As content generation continues to grow throughout the online landscape, it becomes increasingly difficult to employ marketing techniques that will set you apart from the crowd. In many industries, there is so much similar information available that even an informative, well-written piece can get lost in the shuffle and fail to produce the intended results. Including quantifiable data and hard evidence to support your theories and concepts can be just the thing to push your content to another level.
What is a data-driven PR strategy?
This means collecting numbers, figures, and data and using them to prove, illustrate, or reinforce your main points. This data can take many different forms, but the main constant is that this information needs to be relevant and informative.
Why Should You Use It?
Analytical types, in particular, will be impressed to see numbers backing up your opinions and ideas. It is certainly reasonable to expect readers to respect your opinion based on your position, business, and historical content, but providing empirical evidence just serves to strengthen your stance and give more weight to your thoughts. Just look at a few of the numbers:
88 percent of marketers used third-party customer evaluation data
In 2017, 63 percent of marketers increased their usage of data-driven spending
33 percent of elite marketers say that proper data technology is the most useful tool for analyzing customers
Businesses that personalize using data experienced 5-8 times the marketing ROI of those that didn’t
87 percent of marketers consider data their most underused asset
Where to Get the Data
Most people are aware of how Google Analytics works for SEO but it can also provide a lot of indispensable data that can be used for marketing purposes. Traffic data, broken down by page, demographic, and search methods can offer intriguing insights that can be shared with users. And this is only one of the many excellent tools available in B2B marketing technology that can help you discover useful data.
Customer information, sales statistics, and marketing campaign results are just some of the useful nuggets of information that can be drawn from your business’s specific situation and used to illustrate greater points of emphasis.
These are great at providing data on a very specific topic that you might not otherwise have access to. Since you are able to tailor the survey and ask the exact questions you are looking to answer, it is possible to generate extremely useful results, although they will generally be subject to a certain amount of small sample bias.
Finding statistics from large, reputable companies within your industry can provide relevant and useful information. If the data in question isn’t specific to your product, having results pertinent to the overall industry can be just as effective as in-house data or surveys.
Official government data has the benefit of being trustworthy and is often impressively detailed. The downside is that it is also publicly available, meaning you aren’t providing anything particularly new or original since anyone with the time and expertise could find and use the same data.
It is only natural for users to take information provided directly by a company about itself with a grain of salt. However, if that same information is backed up by objective customer reviews it reaches a new level of reliability. With reviews being such a prevalent source of confirmation these days, being able to provide customer reviews that correspond with the points you are trying to make goes a long way.
How to Create a Data-Driven Story
Collecting and analyzing the data are the first steps, then you need to figure out how to use the results as effectively as possible. Developing a compelling narrative based on figures and statistics requires a slightly different approach than most other forms of content.
Start at the end
Unlike most stories, which build from a concept to a conclusion, data-driven narratives only exist to explain and illustrate the final result. Since the data has provided you with the trend or evidence you want to discuss, it is necessary to start there and build a story that will lead readers to that ultimate conclusion.
Stay on target
Stories based on facts and figures have less leeway to meander through a variety of topics and ideas. Ideally, all the content should serve to either illustrate or confirm the statistics being presented. Always keep your original strategy in mind, just be prepared to adapt if the numbers don’t exactly match up with your initial expectations.
Tell your story
Of course, just because this is a story about a statistical conclusion or data-driven evidence doesn’t mean it can’t be interesting. The whole point of creating data-driven content is to take otherwise dry, dull numbers and turn them into a story worth reading. Very few people want to study a chart of numbers, but many enjoy reading a story about what those numbers represent and can tell us about our industry.
Consider your target audience
This applies to every type of content. Closely examining your target audience and creating content with their specific interests and agenda in mind is essential to designing a marketing strategy that produces tangible results.
Don’t be afraid to use negatives
Not all storylines have to be positive explanations of what you can or should be doing. Taking the narrative in a different direction and drawing attention to mistakes people make, approaches that fail, or practices to be avoided can add an intriguing wrinkle to your content that can be appealing. Having statistical data to back up these claims only increases your profile as a forward thinker.
Use highlight stats as headings
This is data-driven content, so you should focus on the data. There is a good chance that people are reading your blog or article because they want to know more about the statistical claims you made in the opening or description. Including those data hooks in your title and headings makes the tone of the story even more clear to prospective traffic.
Embrace the drama
If you have chosen to write an entire article about specific statistics or numerical evidence, it probably means you find that information compelling and maybe a bit surprising. Including those figures in the title or a heading worded in a dramatic fashion draws attention and makes people curious to know more about them.
Build on it
If you manage to create a strong piece of data-driven content that generates traffic and increases consumer interest, you now have a core tool to build your marketing strategy around. If you can find ways to branch out and discuss correlating statistics or delve deeper into the motivations and causes behind the numbers, this one set of interesting data can be used to generate a larger, self-sustaining PR strategy.
Variety is important when it comes to content creation and marketing strategy. However, while many businesses quickly recognize the value of assertive, informational articles that promote industry knowledge and drive traffic, very few focus enough on the value of hard data and its role in creating trust and topic authority. Putting in the extra effort to produce quality data-driven content is one of the best ways to demonstrate your superiority over your competition.