Making a PowerPoint infographic is relatively easy. Making a viral PowerPoint infographic is difficult. The five steps listed below can help:
STEP 1: Start with a popular topic that is in the news or trending on social media. If your subject is not highly sought, find a way to connect it with one that is popular. For example, if your subject is about file sharing technology, perhaps you link it with keeping files safe from hackers, such as “Stop Hackers with Safe File Sharing Solutions.”
STEP 2: Choose a provocative headline that mentions an in-demand topic. This becomes your title. The title should give your target audience a reason to care about your infographic. They must quickly know the benefit(s) to them for reading it. If there is no benefit, why would they want to share it? (The benefit can be implicit or explicit, but I recommend the latter). Sharing a specified number of tips, tricks, or secrets is a popular approach to get more “likes” and “shares.” Here are a few examples:
- Retire 10 Years Earlier with this 1 Life Hack
- Conor McGregor’s Top 3 Fitness Secrets
- 20 Websites for Free PowerPoint Graphics
- 5 Ways to Win Proposals in the Trump Administration
STEP 3: Write or find supporting data and content that can be chunked in your infographic. (Chunked means breaking your information into bite-sized, digestible pieces then assembling them to tell a story.)
STEP 4: Render and export your infographic. Start by changing your page layout. Select dimensions that are optimal for the amount of content you include. (To change the size of your PowerPoint document, select Slide Size and then Page Setup in the Design tab. Enter your new height and width.)
Next, use a grid. Depending upon your version of PowerPoint, you can show your Gridlines under the View tab or make a grid. A grid ensures your content is evenly spaced, aligned and easy to read. The following is a sample layout using a grid guide. I made the grid by drawing one horizontal line that was the width of my page. Next, duplicate and move the copies of the original line so that they are roughly evenly spaced and fill the page. Next, select all of your lines and click Arrange/Align/Distribute Vertically under the Home tab. Group all your lines using Arrange/Group. Copy your line group and paste a duplicate. Now, rotate the duplicate line group 90 degrees. Scale vertically and add or delete lines as needed. Be sure to delete your grid when your design is complete.)
Arrange your words as needed as placeholders. Below is an example of an infographic that has an alternative layout using the same grid guide.
Next, choose your color palette. I recommend using a website like color.adobe.com to select a visually appealing color set. Pick colors that complement and echo your subject matter or target audience. For example, if you are talking about the United States Army, use their colors. If you want to communicate danger to a Western audience (color has different meanings in different cultures), consider a palette that uses red.
Alternatively, you can build graphics within the software using PowerPoint’s Shapes, Merge (or Combine) Shapes, and built-in charts. If you know how, you can make professional icons, symbols, and graphics quickly and easily, because basic, simple shapes comprise every graphic. Follow the step-by-step instructions below to better understand how to use PowerPoint’s built-in tools to create graphics. Give yourself a project to practice. Explore and play around.
Tip: Use this Graphic Cheat Sheet to help you pick the right graphic type.
Next, using your grid, color palette, content, and imagery, arrange and format the elements to tell a story. Here are three examples of PowerPoint infographic templates I made using this process.
Finally, export your graphic as a JPG to make you file easy to share and protect the integrity of your design. (JPG “flattens” your infographic and is not easily edited.)
Tip: For print resolution (on Windows), use PPTools.com’s Image Export to save your file at 200 or 300 dpi.
STEP 5: Upload your infographic to social media, your website and blog. Include it in your newsletter. Share it wherever your target audience will find it. Remember to include hashtags on social media that highlight the subject matter and benefits. When posting it, tag organizations and individuals in your field that may be interested in the content and will likely share it. For example, if your infographic favorably mentions a company, tweet it with the company’s hashtag (e.g., #powerpoint, #applecomputer, #urbanoutfitters)
Contact online news websites and ask them if they would like to share your infographic. (They are likely to do so because it is free content for them presented in a popular format.)
Tip: Click on the following link to get Piktochart’s “20 Websites You Should Leverage to Promote Your Infographic.”
Experience is the best teacher. Over time, expect to get better and better results the more you apply what you learn.
About the author:
Mike Parkinson (Microsoft MVP and APMP Fellow) is an internationally recognized visual communication and presentation expert, professional speaker, and award-winning author. Mike is one of 16 Microsoft PowerPoint MVPs in the United States. He regularly conducts workshops and creates graphics, presentations, and learning materials for companies like Microsoft, FedEx, Xerox, Dell, and Boeing as well as at learning institutions and organizations.
Mike owns both 24 Hour Company (24hrco.com) and Billion Dollar Graphics (BillionDollarGraphics.com). He authored a popular Do-It-Yourself Billion Dollar Graphics and is completing his latest book on PowerPoint for educators. Contact Mike at email@example.com now to learn more about how he can help you hit your goals.