What do stats and studies do for your content? They add credibility.
You could write a great blog post, record a great podcast episode, make a great video, or create another form of content, but if your new post does not contain relevant data, your message could fall on deaf ears.
This isn't always the case, but there is something to be said for backing up your points with real-life stats. Additionally, if you're making any kind of bold or controversial statements, this is when it gets all the more important to show your work.
For example, if your claim is "content marketing is going to die within the next five years", you better have trending data that demonstrates your point. Either that, or you better be using the statement to illustrate a separate but related point (i.e. content marketing is going to die in the next five years, but it will simply be called something else; the basic practice will remain intact).
If you want to boost your content engagement, here is a process for incorporating stats and studies into your content.
Step 1 - Dig For Applicable Stats And Studies
It's getting easier and easier to find relevant stats for various industries on the internet. Whether you are looking for blogging stats, social media stats, content marketing stats or migration stats in Australia, you can search Google for what you're looking for.
While you are digging, make sure to take note of the most interesting stats you find. After all, the idea here is to engage your audience - right? - not to bore them.
For example, Social Marketing Writing states that "Once you accumulate 51 posts, blog traffic increases by 53%, goes up by 3 times after 100 posts and by 4.5 times after 200 posts. Posting more often can help you accumulate more posts quickly." That's a pretty compelling stat from the world of blogging!
Also remember to link up to your sources. Not only does this help with credibility, it's generally good practice to reference your sources.
Step 2 - Brainstorm Content Ideas
Now that you have stats that you can use, you need a piece of content to plug them into. Here are several ideas to explore:
• Go through your existing editorial calendar to find a topic that connects with the stats you've gathered.
• Brainstorm new content ideas.
• Go through forums or sites like Quora and Reddit to discover what the most discussed topics are in your industry.
• Scan the blog posts on your site and find places where stats and studies could complement the subject matter.
Don't forget; there are a variety of different types of content you can create using your findings, including:
• Blog posts
• Podcast episodes
• PowerPoint presentations
• Press releases
• Social media posts
Infographics might seem like the obvious medium to utilise stats in - and they do make for great content pieces - but stats and studies can be very useful in other forms of content too.
Furthermore, keep in mind that you can easily re-purpose the stats and studies you've gathered; especially if you are looking for quick ways to engage on social media.
Step 3 - Create Your Content
Once you've decided on what type of content to create, it's time to get to work.
You may find it worthwhile to review or determine your goals at this point. Do you want to connect with your audience and build trust with them? Do you want to create search optimised content that will drive traffic to your website? Do you want to build authority in your industry?
Don't deviate from your content strategy simply because you've found interesting stats and studies to talk about. If they don't fit in to your plan, don't force them in. Perhaps test them out on social media.
Otherwise, develop your content piece and move on to the next step.
Step 4 - Make It Easy To Share
If you scan the various posts out there that talk about stats, you will often see a "Tweet This" link or button next to it. Your content will draw in people that are specifically interested in the stats you are talking about, so providing your visitors with pre-crafted tweets is a great way to boost engagement.
Consider some other ways you could get your readers, listeners or viewers to share your content on social networks. Could you implement the Facebook Comments Plugin? Could you add a "Pin It" button to your infographic? Could you directly engage your audience with surveys or contests?
Look for ways to make your content easy to share, and your engagement will skyrocket.
Step 5 - Speak To Your Audience
Remember what I said earlier about finding interesting stats? Well, another important aspect of this is that you should find stats and studies that connect directly with your audience. You create a persona for your target reader.
For example, if you are speaking to casual golfers in San Diego, you should think about what would get their attention. What facts pertain directly to them? What would pique their interest or stoke their curiosity?
Of course, this is something you'll want to think about while you are creating your content, but it isn't too late to consider after you've completed your content piece either. There are always ways of reframing what you are presenting. You can tweak your headline or change the text accompanying your tweets.
Another aspect of speaking to your audience is monitoring the conversations that are already happening on your chosen topic (especially on social media). Plug into those conversations, and share your content if you deem that it would be value-adding. Provide an answer to those who are asking questions, and create a context for your content.
Marketing and distributing your content is a necessity. However, instead of just sending out a generic blast, think about how you can connect with the people that need your content.
Content creation isn't necessarily easy work. It can take a lot of time, research, and energy. However, the effort will pay off when you begin to apply the same type creative energy to your promotional strategies too.
Data isn't everything. However, it can add a new layer of authority to your content. It can support your most important points and bring them home.
Blog image: Jason Rhode