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How to Make Data Relatable to Readers and Customers

posted by Michael Epps Utley Michael Epps Utley
How to make data relatable to readers and customers

Including quality data from reputable sources in marketing materials and content is a proven way to take them to the next level. No matter the topic, data, and other hard-and-fast insights provide perspective, validate ideas, offer context, and make the information you’re presenting seem more real and relatable.

Using data is challenging for most writers and creative professionals. If misused, it can come across as dull or overwhelm a piece. There’s nothing like a table full of numbers or a complex chart to destroy reader or viewer interest in your marketing content. And nothing stops people from engaging with a narrative than statistics that are too difficult to comprehend.

Here’s what we’ve learned over the years about including data in content and making it compelling to the people you’re targeting.

How to Make Data in Content Compelling

Meet Readers and Viewers Where They Live

It gets people’s attention when their town, city, or state is mentioned in marketing content. They want to know why their region is better, faster, smarter, dumber, cheaper, more expensive, or comparable in any way to another one. And once they find out, they’re more likely to buy what you’re selling.

For instance, let’s say someone finds out that the people in the next county are 33 percent more likely to purchase the product or service you offer and they’re more attractive because of it. That individual will likely want to find out what they’re missing and make a purchase. And the consumers in the better-saturated county not already using what you offer will also want to try it.

If you can find a way to make a data point regionally comparative, it will get people to pay attention and act. Take it to the next level and turn the data into an image or graphic visually demonstrating the comparative difference. For example, position local landmarks scaled appropriately next to each other to demonstrate regional data relativity. When presenting statistics, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Get Competitive

Getting competitive is a riff on the previous idea. People like to see how they compare with other people. Instead of merely presenting a fact or figure, encourage people to think about how much better — or worse — they are than others.

For example, it’s okay to reveal the average weight of someone in the United States. But that statistic seems a bit distant to many people. There are many types of big, small, young, old, short, and tall people in that average. It’s hard to relate.

However, if you’re targeting 50-year-old overweight men with your blog post, it’s wiser to reveal the average weight of men in that category. It will encourage readers to compare themselves with the average. If they’re well above it, it could move them to purchase diet pills, healthy food, a fitness regimen, exercise equipment, or whatever you’re selling.

Getting people in your reader base to relate to your data will make it more likely they’ll engage with your content and, more importantly, act on it.

Feature Data Usage in Headlines

People respond to highest-to-lowest, lowest-to-highest, biggest-to-smallest, most-successful-to-least, and top-performing-to-bottom, etc. style headlines. They want to find out how things they know and care about rank or relate to each other.

For instance, sports fans always want to know how their teams compare with other teams now and over the long term. Wealthy people care about how the cost of the real estate in their area compares with other communities. Restaurants, which are highly subjective, are often popular ranking subjects, as are colleges. Does anyone want to eat at the second-best sushi place or send their kids to the number two school? Of course not!

If your data is ranked or relative, it could provide a way to structure a piece of content or marketing campaign that gets people’s attention.

Want to learn how to write better? Check out our nine proven tips.

Present Historical Context

Of-the-minute data is cool. But do you know what it really means and is conveying? In other words, if “79 percent” is mentioned in an article, are you able to figure out whether it’s a good thing or not? Probably not. It’s essential to use it in a story so people “get it.”

  • Is the current data higher or lower than past data

  • Perhaps it’s part of a long-term trend.

  • Maybe it’s unlike previous statistics.

The best content creators build a story around the latest numbers or study results. It places context around the data and makes it relevant. Pulling in some history by including some older data adds a deeper dimension to your storytelling. It helps prevent people from thinking, “So what?” and abandoning your piece when they encounter a number they don’t understand. Historic information adds more context to the latest data point or study nugget. It helps articles become more evergreen, giving them long-lasting value. Long after the newsy part of your story fades, readers will still be interested in the perspective you placed around it.

Is your content marketing keeping up? Our informative article will help you find out for sure.

Don’t Be Afraid to Use Data in Your Content and Marketing Campaigns

Data-driven materials aren’t just more credible. If the data is presented well, it will make your pieces more relatable, as well. Find local angles, make comparisons, and use historical context to get people in your reader and customer bases to engage with your materials.

You don’t have to go to the effort and expense of commissioning your own research and studies to get access to essential data. Look around government sites like the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Department of Education. Check out large and small colleges. Professors are usually required to publish research. Educational studies often don’t get picked up by the media, despite containing remarkable statistics and information. Government agencies and educational institutions can be great places to dig into and see how national-level data looks when filtered across industries, career fields, household incomes, metropolitan areas, and more.

Data isn’t something marketers and writers should fear. It’s a tool they must embrace.

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