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Technology. Legislation. Treatment. Prevention. Healthcare is multifaceted, and with each new component comes a mountain of data to sift through. Don’t get us wrong, data is incredibly important, but it’s not always easily digestible. A document purely comprised of numbers and facts can deter the average onlooker, so it’s up to us healthcare response marketers to figure out how to package this crucial healthcare information in a way that is easily understood. Combining clear, eye-catching design with precise statistics, infographics offer an effective solution that bridges the gap between right-brain and left-brain thinking, all while supplementing patient education strategies. Highly customizable and visually appealing, healthcare infographics can powerfully explain a variety of healthcare concepts while engaging a wide audience of potential patients, physicians and other healthcare professionals.

Kissmetrics research indicates that infographics are 30 times more likely to be read than text articles. So, what is it about healthcare infographics that makes them so much more attention-grabbing than your average article? It all starts with basic human biology. The majority of humans consider themselves visual learners, approximately 65 percent of the population, in fact. Half the human brain is dedicated to vision and neuroscientists at MIT have found that the brain can process entire images in just 13 milliseconds. There is even an entire school of thought dedicated to our tendency to recognize and recall images faster than words called the “picture superiority effect.” Images are powerful – they’re emotionally evocative, they’re memorable and they leave a lasting impact that words alone struggle to convey on their own.

Because our brains are so visually focused, it’s no surprise that visual content is so essential to healthcare response marketing. Articles that include relevant images have proven to get 94 percent more views than those without images, and visual content is on the rise. According to a 2016 infographic created by Venngage, 53 percent of marketers claimed that 91 to 100 percent of their content was visual in some way, with 30.4 percent primarily publishing original visual content, including infographics. Marketers gravitate toward original content because it is highly shareable; for example, in 2016, infographics were liked and shared three times more than other forms of visual content. When it comes to online healthcare education, infographics also enhance SEO strategy with a healthy combination of words and images, a catchy, relevant headline, keywords, backlinks and hyperlinks.

Now that we’ve established why visual content is so appealing, we can delve into how to craft the perfect infographic for your healthcare content marketing strategy.

1. Start with a Timely and Relevant Topic

The first step in developing any type of creative content is considering what would be most relevant to your target audience. As a healthcare provider, your healthcare infographic is speaking to current and prospective patients, physicians, researchers, board members and the greater healthcare community. Carefully analyzing how your healthcare infographic can fill a need while effectively communicating an idea to your target audience will lead you to a focused and powerful topic of discussion. Take a look at the latest healthcare news and research and hone in on a subject that is relevant, informative and maybe even a little surprising. Whether it’s an outline of key healthcare legislation, a patient engagement infographic, a new type of treatment or a guide to navigating insurance, a unique, timely topic that resonates with your core audience will bring your healthcare infographic one step closer to going viral.

2. Take a Simple and Bold Approach

The purpose of an infographic is to communicate complex concepts in a simplified way, and, to do that effectively, they need to be clear and legible, yet eye-catching. The average person’s attention span is approximately eight seconds and only two out of 10 viewers will read beyond the headline, so, from the get-go, your infographic needs to captivate. According to a study conducted by Moz, 36 percent of readers are most drawn to headlines with numbers in them (i.e., “30 Ways To Make Drinking Tea More Delightful), 21 percent preferred headlines that directly addressed readers (“Ways You Need to Make Drinking Tea More Delightful”) and 17 percent gravitated toward “How to” headlines (“How to Make Drinking Tea More Delightful”). Once you get the viewer to read past the headline, the infographic should bring a unique concept to life using powerful statistics and straightforward visuals. For example, this infographic by Happify called “How to Leave Worries Behind” uses colorful iconography, numbers and short, legible copy to illustrate stress’s effect on the body. The infographic’s vertical format allows viewers to easily interact and scroll through for a more simplified user experience and the clear layout introduces information without overwhelming.

3. Tell a Story

To avoid a confusing jumble of facts and figures, you’re going to want to approach healthcare infographic design with a story to tell. When you begin your infographic, consider setting the stage by establishing how and why this topic is relevant to your readers. After putting everything into context, you can move into more granular details and statistics. Looking back on “How to Leave Worries Behind,” you will notice the infographic is broken up into segments like “How Worry Can Hurt You,” which focuses on the negative side effects of worry, and “How to Worry Less,” which presents a positive solution to the problem posed at the beginning of the infographic. Establishing a clear introduction, an informative middle section and a solution-based conclusion is one of the most effective patient education strategies for your story-driven infographic.

Bringing clarity to the most complex healthcare topics, infographics are key to the patient education process and they are an essential tool for hospital content marketing campaigns. Attention-grabbing and highly shareable, infographics have the power to go viral, expanding reach while positioning your brand as a thought leader. If you have yet to incorporate infographics into your healthcare content marketing strategy, now is the time to adopt this innovative and eye-catching medium.

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