Over the past three weeks, we’ve talked about the power of storytelling and some ideas to make that happen. Although we process much of our decision viscerally at first, the logic part of our brains kick in to help us process our affect. This is when we use existing data and “proofs”; charts, graphs, percentages and the whole data/analysis exercise. But presenting content doesn’t have to be embedded with the story via text-only. In fact, it is possible to not only present data attractively, but to allow it to do a bit of your storytelling. Draw the story out of the data, and help it do its work.
Designing Your Story
1. Raw Data
An infographic goes a long way to help. When you have a data set that you think would be most helpful for your clients, knowing how they think and process will go a long way. When we did this infographic about the increase of Boomers’ social media use, it was based on this Pew Center for Internet Research study. The table at below is just one from which data was pulled. This would be great for statisticians and accountants. They may want to see the raw data; they often can fill out the story themselves.
If you have some folks who are numbers driven, or if your data would be better presented with comparison, then you might follow up with a graph, like the one at the right. Knowing your audience is key. If you have a diverse audience, where you know that different types of folks will learn differently, than you may need to expand your presentation to multiple forms.
The next step might be an infographic, where the data is analyzed for the reader/viewer, and icons and pictures are added in a threaded and coherent fashion. If you don’t have a lot of time or resources, and have no real idea where to start, this post by Hubspot can get you started. All you need is Powerpoint! Be sure to give credit to your data sources.
This link is to Hubspot’s white paper that provides the templates for you to create something like the above 5 on your own.
4. Designer Created Infographic
They have become quite popular in presenting data and content. Some are quite complex, done by those who have an eye for design and aesthetics. They also often have some training and experience to assist them that propel beautiful things. Below is the one that I linked to that was done by our own stellar Patti Ring. If you or someone in your org has the background in design and time to employ in creating content like this, it can increase your branding/identity clout with your clients. You can also outsource your data to a designer and have it done for you.
5. Visual Content
Lastly, presenting content could be “wow”. Designer required, sometimes with a coding background. But your ability to capture the story of your data and create a higher level of engagement is quite high. Your return on investment, if you will. David McCandless has created some stunning visualizations of content. This one below demonstrates the largest security breaches in organizations since 2004. But you must visit the page; this is just a screenshot, and his work is interactive. Once there, each bubble is it’s own story, and if you mouse over an click, you can read the narrative. Trust me, you want to explore his site, Information Is BeautifulAnd just for kicks, Here’s a bonus one called the Conversation Wheel, that lays out an incredible number of the social media platforms. It was created by Brian Solis, well known in broadcast and social media marketing.
How have you responded to visual content? Have you been drawn into a story, engaged more with an organization? What has been helpful for your organization in presenting content?