The Ultimate Guide to Researching Infographics in 2024

Every successful infographic starts with diligent research. Before you even think about colors, fonts, or design layouts, you need to invest significant time and effort into finding the most relevant, current, and credible information on your topic.

In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll walk you through the entire infographic research process from start to finish. You‘ll learn how to identify your target audience, conduct keyword research for SEO, find reliable data sources, analyze competitor graphics, visualize your data in engaging ways, and weave it all together to tell a compelling story. We‘ve also included some expert tips and tools specifically for researching infographics in 2024.

Let‘s dig in and learn how to build a solid foundation of research for your next stunning, viral-worthy infographic.

Why Thorough Research Matters for Infographics

When it comes to creating infographics that engage and inform your audience, research is absolutely essential. Investing time upfront to thoroughly investigate your topic and gather credible supporting data will pay dividends in the end product.

Well-researched infographics are:

  • More likely to go viral and be widely shared
  • Seen as more trustworthy and authoritative
  • Better at converting readers into followers/customers
  • Positioned to rank higher in search engines
  • Able to make a lasting impact on viewers

On the flip side, an infographic based on shoddy research will at best be ignored and forgotten. At worst, it could erode trust in your brand and damage your reputation as an information source. When the goal is to create powerful thought leadership content, you simply can‘t afford to skimp on the research phase.

Know Your Audience

Effective infographic research starts with a deep understanding of your target audience. Ask yourself:

  • Who will be interested in this information? Consider demographics like age, job title, industry, etc.
  • What does my audience already know about the topic? Will they need background explanations?
  • What are their biggest questions, challenges, or pain points related to the subject?
  • How do they prefer to consume information? Do they favor a particular format or visual style?
  • What would make them want to share this infographic with others?

The better you understand your audience‘s needs, preferences, and behaviors, the more you can tailor your research to uncover the data points that will resonate with them.

Some helpful tools for audience research include:

  • Your website/social media analytics
  • Surveys and interviews with your existing audience
  • Social listening tools like Hootsuite Insights, Sprout Social, Mention
  • Audience intelligence platforms like Sparktoro, Affinio, Audiense
  • Empathy mapping exercises

Keyword Research for SEO

In order for your carefully crafted infographic to reach its intended audience, it needs to be discoverable in search engines. That‘s where keyword research comes in.

Identify the terms and phrases your target audience is searching for related to your infographic topic. Use those keywords naturally throughout the graphic, as well as in the file name, title, description, and alt text.

Some go-to keyword research tools:

  • Google Keyword Planner
  • Semrush
  • Ahrefs
  • Answer the Public
  • Moz Keyword Explorer

In 2024, long-tail keywords and natural language search terms are more important than ever. Think about the questions your audience is asking and aim to provide the best, most complete answer.

Finding Reliable Data Sources

The quality and reliability of your data sources can make or break your infographic. Always prioritize original, primary sources rather than relying on secondhand reports. Government databases, scientific studies, industry benchmarking reports, and respected research institutions are all good places to start.

When evaluating a potential data source, ask:

  • Is it current? Aim for information published within the last 1-2 years if possible.
  • Is the source reputable and unbiased? Beware of data skewed by commercial interests.
  • Is the data cited and well-documented? Trace statistics back to their original source.
  • Does the source have a proven track record of accuracy? Cross-reference with other trusted sources.
  • Is the sample size robust enough to draw broad conclusions? Watch out for limited data sets.

A few examples of high-quality data sources:

  • Government databases like data.gov, Census.gov, CDC.gov, BEA.gov
  • Pew Research Center
  • Gallup
  • Statista
  • Google Trends and Google Scholar
  • Research papers published in peer-reviewed academic journals
  • Proprietary research commissioned by your own company

Analyze the Competition

See what kinds of infographics your competitors and peers have published on similar topics. Look for opportunities to:

  • Cover an angle or sub-topic they missed
  • Go deeper or wider on aspects they only touched upon
  • Add a fresh perspective or contrasting data point
  • Update or expand upon outdated information
  • Improve upon weaknesses in their design, flow, or narrative

Some tools for competitor infographic analysis:

  • Visual content research tools like Visually and Venngage Gallery
  • Google Image searches for "[topic] + infographic"
  • BuzzSumo
  • Social media monitoring

The goal here is not to copy what others have done, but rather to understand the existing landscape of visual content so you can differentiate your infographic and make it the go-to resource on the topic.

