…and surprise from those who believe it to be all about number-crunching and little to do with promotion or raising profile. In truth these reactions may be very valid and, therefore, there is a real art to using data well – avoiding the ‘death by PowerPoint’ type of presentation and utilising the numbers in such a way as to support and enhance the real story to be told.
We’ve touched before on the plethora of content being generated and published on a daily basis (a staggering two million blog posts per day alone) and the resulting need to ensure that anything we create is strong enough to stand out from the crowd. When looking for ways to achieve the required degree of differentiation there are few routes as effective as the utilisation, and interesting interpretation, of data.
So, where do we get the data from in the first place? Although not immediately obvious, it surrounds us on a daily basis and is more readily accessible than it ever was before. The three main sources of data are;
- Internal data – statistics gained as part of your company process including operational reports, customer feedback, internal research, market trends etc.
- First-hand data – information gained by an external organisation upon your behalf – a commissioned survey or report for example
- Second-hand data – data which has been compiled by other parties and made generally available but which can be explored in order to identify nuances, trends or introduce valid conversation points
Finding the story
Whatever the source of the statistics being considered the secret to success is to find (and elaborate on) the compelling story which lies behind the numbers. With clever graphics and eye-catching images the figures being presented can be used to capture the imagination – as well as the attention – of your audience. Whilst it is true that we can never please all of the people all of the time, we can at least be sure that people want new ideas most of the time. As individuals we crave the consumption of new content and have become very weary of reading the same regurgitated facts and opinions which have being ‘doing the rounds’ for as long as the internet has existed. We want thought-provoking information and conversation-starting material and this is, unfortunately, in rather short supply within the average daily feed.
The real power of well-executed data is its ability to travel. When your audience finds something new, they want to share it. By sharing they make the content more visible and thus begins the much-desired snowball effect of INTEREST. Of course higher visibility means so much more than just higher search rankings; it can often result in the story being picked up by publishers elsewhere who can add another level of gravitas and present it to yet another audience who may never have been within your original reach.
Part of the mix
Here comes the RDZ PR note of caution. We strongly suggest that you don’t drop everything else in favour of data driven content alone. The fact that an interesting analysis accompanied by great graphics will attract attention means that it will also be very noticeable if your business starts to just churn out one report after another. Tempting as it may be to utilise data ad-infinitum at RDZ we recommend everything in moderation and see data-driven content as just one of the powerful strategies within your comprehensive marketing armoury.