By Zac Johnson, CEO of

As we move into a new year, it's important to look at the current trends in online marketing and branding to see what's working and what's not. While many brands and businesses continue to focus their efforts on mobile marketing and building applications, the world of online content creation is still thriving.

What we need to be doing now is creating better content. One way to do so is through the use of infographics: While they first came out well over a decade ago, they are still being used by some of the largest websites and brands because audiences love them. They have visual appeal and make boring content fun to read.

At the same time, infographics make the process of devouring such content fast and easy. For some people, it's much more effective to visually learn than to read lines of straight text. Through social networks like Pinterest, it's easy to upload an infographic and pin it to different boards.

Here's how you can start using them to further grow your own brand and build your expertise:

Build New Backlinks and References

Implementing infographics into your content marketing and outreach is great for building new backlinks and references. Marketing guru Neil Patel recently came out with an article on how to double traffic with infographics, which also provides several case studies on how big brands are doing this today.

When reaching out to publications that might be interested in covering my latest report or blog post, I have found higher response rates when I include infographics along with text.

Make sure your infographic is professional in design and backed with real data points. This will improve your chances for publication or for getting your content picked up.

Create an Infographic Without Design Experience

Infographics have grown increasingly popular because they are now also easier to create than ever before. Thanks to sites like Canva, anyone can create a free account, select an infographic template and plug in their own content.

However, Canva isn't the only option for creating free infographics: Shopify recently came out with a list of infographic tools of their own, which I highly recommend. In most cases, using a template service won't deliver the most beautiful and custom infographic designs, but it will be more than enough to get your point across.

Having been in the industry for over 20 years now, I would love to be a graphics designer, but I know where my time and efforts should be focused. I can create something quick and easy simply by selecting default templates within these sites and customizing them to my liking.

For larger and more professional projects, I recommend hiring a professional designer, as they will be able to design exactly what you are looking for. Should you find success with your first few infographics, you can then invest some money in a professional design that may work even better in your outreach and marketing efforts.

Complement Your Best Content With Unique Infographics

As I mentioned earlier, we need better content -- not more of it. Look at your competition and see what types of content are ranking for them in search results. It's likely just text with a few images. Create even better content, use more detailed images and throw in an original infographic to create mass value and appeal.

This infographic, for example, actually walks you through the process of how a service works, as opposed to just providing text. This same type of infographic and design can be used within all niche markets and marketing. Not only is this providing value to your direct audience, but it also helps build the authority of your site and brand.

So the next time you a ready to publish that resource guide or 10,000-word post, be sure to spend some time creating a unique infographic to go along with it. This simple element can make a world of a difference in how many people end up seeing, sharing and actually reading through your content.

Zac Johnson has 20 years of experience in the online marketing and business space. You can learn more about Zac through