By Tom Willis

When we hunt for tips on building great content there’s a mantra often banded around that’s lost in translation, which is that “content is king.” We can take this to mean that content is a vehicle for engaging the customer and aiding them in better understanding the product and service of your business with the intention of guiding them towards a sale, sign-up, or conversion. Because content itself is a broad term as it is defined as many things by different people in the industry – from the wordsmiths who write copy, to the designers who create graphics to accompany those words, to narrators of video footage and beyond – there is no cookie cutter template to follow in order to creating content that shines out from the competition.

In this article I will be looking at examples of branded content pieces that have adopted the tactic of data mining to tell a story, and how engagement from influencers has snowballed their success. Data mining in this context is essentially a way of gathering and analysing information to present it as user-friendly. Information on the web is often free to anyone, and under-utilised as a tactic for crafting the ideal branded content material. If you are responsible for creating content for your business for earning trust, awareness and engagement, then the examples below will serve as a great starting point.

Billionaires League – GoCompare

There’s a misconception out there that creating viral content is easy. In order to “go viral” the messaging within the content has to be strong enough to sell itself. So much so that the influencers who receive the content pitch will go out of their way to share their interpretation of the story. That’s what happened when international insurance brand GoComapre built an interactive comparison piece detailing the DNA of 2,000 billionaires in the world. The data, plucked from a variation on sources within the financial world, revealed the trends behind the billionaires in microscopic detail from their earnings, to physical features, to education, to star sign and much more.

Needless to say, the exposure gained momentum through the documentation of the story by major news websites in the UK and USA. Getting such influencers on side signals to search engines the newsworthy significance of the content piece and therefore establishes strong visibility as well as authority.

Olympic Calorie Burn –

Online health website made a push for a timely story in the lead-up to the Rio 2016 Olympics with data collated from health and food websites. The premise of the campaign was to alert people to the number of calories that can be burned off by performing athletics events and contextualised by showing popular foods with the equivalent calorie count.

Nutritional data can be easy to come by on the web and the idea places to start looking are downloadable nutritional values from food manufacturers. For then adding in the calorie stats, any straightforward calculator tool online can be of help, and there are plenty to choose from.

Because the story presented data in a fresh context with a timely twist, the newsworthy angle resonated well with influencers in both the lifestyle and wellbeing publications. The media bought into this story by referencing it in news and feature articles, which increased visibility online, which in turn helped the story spread online and pick up traction.

The Lost Sleep Calculator – Hillarys

Touching on an evergreen topic for new parents, Hillarys Blinds looked into the lack of sleep as the focus of its interactive content piece. Using a custom built calculator tool hosted on its website the brand cross-referenced data from news and parenting websites to repurpose stats in a fresh and dynamic manner. And by doing so, Hillarys was able to position itself as an authority and remind the consumer of its association with childcare products in such a subtle yet convincing way.

Because the strength of the content piece revolved heavily around functionality, the data collected from sources is essentially invisible and only appears once the user interacts with the tool – put simply, the answer to how many hours sleep they have missed out on when bringing up their child.

By inviting influencers from parenting websites and blogs, as well as lifestyle news websites to try out the tool, the content stands as an independent go-to resource and hence collect traffic, web links and citations from interested parties.

Social Media’s Landmarks – iVenture Card

Travel and tourism brand iVenture Card focused on local user trends for its data-driven content feature, which celebrated the popularity of landmarks and tourist attractions on social media. iVenture Card took a hands-on approach to data mining by manually extracting the number of hashtags for each landmark within Australia on social media platform Instagram and then assembling this information into a custom database to filter the results as newsworthy insights. It’s a simple and time-efficient, yet effective outcome, which any content marketer can buy into.

The success of the content piece hinged on the interest from industry related publications and local media, who were the main targets for pitching the story to. The data was presented as a press release and distributed with prompts to how the read the data in context. The effort proved fruitful with a number of primary targets running their own interpretation of the social media landmarks data.

In summary, data can be a content specialist’s best friend when used in the right way. If there’s an opening for a story within the numbers and stats, then focus on how relevant this may be when repackaged as visual, written or multimedia content that influencers in your niche may be eager to hear about. Digging for data alone is only the beginning, knowing how to sell the story in and justifying it’s relevance is key to driving engagement.

Tom Willis is a content marketing specialist with a proven track record in working with brands to enhance their online visibility. Connect with him via linkedIn here.