Get Schooled on the Benefits of Data Journalism

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a well-designed, data driven infographic could be worth even more to your association. If like most organizations you’ve invested in some form of content marketing, you might want to amplify your focus on data journalism.

As researcher and author Alexandra Samuel points out in her recent article for The Harvard Business Review, data is the next big think in content marketing. Samuel observes that “even as companies have embraced their new role as content creators, they’ve largely missed out on one of the hottest trends in the world of traditional media: data journalism.” Her definition of data journalism is a form of reporting that “draws on the growing availability of data sets and data analysis tools to uncover and tell stories.”

By now you know how we at Fonteva feel about data. It’s one of your association’s most valuable resources. And if mined optimally as Samuels suggests, data could play a significant role in building your association’s brand in the marketplace.

I agree with her assertion that many organizations would benefit from expanding beyond their view of data as “a state secret used almost exclusively to drive internal decision-making.” Samuels identifies some important benefits of using your data more widely and creatively, and I want to highlight three here:

  1. Traffic. Infographics are the type of content that’s most likely to be shared on social media, so creating data visualizations that offer real value to your readers is a great way to spread your ideas and message—and to drive traffic to your site.
  2. Authority. Sharing, curating, and analyzing data — particularly if it hasn’t been shared before—establishes your brand as the authority on a topic.
  3. Transparency. At a moment when consumers are increasingly concerned about the way that companies collect and use their personal information, data-driven content offers a way for companies to let people see how their information is being used.

In my view, associations are well-positioned to take advantage of all of these benefits. Then they will be among those brands that Samuel touts as recognizing the power of “opening the treasure chest of data and offering some of that wealth back to customers and the public in the form of original content.”