The diminishing effectiveness of conventional advertising and the rise of social media have led more and more brands to embrace content marketing. More and more companies are seeing themselves not just as advertisers, but as publishers, launching digital newsrooms, podcasts, and other forms of branded content in order keep their brands, perspectives, and value propositions in front of customers.
Yet 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. This still-new form of reporting draws on the growing availability of data sets and data analysis tools to uncover and tell stories like the impact of vaccines on infectious diseases, the continuing problem of school segregation, or the differences in working hours across industries, often presenting the results through compelling visualizations or interactive applications. Newspapers such as The Guardian and The New York Times have invested heavily in data journalism because they recognize that the world of big data offers opportunities to uncover new insights, and to tell stories in newly compelling ways. Just as crucial, data-driven stories attract the kind of social media attention that publishers dream about: fresh data and infographics spread across Twitter, Facebook and other social channels precisely because they are able to tell a story in a concise, compelling and visually appealing way.
While infographics are now a standard part of the corporate communicator’s toolkit, data visualizations driven by original data are still few and far between. Look on Pinterest and you’ll see that a lot of corporate infographics are basically pretty blog posts, not data visualizations that tell an original story.