How do you tell a story with data?

Daniel Meyer
3 min readJul 28, 2022

Using data in storytelling is a great way to add credence, validate or back the story you are telling. It’s an effective way of influencing customers, attracting prospects, and keeping the staff aligned with business goals.

Here are 7 steps to use data in storytelling:

  1. Know your audience

Understanding your audience is key in using data in storytelling. But apart from knowing who you are speaking to, you also need to know how your audience wants to receive the information.

Think about what you’re doing right now to inform people about who you are. Do you have a website? Are you using social media, traditional marketing channels or both? If you’re on social media, you need to know which platforms your audience is on. For instance, the audience in LinkedIn is different from the audience in Facebook or TikTok.

2. Consider time constraints

To tell a story with data, you need to know how much time you have to “hook” or capture the attention of your audience. Typically, this depends on the kind of medium you use to communicate. For example, for a standard social media post, you have about 3 seconds on average for the reader to decide whether they want to learn more about the post or not. For video content, it would take 8–10 seconds to decide whether to continue watching or not.

You also need to consider how much time you would need to get your message across. Considering the popularity of TikTok videos, Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts, it’s ideal if you could communicate the information in under 60 seconds. Otherwise, it would be very challenging to capture the attention of your audience with long videos or blog posts unless they are extremely interested in what you have to say.

This is where looking at your data helps. When you know the constraints, you will know how much time you have to keep your audience engaged so you can tell your story better and in a manner that will speak to them most effectively.

3. Prepare your data

Take advantage of the free analytics tools that most social media platforms provide and use the information along with data that you find through internet research.

If you’re not good at preparing data, you can hire a virtual assistant to do it for you. Your VA can track leads, update your CRM, run reports, identify which types of content are popular among your target market.

4. Choose the right visuals

Your choice of visuals will depend on the information you want to present. Whatever means you use, one thing to keep in mind is that you shouldn’t overwhelm your audience with too many numbers or too much information.

5. Demonstrate the big takeaway

This is the step where you use data to push your audience to take action. Do you want them to buy your product or service, subscribe to your newsletter, or schedule a discovery call?

Give your audience a few data points to help them take the step in the right direction. If you have a VA, you can ask them to crunch the numbers for you or to come up with the best way to present data to influence or persuade people to do what you want them to do.

6. Deliver key insights

Once you get your audience’s attention from the previous step, the next step is to provide them with additional value on how they can get to where they want to go.

For example, if you’re marketing a weight loss supplement, you can provide clients and prospects with tips that will help them stick to a workout regimen or develop the right attitude towards food so they can achieve their weight goals sustainably.

Remember, giving value is important because it builds trust.

7. Narrate the story

You are the best marketer for your business and when you narrate your story with data, your storytelling becomes more compelling.

Are you ready to use data in your storytelling?

Share this post if you found it helpful!

#danmeyer #sonicva #virtualstaffingexpert #virtualassistant #storytellingwithdata #dataanalysis #dataanalytics

Are you ready to use data in your storytelling?

Share this post if you found it helpful!

#danmeyer #sonicva #virtualstaffingexpert #virtualassistant #storytellingwithdata #dataanalysis #dataanalytics

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Daniel Meyer

At that sweet spot in life where I do what I love, am really good at it and get paid to do it… helping businesses scale using big data & virtual staffing!