Data-driven storytelling? Does that sound like an oxymoron? Well, it’s not. Research and data can help content marketers to create mind-blowing stories for their target readers.
“Data-enhanced storytelling is rapidly reshaping both content and advertising.” Adweek, January, 2016.
There would be times when, as a content marketer, you feel you don’t have any exciting idea for your next content piece. Don’t worry, it happens all the time. Just pull yourself together and catch hold of the latest original research in your industry. Original research can be a treasure-trove of some brilliant content ideas for your next blog post.
If you’re struggling to create value for your prospective readers, data might be a great savior. That’s because data adds meat to your content. Data consists of useful insights that you can deliver with the help of an entertaining new blog post. In this article, let’s learn more about data-driven stories and how to use them to spice up your branded content. Ready? Let’s go.
How do you define data-driven stories?
According to Wikipedia, data-driven journalism is the process of “analyzing and filtering large data sets to create a news story.”
When you start analyzing a piece of research, you start uncovering many new story ideas. And then you can find new story angles to existing issues in your industry. All such ideas fall under data-driven stories. Does that sound fascinating? To tell you the truth, I simply love data-driven stories—most of them are quite irresistible.
Let’s now learn about some interesting data-driven story types and how you can use them for your business.
1. Industry Rankings
What do you think of a list of the top 20 influencers, blogs, or tools in your industry? Here’s the thing.
You can use a valid metric to create a ranking study of your own. Such a list can work as a practical guide for readers to learn about the merit of helpful online tools or platforms. You can either create an original list or source a table from an authoritative blog. Here’s is an excellent example from Buzzsumo:
Are you already kicked about writing the next blog post around a league table in your niche? You can start researching now.
2. Trend Story
Do you see a rising or a falling industry trend? Do you think it matters to your target readers? For instance, there could be a sudden spike in social media users because people are spending more time indoors. Intelligent content marketers use such trends to offer valuable information to their prospects. How to create a trend story that gets traction?
The ideal way is to keep tabs on the latest news and trends in your niche. Keep taking notes of story angles that come to your mind. Finally, create a trend story replete with examples and your unique perspective on the ongoing trend. Here’s a good example from Investopedia:
3. Comparative Trend Analysis
Can you compare a statistic from what it was last year? Or do you think your readers would like you to compare the growth of two tools or platforms? Voila, these are some data-driven story ideas that can actually work. The key difference between trend analysis and comparative trend analysis is that the later gives the audience a comparative study of two related statistics. Here’s a good example of a comparative trend story:
4. Share a Startling Fact
There could be a piece of research that shows results that are contrary to expectations. Plus a piece of surprising data can create a headline that immediately grabs the readers’ attention and gets them reading. Furthermore, such stories present something new to the target audience. And it’s also the kind of content that’s highly shareable. Take a look at this example:
Undoubtedly, this could be a type of story that stands out from the crowd, what say?
5. Explore Correlations Between Data Sets
Do you find that two data sets are influencing each other in some way? You can bring out that correlation and present it as an interesting story to your prospective customers. Learning and sharing the statistical relationships between emerging trends can be fun. At the same time, such stories can add tremendous value to the readers. For instance, here’s a story that unearths the correlation between nutrition and mental health:
What are the benefits of writing data-driven stories?
- The foremost advantage of a data-driven story is that it builds trust with your prospective customers. When you back your story with authentic data, it adds credibility to branded content.
- With data visualization, you can make your stories life-like and entertaining. Visuals make it easy for you to get readers to stay on your content for much longer. Studies show that posts with visualizations receive 94% more page visits.
- Data and content complement each other. What does that mean? For people to make sense of data, you need data-driven stories. And, as I mentioned earlier, data adds much-needed authenticity to branded content.
How to write data-driven stories for the best impact?
- The ideal way to write a data-driven story is to make it as human as possible. You need to share real-life examples to make the story relatable and easy-to-understand. Make sure that your story has a definite takeaway and provides concrete answers to audience queries.
- Use data that belongs to credible sources. You can, of course, conduct your own original research. But not all businesses have the resources or the budget to publish an industry study. So they must source data from authoritative publications.
The good news is that you can find data all around the web. And that’s why it isn’t hard to ideate data-driven stories that fetch readers for your branded content. However, you must put time and energy in creating well-researched and unique data-driven stories for your business. If it’s not something you’ve done before, you must consider hiring an expert freelance ghostwriter—someone who has experience is writing kickass data-driven stories. So, ready to roll are you.
Abhishek Talreja, a.k.a. Abbey, is an experienced freelance content marketer, copywriter, and ghostwriter. He is a passionate wordsmith who loves helping clients tell authentic stories, fables that flow straight from the heart.