Data is a powerful tool in content marketing, but it can be hard for readers to understand unless it’s presented well. One solution is providing a visual breakdown of the data in a context that’s easier for the average web user to read or scan.
The Value of Data in Content Marketing
As conventional methods of advertising lose credibility, companies are embracing their role as content creators. But, as it turns out, data is sorely underutilized in content creation. At first glance, data might not seem all that compelling. After all, it’s just a set of numbers, right?
Let’s break it down. The average web user likely only reads around 20 percent of the words on a page but will instantly internalize the same information if it’s presented in a short-form, visual manner. There’s a reason visual content is so popular on today’s internet. As web users, we’re inundated with five times more information than in 1986, amounting to more than 100,000 words on a daily basis.
In truth, data has enormous value. It can tell stories and add credibility to a narrative, and it can do so in a concise and visually appealing way. Major newspapers have invested significant time and money in data journalism, with the understanding that data can do what written text can’t. With good data visualization, a reader can make sense of information in less than 1/10 of a second.
Incorporating Data Visualization Into Your Content Marketing Strategy
Simply put, data cannot stand on its own. You also need to leverage it in an effective way if you want to tell a compelling story. Visual design is one important piece of the puzzle, but if you don’t have anything to say, fancy visualizations won’t do you much good. Consider the following steps for telling a compelling, data-driven story.
1. Gather Data
There are a number of ways to gather data about your topic, and one such way is to use business intelligence tools. Businesses have been using data, not only to grow and improve, but also to manage their day-to-day operations. Put business intelligence software to work, and it will generate information about past performances and help predict future events about your company.
Business intelligence software is great for generating internal data, a lot of which can be very useful in content marketing. For external data, however, you’ll also need to do some legwork. Depending on your industry, you may want to administer a questionnaire, conduct a survey, or simply gather raw information.
2. Understand Your Data
Humans love to consume good visual data. At the same time, good software will create imminently understandable data visualizations — and these don’t just have to be about business intelligence. As an example, there’s an app for essentially everything. We use data visualization to show our sleep patterns, calorie intake, the number of steps we walk, and more.
Take a closer look at your business data and ask where it came from. Why did you collect it? What audience was it gathered for? In the case of business intelligence data, you likely collected the information for internal use.
But let’s think outside the box for a minute. Corporate infographics tend to use other entities’ research or simply create visualizations of written blog posts. On the other hand, your original data can do more than guide marketing decisions; it can also be a jumping-off point for amazing content.
3. Create a Narrative for Your Data
When you have the hard facts, you need to figure out what to do with them. Your data may show you that you cater to dozens or even hundreds of unique buyers, so be creative. Evaluate information like purchasing patterns in addition to age, gender, and income bracket.
Regardless of the type of data you choose to use in your content, don’t be so data-driven that you lose the human element. If you can’t turn your insights into a meaningful story that speaks to your reader base, your data will lose its legs.
The Takeaway: The Story Is Key
Content publishers want to see well-researched information and fresh perspectives – because that’s what their reader base wants.
By gathering data and incorporating it intelligently into your content, you’ll have the basis for a great visual story that engages an audience in ways you never thought possible. Read more…