Visualize Your Data

As you collect interesting data points, start thinking about how that information could be visualized for maximum impact. While the design process comes later, having a sense of the visual destination will help you shape the direction of your research.

Consider what data lends itself well to:

  • Classic data viz formats like bar graphs, line charts, pie charts
  • Maps to show geographical trends or comparisons
  • Timelines for historical data or future projections
  • Flowcharts for explaining processes or decision trees
  • Iconography or illustrations for categorical data
  • Bold typography for highlighting notable individual statistics

Experiment with data visualization tools and libraries like:

  • Tableau Public
  • Google Charts
  • Infogram
  • D3.js
  • FusionCharts
  • Highcharts

Craft a Data-Driven Story

Compelling infographics don‘t just present data; they tell a cohesive story. As you synthesize your research findings, consider:

  • What‘s the key message or takeaway you want to communicate?
  • What‘s the most logical flow of information? Guide readers through a clear beginning, middle, and end.
  • Is there an opportunity to bust a myth or challenge a common assumption?
  • How can you build an emotional connection? Make it relatable with examples, anecdotes, or metaphors.
  • Where can you add elements of intrigue or surprise to keep readers engaged?
  • What data points provoke a strong emotional reaction like shock, fear, excitement, relieved?

Storytelling techniques and frameworks to try:

  • The Hero‘s Journey
  • Problem-Agitate-Solve (PAS)
  • Features-Advantages-Benefits (FAB)
  • Monomyth/"The One"
  • Freytag‘s Pyramid
  • Sparklines

Your research should form the foundation for crafting a data-driven narrative that will resonate with your target audience.

Gather Feedback

Before finalizing your infographic research, gather feedback from a few trusted peers, editors, or subject matter experts. Ask them:

  • Does the overall story make sense and flow logically?
  • Are there any claims or data points that need additional evidence/citations?
  • What‘s missing that would make this more valuable for the target audience?
  • Does anything feel confusing, misleading, or irrelevant?
  • What‘s the most surprising or memorable aspect?

Consider using online collaboration tools like:

  • Google Docs
  • Canva‘s comment feature
  • InVision
  • Dropbox Paper
  • Slack

Feedback from others can help fine-tune your research and make the end product more impactful. Just remember that you can‘t integrate every piece of feedback, so prioritize the suggestions that will have the biggest positive impact on the final infographic.

2024 Infographic Research Tips

Finally, let‘s look at some research tips and trends that are particularly relevant for infographics in 2024:

  • Interactive infographics are on the rise. Consider gathering data that could power hover states, filters, quizzes, calculators, and other interactive elements.
  • Infographics are getting more niche. Don‘t be afraid to go deep on a highly specific angle that will appeal to your target audience. Broad overviews are less likely to stand out.
  • Accessibility is a must. Ensure your research and design are inclusive of those with visual impairments. Provide descriptive alt text and enough color contrast.
  • Mobile-optimized research is key. Think about how your data story will render on small screens. Avoid huge datasets that will require extensive zooming and scrolling.
  • Real-time data is in demand. See if you can incorporate auto-updating statistics powered by APIs, embedded data science tools, or live feeds.
  • Original data is a differentiator. Proprietary research will help your infographic get noticed and cited as new information in a sea of curated data.

Conclusion

Researching an infographic in 2024 is equal parts art and science. A solid research process combines analytical data gathering with emotional storytelling, all optimized for discovery and engagement in an increasingly digital world.

By following the tips laid out in this guide, you‘ll be well on your way to creating content that demonstrates thought leadership, builds brand authority, and moves your audience to take meaningful action. The upfront research may require significant effort, but your diligent, strategic approach will pay off in infographics that make a measurable impact.

So go forth and start researching! Find the story in the numbers and craft stunning infographics that will stop the scroll and spark conversations. Your target audience will thank you.