Maximize Data in Storytelling

By Alexandra Richardson, Account Supervisor

A good story sticks with the audience. As communicators, storytelling is a critical tool to help us break through the noise to educate, engage and activate target audiences. Effective storytelling involves a number of elements, including your story’s shape, arc, characters, and medium.

After building these elements, our goal is to strengthen our story – and data can be our secret weapon.

As the old saying goes, numbers don't lie. Data can help us build trust with our audience and guide our story. Consider these opportunities to ensure data is regularly and effectively incorporated in your storytelling across mediums.

  • prioritize

    1. Prioritize sharing data in creative and visuals. 

    Data points can serve as quick, digestible bits of text in creative, while you can use corresponding copy to contextualize. Animating data points is also a low-hanging opportunity to visualize impact and make your creative stand out. Use animation to help put your data point in perspective for your audience.

  • audience

    2. Consider your audience.

    It can be easy to rely on the data point that we personally find most impactful. As communicators, it’s our job to remember to place ourselves in our audience’s shoes. Consider their goals and needs and then incorporate data points that may speak to or relate to those goals and needs.

  • complete

    3. Don’t just drop the number – complete the story.

    Data should be a supporting act in your communications, not a main character. After sharing a data point, continue to guide your audience through the story — tell them why that data point matters, and/or what action you’d like them to take (ex. Call their member of Congress or share their own story).

  • invest

    4. Invest in building a data bank for communications use. 

    Data can strengthen your storytelling and communications across mediums. Consider investing in research and polling to build a bank of data relevant to your organization’s key issues. This resource can help your team quickly turn around impactful content tailored to your medium and audience. Establish a regular cadence (ex. Quarterly, biannually) for reviewing and conducting research to update data to keep as current as possible.

The Adfero POV

Data is a powerful tool that can help communicators tell their audience why they should care. With investment and careful planning, you can effectively maximize data in your storytelling to educate, engage, and activate target audiences, no matter the medium.

Alex Richardson

About the Author

As an account supervisor, Alexandra is guided by a passion for connecting people through stories. She leads her teams in simplifying complex policy topics into compelling campaigns that deliver results.

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