viral infographics

It’s no secret that infographic marketing works…

90% of information that’s transmitted to our brains is visual. So it’s not surprising that publishers who use infographics generate more traffic, shares and backlinks than those who don’t.

But just because you can whip together an infographic from a cookie-cutter template builder doesn’t mean it will go viral…

So if you want to guarantee your next infographic drives the results you’re looking for then you need to check out these 21 tips that I put together with Brian Downard over at BD Ventures. Its a look under the bonnet of what is behind creating those viral infographics.

21 Secrets for Creating Viral Infographics

(Note: Don’t miss the bonus resources at the end of this post where you can get Brian’s entire 20-point infographic checklist and a step-by-step infographic “teardown” video.)

1. Number In Title

Numbers work because they make a highly-specific promise of what’s in store for the reader and it can even keep their attention for longer. Why?

Because peoples’ brains love numbers, lists and organization. In fact, research showed that headlines with numbers get 36% more clicks than those without. They also found that odd numbers can boost your click-through-rate by 20% or more!

2. Powerful Headline

Sadly, most people who read your headline never continue reading. On average, only 2 out of 10 people will continue reading past the headline.

That why an attention-grabbing headline that promises a benefit is crucial if you’re going to convince more people to read past the headline.

3. Eye-Catching Header Image

Like the cover of a book, or the featured image of a blog post, your infographic’s header image is a powerful tool for grabbing and holding reader attention long enough to convince them your content is worth reading.

Content with relevant images even get 94% more views than content without.

viral infographics

4. Attention Grabbing Intro

Great, if you can get readers this far, most of the hard work is done! Now it’s your opportunity to hook them and set the tone for the rest of the infographic.

It’s smart to avoid using generalized questions for your introduction and go with something more specific like a rhetorical question, statistic, quote or quick story.

5. Simple Color Combination

I often say the most subtle, yet most important element of a creative project is the color combination. It’s subtle because when you get it “right” people will barely notice. It’s almost they subconsciously expect brands to use appealing colors without considering how difficult that can be.

That being said, it’s very easy to the the colors wrong, and that’s when it become obvious. So my advice is to keep your infographic simple with soft background colors and then 1 or 2 “flat” colors that you can use different shades of for your primary palette. Check out a tool like Adobe Color so you can build a pallet around any color you’d like.

6. Easy To Read Typography

The first thing you should do is avoid fancy or intricate fonts… After you resize the infographic to a “web-friendly” size, facny fonts can be extremely difficult to read.

Instead, stick with easy-to-read fonts like Arial, Open Sans, Courier and Verdana. Make sure that you’re not using any fonts below 16 pts as it becomes extremely difficult to read once you resize your infographic.

7. Numbered Navigation

Don’t let your readers get lost. Keep them on track by numbering each step or section of your infographic. This will help maximize the “flow” of your infographic and keep your readers engaged longer.

8. Quick Wins

For better or worse, technology has conditioned us to want things NOW. That why when you can make your infographic immediately gratifying and super practical your chances of going viral increase by 34%.

9. Distinct Sections

As discussed in tip #1 people love numbers and lists. Infographics are the perfect medium to cater to that desire. By creating distinct sections you’ll hold reader attention longer and keep them “oriented” while reading your content.

The best way to create these sections is by using different background colors and borders/dividers to break up content and increase scanability.

10. Features Influencers

Influencer marketing is word-of-mouth marketing at scale. When you mention or team up with social media influencers, brands, etc. you increase the chances that person will share your infographic with their fans.

11. Uses Data and Quotes

It’s important to incorporate 3rd-party proof to back up your argument and increase your credibility. This kind of external validation assures readers that you actually know what you’re talking about and that you’re someone who can speak with authority on that topic.

12. Visualizations

As the saying goes: “A picture is worth 1,000 words.” That’s why every successful infographic usesstrong visual elements to bring words to life by “showing” not “telling” readers.

Charts, icons, illustrations, data visualizations, etc. are all ways you can get your point across faster and more effectively. But if you’re not a natural designer, I recommend checking outcreative community markets online where you can purchase high-quality design assets for your infographics.

13. Logo and Branding

An important yet overlooked aspect of most infographics is the “Brought to you by…” section. This is where you get to add in your logo, website address and even a quick call-to-action if you want.

That way when your infographic is shared across the web you’re increasing brand awareness and getting the credit (and backlinks) you deserve from the people who share it.

14. Cited Resources

Unlike a blog post, people can’t click on individual links on an infographic because it’s a static image. That’s why it’s smart to include a section at the end of your graphic that clearly lists the URLs to articles and resources you cited in your infographic. Like tip #10, this gives you another great group of people to reach out and share the final infographic with.

15. Easy To Scan

Above all else, the most important part of your infographic should be that it’s easy to scan… Too many people end up focusing on fancy design elements instead of easy to read layouts.

The “design” is how your information looks. But the “layout” is how your information is organized and presented which is far more important.

In fact, content that’s easy to scan increases readability by 57%.

16. Basic SEO

Infographics make great tools for ranking your content on the first page of Google.

By simply targeting and optimizing for a specific keyword, you significantly increase the chances of getting your content picked up and ranked by Google which means continuous, free traffic to your website.

17. Loads Fast

It might sounds crazy but 47% of people expect a website page to load in 2 seconds or less. Even crazier is that 40% of people say they abandon websites that take longer than 3 seconds to load! Your infographic is no different.

That’s why you need to double-check that you’ve reduced the width of your infographic to 700-900 pixels wide and optimize it for fast loading the web using Photoshop or an online tool.

18. The “5:9 Rule”

Research shows that infographics which are 9X longer than they are wide receive more shares.That’s why effective infographics strike the right balance between long and short.

If your infographic is to long, try reducing the number of data points. Also limit yourself to highlighting only the best content.

19. Super Easy To Share

This is an obvious one. But if your infographic is difficult to share, then it’s going to be impossible for you to go viral. Use tools like social sharing plugins, “click tweet” links, Pinterest “Pin-It” buttons and custom calls-to-action.

These all make it easier for people to share your infographic with the world.

20. Content Communities

Some of the most underutilized places to share infographics online are content communities. Websites like Reddit, SlideShare and infographic directories.

These communities are the perfect place to get your infographic discovered by people who might want to share it on their website. There are dozens of these directories though… So instead of manually doing each one by yourself I recommend using Fivver to pay someone to do it for you.

21. Personal Outreach Emails

If you only take one thing from this post it should be this tip. Even if you have the best infographic in the world, if you can’t get it to the people who have the power to share with the masses, no one will ever see it.

Start with people who shared your content in the past and move onto relevant influencers and bloggers. Don’t forget the people you mentioned, quoted or cited in your infographic!

Need more help? Here are few bonuses to guide you along.

I want to make it ridiculously easy for you to create a viral infographic so I’m giving you several bonus resources to help:

  • First, Brian put together a PDF “swipe file” with his entire 20-step infographic creation checklist.
  • Second, there’s a “teardown” video where you can watch Brian reverse engineer an infographic (backstage pass to making a viral infographic)

To get both resources, enter the bonus area by signing up here.