Jazz up text with graphics to capture the reader’s attention

By Kristie Bauer, Graphics & Marketing Specialist, GovDelivery

One small change can make the difference between your digital communications getting read or ignored. And it’s an easy change to make. Simply add graphics to your text and you’ll get more traffic, increased readership, and better search engine optimization (SEO). The increases can be quite dramatic.

High quality visuals are 30 times more likely to be read than text articles, and digital publishers who feature infographics grow traffic 12 percent faster than those who don’t, according to statistics published at CustomerMagnetism.com.

As part of Stopbullying.gov’s efforts to provide education and information around bullying, the organization sent an email bulletin through GovDelivery to introduce an infographic on its website. Understanding the power of graphics to help reinforce a message, Stopbullying.gov used the word “infographic” in the email subject line, which helped contribute to an increase in unique email opens by 48 percent (compared to other emails sent). The email itself was visually appealing and included a link to the infographic. This led to a dramatic increase in unique click-throughs – double the amount of any other email sent.

bullying bulletinThe use of charts and illustrations to present information has become a growing trend. The words “infographic” and “infographics” are searched an average of 547,000 times per month on Google. Recently, in a single month, 56,000 tweets mentioned infographics.

As you add relevant visuals to enhance your communications, you should see an increase in site traffic. Stories with graphics are much more likely to be shared, either through email or on social media sites. As your communications and graphics are shared, they should link back to your website, helping to build traffic. Infographics also increase SEO, which results in higher search engine rankings and more visitors to your website.

Why are infographics so popular?

Visual storytelling is a familiar and powerful form of communication with roots deep in our psyches. Ancient cave paintings are evidence that pictures provided our earliest method for communicating stories and ideas. Our visual sense remains strong. Psychologist Albert Mehrabian demonstrated that even today 93 percent of communication is nonverbal.

Visuals make it easier to understand complex information. That’s true for all of us, but particularly for the 60 percent of the population who are visual learners. People learn in different ways, and visual types learn best when ideas, concepts and data are associated with images. They would prefer to get information by looking at a pie chart, graph, timeline or flowchart, for example.

Infographics are powerful

Graphics can influence viewers. Advertisers have always understood the power of graphics. Pictures of babies and puppies are often pictured in ads because they elicit warm, positive emotions in the viewer who then associates that feeling with the product. Given that our brains process visual information 60,000 times faster than text, the influence of a graphic can be quick as well as emotional. Additionally,a 3M-sponsored study at the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management found that presenters who use visual aids are 43 percent more effective in persuading audience members to take a desired course of action than presenters who don’t use visuals.

Often graphics don’t have as much impact when they stand alone as they do when combined with text. Without text to explain what a viewer is looking at, an infographic can lose its power. Yet the text without the infographic can be dull and dry. It’s the marriage of graphics and text that makes digital communications featuring infographics powerful enough to engage visitors, increase traffic and ultimately build brand recognition

Given their power to influence audiences, enhance learning, increase readership and drive traffic to your site, it’s not surprising that infographics have become popular with professional communicators. Start thinking about what you need to communicate and learn about effective ways to do it with infographics. Stay tuned for my next post where I’ll share tips on how to create graphics with great impact.

See the original post on Reach the Public.

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