How to Fix the 10 Most Common Infographic Mistakes

by Katy French

For as long as infographic marketing has been around, marketers have been making sloppy infographic mistakes. (Sorry, but it’s true.) From half-baked ideas to weak production processes, most of the things that sabotage an infographic happen long before you ever hit “publish.” 

We’ve worked with tons of partners, and we’ve noticed that no matter the size, tiny startup or Fortune 500 company, many marketers tend to make the same mistakes in their infographics over and over again. Some of these mistakes are unintentional, some are due to a lack of foresight, and some are just plain silly. (And, yes, we’ve also been guilty of them.) But the truth is that many of these “little” mistakes can greatly affect your infographic’s success. 

How to Avoid the Top 10 Infographic Mistakes

As a public service, we thought we’d ID the most pervasive issues—and offer up some fixes—to help you better navigate the infographic process in the future. So, without further adieu, here are the 10 mistakes to avoid if you want to create an impactful infographic.

1) Not Knowing Where You’re Going to Host Your Infographic

If we had a dollar for every time a partner requested an infographic without knowing where they would put it, we’d be richer than P. Diddy. No matter how great your infographic idea or how beautiful it looks, if you don’t know where it’s going to live or be seen, you’re gonna have a tough time getting eyes on it.

The fix: You should have a solid distribution plan before you even begin to brainstorm. Check out our e-book, The Ultimate Guide to Distribution, for more tips on how to plan one out.  

2) Gating Your Infographic

We know this is a hard one for some marketers. You want to create a valuable asset that generates lots of leads, so your first instinct is to gate it. While that’s a good strategy for cornerstone content like e-books, infographic marketing works well for awareness because the format is so shareable. If you want it to spread like wildfire or get picked up by major publications, keep it easily accessible.

The fix: For even more traffic and exposure, find out how to optimize your infographic for SEO and check out our tips to get publishers to feature your infographics.

3) Leaving Designers Out of the Brainstorm

Sometimes marketers consider designers to be machines. You tell them what you need; they give you what you want. But designers are an innately skilled group of people trained to solve communication problems. They aren’t just guns for hire.

Leaving them out of the brainstorm isn’t good for anybody. You lose out on their creative and critical thinking, and they lose out on the chance to shape an idea from the beginning.

The fix: Make sure you have all creative stakeholders present at your brainstorms and try these 4 ways to start thinking like a designer.  

4) Not Properly Vetting Your Ideas

When it comes time to brainstorm, there are a number of things that can go wrong. Marketers tend to get really excited about their ideas, forgetting that it’s other people who need to be excited about the idea.

This usually happens when important stakeholders get left out of the process (see above), so ideas aren’t always vetted against infographic marketing objectives. And sometimes even a good idea can be problematic (e.g., if it doesn’t translate globally or a competitor just did the same thing).

The fix: Make sure to vet ideas through personas and try these 16 exercises to come up with great ideas.

5) Starting a Design Without the Finalized Content 

If you love wasting time, money, energy, and sanity, this is a great way to do it. The infographic process has a lot of moving parts and creators, so it’s important to get approval at every stage. That means idea approval before copywriting, copywriting approval before design, etc.

You don’t want any surprises down the line (we’ve had to redesign too many infographics for just this reason), so save everyone the heartache.

The fix: Know who your stakeholders are from the start, and build in enough time for proper approvals.

6) Not Having an Infrastructure to Produce It

Not everyone has the resources or skill to create solid infographics, and there’s no shame in that. We always say it’s better to do something small but well than make something big and half-assed.

The fix: If you can’t create the content you need in the timeline you need, consider outside help. Follow these tips to find a great infographic marketing company and learn how to work with them once you do.  

7) Ignoring Brand Guidelines

Every organization should have a brand style guide (find out more about what you should have in yours). And every organization should strictly follow those guidelines. Too often we see people either totally disregard their brand identities or only adhere to half (say, visual guidelines but not voice guidelines).

The fix: Identify someone on your team to act as brand enforcer, reviewing all content to make sure it’s up to par.

8) Not Writing for Design

Good infographics use copy and design to tell a strong story. Sometimes people think that means they should cram as much as they can in, which is why there is a plethora of painfully cluttered infographics in the world. Infographic copywriting means being economical with word count, creating a logical flow, and telling a single story.

The fix: To start, find out how to craft an effective narrative.  

9) Giving Vague Design Direction and Feedback

Infographic creation is a collaborative process. Everyone needs to be on the same page, always keeping project objectives in mind. When it comes to design feedback, it’s important to frame things in these terms.

“I don’t like the pink” isn’t very helpful. “Let’s use a brighter shade of pink so the header stands out in the Twitter feed” is much better. The same goes when giving design directions at the beginning of the project. Whenever we hear a partner say, “Have fun with it! Do what you want!” we know there’s an 80% they will hate whatever we come up with.

The fix: Provide useful parameters, visual inspiration, and anything else you think will guide the designer in the right way.

10) Not Reusing Your Content

A single infographic can be used to support or supplement many types of content. Don’t just let it die in your archives. Consider ways to create microcontent, mini-graphics, or additional blog posts with your infographic.

The fix: Try a divisible content strategy for more tips on how to reuse content.

Keep Your Team Up to Date

Creating great content is an ever-evolving practice. It takes trial, error, communication, and plenty of collaboration. To keep you and your team on top of the latest tactics and best practices, you need to the right tools and resources. For more tips on doing better infographic marketing:

If you still need a little help, holler at us.

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