To people other than IT professionals and marketers, data can be dry and boring. However, when expertly combined with storytelling, the pairing can make a compelling story, even for journalists.
What is Data Storytelling?
Data results from studies and research and provides key insights into the industry or subject being studied. It reveals such important things as trends, attitudes, behaviors, and sometimes new information to marketers. How all these are translated to the right audience makes the difference.
Discovering and relating the story behind the data makes all the difference globally, especially if it affects the target audience you’re addressing. A key is determining what in the data would be of interest to that audience. News and assignment editors look for the same things before deciding which stories to cover. Like any other business, they, too, want to offer something of interest that their readers and viewers will like and share with others. What does a successful marriage of data and storytelling look like?
Find Target Audience
Before deciding to pitch the news media, discover who their audience is. Consider their demographics, age range, interests, and, when necessary, political leanings. Knowing this will better frame content before approaching each media outlet.
Like a good fisherman who uses the right bait and tackle, find out as much as possible about the kind of content the prospective media outlet publishes or airs and the frequency. Food and recipes in newspapers are easy. It’s every Wednesday. But what about the others? Some radio and TV stations air special segments on certain topics regularly.
The media receive tons more requests for coverage than they can or wish to cover. What’s valuable is discovering the kind of content that media outlets favor. Is it video, graphics, or mostly text? Is there a beat reporter for the topic being pitched? Like good client research, the information gathered can be extremely useful in tailoring a successful pitch. What interests Fortune Magazine is totally different than Rolling Stone.
The Human Connection
All the data gathered and sent to a media outlet won’t mean much without explaining how it affects people. Emotion inserted into a pitch is much stronger than simply disseminating a statistical fact. Addressing the question of why people should care in framing the pitch will help solve that dilemma.
Broaden the Appeal
While thinking about one’s brand, consider as broad an audience as possible. Might there be a secondary market or use for the product? Or even a humorous angle? Has anyone left a comment about a different use of the product?
In-house product data will always be there and available, but what else is out there? Look around on social media for other angles. Consider a customer survey or questionnaire that not only engages existing consumers but provides a subtle reminder of their connection with the brand. Giving them a small token of appreciation or reward also helps.
Consider investing in tools to keep track of progress. A keyword search tool keeps one informed about search volume, cost per click, and competition level. A search listening tool tracks what people ask about a given topic. A PR and CRM distribution tool helps manage media contact databases, publish news and disseminate releases and pitches.
Data Storytelling, The Bottom Line
Of immense value could be an investment in a consumer research listening platform that captures consumer comments about brands. Brands considering using influencers should consider an influencer management platform. Simply entering a keyword will deliver a list of top influencers for that topic, their contact information, and other data.