At the start of my sessions on building effective infographics at the Insurance & Financial Communicators Association annual conference in Washington, DC, last week, I asked participants to share what they loved and didn't love about infographics, both as consumers and as content marketers.

I won't keep you in suspense about the latter. We don't have much to say either way about this content type from a marketing perspective except that, if done right, they are easy to repurpose and atomize, and that we are getting a lot of pressure to create them. But we don't, say, love that they create terrific engagement or have a noticeable impact on any other important metric. Though my sample size was tiny (n=43), the Content Marketing Institute's 2015 Benchmark surveys show the same trend among the North American marketing pros it polled. In fact, infographics don't make it on the list.

Effectiveness of Content Types - CMI

Now, I don't think that means we shouldn't do infographics. I'm bullish on them. But only when they're created to fulfill both a business objective and a customer need. [More on that in my full infographic presentation.]

Meantime, here's what I learned from the attendees of my workshops:

7 things we love about infographics

In my thoroughly unscientific survey of insurance and financial marketers, these are the things we love about infographics:

  1. Easy to understand approach to complicated content
  2. Quick look at important information
  3. Enhances engagement and comprehension of concepts
  4. Pretty and powerful
  5. Succint
  6. Visual content is hot
  7. Easy to repurpose and share

9 things that frustrate us about infographics

  1. Inconsistent with branding
  2. Time- and resource-intensive to produce
  3. Hard to get buy-in and approval
  4. Too much text, too much imagery or not enough context
  5. Lack of a clear definition of the form
  6. Overuse of generic images, no differentiation
  7. Lack of clear take-away or CTA
  8. Over-promising titles that aren't delivered on
  9. Confusing or inaccurate data representation

What do these findings me to us as content marketers? At the very least, they give us some ideas on what to keep doing and stop doing to appeal to readers. But the most important thing is to make sure we're making infographics for the right reasons (meet business needs, inform/entertain/help customers), and that they are the best format for the job.

Group photo from 2015 IFCA infographic workshop #1

Participants in one of my infographic workshops at IFCADC. (I need more practice with that selfie stick)

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