Companies have an unprecedented opportunity to differentiate themselves from competitors.
How, you ask? By consistently gathering data to help their customers make smarter decisions.
However, communicating data that you or others collect can be a challenge. Whether it’s too technical or you lack the resources topackage it into captivating content, these barriers can prevent you from gaining the trust of the people who matter most to your business.
As you think about equipping your audience with relevant data, keep these three things in mind:
1. Data is contextual. With companies releasing new studies and reports nearly every day, marketers and business leaders need to be wary of context, especially when communicating data to a distracted audience.
I often use this example to illustrate the power of context: 66 percent of people think I’m more attractive than Ryan Gosling. The caveat? The audience consisted of my wife, my best friend, and my daughter.
The point is that as data tracking becomes more accessible, information can easily be misconstrued or taken out of context when communicated by individuals or companies — especially when they have a stake in the information.
When conducting internal studies or vetting other research, communicate how the data was collected, who the surveys were sent to, and how the questions were framed in order to preserve trust with your audience. Ultimately, you want to become a trusted source for information, but that can’t happen if your audience has any room for skepticism.
2. Consider varying your data sources. Aside from carefully screening data, you should also speak to peers about studies they’re conducting and dig around online to supplement your own research.
Next month, I’m attending Integrated Marketing Week, which is hosted by the Direct Marketing Association and is known as one of the best resources for marketers when it comes to data-driven decision-making. I’m attending to learn new ways we can use our data and to get in touch with other industry leaders who have insightful information we can use to strengthen our articles and internal research.
For example, while I reference our State of Contributed Content report when discussing the growth of thought leadership content, I also use stats from other sources, including:
- The No.1 challenge for marketers is creating engaging content (Content Marketing Institute).
- Thought leadership development and distribution is the No. 2 priority for marketers, behind lead generation (ITSMA).
- Eighty percent of business decision makers prefer to get company information in article form rather than as an advertisement (Roper Public Affairs).
These stats paint a clear picture. You might come to the conclusion that creating thought leadership content is not only a challenge, but also a priority for marketers and decision makers who see its value.
And when we pull from our report and say, “The No. 1 reason the editors we surveyed turn down content is because it’s too promotional,” readers can clearly connect the dots and understand that this is an area that most content marketers struggle with. Diversifying our data not only helps position the company as an industry leader, but also adds impact to our data.
3. Invest in a system for scaling up content. OK, let’s say you’ve mastered the art of communicating data. Then comes the challenge of creating data-driven content on a large scale without burdening employees.
Use an in-house editorial calendar, assign employees to write and edit content, and set up the relationships to distribute your work. If you don’t have the resources to create engaging and consumable content that reaches the right people, consider hiring dedicated staff members or contracting the work out.
Your audience has no shortage of information. But what will make you stand out is providing vetted, quality information that leads them to make smarter purchase decisions.
Don’t be the company that hoards data like Gollum from “The Lord of the Rings.” Your data and knowledge are precious, but they’re also the building blocks of trust with your audience. It didn’t work out too well for Gollum when he couldn’t let go, so take this advice to heart, and start putting your audience’s data needs first.