February 27 2018
Data-driven content is content you write based off of your wealth of knowledge about your readers and customers. And because of that data, you’re writing something you know they’ll find interesting, something that may even elicit a comment, a share, some engagement. Every word, every sentence, every paragraph, and every carefully chosen example in a piece of data-driven content can help them view you as a credible resource. The question now is: how do you write data-driven content?
#1 Get specialist writers
If you’re writing your content yourself, skip this step and move down to my #2 below. But if you’re aiming to hire writers to create data-driven content, this point is for you. The days where anyone could write a piece of content and expect results are no longer. You need specialist writers who know the ins and outs of your industry to really connect with your audience. Brian Clark of Copyblogger put it this way: “When you know your audience well, what you’re really tuning into is the way your people view the world. And when you understand the worldview your prospects share— the things they believe — you can frame your story in a way that resonates so strongly with them that you enjoy an ‘unfair’ advantage over your competition.”
Today’s bar for content is set so high that if you lack credibility, readers will quickly see through your words and bounce off your site. They will not only wander away from your content, but will also have no reason to convert. You need talented specialized writers. And how do you get them?
- Ask your industry peers. It’s highly likely someone in your industry knows writers who have helped them with your specific topics in the past, or at least know where to search for them.
- Google them. As in Health writer or technology writer or marketing writer.
- Check industry blogs or publications. Many times, people who write for your industry publications are freelancers or content marketers who have some experience you can leverage.
If you’re not hiring wordsmiths, but writing your content yourself, you need to know how to do research that yields results from content.
#2 Do only relevant research
Why relevant research and not just research?
Research is relevant when you go directly to resources clearly related to your chosen topic.
Take the Helpscout customer blog. Even though the blog is tagged as a customer loyalty blog and posts many great articles on the topic, it also covers a whole lot of other posts that aren’t related to customer service — email campaigns, remote teams, holiday sales, and a host of other topics.
It can become tiring sifting through all the posts to find what you’re looking for, so it’s best to search for publications that specifically cover customer support topics. The Groove customer support blog, for example, is one of those blogs that properly covers the topic:
This type of a blog will provide you with a wealth of resources and exclusively covers the information your audience will find useful.
#3 Make your content different
Churning out unique content different doesn’t mean you always need to write something that’s never been seen before — that’s hardly ever possible.
For example, I recently wrote a post on Entrepreneur titled How To Create Content That Hooks Your Prospects and Keeps Them Engaged.
It’s definitely not the first article about creating content, nor is it the 100th. But it is different. How? It’s approached the subject from a different angle. There are several resources about how to create content, but a paltry few are about creating content that hooks prospects and keeps them engaged.
Try searching how to create content now, and here’s what you’ll find:
You’d notice the first page search results have content on the same topic — creating content — but they are written from different angles (in bolded letters):
- 22 Tips For Creating Great Content When You Don’t Have a Clue
- Creating Content: Resources for Content Creators
- How to Create Great Content for Your Website
They’re all about writing content, but from different perspectives. So, to write data-driven content, you have to see what’s trending in your industry (using tools like Buzzsumo) and write about it. But your job is to write about the same thing in a different light, perspective, or otherwise using a new angle. Veteran wordsmith Jon Morrow once imitated an article his boss wrote. At first, he thought his supervisor would be angry with him or even fire him. He waited for days for his boss to let him go or at least reprimand him. But nothing happened. After days of worrying and waiting, Morrow decided he’d call his boss to own up to his despicable act.
To his surprise and relief, he replied, “Nobody’s work is totally unique. There are only so many recipes. The only thing that changes is the ingredients.” If you’re a writer of any sort, you know original ideas are in fact a fallacy. Everyone has to spin an already existing idea and make it useful in a different way. You’re not copying anyone. You’re writing about the same topic from your perspective.
Great content is data-driven, and it comes out of knowing the topic you’re writing about in depth. If you’re not certain you have enough knowledge about the topic, hire a niche writer, who’s an expert in their own right. They’ve been in the industry for quite a while and can find their way around writing content that rings true with your customers. And if you have to write for yourself, you want to go to top industry resources that really cover what you’re looking for, and ensure you’re putting your mark on trending topics. Apply these principles of data-driven content to your writing in 2018 and you will notice a difference in how your articles perform.