Infographics have become an essential part of business. From brochures to annual reports, websites to social media, infographics are proven to boost information retention and can be used to illustrate almost anything and just about anywhere. They provide a creative way of visualising complex information, provide a quick overview of a topic, explain steps in a process, illustrate a timeline, compare and contrast multiple opinions, raise awareness about an issue, or display research findings or survey data. But however good your images or graphics are, pictures only tell part of the story. While the design will attract the reader’s attention, it’s the infographic copy or content that provides the context. Like so many successful partnerships, one is no good without the other. They should work hand-in-hand.
Creating engaging, actionable infographic copywriting starts with understanding the purpose and goal of the copy and how it is going to relate to the graphics. Like the chapters of a book, each section of the infographic should tell its own story but be part of the bigger story. As the story unfolds, infographic copywriting will guide the reader through the journey towards the conclusion. The headline is arguably the most important element of infographic copywriting. It’s the first thing that will be read and while it can be serious, clever or funny, depending on the audience and media, it must always be captivating and have clarity. It needs to throw light on the infographic content, put it in context and explain the benefits of reading it.
When creating an infographic headline, use power words, action words, emotion-triggering words or numbers to exploit the reader’s interest. Next, add a sub-headline to introduce the subject of the infographic. It needs to hook the reader further into the infographic and setting expectations. Some infographics also include a brief introduction to put the infographic into context. Readability is vital, so keep the sentences short and the language simple and concise, using strong verbs to propel the reader forward towards the next part. Also, don’t be afraid of white space. If there is nothing to say then it’s better to say nothing than fill it with waffle. Some of the most powerful statements are those that are surrounded by white space (also known as negative space).
- Decide which type of infographic you are using – informational, timeline, instructional, comparison, geographical, photographic, hierarchical, visualised-number or anatomical.
- Understand your audiences’ point of view.
- Provide the narrative to the story you’re telling.
- Use power words, action words, emotion-triggering words and numbers.
- Avoid jargon and long sentences. Write simply and succinctly.
- If you have a design, let it guide you with regard to space, style and tone.
- Eliminate repetition and words that don’t add value.
- Proofread and sharpen the copy by reading each sentence in isolation.
If you would like to find out how an experienced infographics copywriter can breathe life into your infographics, please contact me.