Content Marketers Marrying Data and Design Well


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Content marketers love data because they know that nothing is more convincing than a set of numbers proving that a product works. But while content marketers often use data in their content, not many display their data to its best effect. Those who do combine the powers of data and design set themselves apart in a worldwide Web brimful of words. Meet some of our favorites.

Shaun McKenna Explains It All with Similes

As a Marketing and Data Analyst at Conversioner, it’s Shaun McKenna’s job to help companies increase conversions by turning raw data into actionable items. That means he has to break data down into its simplest, yet most effective forms every day. His approach in Don’t Let Your Google Analytics Data Get Polluted – 3 Things to Watch is to use images as similes for the data-driven points he’s trying to get across.

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Then he builds on the simile, telling a story that acts like a verbal visualization. And finally, he illustrates his point with an actual graph you might see on Google Analytics.

Combining interesting photos and funny stories with graphs is like the spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down – in a most delightful way.

Larry Kim’s Top Data Visualization Hacks

Larry Kim’s The Top 10 Facebook and Twitter Advertising Hacks of All Time presentation at HubSpot’s INBOUND 2015 Marketing Conference is a study in using raw percentages in visual ways people will remember. In one slide, he just uses an orange bubble overlaid on a stock photo—not very exciting. But watch how much more powerful his data becomes when he overlays percentages another way.

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While charts like these might not get past your high school algebra teacher without criticism, they do effectively make their points by connecting familiar images with unfamiliar data.

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In fact, Larry Kim’s deck was the top tactical session for INBOUND 2015 and a top SlideShare for 2015.

Joanna Wiebe Breaks It Down Don Draper Style

Joanna Wiebe, founder of CopyHackers, and coiner of the phrase “conversion copywriter,” has based her career off of using data to support, inform, and direct copy. But when she’s explaining a concept, numbers usually go to the background while eye-catching, emotion-grabbing copy takes the foreground. The Ultimate Copywriting Crash Course, as Taught by Mad Men (Infographic) stretches our concept of data (the only numbers you’ll see are attached to seasons and episodes), but she does present a lot of information in a short, visually compelling way.

Wiebe’s post illustrates an important point: Data isn’t just about numbers. Data literally means “facts and statistics collected together for reference or analysis.” And, as content marketer, it’s your job to relay those facts in ways people understand, enjoy, and remember. Sometimes that means a graph or line chart; sometimes that means an infographic; sometimes that means using funny GIFs to grab attention before you present a statistic. This isn’t math class; the only people you have to impress are your customers.

Charts Rule! with Laszlo Block, HR at Google

Laszlo Block is the man in charge of HR and recruitment at Google, helping to garner Google hundreds of awards and at least 40 listings on various “Best Places to Work” lists. He’s not a content marketer, but in his “Work Rules!” slideshare he distills his Work Rules! book down into the basics – illustrating his points with data visualizations. Check out what he and his team do with simple line charts and bar graphs.

We like the way his graphs and charts are recognizable as graphs and charts, but are written and designed to relay a concept—not just numbers. They’re fun and informal in tone, making them approachable even for digit-phobic audiences, but their magic lies in how each image tells a single, clear story.

Have you noticed a content marketer hitting data visualization out of the park? Tell us on Twitter @visageco

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