Instructographics are infographics that teach you something. They can be of three types. One type can be in a format that shows sequential steps to achieve something – like “steps to create a home garden”, or “steps to write the perfect resume”. The second type can be in a format that converts “listicle articles” into set of alternative ideas to execute to achieve a goal – like conversion of an article like “6 ways to write for influencers” or “6 things that your Twitter bio photo must have”. The third type of instructographic could be in a format that people would love to preserve for always because of its sheer usefulness – like the “sizing conversion chart for men’s shirts between the US and UK” or “ideal elements to include for a website audit”.
The beauty of an instructographic is that can tell a very simple story of how to do something or give reasons for something, or give something preservable and of evergreen value. That doesn’t take much planning. It can also use a lot of photography, so you don’t need a visual designer to design graphics and charts and funny sketches from scratch. If you have a good camera (your smartphone!) and can take good step-by-step how-to pictures of any process, your instructographic can be ready in a jiffy! Among the many Content Types & Formats, very little attention is usually paid to instructographics, but at the end of this article, I’ll show you how to even use instructographics as a smart bait to get backlinks from top-notch sites. That’s a secret bonus!
2 great instructographic designs that show you how to create something step by step!
I’ve shown you below 2 instructographics that show you how to create or do something in a series of steps. Both are beautifully visualized, aesthetically-arranged instructographics – one on how to create DIY Jar SnowGlobes (obviously taught by an expert hobbyist), and the other on how to make pretty multi-use Treasure Boxes (created by someone with a lot of lateral ideas)
The thing to notice in both these instructographics is that although they are both full of photographs, rich in description, the photographs themselves are not of an award-winning class. They are good photos that you and I could have shot using close-ups from a smartphone and with some steady indoor lighting.
But both these the instructographics manage to make their photos look like part of a coherent and powerful uniform unit because of the choice of the use of some unifying graphic elements.
On the DIY Jar Snowglobes instructographic below, see how the background ochre-yellow tone and the slabs of orange, green alternating blocs of color string the photographs together, while still creating the illusion of sectioning. Finally the red text areas with white informal font faces take you through the whole instructographic with a sense of flow.
Image courtesy: Big Oak: Cool Instructographics
Now in the second instuctographic below, a very clever trick has been used. The photos themselves are fairly average, but notice the use of the intricate background of blue tracery that adds an old world prettiness to into the whole infographic. Other than this the typeface chosen is very modern and clean.
The gentle blue tracery pattern sets the tone and is what makes the whole look gorgeous overall, even if the individual elements on the infographic are no great shakes, taken by themselves! This is the secret to good design. Disparate elements can be brought to satisfying whole using just one clever “theming” idea.
Image courtesy: Pisselbolaget.se
2 other great instructographics that have converted a “listicles” into “visual articles”!
In these 2 examples of an instructographics below, they are not a step-by step how-tos – they are both conversion of the very popular “listicle” type of articles on the many ways you can achieve something valuable that you want to.
In this case, one instructographic is about how many ways you go green to save money. The other instructographic is an explanation of how the different social media differ from one another by the subtle attitudinal differences of the people who use it most. Both could have been mundane articles, but the fact that they’ve been converted into instructographics makes the content eminently more engaging and easily absorbable.
As always we have to try and figure out what helps combine the elements of each instructographic into an enjoyable whole.
In the first instructographic here below, notice how very different is the quality of each photograph included. Some are close ups of wall swtiches, some are pictures of the outdoors, some are kittens and one is a man in the shower! But when you look at the whole instructographic do you really notice how different the quality of each picture is?
How then does it all gel together? It’s because of the overall effect of a coherent typography style! See it carefully! It’s all in the tying quality of the typography and the tinges of green color that frame the fonts!
Also notice how there is a good deal of small text explanations for each of the 6 ideas shown in the instructographic for going green. Great isn’t it?
Image courtesy: Version One
Now the second instructographic of the “listicle-conversion” style is one where we are shown (using a cup of coffee) how people of different social media would describe their activity of enjoying a cup of coffee. But notice the sheer simplicity of the design, because the idea itself is clever enough to carry the day.
The background and graphics have tinges of light and dark coffee brown shades – but other than that we have the same graphic of a coffee cup repeated down the line with just a logo label to mark the different social media channels they stand for. Once the bright idea was thought of, I reckon the whole instructographic itself may have taken just 20-30 minutes to execute!
