For data storytelling, start with the story

Numbers are not words, but a story. This is the starting point for “data counting”. Digital marketers need to compile stories that tell the public everything they want to know about a product or service.

In her lecture to MarTech, Nancy Duarte talked about the importance of turning data into stories. Here we explore the art of doing this. And yes, just know in advance: converting numbers to words is a science

Data, you know the story

All the experts we spoke to agreed on one common point: start with the story and then find the data. “You use digital resources or channels to tell an exciting story,” said Bill Ross, founder of Linchpin SEO.

“A good story is how to build a context with data (facts) so that people care,” a founder and head of problem creation at Content Consulting. “The data itself is meaningless.” The data should serve as the backbone of the story, just like the beams of a building. The data is not the story itself,  a materials company takes it a step further. The story must be linked to a strong visual image that helps to create meaning for the story. We’ll talk about this later.

Where to start? Where should you go?

Yes, old-fashioned writing and editing are the building blocks of publication data, similar to the techniques used to produce this article. But some technical differences are important. Ross laid the foundation: the client understands that he knows the story he wants to tell.

Start with the ultimate goal of knowing what to say. Use data that supports the “last story”.

Follow Pixar’s advice. Start with the ending in mind, “Rose added. Whether the project is a blog post or a white paper,” I will first write the last paragraph to find out where I am headed.

Killer Balliett noted that there is a similarity between the history of the data and the three actors. Suppose the purpose of the data story is to sell a truck to new mothers. The introduction (action 1) exposes the “problem”: letting the baby fall asleep. The narrator can examine the science and present the data to indicate the problem. In Act 2, the narrator brings up the product that will solve the problem – the baby baker – and its relevance for solving the problem. The third sector is the call to action: buy this product.

Focus, focus, focus

This is the hardest part. The temptation to say that everything is strong, but every detail drowns out the message. How do you interpret your message while ignoring the marginal periphery? Here is Balliett with some of his colleagues. Storytelling is half the effort of telling a data story, while a good visual image serves as a multiplication story. ‘We are touched by the footage. We need to focus as much as possible on the text link, ‘he said.

Balliett pointed out that a typical online audience would read only 20% of a story that contains at least 600 words. Here he calls the “BuzzFeed” effect, where the stories are divided into blocks of 100 to 200 words, each block is separated by an image and the story is guided by titles of ten or fewer words.

‘It takes the brain four to eight seconds to register the text. It takes a tenth of a second to recognize the data display. The ballet continued. For Generation Y and Generation Z, the average attention span is five seconds, he added. And this generation is digitally original and is used to receive data from multiple screens simultaneously.

For Ross, counting the data still means writing a concise story. If the story starts after 20 minutes, turn it off at 10, Ross said. “Make sure the story goes smoothly,” he said, removing the pieces that do not contribute to the story.

There are also endings and divisions in history. Although you may think this is a distraction that the number of readers is increasing. The data still tells the story, only in sidebars that take the reader back to the main story.

For Rose, structuring the data history also provides focus. With a text-writing technique, a practical model is created: it tells the same story in a paragraph, then on a page, then on ten pages, then on a 30-page paper, and then on a 120-page essay. Applied to narrative data,

The end of the spoiler warning

Where, then, is the data history?

it’s not the right way to get involved in the next big thing: “There needs to be a solid foundation with content that tells a story,” he said. “It has to be produced.”

It contains images, but you cannot simply insert images into a story and wait for it to be created.

Balliett was more skeptical about the future of text in data recovery. The trend was to “use as little text as possible,” ‘At the beginning of ’09 I thought I was going to die. I thought the written word would win. But we are moving more towards visual communication.

People will evaluate the books on the cover. Each brand must, therefore, offer the best cover of its metaphorical book to open people.

the future looks more mixed. The Internet may have started out as an extension of print media, but creatives “print the medium in which they are useful: interaction”.

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