Commentary

How To Use Data To Create Compelling Content

Why does so much content marketing fall flat?

Rohin Dhar, Founder and CEO of Priceonomics believes it’s because so many brands publish way too much self-promotional content, whether in the form of blog posts, studies/research or other formats.

Dhar, speaking on Thursday at NewsCred’s “Think Content,” said data can help tell a compelling story and more brands should lean on data.

So how do you turn data into content or content marketing?

Dhar offered an example of a chart with data that told a story about bookings at Trump-owned hotels since Donald Trump became a presidential candidate. The data showed that his candidacy hurt bookings, which had plummeted 59% since Trump joined the presidential race. The chart went viral.

“One chart told an entire story by just using the data,” he said. Journalist and public relations reps love these kinds of stories, Dhar said.

Data can be turned into interesting stories, but the data has to be valued by people.

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And Dhar claimed that writing about data—interpreting it, comparing and contrasting it and creating a story around it—is the less-time-consuming activity compared to the intricacies of official data analytics.

Dhar showed a slide of a map that revealed which regions of the U.S. clicked on the most ads. Not surprisingly, Silicon Valley people hardly ever click on ads, while people in Alabama click on the most ads. Rankings and maps are great sources for content marketing.

Creating a data story around a trend is a great way to generate content marketing that people will care about—and, perhaps more importantly, that journalists and influencers will write about.

Dhar cited Reddit, Hacker, Digg, Metafilter and Product Hunt as great sources for virality. A roundup vehicle like NextDraft is another good source.

At his company, Dhar considers a “hit” a piece of content marketing that generates at least 5,000 views and 5,000 mentions. “Otherwise, it’s a failure,” he said.

The takeaway: Make content based on your company’s data, make it newsworthy, and have a plan on where and how it should be distributed.

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