We’ve all been there: we enjoy the story and are caught up in the excitement. But what if we add data to these stories?
In the same way that data visualizations bring out the hidden patterns in data, we can also use these to add a new dimension to our storytelling. Let’s find out more about how content marketers can tell better stories with data.
What Impact Does Data Have On Your Stories?
Our human brains have a natural tendency to construct our own reality. We cannot help but assume that what we see, hear or experience is objective truth. This is particularly true when it comes to stories, as they trigger the release of dopamine in our brain.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps us focus on the most important stimuli in our environment, such as food or danger. This can be traced back to how we evolved. When we hear stories, not only do our brains release dopamine, but our left prefrontal cortex lights up as well.
This part of the brain is responsible for reasoning and helps us to make logical connections. In short, storytelling triggers both our emotional and logical receptors.
Everybody loves a good story, especially those accompanied by data visualizations. We are compelled to make connections, look for patterns and search for meaning. Data visualizations help us see what we may have ignored before.
According to research from Microsoft UK, almost 50% of people remember stories better than facts and figures. But if you want your story to be remembered, include some numbers in it.
So what is data storytelling? Simply put, it’s just like regular storytelling. But instead of the story being based on your words, it is now a combination of graphics and text. As we’ll see in this article, more can be conveyed with data visualizations than through language alone.
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How Content Marketers Can Tell Better Stories with Data?
In today’s digital, content marketing landscape, it is no longer enough to simply make compelling text-based content and hope that your audience will buy what you’re selling.
Data-driven marketers must now turn to analytics and data in order to capture the attention of their target markets. Consumers have become accustomed to data-backed content from social media, so marketers must get on board with this trend or risk losing their customers.
Content creators who want to stay up on the latest trends should look into data analytics tools specifically designed for them. These tools provide a number of insights that can help shape your content strategy; they can both give you an idea of what resonates most with your consumers, as well as tell you where they’re coming from.
One of the most popular data analytics tools that any content marketer can utilize is Semrush. This amazing tool helps data-driven marketers make smarter content decisions by showing them their competition and what topics are trending in the search engines.
It’s no longer enough to guess at what people want or need; you must now be able to prove it with data and receive a direct, quantitative response.
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What You Should Know about Writing Data-Driven Stories?
A data-driven story is much more than just a long list of how many people clicked, the conversion rates for certain pages, or what people typed into search engines this month. It’s about telling a story with data that speaks specifically to your audience and is compelling enough that they will actually read it – and hopefully share it.
The goal of a data-driven story is to help convince your reader that you know what you’re talking about – and if it’s done well, show them why they should care too. You may be primarily presenting numbers and statistics, but the key is in the way you present them: as powerful insights about your topic.
Here are five points you need to consider when writing data-driven stories:
1. What do I show? It can be difficult to figure out what to focus on when it comes to data storytelling. You might start with the insights that your audience responds best to in your content marketing or from past blog posts. For instance, if your business is an online store for children’s clothes, then your priorities will likely differ from those of a car dealership.
2. Keep it simple and don’t overwhelm your readers with too many statistics: A good rule of thumb is that if you’re going to use numbers in a story, include two or three at a time so that the data doesn’t become overwhelming.
3. What is my story? Start with a problem and then explain how big data will solve it. Here are some examples:
- How using customer feedback on social media changed an online business’s product development strategy
- Why retailers can no longer get by without analytics
- How analytics helped a business find its niche in the market
4. Why should I care? Data is only useful if it has a clear purpose and inspires change in your readers. Create data stories that answer this question: “What’s in it for me?” Let them know why they need to consider what you’ve presented and how it could potentially improve their brand.
5. I get it, but how? Elaborate on what you’ve presented with anecdotes and examples that make your data stories more relatable and personal to the reader. Data is good to convince people of something, but real-life situations backed by data are always stronger motivators than just a set of numbers.
Reminders about Using Data on Your Stories
The ability to tell better stories through data is the key in today’s market. Many marketers have found that telling their story from a data-driven perspective is more effective than the story based on words. Here are some notes to remember when using data in your stories:
Make Sure That the Data You Put Came from a Reliable Source
A good data story should come from a reliable source. It’s impossible to report on something if you don’t have those sources to back it up.
Ensure That Your Data Is Accurate and Verifiable
In order to tell a better story and data, the story needs to be backed up by reliable data that is verifiable. It’s important to note that not only should the data be accurate but also verifiable. If you don’t provide these two features, it will make your story more difficult for people to believe and understand.
Ensure That You Research before Picking a Few Data Points to Use in Your Article
To be a successful data-driven marketer, you also need to ensure that you collect and analyze data correctly and follow the best practices laid out for this type of content marketing.
Ensure That the Data You Present Is Relevant to the Headline and Content
This is done in order for it to have meaning and relevance for your reader. To do this, make sure to use vivid verbs in conjunction with the data points so as to make them come alive on paper or on screen for your reader’s benefit, which will, in turn, make them incredibly memorable.
In this article, you’ve learned how to tell better stories with data. You’ve also had a chance to see some examples of the most effective ways of using data-driven storytelling strategies and tools for content marketing.
We hope that we have given you a few new ideas about what it means to be a successful marketer who can leverage big data as an asset and not just another expense or headache!