But for a few photos of biscuits and a coffee cup and jar, no other spectacular images spoil the smartness of the whole idea. Just goes to show that a great idea needs very little embellishment!
Image courtesy: Marketplace Maven
2 ideas for instructographics that have preservation value for readers!
The next two instructographics I am going to show you below are so simple your child could have designed them. But look at the power of the content on these instructographics. One is a chart of perennial value to people who cook for themselves or their families. Don’t we all always have a doubt if a tablespoon is equal to three teaspoons, and how may cups of any grocery item will be equal to a kilogram or pound?
The other instructographic I have chosen is for all SEO-professioanls, who always have a doubt on what SEO tactics will be seen as black-hat – here we have three categories of black-hat tactics clearly defined as “development spam”, “link spam” and “content spam”. Both these instructographics are very instructional and really worth retaining.
In the first instructographic on “The Common Cook’s How Many Guide”, notice how ultra-spare the design is. It could all been made utterly confusing as many charts tend to do, but look at the simplicity and clarity with which just a glance at the chart will declutter your mind!
I also think the very smart use of black and white as the accent colors on a buff background are very smart tactics. You’ll be able to see and read the chart from a fair distance without having to peer at it!
Image courtesy: SBLaatinDesign
In the second instructographic below, we have a chart for SEO experts who need to know the whole minefield of black-hat tactics – called “SpamDexing”. Again, notice how simple is the color choice. Since it’s a dark subject, the background color matches the topic. So do the very few touches of “sinister graphics”.
We also have just the hint of color-coding for the “3 types of spam’ in black-hat SEO. Most of the information is text heavy, but since the design is so minimal, you can focus on reading the instructions. I’d think the whole instructographic has as much text as an entire article! This instructographic is so eminently shareable too, isn’t it – given that there is a very large SEO-community that is always debating on black versus grey versus white hat!
Image courtesy: Outrider
OK, now to the secret on how to get backlinks very smartly using instructographics!
Most content marketers looking for backlinks tend to think this way: they reckon that if they create instructographics on some interesting articles of their own, and host them on their sites, and at popular instructographics submission sites across the Net, people who like these instructographics wil grab them and thereby give the instructographic-creator some precious backlinks.
But here’s a smarter and better way. Create instructographics for other people’s ultra-popular articles. That’s right!
First go to a tool like Buzzsumo and type in any keywords on interesting or trendy topics. See the screen shot below.
Notice that I’ve typed the search words “brand building” into the search box. Buzzsumo returns the most popular articles that match this search concept. Now, among these articles, look for any one that has a “listicle format” or teaches something in a step-by-step format. Here we’ve found one popular article “Brand Building Guide: 7 Lessons From Creative Entrepreneurs”. This is an idea opportunity to create a companion instructographic for this article.
So off we go, and follow the article’s format to create a 7-section instructographic. We remember to give due credit to the author of the original article at the bottom of the instructographic.
Now all we have to do is to host the instructographic on our own website (hopefully with a paragraph saying how it was inspired by the original article from the author, and why the points in the article were invaluable.)
Once we’ve hosted this instructographic on our own sites, we complete the process by adding, below the instructographic, an embed code for those who want to display it on their sites and give a link back to us. You can generate an embed code for free at the SiegeMedia Embed Code Generator.
Now, notice on the same Buzzsumo page that you have next to the article a small text label called “View Backlinks”. This will lead you to all those sites that have linked to the original article. Write to all of them that you have now done an extension-instructographic to the original article they linked to, and they can also link to your instructographic … as it could add extra value to their readers!
This little trick works quite well – in fact, better than many other tougher ways of trying to get backlinks!
So what are your thoughts on this topic? Do share!
This post is incomplete without your input. The community of aspiring digital solopreneurs would feel galvanized to hear from you … so do share your thoughts on this topic with us in the comments field below this post.
Other articles in our series “Content Types & Formats”:
- 9 Types Of Content To Master To Be A Content Marketing Crackerjack!
- How To Make Case Studies Work Really Hard For Your Brand!
- Want To Create Ebooks? Follow This 4-Step Plan For Content Marketers!
- Make Money Blogging: The 3-Step Way To Monetize Your Mind!