How to Pick the Right Topic for Your Infographic

Of all the decisions you make when creating an infographic, it may be the first that’s ultimately the most important: what topic to cover.

 

Even the most well-researched and well-designed infographic will go ignored if what it’s about isn’t compelling enough.

 

So how do you go about finding the right topic for your infographic? The first step is to define your goals. Are you trying to generate traffic? Or just find a more effective way to communicate to your current audience? Who specifically are you trying to reach?

 

Once you understand what you want this infographic to accomplish, you can start the hunt for the right topic. Here are a few tips.

 

This infographic was created around the release of the movie "Man of Steel".
This infographic was created around the release of the movie “Man of Steel”.

Make it newsworthy. Check your Facebook. Skim your Twitter feed. Look at Google Trends. Consult the paper (yes, an actual physical one!) if you have to. What’s being talked about right now? It’s likely that people are looking for more about that topic, so if you can get your infographic out quickly, you’ll be able to ride the wave of interest.

 

Consider how what’s going on the news has a relationship to your blog, your industry, or your company. In fact, it may be better if it initially doesn’t seem related at all. If it’s unexpected, it will draw more attention.

 

Educate. It’s in the name – people look to infographics for information. The ones that are the most successful open our eyes to something we didn’t know before. So ask yourself, what do I find fascinating about my field? What drew me to it in the first place? What may other people not know or hold misconceptions about regarding this particular area?

 

Then the challenge is finding a way to convey that information in a clear and visual way that people will be able to take in almost instantaneously. This is something a good designer can work with you to do.

 

This infographic does a great job of educating in a visual way.
This infographic does a great job of educating about Earth’s distance from Mars in a visual way.

Ask your audience. Not sure what people are interested in? Don’t guess what people want to know about; find out! You may be surprised by how much feedback you get. People want to be involved in the process, and it also has the added benefit of getting them invested in your idea. Once you launch the infographic, they’ll be that much more likely to share it.

 

So where do you ask? On your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, via email, on the phone – anywhere you can. You can also use a tool like SurveyMonkey to run a more formal poll if you find that helpful.

 

Don’t sell. If your goal is to generate traffic from your infographic, you can’t think of it as a direct sales tool. Infographics that are very salesy don’t get much traction. No one wants to be sold to, even if it’s pretty to look at. Find a topic that allows you to speak about your industry or showcase your expertise – but in an interesting way.

 

Think of it like a commercial. You’re more likely to pay attention if it’s entertaining you. In fact, many commercials spend very little time selling the product; instead, they just gain your attention and remind you of the brand. Your infographic should be similar, engaging visitors first and then drawing them into the rest of the site where you can give your sales pitch – after they already like you and want to hear what you have to say.

 

Be on the cutting edge. Find out what change is on the horizon. Is there new research that was just published? Are there trends that are just starting to emerge? You can use the infographic to create a compelling argument for where those in the know predict things will go, or to share the latest information out there.

 

A simple and compelling infographic title: What Happens in an Internet Minute?
A simple and compelling infographic headline: What Happens in an Internet Minute?

As much as it can be useful to consult the paper or Twitter, your goal isn’t to find out what recently happened that’s capturing attention, but what’s going to happen that will capture attention. Consult industry publications, talk to industry experts, and talk with professors in your field.

 

Write the headline. If you think you have the right topic, try giving it a title. It should be:

 

  • Short
  • Attention-getting
  • Informative (let the reader know what they’ll find)

If you’re having trouble with one of these three aspects, it could be a sign that the idea may be too complicated or not interesting enough. Go back to the drawing board to discover what’s not working.

 

Still not sure if your infographic topic is right?

Ask yourself this one question: would this infographic interest me? If the answer is yes, then it’s likely that there will be other people out there who agree. Often, the best sign of a good topic is how passionate you feel about it.