Indian Research Company spent $12,000 in 2009 on trinkets, which cost them just $1.38 each. These trinkets felt valuable to buyers. Each item was accompanied with a compelling story in its eBay description.
Stories sell, regardless of whether they’re explaining a product or a data set.
It is important to be able to tell a story using data. This skill will help you prove your value to clients. You need to see your data as just one piece of a larger story. To engage clients, you need to establish a thesis, create a narrative, and then tell the story using powerful visualizations.
A thesis is a guideline for your data story
Find a narrative in the data. Find out what data “tells” you. This will become your thesis — your argument.
Next, ask questions and identify trends. Finally, form a hypothesis. The following questions can be asked:
- What are you trying explain with the data? This is the question that your thesis should address.
- What are your goals? These are the things you want to prove or argue with your story.
- What is the conflict in client reporting? This will help you identify the core point of your story, the conflict.
- Do you want to gain buy-in? This question will help determine the best way to tell your story.
Once you have done this, start looking for correlations, identify outliers, and draw comparisons. These insights will be the foundation of your story.
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Create a story and then adapt it to your audience.
To ensure that your client is satisfied with your message, tailor it to their audience. Let’s suppose you are working with marketing managers to find out how their content performs. You would tailor your narrative to focus on data or metrics that are relevant to content marketing such as email opens and search performance.
Client reporting can be personalized and told a story using data is a great way to build trust. It helps clients see themselves as the main character. A tailored narrative can help you understand the data better. It is a way to “put everybody on the same page.”
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To tailor your story, you need to first research your client. Begin by identifying the audience to which you are presenting. You need to identify the audience you are presenting to. It could be marketing managers or executives.
Because they have the power to make strategic decisions, it makes more sense to discuss overall business goals and performance together with a chief market officer. It is best to use the same language as your audience and not use vague terms such as “good,” “bad”, or “better”. Instead of focusing on attributing success to brand’s overall business goals, use language that can be supported. For example, “increased” or “decreased” are better terms than “good or evil.”
Visuals can be any graphic representation of data, such as flowcharts and bar graphs or funnels. Visuals can be used to make comparisons between different data points, which makes it easier to tell your story. Visuals can also be used to communicate with non-technical audiences. They are often your key decision-makers.
How to tell a story using data and visual content
- Use a visual that tells your story. Avoid cluttering your report with charts and graphs.
- To demonstrate fluctuations in data more effectively, include a zero baseline.
- Select the right visualization for the data you are displaying so that the audience can only glance at the content.
All of it together
Client reporting is a way to create a story. You need to think about the data as an author would. This includes context, characters, conflict, and solutions. Your job is to connect them all in a linear manner. Here’s how:
The context is what will help you tell the story. How are you going to tell your audience about the situation? Create an engaging hook that will get clients to take part. Hooks that involve clients are a great way to get your clients involved in your client reporting.
Make characters. You can define your audience by asking yourself the following question: “Who are key players?” You’ll be able to tell a compelling story if you can portray your clients and their businesses as characters.
Identify the conflict. Your story’s conflict is what drives your story. In your case, it is the problem that your data has revealed. It’s a good idea to dig deep into the data and create the conflict that directly affects your clients. Even if your clients are performing well, this can be used to project their growth and what they might achieve with your guidance. The conflict is the first step in solving the problem.
Provide a solution. Now you have set the scene, identified the main character and placed their performance on the line during the conflict stage. Now, it’s time to solve the conflict. This is your chance to solve the client’s problems and show that you are worth the effort.