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Data: a storyteller’s best friend


More than just a metric for success or failure, data is a rich source of inspiration for storytellers, helping editors craft timely, meaningful content for member organisations.


Robust data not only helps professional bodies extend their brand and messaging, it also helps generate leads and engage untapped audiences with content that resonates. Here’s how.

Part one: finding the story

Search data is your go-to source for features to develop into compelling stories. Google or own-site search data can help inform what your audience is looking for and, importantly, helps you discover areas lacking in your current editorial offering.

Once your feature is published, analytics tells us two absolute truths. First, data shows us which subjects attract members to our sites; those stories – topical or evergreen – that attract audiences from across the digital landscape to engage with our content.

But that is just the beginning, our analytics can also determine how much of our content these visitors consume – the longer they stay on the page, the more content they are engaging with. The combination of these two factors determines which subject and topics we as editors should investigate further to feed the appetite of a content-hungry audience.

But finding your story is only half the battle, it’s how you tell it that counts. We’re lucky as editors of member websites, we have an audience that is already engaged with our subject matter. And we have at our disposal a variety of digital formats to bring our features to life – long-form articles, data visualisations, podcasts, photo-stories or short-form video. Through robust scrutiny of data, we can tell which formats are most engaging for both our clients and for their members.

Importantly, as budgets are tight and the time of our audience is challenged by competing propositions, the data can tell us which subjects to avoid – those features that attract minimal visitors, or yet those that attract visitors only for them to abandon without scrolling – leaving your content unread and unloved.

Part two: telling the story

Often, the data itself tells a great story – think the great Spotify wrap-up or the Google year in search. This is especially true for member organisations whose professionals are benchmarked on a variety of metrics on an annual basis.

There’s the compelling salary survey data – where members get to compare their personal earnings against industry standards and sub-sectors. Playing this data out through engaging data-visualisations ensures your audience directly involve themselves with your content, while adding a member voice to your feature gives colour, context and a touch of humanity to an otherwise institutional feature.

Data can also help editors tell a balanced story – important for member organisations needing to strike an even tone in an environment where debates are polarised, and in the case of social media, the channels are weaponised. A recent video feature on Modus used robust data from around the world to help make the case both for and against the abolishing of DST in a dynamic easy-to-digest fashion – vital for a time-starved audience.


Embracing data throughout the content lifecycle is the only way to ensure you meet the demand of your membership. It can help you to find and shape a compelling story, and help you tell that story in an engaging way that makes it land with both conviction and impact.

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