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Four ways data can better communicate your story

Four ways data can better communicate your story

By Kirsty Harman, Head of Growth, Truescope New Zealand

Data is a powerful tool to inform and drive decision making. It can help to capture the attention of stakeholders and be used to negotiate, reason or incite calls for action, based on fact. Today, data literacy is one of the top skills employers value in employees and is becoming increasingly essential to driving business value.

So if you’re a wordsmith you’ll also need to be comfortable with data, statistics and figures to impress the leadership team, pitch a story to a journalist, or convey a message to a given audience. Data can be a powerful ally and here are four ways communication professionals can use data to better communicate a story in our fast-paced world.

1.    Say more, with less

Humans have an attention span today of only eight seconds. That’s eight seconds to get your message across before …

Let me get to the point.

People want snackable content and data can help with that. Break through the noise with insights that pack a punch. One powerful insight can be just what you need to make an impact whether communicating to consumers, stakeholders or pitching to a journalist. Don’t be afraid to let numbers lead the story.

2.    Find your story from the data

One of the most powerful aspects of data is the ability to use the insights to help you find a message or story to share in the first place.

An important factor to consider here is what your audience will likely want to know about. What factors will be key to your audience? What won’t be of interest? What will be the hook that will incite action? When analysing, interpreting and even interrogating data, put aside your own agenda and think about what insights are going to garner interest from your audience. This will help you to form your message or story.

Perhaps there is a hot topic of discussion within your sector currently - this is an instance where you should utilise your media intelligence platform to find out the volume of coverage on the topic or issue, and what exactly people are saying about it. This type of information can help you to form your communications strategy by identifying what aspects of the conversation your audience is interested and engaged in. If you plan to tap into the conversation, you’ll be able to provide relevant and timely insights that are more likely to spike your audience’s interest and bring value.

3.    Consolidate your ‘why’

The why behind anything and everything we do is vital and, in any communications strategy, should be one of the first questions asked – why are we doing what we’re doing? Purpose is impactful and without a clear why behind your strategy, story or brand message, it can become diluted among the volume of information available today.

Use, analyse and interpret data to draw your why and truly bolster the purpose behind what you’re trying to communicate. Discover correlations or patterns and even draw conclusions which can all help to contribute toward your why and help in the decision-making process.

For example, the Truescope platform allows users to view key themes and share of voice to determine who is leading the conversation in a particular space. Perhaps the data shows your competitor has more than 50% share of voice - this stat alone could be your ‘why’ behind your recommendation to the leadership team to re-strategise your communication plan.

4.    Humanise your communications

Data can be overwhelming but don’t let this put you off as it could be just what you need to inspire your audience for good.

By using data to form your communications, you can tap into your audiences’ emotions through fact. You can then use the data and insights to inspire decision making or persuade your audience that action or change is needed. Memorability is a key factor to humanising communications too, so draw the information and insights that are likely to have the greatest impact based on your organisation’s internal or external factors and turn it into a message that will be kept in the forefront of your audiences’ minds.

By being open to and adopting a data-mindset, you’ll be able to uncover valuable information and insights that really matter. This will allow you to bring value to your audience, both internal and external, by building their knowledge and giving them something new to consider and think about, and also help you strengthen your story-telling and communication performance.

For more information on using Truescope to better inform your communications visit

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