An illustration of various infographic featuresIn today’s time-crunched, sound-bite-savoring society, when you speak visually, you speak with impact. A successful infographic is one way to meet that directive.

Healthcare information can be detailed and complicated. Sometimes you need to share meta analyses and methods, probability and reliability. For example, was the data based on primary or secondary research? Was the study double blind or placebo controlled? Did it include a broad section of people or was there sampling bias? Were the results peer reviewed?

It’s our job as healthcare content producers to cut through the jargon and make that information easy to understand, no science degree required.

Why use infographics

Infographics are one of the best formats for sharing information that’s easily digestible — and, even more importantly, easily remembered. A good infographic shows instead of tells. It breaks down complex facts and figures into an easy-to-read, shareable package.

Effective Infographics bring many benefits to your content marketing strategy.

  • They’re up to 30 times more likely to be read than a full-length article or even a blog post.
  • They can drive more web traffic — up to 12% more, in some cases.
  • They can connect to a larger audience.
  • They can be adapted and shared across many channels – blogs, websites and social media.
  • They present information in a way that it’s easy to remember. Research shows that people remember 65% of what they see in a visual.

What makes an infographic successful

Ready to dip your toes into this popular form of content?  Consider these infographic tips and tricks and get inspiration from a few successful healthcare infographics.

Design

Keep your audience top of mind

What topics are your readers and followers interested in? What are their pain points? What kind of information is your audience likely to share with their social circles? For many healthcare organizations, topics around prevention and wellness are a great place to start. The Cleveland Clinic is always a good source of inspiration for health and prevention infographics.

Narrow down the topic and stick to the point

The most effective infographics provide a snapshot of information. They stay on point and address one key issue — thoroughly yet concisely. A good example is this infographic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that keeps its focus narrow and explains how to properly put on and take off a face mask.

Give your infographic a theme

Your audience should be able to glance at your infographic quickly and understand what it’s about. Try to use design elements and illustrations that fit the overall theme of the information you’re sharing. Thanks to the bold title (“Need a Reason to Quit?”) and straightforward graphics (the silhouette of man holding a cigarette and illustrations of various body parts), there’s little doubt what this infographic from UVA Health is all about. Plus, the transcript of the infographic boosts SEO and makes the page more accessible for visually impaired individuals using a screen reader.

smoking infographic from UVA health

The theme of this infographic from UVA Health is clear.

Avoid small, hard-to-read text

Large, bold fonts catch your reader’s eye and get your information across clearly to help your audience understand the key points. Check out this effective infographic from the National Institute on Aging for a great example of eye-catching text, no squinting required.

Use design features to create focal points

Make important information stand out with shapes, contrast, and other visual cues. And don’t forget color. Research shows that messages that use color are 39% more likely to be remembered than messages in black and white. El Camino Health does a great job of using a variety of shapes and shades to draw the eye to important information with this infographic on the value of having a primary care provider.

Think beyond charts and graphs

There’s nothing wrong with using them, but they’re not the only way to impart short nuggets of information. Part of what makes infographics effective is the creative use of graphics. Check out this infographic from University Hospitals on fireworks safety that’s chock-full of fun, bright visuals to relay facts and figures.

Include your brand logo

Your healthcare system’s logo doesn’t need to be front and center, but it should be somewhere on the infographic. Here’s an example of subtle logo placement from the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan.

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Content

Avoid long sections of text

If things are getting wordy, and you’re having a hard time editing it down, consider if an infographic is really the best way to communicate your message. Your audience wants to digest information quickly and easily. This stress infographic from Johns Hopkins Medicine does a good job of highlighting just a handful of key facts.

stress infographic from Johns Hopkins

This stress-themed infographic from Johns Hopkins does an excellent job highlighting a few important numbers.

Include quotes when applicable

True, a good infographic should be light on text. But using some short, well-placed quotes from your healthcare system’s clinicians can give context to the numbers and give the infographic a more personal feel.

Cite your sources

An infographic isn’t a research paper, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be using — and citing — reliable sources. Check out this example of responsible information sourcing from the CDC.

Add a catchy title

Ohio State University College of Pharmacy and Cardinal Health Foundation created a clear, catchy title that doesn’t give everything away in their infographic about the country’s prescription drug crisis.

Make sure it flows

Like a well-written story, a good infographic should have a logical progression from top to bottom. Here’s a good example from the CDC about the threat of antibiotic resistance.

Create a call to action

Whether it’s telling readers to visit your website or read a related blog post from your healthcare system, you always want to drive people to your organization. UCLA Health did just that with this infographic on irritable bowel syndrome in children.

Promoting your infographic

Good content and design are not the only elements that go into what makes an infographic successful. Dissemination is the other. Now that you’ve created this really effective infographic that’s brimming with bite-size bits of important information, how can you get it out there so it promotes your healthcare organization? Consider the following:

  • Share it on your own social media. Promotion starts at home. Share the infographic on your home page and on your social media channels. If the infographic is too big to share in one post, take screenshots of different parts of the infographic and post them individually. That gives you a lot of social media mileage from one infographic. And be sure to include a link back to your homepage so followers can see the full infographic or a link to one of your organization’s blog posts that explores the subject further.
  • Create “tweetables.” Pull out a few interesting factoids from the infographic and add them to your landing page, asking readers to tweet about them.
  • Email the infographic to influencers, bloggers, and journalists. Summarize why the infographic is of interest to their audiences and maybe even pitch a blog idea or two for which it can be used.

The bottom-line: When you want to make content meaningful and memorable (and what healthcare marketer doesn’t), say it with a good infographic.

How do you create a successful infographic for your healthcare system? What tried-and-true infographic tips and tricks do you have? Tell us about it on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter.

Healthcare writers for any marketing medium. Do you want to create more infographics, but you’re short on time or skills? WriterGirl’s team of writers, designers and project managers create effective infographics that communicate your message loud and clear. Reach out anytime to learn more.

Editor’s note: This post was updated on May 26, 2021. It was originally published in December 2017.