Truth or Dare: How to Use Statistics in Your Content

statistics in content marketing
statistics in content marketing

Statistics in content marketing? Isn’t the whole goal of content to not be boring?

That’s true, but what if we told you that statistics actually have the power to make your content more engaging and compelling? When you use them the right way, statistics can help you tell an even better story than you could with words alone.

Let’s learn how . . .

Quick Takeaways

  • Statistics can make content more compelling and drive home your most important points.
  • When using statistics in your content, it’s a best practice to double check your source and include it within your content.
  • Statistics are even more engaging when they appear visually in infographics, images, or videos.
  • You can use statistics from your own company data to increase brand credibility.

Statistics in Content Marketing: How to Do it Right

Make Content More Compelling

We’ll kick things off with the most important reason to use statistics in your content: they make it more compelling. And when your content is more compelling, your readers are more likely to stay engaged.

Here’s what I mean:

Let’s say we’re talking about sea turtles (why not). Which of these is most compelling to you?

Option A: Many sea turtles are at risk of going extinct.

Option B: Six of the seven sea turtle species are threatened with extinction due to human impacts.  (Thanks Oceanic Society.)

I feel much more compelled to learn about the sea turtle problem after reading Option B. You can do the same with your content no matter what topic you’re writing about. When you’re including statistics in your content, be sure not to simply for the sake of having them. Instead, think strategically to use them where they can help your content make an impact.

Drive Home Important Points

Statistics can be a really valuable tool for emphasizing the points that are most important for your readers to take away from your content.

We write a lot about content marketing, and one of the things we try to communicate in many of our articles is the importance of search engine optimization (commonly referred to as SEO). I’m sure our readers believe us when we tell them, but we want them to remember it. We want them to take action after reading that point.

So to drive it home, we often include the statistic that 93% of online experiences start with a search engine. That’s a big number.

When readers see it framed that way (with a compelling statistic), they’re much more likely to make a note and get cracking on optimizing their content.

Check Your Source

Anybody can write anything on the internet. When you’re using statistics, it’s important to check into your source when you’re not familiar with them. If you’re a content writer, you won’t find it hard to spot a good website and click through to ensure it’s a real-deal company or other credible research source.

You also want to read through the exact content piece where you’re pulling the statistic and make sure it’s accurate and means what you think it does.

Which leads us to our next best practice for using statistics in content marketing:

Give the Right Context

This one’s important because not giving the right context can lessen the truthfulness of your content, even if you don’t intend to do it. In short, when you’re using statistics in content marketing, don’t alter their context in any way to make them fit the story you’re telling. If you have to try, it’s not the right statistic to use.

For example, if you’re writing a story about how much time people around the world spend on their phones, you might come across this statistic in your research:

The average American spends more than 7 hours looking at a screen each day.

Accurate statistic, reliable source. Except this stat only refers to people in the United States, and your article is about people around the world.

What you should not do is just pull out “American” and replace it with “person.” It might not seem like a big deal, but it lessens the integrity of your writing and, if you make a habit of it, readers will catch on at some point.

It only took me a few minutes to research a bit more and find a statistic that better fits the content:

Global consumers are now spending an average of 4.2 hours per day using apps on their smartphones.

Now I’ve got a statistic with context that I don’t have to change.

Always Include Your Source

This one might be a bit obvious, but we’ll go ahead and say it: always include your source. Including statistics in your content with no source is worse than not including them in the first place. Like we know, people can say anything on the internet. Make sure your readers know your statistics come from a credible source.

Use Visual Statistics

Your readers are only actually reading about 20% of the text in your content (it’s not you, don’t worry — this goes for any webpage) before moving on. Visual content, on the other hand, gets 94% more views than text-only content,

So remember when we told you statistics can make your content more compelling? One of the ways they can do that best is by appearing visually.

Let’s think back to our example about the sea turtles. If the goal of my content is to make people understand the sea turtle endangerment problem, using an infographic is a good way to grab their attention with a visual, then use statistics to create a compelling message and drive my point home.

In fact, sea turtle activists must already know this, because they’ve gone ahead and made an awesome infographic already.

Image Source

This infographic doesn’t just tell me statistics, it really paints a picture of the problem and gives me a lot of information while keeping it easily digestible.

One of our sources from the example about time spent on smartphones, Comparitech, also uses a great interactive visual to get readers thinking more about screen time. You can’t click it below, but on the original source webpage you can hover over each country to see more about its average screen time.

Image Source

Use Your Own Data, Too

Even if your company doesn’t do a lot of formal research, most are data-driven in some capacities. When you can, use your own data to enhance your content and increase your brand credibility at the same time.

This might sound daunting, but it really doesn’t have to be. Does your video content get many more views than your regular text content? Calculate how many, and use it when you write about video content. Are your emails getting way better conversions now that you’re using a new strategy for subject lines? Include the new open rate in your blog article about it.

You can use statistics from your own company’s experience to talk about how you’re succeeding and give great advice that can help others succeed, too.

Get Ready to Create Content that Converts

Do you know we have experienced writers who can create content (yes, with statistics) for you every single week for a year (or more)?

If you want to launch a winning content marketing strategy for your business, check out our Content Builder Services or schedule a free consultation today!

Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner  is a Top CMO, Content Marketing and Digital Marketing Influencer, an international keynote speaker, author of "Mean People Suck" and "The Content Formula" and he is the CEO and Founder of Marketing Insider Group, a leading Content Marketing Agency . He has worked in leadership positions in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as for thriving startups. Today, Michael helps build successful content marketing programs for leading brands and startups alike. Subscribe here for regular updates.