People are often surprised to learn that data science is the next big thing in content marketing. Since the internet is cluttered with information, you need more than a well-written, optimized blog post. By offering unique, interesting data analysis, you increase your chances of capturing the attention of your audience and, potentially, journalists looking for a story.

While content marketing is a creative field, data analysis of your subject will take it to the next level. If that type of work intimidates you, have no fear. It only takes the slightest shift in your thinking to start becoming a data analysis pro.

If you’re looking to brush up on some data analysis skills, take these tips and add them to your tool belt, from one content creator to another.

1. Brainstorm like a data journalist

If you’re anything like me, brainstorming new content ideas is your favorite part of the job. Contrary to what you may think, data collection enhances this process. Knowing the facts can generate new ideas and boost your creative juices.

Recently, my colleague, Devon, shared tips in her piece, “How To Think Like a Journalist For Your SEO Strategy.” Let me build on her advice here by saying: to create strong, data-driven content, brainstorm like a data journalist. Whether you work at an agency or in-house, you are creating newsworthy content for your brand’s industry in the same way journalists find the best stories in their beat. And what do journalists do before they tell a story? They solidify their sources.

To help you pivot your perspective, check out the course materials shared by The New York Times Digital Transition team. The free course – “How We Helped Our Reporters Learn to Love Spreadsheets” – is packed with useful information, from Google Sheets hacks to lists of authoritative data sources. To maximize your brainstorming process, reference their Data-Driven Story Brainstorming Guide. The worksheet breaks down the different angles data-driven stories can take and guides you through a self-questioning process to apply them to your beat or industry. Thinking like a journalist from inception to the promotion of your content process will add credibility to your work. It also helps you see new angles of your subject.

2. Write up your methodology

Once you’ve brainstormed a stellar data-driven content idea, it’s important to present your content as a data journalist or data scientist. Just like any scientist, data analysts always present a clear, easy-to-replicate methodology along with their studies.

Citing your sources lends authority to your content and allows you to retrace your steps should you need to explain your process to a client or a journalist. Writing up a clear methodology also provides you with a formula to easily replicate, edit or recycle your content if needed.

So, how do you write the best methodology for your data study? Below I’ve included a list of questions to ask yourself.

Data Methodology Checklist for Content Marketing:

  • Have I cited and linked to my sources?
  • Have I indicated the publication date of the sources (where necessary)?
  • (When combining datasets) Have I clarified the formulas used and why?
  • Could a new hire or an intern repeat this process easily? (if you’re unsure – ask!)
  • Could you explain your process to a journalist?

At Go Fish Digital, we used this methodology in the following data-driven content: The Top US Cities for Healthcare Jobs and Here’s How Much of Your Landlord’s Mortgage You’re Paying as a Renter.

3. Stay on top of new sources & join the community

Finally, if you’re just learning about data-driven content, you’re in luck. There’s a whole community out there waiting for you!

Let me be the first to tell you of the benefits of immersing yourself in the existing research, data visualization and data science networks online. Not only does it help you stay current with the latest datasets and trends, but also it allows you to connect with experienced folks and gain inspiration and tips from them. Since I’m not an expert data scientist myself, I encourage you to continue to learn from others beyond this post.

Below I’ve collected some of my favorite accounts to follow on Twitter for data analysis help and inspiration. I’ve also included an email newsletter, which you should subscribe to for unique data delivered to your inbox for free.

And there you have it: three of my top tips for creating the best data-driven content out there. Are you a content marketer with data tips? Tweet me @ericagofish –I’d love to chat with you about them!


Erica Prush is a content marketing associate at Go Fish Digital where she specializes in SEO-focused link building for clients. With a background in B2B PR and a love of writing, her favorite projects involve combining creative and analytical thinking to help her clients tell important stories.


This blog post was written by a guest contributor. The views within this blog post do not necessarily reflect those of AMA Triangle.

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