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When was the last time an infographic made your job, or at least your day, easier?

I find it takes a couple of beats before I can think of an example.

Visuals are a great way to amplify the reach and impact of the content you create, but some brands churn out infographics, e-books, and social media images without stopping to think about how those pieces of content can help readers ease their pain points and provide the resources to fix them.

Most of the time, brand-generated content doesn't get shared just because it has an ultra-compelling headline or significant advertising dollars to back it up. Instead, the most popular visual resources are those that give your audience actionable, valuable, and, above all, non-promotional tips they can apply to their daily work.

Next time your team is drafting a new piece of visual content, ask the following questions about its intent, potential reach, and ultimate value before you pour hours and dollars into the project.

1. Are we marketing with this content, or teaching with it?

If you create an infographic or e-book that exists only to promote your brand's message, you severely limit the number of readers who will download, engage with, and share the piece. And that means you'll lose out on opportunities to bring prospects into the top of your sales and marketing funnel.

Today's consumers face a deluge of advertising every time they get online or open an app on their phones, and they're discerning about brand intent. In other words, your audience is already overwhelmed. As a marketer, take that fatigue as an incentive to create selfless content your readers can print or post on their desktops as a quick, promotion-free reference. Instead of slapping your product message onto that content, use it as an opportunity to highlight expertise in your industry and stand out from the crowd.

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image of Rebecca Joyner

Rebecca Joyner is director of content services at Metis Communications, where she drives content-creation efforts to help clients get found online, convert leads, and establish themselves as voices of authority in their industries.

LinkedIn: Rebecca Joyner

Twitter @rebeccamjoyner