What is Data-Driven Storytelling and Why Do You Need It?

Posted on November 02, 2016 by Red Javelin 0 Comments

Storytelling is a cornerstone of the human experience and data-driven storytelling is the next big thing in content marketing. Brands today have displaced traditional advertising as well as journalists by producing their own content. The goal is to keep their brand in front of prospects to build awareness without having to pay hefty fees to get in front of their audience or “negotiate” with journalist gatekeepers.

It is difficult for consumers to know if branded content is credible. Journalists used to fact check everything and create stories from a somewhat unbiased point-of-view (at least that was the goal).  Today, there is so much content out there that it is harder to separate the hype from reality.

Data-driven storytelling helps solve that challenge.

What is data-driven storytelling?

Data-driven storytelling leverages the growing availability of data to analyze and uncover new stories. New self-service analytics tools are now easily accessible to everybody. These tools do not require a data scientist or anyone with advanced data knowledge to be able to use them. Analyzing the data can help you uncover new angles for stories and help you validate your existing stories.

Why do you need data-driven stories?

  1. Data makes your story credible – Stories backed up by statistics are perceived as more credible.
  2. A picture is worth a thousand words - A picture tells a story just as well as, if not better than, written words. According to Social Science Research Network, 65 percent of us are visual learners. Highlighting data points in a visual helps the reader Using visuals to illustrate data such as charts and infographics are more memorable than a long narrative. Good data visualization stands on its own. Check out this visualization from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on the world water crisis. It paints a scary story.0400-waterstress-EN.jpg
  3. Visuals invite engagement – According to Kissmetrics, online content that contain visuals get 94% more views. Interesting visuals invite more likes and shares in social marketing campaigns.

Data-driven storytelling is not new. So why does it seem like it is new?

Data-driven storytelling has been around for a long time however, it has not been part of marketing communication’s toolkit. Businesses tell their corporate stories to investors using data. Entrepreneurs secure funding by telling their stories using data. Product management make their business cases using data. Most of this data has come from internal and external analysts that are conducting primary research or are crunching the numbers using internal data.

That is changing with the introduction of self-service analytics. Storytelling can now be smarter, more credible, and I would venture to say more interesting by using data.

To learn how to leverage your customers for great stories, download our ebook below.

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Tags: Insight & Analytics