How to create an infographic for your startup
Infographics are a way of displaying important information visually – and they’re everywhere. If you’ve got some information that you want to get out there it’s a good route to go, especially now there are so many great free tools out there for people to make their own. Here’s our no-nonsense guide to making a fantastic infographic on a budget.
Don’t just create an infographic because it’s popular; pick it because it’s a method that makes your data or information shareable, easier to understand, and can give it a greater impact. You’d be unlikely to share a spreadsheet on your social networks even if the information was very compelling, for example. But put that information into a colourful, well-organised image, and suddenly it’s an asset that could potentially go viral. We love this infographic that shouts about the brilliant businesses we’ve funded, for example.
But my business is quite technical…
Don’t worry! The great thing about infographics is that they visualise your data, and so you can present difficult facts, figures and concepts in a simplified way that’s easier to get your head around. This means you can make yourself more accessible to your audience, and beyond.
Here’s how to make a brilliant DIY graphic in no time.
1. Decide on a focus
First of all, decide what you’d like the focus of your infographic to be. Do you have some interesting data from a recent survey, or have you got some impressive stats about your company’s growth that you’d like to share? Have you got some red-hot research that you’d like to shout about?
Secondly, think of how you can position this information in a way that’s interesting to other people. For example, let’s say you’re creating an infographic on the internet habits of your customer base and so you have some data about their usage. Rather than a title such as ‘Information on how our customers use the internet’, for instance, you could position it as ‘What social networks do small business owners REALLY use?’
2. Organise your data
If you’ve got lots of data, simplify it to the data you definitely want in your infographic and make it neat and easy to understand. Get rid of anything unnecessary.
For example, with our hypothetical infographic ‘What social networks do small business owners REALLY use?’ the hypothetical survey we used asked everyone about Pinterest, Vine and Instagram, as well as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn – but we’re just going to focus on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
For a bit of context, we leave in the data about their general internet use. And to simplify everything further, we decide to use averages.
Once you’ve got your data nice and organised, you can start thinking about your options for interpreting the data and translating it into a swish infographic. (Note: all of the following data is entirely made-up and just an example.)
3. Decide the best way to feature it
Look at your data and identify the interesting parts. For example, in the graph above we can see that Twitter is the social network used most by our hypothetical small business owners. LinkedIn is used least. They’re online for 42.2 hours a week. And 9/10 of our business owners use Facebook every day.
You could go deeper and interpret the data more – working out, for example, that small business owners spend 24% of their online time on Facebook. But for the purpose of this guide, we’re keeping it simple.
Once you’ve isolated your key stats, and the ones you really want to emphasise, you can make a decision about the best way to display them. There are many options for featuring your data, whether that’s a graph, a pie chart, a map, individual statistics highlighted, or a combination. Here’s a pie chart example made using a template from free tool Piktochart:
Or to mix it up, you could present it like this, for example:
4. Put it all together
Our finished infographic uses a pie-chart (as it gives an easy-to-read idea of how the time online is portioned out). We’ve also throwing in a couple of pieces of extra data that our spreadsheet gave us for some extra interest and to keep people reading. This took us under half an hour, thanks to working from a pre-made template and just tweaking as necessary. From spreadsheet to engaging piece of content – piece of cake.
5. What to do when it’s created?
When you’ve finished your infographic, here are some tips for how to share it.
- Share on your social channels
- Sharing on Pinterest is especially valuable, as it also gives you links – fantastic for improving your SEO – and is a useful way to lead people back to your website
- Include in a press release
- Blog about the infographic and the data behind it
- Feature it on a landing page on your website
- Include it in a newsletter, or send to your mailing list
Tools for creating free infographics
There are lots of great tools to help you make professional-looking infographics. We used Piktochart for the above examples, but here are some other options:
Canva is simple, easy to use, and gives very professional results. Best for free-form infographics, rather than ones featuring a lot of graphs and charts, features include the ability to upload your own image, a wealth of trendy typefaces, and quirky details.
If your data involves lots of graphs, or is a bit more technical, Venngage creates elegant infographic solutions to help you visualise it. A great selection of templates make this a simple option that merges good design with technical detail.
Easel.ly’s key point is that you can share your infographic with the rest of their community. If you’re lucky, someone browsing the community might even find it and decide to share it! Aside from this, they have a good selection of templates.
Datawrapper is a professional tool used by many major news outlets. It lets you turn data into maps and graphs very quickly, and the basic version is free.