Flip Dry Information Into Wealthy, Relatable Tales With These Suggestions


Probably the greatest issues about being a content material author is that regardless of the subject, now we have a variety of insights at our fingertips. You should use it to supply perspective, validate concepts, give extra context, and many others.

In fact, all that knowledge additionally is without doubt one of the worst issues for a content material author. How do you dig out the story behind the numbers with out getting buried underneath the mountains of information and stats?

At Stacker, we form our newswire tales round knowledge and use it to drive all our storytelling. We’ve discovered the best-performing articles – no matter matter – share related strategic data-centered approaches. Right here’s a few of what we realized by creating data-driven content material that engages audiences and earns hyperlinks from different websites.

Go native and meet readers the place they’re

A narrative tailor-made to a area, state, or metropolis feels immediately relatable and captures the eye of readers’ residing in that geographic space. In actual fact, 71% of our publishing companions say their most-prioritized tales have native information angles.

Narrowing data-driven tales to a state or metro degree could seem limiting. Content material writers suppose the extra hyper-focused a narrative, the smaller the attain. However presenting localized knowledge doesn’t should be an either-or alternative.

#Content material writers can use knowledge to offer tales each a hyper-local and nationwide attraction, says @Stacker’s Elisa Huang through @CMIContent. Click on To Tweet

CNBC didn’t make a alternative of their story about how a lot the highest 1% of U.S. households earn annually. It talked about the broadest geographic determine – the nationwide quantity ($597,815 a 12 months on common). Then it detailed the common for every state, from West Virginia’s $350,000 to Connecticut’s $896,490.

CNBC provides its data-driven story nationwide and hyper-local attraction.

One in every of our top-performing tales for a model accomplice seemed on the rural hospitals most prone to closing. It broke down the standing of rural hospitals over 43 states, then distilled native variations that will really feel most significant for focused audiences from California to New York.

Takeaway: Information at a state- or city-level can have native attraction whereas nonetheless connecting to a newsy nationwide pattern. It additionally opens up your content material’s promotion potential to nationwide and native information websites.


Host a hometown showdown by evaluating knowledge

Individuals love evaluating their nook of the world with others. A latest Redfin report discovered an unprecedented 8% of U.S. houses at the moment are value not less than $1 million. The story didn’t simply reveal the highest 5 or 10 cities however ranked 99 so readers can see how million-dollar neighborhoods examine to different million-dollar neighborhoods.

On this snippet of the comparability content material, six of the cities are in California – half of which have a 50% or larger share of houses value not less than $1 million in 2022. Different cities on the prime of the checklist embrace Honolulu, Seattle, and New York Metropolis.

A snippet from Redfin’s story that ranks house value knowledge by state.

When individuals can see their cities’ outcomes juxtaposed with others, it places the knowledge right into a extra highly effective context. Rating tales, similar to states with the bottom revenue taxes or the cities with the best lease, usually carry out properly.

Rating tales – the place readers can see how their locale compares to others – carry out properly, says @Stacker’s Elisa Huang through @CMIContent. Click on To Tweet

Writing headlines with phrases like “highest-to-lowest,” “largest improve,” and “lowest-priced” additionally indicators to readers the underlying numbers-driven methodology used within the content material. They not solely reinforce the data-first method, however they construct confidence within the potential reader that the content material is powered by knowledge, not opinion.

Takeaway: Use data-driven rankings to faucet into readers’ curiosity by displaying how their area compares with others in well timed developments.

Let time inform the story by considering previous the most recent knowledge

Many content material creators understandably deal with constructing a narrative across the newest numbers or examine outcomes to be related and stylish.

However pulling in a little bit of historical past by means of older knowledge units can add a richer dimension to the storytelling. Not solely does historic info add extra context to the most recent knowledge or breaking information, but it surely helps the piece turn out to be extra evergreen. Lengthy after a information headline fades, readers could also be nonetheless within the richly layered content material.

Historic knowledge can result in a extra related story at this time, says @Stacker’s Elisa Huang through @CMIContent. #ContentMarketing Click on To Tweet

We did this with a narrative about how commuting in America modified over the previous 50 years.

Stacker used historic knowledge to spotlight how the American commute has modified over time.

With out including historic knowledge, it will have been unattainable to spotlight that the common size of labor commutes has elevated 10% since 2006. This contextualization provides a perspective that wouldn’t be potential by solely detailing the present common commute time.

Self, a credit-building app, mapped poverty ranges state by state utilizing knowledge from the U.S. Census Bureau. As an alternative of simply mapping the nation with the most recent poverty charges for every state, the story additionally charted the charges over time. With this priceless context, readers may see how states’ poverty charges rose and sank after pure disasters, monetary booms and busts, and in the end COVID-19, giving a extra considerate story that recognized contributors to these poverty price adjustments.

Georgetown College’s Heart on Schooling and the Workforce tackled the worth of upper training with one other data-centered method: It seemed on the salaries of school graduates in 10-year increments since their enrollment. The findings, picked up by Yahoo! Finance and others, assessed what number of many years it took for a scholar to earn a return on funding on the price of their school.

Takeaway: Utilizing knowledge over time can add richer context to what numbers imply at this time – and make the content material really feel extra evergreen.

Brighten up humdrum tales with completely different knowledge filters

Information-driven tales emphasize relatability – they will join higher together with your viewers and infrequently current a special approach that stands out out of your standard story approaches. You will discover native angles, make a comparability, and use historic knowledge to supply distinctive context.

Not sure what knowledge to begin with? Poke round authorities websites just like the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Division of Schooling. They are often nice locations to dig into and see how national-level knowledge appears to be like when filtered throughout industries, profession fields, family incomes, metropolitan areas, and extra. By including centered knowledge to your content material, you may inform tales that really feel extra customized – and significant – to your readers.

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Cowl picture by Joseph Kalinowski/Content material Advertising and marketing Institute


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