Here at Avalaunch we all have to be creative ideas machines, because every day we come up with ideas for our clients. It’s the perfect position for idea people like me. Our ideas are what sell our work, make us stand out and eventually end up as infographics that get blogged about, linked to and shared.
An infographic has to illustrate and illuminate or inform on a topic using images combined with text. To me, the best infographics are also timely. They’re about something that is on people’s minds right now. Ideally they combine search engine optimization and they have PR value, so that news outlets will also be interested.
For example, we created an infographic about the true cost of owning the latest iPhone. It was created a few weeks after the iPhone 5 was released. It highlighted not just the cost of your phone and contract but the accessories, apps, and even the time it will cost you to figure it all out. It resonated. Gizmodo, Huffington Post and Mashable picked it up. It got over 16,000 shares on Mashable alone.
Want to get ideas for compelling infographics? Here are some ways to dial up your creativity.
1. Scan HARO - www.helpareporter.com
HARO, short for Help a Reporter is a daily email newsletter with pitches from journalists and bloggers writing stories on a variety of topics. In short, it’s a bunch of story ideas that could turn into compelling infographics.
For example I saw this fact on an email:
Move over Thanksgiving turkey, you’re safe for now… According
to the National Chicken Council’s 2013 Wing Reporter, more than
1.23 billion wing portions will be consumed during this year’s
Super Bowl weekend. Run chicken, run!
Bam! I thought of an infographic about Superbowl foods, including that over a BILLION chicken wings will be eaten.
2. See What’s Trending on Reddit – www.Reddit.com
I scan or search Reddit for interesting facts or stories that are a bit outside the mainstream. These can help me think of a theme for an infographic that goes for entertainment or shock value.
Example: Today’s homepage had an image of someone’s business card. After seeing the picture, I thought of an infographic of the most creative business cards for photographers (or just one about business cards). It would work well for a printing company or any business whose customers are other businesses.
3. Search press release sites like PRNewswire – www.PRNewswire.com
Businesses often tout the latest study or findings with a press release. PRNewswire lets you search any press release and see what news was most emailed or shared on Facebook and Twitter. These can give you ideas for themes for infographics. I often just put in the word “study” or a word that relates to what our client sells.
Example: The first headline in my search is Orthopaedic Surgeons Advise Using Helmets During Winter Sports. It talks about while 40% of skiers and snowboarders don’t wear helmets, wearing one reduces their risk of a serious head injury by as much as 60%. So there’s the start of infographic idea for the skiing industry or even for personal injury attorneys.
4. Google News, Yahoo News – news.google.com news.yahoo.com
Newsjacking is big and easy to pitch to the media. The idea of newsjacking is to make an infographic about a hot topic that’s in the news right now. So to get ideas, search the biggest online news sites to see what’s in the news relating to the topic you’re researching.
For example, I thought of making an infographic that is an obituary of sorts for Notre Dame star linebacker Manti Te’o's fake girlfriend. It would chronicle their relationship until her “death.” Sports bloggers and media outlets might pick it up as a way to illustrate the story.
5. Search Twitter
Since Twitter only indexes recent tweets (maybe 1-2 weeks back) you can find very current information. Again, use the word “study” or a word related to your industry.
I found a tweet about how cruise line Norwegian is doing a Pin to Win type of Pinterest contest. So I thought of an infographic for a marketing firm about the most popular Pin to Win contests or tips for running one.
6. Use Pinterest
Again, I use the search feature and search for a topic that relates to the client. For example, if I had a client who has an online store that features women’s shoes, I could put in the word “shoes” and see what comes up. From the search I can see ideas for how to organize your shoes which could be the basis of an infographic that featured various methods. You could also do one on celebrity’s closets because it’s eye candy for women and that’s why their pinning those types of images.
I even found an infographic about the right type of shoe to wear with your wedding dress. You could adapt that to talk about the type of shoes to wear with various outfits.
Tip: Just because someone pins an image of shoes doesn’t mean they will necessarily put the word shoe in the description. If they don’t, it won’t show up in searches. So start broad first and narrow down. In this case, you might start with the category “women’s fashion.” Scan for patterns or trends and use that as a basis for an infographic about new trends in women’s fashion.
7. Look at Infographics in Google Images
Search for any topic + infographic to see what’s out there. You can take concepts from outdated infographics and find more current data and a new look. It can help you think of new angles to take on a topic or show you elements you can borrow.
For example, while researching ideas for men’s ties, I saw an infographic for Father’s Day that included a “tie graph.” That gave me the idea for a tie graph infographic that used ties instead of pieces of pie in the traditional “pie graph.”
Now you know our secrets.
So I want to know: how do you find inspiration for infographics?