Content marketing has many aspects to it, but the premise is very simple. You create content and then promote it. However, anyone who reads this blog knows that it’s not that easy. You have to create the right content that will get your shares and likes and then you have to outreach to people that will put your content on display to the world. Even then it can be hard.
However, infographics seem to play by a different set of rules. There is one thing I know about content marketing, and that is infographics get shared. They just work.
Then I started thinking about why infographics go viral. Why do they get more shares? Why do people like them?
So I did some research, and I complied 20 ‘secrets’ why infographics go viral, and what better way to compile these 20 hidden secrets than in an infographic.
Take a look, and hopefully, you will realize the power of infographics.
- A viral infographic has a defined purpose and message behind it.
A study conducted by the Journal of Physical Activity and Health noted that the viral infographic transmitted a message and engaged the viewer using a three-step process: raising awareness, changing and challenging attitudes, finalized with a call to action’ to change behaviors.
- The display size of the infographic matters.
Social Media Today conducted an analysis of 1000 infographics that were the most shared in some different business industries and found that the most popular size was an average of 3683 high and 803 pixels wide. This is an average size, so a rule of thumb you can apply is to use these pixels sizes and add or subtract 15 percent to maximize your viral potential.
- Viral Infographics are all in mind.
There is clear scientific evidence, as stated in a Thomson and Reuters blog, that 30 percent of the brain is used to process visual data, contrasted with 3 percent for sensory information. An attention-grabbing infographic with the potential to go viral needs to use visuals that clearly explain the content with a minimal use of text. If the graphical information is confusing, it will lose the viewer.
- Being easy to understand is an essential feature of a viral infographic.
There are many ways to communicate information, but what makes an infographic shareable is the fact it can convey its message at a glance. According to Thomson and Reuters, there are six characteristics to an attention-grabbing infographic, but when you consider the purpose of an infographic is to present the information quickly, so viewers need to see a clearly defined message.
- Make the connections between your infographic images and your brand message as clear and straightforward as possible.
Neomam cites scientific data that says it only 150 milliseconds for an image to be processed in our brains, and another 100 milliseconds to attach a meaning to that image. This means that it is critical for your infographic to communicate information visually in a way where the viewer makes an almost instant connection with the symbol. The less the viewer has to think, the higher the likelihood of it going viral.
- Focus on color first, and then the text.
According to NeoMam, someone who encounters an infographic is 80 percent more likely to engage the image visually. But more importantly, stopping to engage the color image makes the viewer more likely to read the text. Therefore, the color attracts, and the text informs. The danger here is that too much emphasis will be placed on the color and the underlying message in the text will be lost to the viewer.
- Create a special color scheme.
Social Media Today took a close look at color schemes and found that almost 4 of 10 infographics that went viral had either a triadic color scheme or a monochromatic color scheme, while the least likely color scheme to go viral was tetradic. The color scheme needs to emphasize the critical points of the infographic.
- Viral Infographics take advantage of a fundamental cognitive process.
Because our brains are wired to focus initially on visual stimuli, people can recall 80 percent of what they see, according to NeoMam’s infographic. Your infographic does not have a chance of going viral if it is not something people will be able to remember. The lesson here is to be creatively simple and make it easy for the viewer to remember.
- Sharing is fun.
This may be the most obvious and also the most overlooked characteristic of a viral infographic. NeoMam puts this fact at the end of their website infographic, not because it requires a lot of explanation but for exactly the opposite reason. How much can you talk about making something fun? When it comes to a viral infographic, this can be the deal breaker.
- The Word Count needs to be carefully watched.
An analysis by Social Media Today showed viral infographics had an average of 398 words, and no viral infographic has more than 502. Another rule of thumb you can apply is to keep your infographic text right around 400 words. Many marketers believe “less is more, ” but these statistics clearly show that people expect an infographic to convey a minimum amount of information to be useful – and shareable.
- The best viral infographics know their target audience extremely well.
The primary characteristic of any social media marketing campaign is defining your target audience. An infographic needs to be very precise in its definition because the information in the infographic will only be relevant to a particular group of people according to Digital Marketing magazine. They, in turn, will share it with others who know the content is relevant to the other person.
- Choose your marketing channels carefully.
Experienced social media marketers know that choosing the right channels is key to success. Social Media Today discovered in an analysis of 1000 infographics that on Facebook you would have a better chance of going viral if the industry is Health, while if your channel is Twitter you will have a better chance with – Social Media. It is possible you can commit an infographic to a single social media channel and watch it go viral. Only your marketing data and analysis can show you what will work for your particular situation.
- Infographic content needs to be both compelling and unique.
One of the trademarks of a quality infographic, according to Digital Marketing, is that it has compelling content. This is only the first step, however. Being unique is also a critical part of viral success because there is little need to share information that can be easily found on 100 other websites or media channels.
- Be sure to contain backlinks in your infographic.
While content is important, infographics that are out on social media should always have a backlink according to Digital Magazine, either to your landing page or home page There are two reasons for this. First, it increases brand awareness, and second, it opens the door for visitors to see other infographics available on your site. While backlinks can increase traffic, the goal here is to have the visitors browse your website and see your remarkable infographics.
- Choose your title keywords carefully.
Many people do not associate keywords and infographic title as a sufficient attention grabbing marketing technique because they are often so focused on the content itself. Digital Marketing magazine makes the case that doing so makes your infographic better, increasing your chances for a viral hit. Organic searches have a better chance of connecting to your infographic if it is easily found through targeted keywords in your title.
- Use infographics to increase the number of your followers and subscribers.
Digital Marketing sees this as a clear step towards going viral. The more people you have who you stay in regular contact with through email or mailing lists, the more people will know about your latest infographic. Remember that information in today’s world has a very short active life, which is why everything viral does not last very long in the Internet world.
- Color Me Blue
In the Social Media Today report, blue was by far the number one color of choice, regardless of the industry. This included the areas of Health, Business, Entertainment, and the entire range of viral infographics. Red was second, except for the Health industry where it placed third. Blue is considered to be a stress-reducing, relaxing color while red communicates excitement. Use the color combination to your psychological advantage.
- Use the embed feature to allow others to embed your infographic into their blog or website.
Allowing your infographic to be embedded in another businesses’ website or on a blog increases its exposure and increases its visibility, according to Digital Marketing magazine. The progressions are simple: the more people who see it, the more people who will share it, and the more people who share it increase the possibility of it becoming viral.
- Do not limit your infographic “mentality” to online media.
Digital Marketing correctly points out that an efficient multi-channel marketing campaign extends beyond the online presence of your company. Though the concept of viral is usually associated with the Internet, there are ad campaigns that make the jump to print and other forms of media. A quality infographic looks just as good, or maybe even better, in print than in a digital environment.
- One secret that may still be a secret is that there are still hidden realities behind viral infographics.
The fundamental Social Media Today analysis that has been used concluded that one of the least popular industries for infographics is Finance. That seems more than a bit odd, but it is borne out by the statistics. Likewise, it states one of the most popular is the Entertainment industry. Numbers don’t lie, but it is possible they can mislead.
So there you have it the secrets finally revealed.
Now it’s your turn to create an infographic that will go viral and make your brand the talk of the town.
Tahir Miah is an entrepreneur, digital marketer and SEO enthusiast. He is the founder of Serpjump, a Bedford SEO agency.