Content Marketing

Visualize Your Company’s Data [INTERVIEW]

Does your company use its data to publish research?

“Research forms the foundation of any project,” says Jesse Thomas, the founder and CEO of JESS3, a creative interactive agency that specializes in data visualization.

In content marketing, your research could be the final product as well. If you’re an Internet company, chances are you have a lot of data sitting around that could be repurposed.

Instead of letting it just sit there, you can use it to publish interesting pieces of research, and even infographics.

Lee Sherman, co-founder and chief content officer at Visual.ly, says that infographics (or data visualization) get 30 times the page views of a comparable article and solve information overload.

We asked Jesse Thomas and Tiffany Farrant-Gonzalez, a JESS3 designer, about their tips and tricks on how to release a company’s data as a compelling visualization that turns heads. Here’s what they had to say:

Why is data visualization a huge trend?

Simple visualizations can condense huge spreadsheets or multiple pages of a PDF document into a snackable format, one that is quickly digested and absorbed by the viewer.

Beautiful visualizations can tell amazing stories with numbers. By providing the user with a simple, clean visualization, you are opening up your data to be accessed by a much wider audience, quickly and clearly.

What are the issues of publishing people’s private information on the Internet?

The key here is transparency. Inform the user exactly how you’ll be using their data, what will be used, how it will be used and in what formats. Misleading the user, or not making their options clear will only result in issues later on, as people take their privacy very seriously.

Should a company research and produce infographics in-house or outsource?

Creating graphics is like making food, sometimes its easier to get takeout, but in our case we are like a live-in-maid sometimes, caterers the next.

Companies that have design teams internally should work closely with the research teams and enhance internal presentations of data… the conceptual storytelling phase is something that can be done internally and the graphic phase can be outsourced.

How does a company begin to evaluate their data and determine what would be interesting to share?

Once you know your target audience, it’s a matter of selecting interesting numbers and statistics that will tell a story that will appeal to that audience, as customers and viewers may be interested in one particular type of data, whereas investors may be interested in other numbers, for example.

What are some tips on how to start using one’s data to produce research and infographics?

Once you’ve decided on a topic and story, look for inspiration on how to visualize the information you have. What key facts will be interesting to the reader? How can you present the information in a way that’s easier for the viewer to digest than just reading a report? But start by drafting a solid narrative.

What makes a bad infographic? What information will always be uninteresting?

A bad infographic is one that misleads and doesn’t inform the user of the full picture. Too often facts are omitted and data is obscured behind fancy charts to tell one particular story regardless of the existence of supplementary information. Your viewers will thank you for being honest and transparent.

Final Thoughts

JESS3’s Thomas and Farrant-Gonzalez would probably agree that one of the best things a growing company can do is share its story with its audience. Above all else, people respect honesty and transparency. When you share information about your company, you are informing your audience about your product, which Thomas says will result in more loyal customers, and a more genuine following.

To help get you started, here are five steps to creating killer infographics.

Image courtesy of JESS3

Image by Flickr
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