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4 Simple Ways to Better Your Data Driven Storytelling

4 simple ways to better your data driven storytelling
Mary Kate Morrow

By Mary Kate Morrow

4 Tips to Improve Data Driven Storytelling

Data driven storytelling combines big databig data with human communication. As a result, customers are presented with a good story that is backed by actual facts. Data driven stories are crafted through the analysis and filtration of datasets. Data insights discovered can help businesses determine different ways to present information.

Data driven storytelling helps companies find the best way for audiences to understand data through carefully crafted narratives. Due to its versatility, data driven stories are useful for various staff members from content marketing to digital marketing professionals. However, many professionals struggle in their attempts to create data stories or are not sure of the best way to even start creating data driven narratives. Thankfully, there are various tips for successfully using data driven storytelling including-

1. Data Visualization

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Data visualization is a process that will make data into a visual representation. Data visualization is one best way to help the human brain understand data and insights.

Proper data visualization requires an excellent understanding of variable interpretations. When properly executed, data visualization will make data driven storytelling even more compelling.

Unfortunately, improper data visualization techniques can actually make data less easy to understand. For professionals that are unsure about their data visualization skills, there are both data visualization specialists and training opportunities available.

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2. Statistics

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The way data is presented makes a huge difference in how human beings both understand data and retain it. Studies have found that data stories are more memorable than statistics alone. For example, take the study where one presentation included storytelling data and the other only statistics. Both speeches included 2.5 statistics but while only 5% of the audience remembered a statistic 63% remembered the story.

As such, it is reasonable to conclude that a data story ingrained with statistics is much more memorable than statistics themselves. Another prominent conclusion of this research is that data stories are one best way to present statistics to an audience. An important consideration for statistics included within story data is that less can actually be more.

Instead of packing storytelling data with statistics, experts advise selecting only a few or even one powerful stat. Proper statistical techniques must be utilized when crafting data stories to evade selection bias. Incorrectly using data to make data stories can result in an inaccurate conclusion.

3. Focus

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In order for a data story to actually inspire the audience into action, it should be uncomplicated and focused. Unfortunately, data storytelling can easily become counterproductive when too many messages are presented simultaneously.

Understandably, it is difficult to craft data driven stories that will optimally impact audience members that have a wide range of interests, concerns, and prior knowledge. Trying to make a maximum impression on too many different audience members can dilute the power of the intended message that a data story wants to communicate.

Although it is tempting to use data more broadly during data storytelling efforts doing so can actually detract from the power of the story. Instead, experts recommend the story data supports should be focused on a single point. A data story that contains an uncomplicated and focused message will likely lead audience members towards the intended action the storyteller wants.

There are best practices for choosing which data insights that a data story should focus on. Best practices include the storyteller contemplating what one action they would want the audience to take after the data story is viewed. Once the storyteller has identified the desirable audience action they can craft their data driven story with that answer at the forefront of their mind.

4. Emotions

One main reason that data driven storytelling is the best way to communicate big data to an audience is due to the emotionality of the human experience. Highlighting a human being in data stories is a powerful way that storytellers deliver their message to an audience. At the most basic level, human beings want to know about other human beings. Our most extraordinary stories are based on human beings that are faced with and overcome difficulties.

While an audience will not likely be moved to action by statistics alone, using data in tandem with a relatable human character can be a best way to communicate a story. As such, best practices for data storytelling place a heavy emphasis on the human presence within every story told. The way data is delivered in storytelling should always keep human emotions at the forefront.

For example, many people recognize that a best way to discover information is through what psychologists often refer to as aha moments. Aha moments are moments of sudden inspiration, insight, recognition, or realization that human beings experience.

Data driven storytelling that supports these aha moments is much more likely to obtain and retain audience attention. In fact, experts have noted that these data driven stories are also applicable to content marketing and journalism fields. For example, a shocking headline that highlights unexpected data insights can serve as a social media attention grabber.

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Key Takeaways of Data Driven Storytelling

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  • Data driven storytelling should be considered during all content marketing and digital marketing decision making initiatives regarding business processes.
  • Tips to improve data driven storytelling range from excellent data visualization to maintaining focus.

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