without going through the fine print.

Highlight the points that have the most impact.

8. Pay Attention to Size and Length

Infographics are supposed to take a series of facts and data and blow them up into something more interesting.

But don’t make the mistake of creating something too long, at the risk of losing your reader’s attention. Most vertical infographics have a width of 600 to 1100 px.

Also, if your infographic image is too big, it could have problems loading for someone with a slower Internet connection.

So, keep user experience in mind when deciding on size and length.

9. Cite Your Sources

If you want your infographic to have some clout and authority, citing your sources is a must. The simplest way to do this without taking up too much visual space is by having numbered citations at the end of the image.

This will be valuable information for readers who want to make sure your statistics are recent, or for those who want to learn more about the data.

As a writer, I also know that many won’t cite and link back to your infographic unless it displays the original sources as well.

10. Optimize for Sharing

One of the main goals of an infographic is to drive traffic to your website. That’s why it’s common practice to embed it in a blog post and start sharing on your social platforms.

Just don’t forget to also optimize the infographic for sharing by including your social share buttons close by in the post.

When creating social media posts, include an image of part of the infographic to encourage clicks and shares as well.

Infographics can be a powerful marketing tool, if you know how to make them right.

Follow these 10 tips to ensure your infographic is ready to go up against all the other visual competition marketers are using today.

This piece is first published on my column on Business.com.

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