How to Turn Your Data into Content Marketing Gold

content marketing

With every brand out there becoming a publisher, it’s harder than ever to make your content stand out. Each day, you have a choice. You can play it safe and do what everyone else is doing: re-blog the same industry studies and curate uninspired listicles. Or you can be original and craft a story that only you can tell. The good news for most of you: there is content gold right under your nose. If used correctly, this will enable you to create truly compelling content that is not only shareable, but will set you apart from your peers.

The gold is your own data.

This data is often used to inform your business strategies and tactics, such as assessing which headlines performed better or what time of day you should tweet. And while those things are important, we’re talking about a close cousin of those efforts. This is about looking at the data your team has gathered and analyzed, and identifying original insights that you can craft into engaging stories to fuel your content marketing.

Visage, a platform meant to help marketers create branded visual content, conducted a survey of 504 marketers to see just how well they are taking advantage of this opportunity for original data storytelling. 75% of those surveyed are directly responsible for creating content, and 75% work in a company with 10 or less people working in their marketing department. Here’s what they found out:

1. Everyone is creating a lot of content

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2. It’s still not enough
Relatively few modern marketers believe that their organization creates enough original content. The fact is, as anyone who has rescheduled dates on an editorial calendar knows, getting into a publishing rhythm is hard. We can get enamored or overwhelmed by other brands who we see publishing a high volume of content. In such a state, it’s easy for some to play copycat and fall into regurgitating news and curating stories covered by other people. But your real challenge is differentiating from competitors and earning the trust of a potential customer. So, you need to use your limited resources to give yourself a shot for your content to either stand out and be remembered. Otherwise, it will be just one little drop flowing past in the social river.
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3. Marketers are sitting on goldVisage’s survey found that 41% of organizations are doing original market research more than once per year. Conducting a quick survey or poll is one powerful way to create a fresh, original story that hasn’t been told before. Start with a small experiment aimed at helping you understand your own market better, and keep your ideal customer profile in mind as you write your questions. The advantage to this approach is that you can structure your data collection and save yourself the time and money associated with cleaning up and organizing outside data. Finally, format your questions to gather the information and answers that you know your audience will find valuable.
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4. Marketers aren’t using their data to its full potential.

The biggest shocker was that 60% of respondents claim to be sitting on interesting data, but only 18% are publishing it externally. There are many valid reasons to keep your internal data private (eg. security, competitive advantage), but you don’t need to take an all-or-nothing approach to this. For example, there’s a big opportunity to share aggregated trends and behaviors. Spotify does this with their music maps, and OKcupid does this with their OKTrends blog.

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5. They see the opportunity

Brand marketers aren’t just hoarding this gold. 82% of companies said it was important or extremely important that their marketing team learn to tell better data stories. You might notice the growing number of situations that require you to communicate with data in your own work, even just in your own internal reports and presentations.

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  1. The struggle is real
So, if so many marketers are sitting on interesting data and think it is important to craft original stories from it – why isn’t it happening? As the survey showed, many marketers don’t feel they have the skills or tools to craft the story from their data. Only 34% feel their teams have above average data literacy. Even when the data is cleaned, analyzed and ready to be visualized, modern marketers still have a hard job to do. Your audience needs context, and a strong narrative is a key ingredient of communicating with data. Often, the most successful data stories come as a result of combining powerful talents – the journalist working with a graphic designer, or a content marketer working closely with a data analyst. Get both sides of the brain firing in your content creation, even if you need to combine forces.Forbes-9
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7. How to get started

Like any new marketing initiative, success in crafting original data stories as a means of differentiating your brand will take time and money. Start where you are and do what you can, even if it feels microscopic at first. If the prospect of getting rolling with your own data seems overwhelming, get some practice with public data available from credible sources like the Census Bureau or Pew Research. The cool news is that it’s easier than ever to get started with a plethora of great tools and educational material on the web.

Data storytelling is a skill that modern marketers canand must learn. If you are committed to creating original content that makes your brand shine, consider the precious gold insights that are ready to be mined from your data to provide tangible value to your audience.

Source: Forbes

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