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The Ultimate Guide for Data Storytelling- How Do You Tell a Story with Data? 

How do you tell a story with data in data storytelling?

“Data that is loved tends to survive.” – Kurt Bollacker.

Modern businesses gather data at an incredible rate. You may now obtain data on every element and phase of your business. In today’s data-driven world, businesses leverage the most of data and benefit handsomely from the big data technology. As a result, companies can evaluate consequences based on patterns, statistics, and trends. However, if you can’t figure out what your data is saying, all your hard work will go in vain. It isn’t easy to retain everyone’s attention on your data. You are up against many obstacles, including a lack of data literacy, disengagement, and even a dwindling attention span. Therefore, data visualization, precise interpretation and emotional resonance with data are a must. So, what can you do to overcome this? Data Storytelling is the solution!

Now, are you wondering- what is data storytelling? Well, Data storytelling is the process of convincingly explaining observations of a dataset using compelling narratives and appealing visuals. It helps you make your data insights more relevant to your audience and encourage them to take action.

How is Data Used in Storytelling? – Data Storytelling Examples

Wrapped is an example of Data Storytelling

To utilise your data to tell a story, you need reliable data that leads to the right audience. Give your data a voice, allowing it to speak for itself and your target audience to see its worth. We are all fascinated by stories. Regardless of the subject, they are the most amusing way of delivering a lesson or complicated content. So, get your valuable data out of the suffocating spreadsheet and place them among eye-catching graphics and intriguing stories.

The idea of data The idea of data storytelling isn’t something new. Businesses have been doing it for a long time and have reaped enormous rewards. Spotify Wrapped is a fantastic example of data storytelling. storytelling isn’t something new. Businesses have been doing it for a long time and have reaped enormous rewards. Spotify Wrapped is a fantastic example of data storytelling. Spotify Wrapped succinctly highlights a customer’s past 12 months of streaming activity. Since 2016, Spotify has sent yearly summary stories to its customers in their email inboxes. The data is very clear and engaging; it promotes artists, songs, albums, and genres, as well as the date the content was streamed and the duration of time spent listening. The information is displayed as a factual narrative, making it understandable and attracting more attention and interest. Furthermore, Spotify also includes metrics such as energy, danceability and loudness. Rather than mailing them a random thank you mail, Spotify Wrapped is an interesting approach to expressing the intrinsic worth of their work.

Why is data storytelling important? – 3 Benefits of data storytelling!

Data storytelling brings your dull, raw data to life. Data storytelling aids data scientists and other relevant players in visualising the facts. Further, it helps develop views, observations, and reasoning depending on the data. Data-driven narratives are far more efficient in communicating a point to audiences and driving response. The critical features are easily grasped, and reinforced tales explain the data clearly and appealingly.

So, your spreadsheet and dashboards show you the numbers, but excellent data storytelling will explain the numbers.

3 benefits of data storytelling:

1. Great data stories can help you stay ahead of your market competitors.

Corporate data enables you to create a picture of the brand’s identity, and it is a fascinating technique for addressing the critical challenges of the target customer. In addition, narrating tales using data is an ideal PR strategy, as it may help you outperform your competitors.

2. The interpretation of complex information becomes simple.

Data storytelling is a lifesaver for people who aren’t good with numbers. Storytelling helps to make a complicated reality more understandable. This helps anyone who isn’t an expert in data science to comprehend the results and make decisions based on them. In addition, since most people aren’t familiar with analytics, data storytelling is an excellent method to communicate the findings and draw new perspectives.

3. Churns out customer engagement

Instead of ignoring numbers, your audience will stick around to learn more when the boring data becomes interesting. Data storytelling has a reputation for grabbing people’s attention and generating engagement. Your target audience will connect with you because of your storyline’s captivating aesthetics, visuals, and intriguing plot.

What are the key elements of data storytelling?

Have you ever pondered the best way to communicate a data story to help consumers make smarter judgements? Good data storytelling takes more than putting together a few graphics and random charts. It calls for a number of elements.

3 elements of data storytelling

1. Accurate and reliable data

The information you collect must be precise and trustworthy. This means the information should come from a credible source to reflect a true account accurately. The public can access data from government agencies, academic research, and other sources. Such information is simple to obtain and verify.

2. Data Visualisation

Data visualisation is an integral part of data analytics. It is the depiction of data in an illustrative or graphical manner. Data visualisation enables clients to interpret information easily without requiring extensive technical knowledge. When you view something, your eyes are enticed by colours, designs, patterns, and structures. As a result, turning your findings into diagrams, tables, and infographics allows your audience to perceive the facts in detail.

3. Style of narration

The most important aspect of data storytelling is the narration that goes along with it- Your story. Your data story becomes a critical tool for delivering significant insights when combining visualisations and data as an affirmation. You can reach your audience’s heart and brain by integrating story and graphics.

Are data visualisation and data storytelling the same? (Data Storytelling vs Data Visualisation)

No, data visualisation and data storytelling aren’t the same. Data visualisation benefits memorizing and comprehending information, whereas data storytelling efficiently supports convincing and making the best business choices.

However, data storytelling uses data visualisations to bring critical principles and insights to reality. Data visualisations and data storytelling are not mutually exclusive concepts. Instead, they’re designed to operate together to assist judgement calls in determining the appropriate strategic plan for a company.

How do you create a good data story?

To narrate a fantastic and compelling data story, you must harness the value of your data. Yes, you heard it right. A good story has several layers of aspects that unravel various elements of the story.

Example of best data storytelling

Always remember, every story is crafted considering these three fundamental points:

  1. Character– A character is someone or something which is the story’s focus. There may be several characters, each with a distinct role to play. Here every piece of data, every number, is a character of its own.
  2. Message– Every story has a message to give. It comes with a lesson or information. Similarly, your data story must feature a wealth of facts, clarity, and tons of emotion.
  3. Action: Action is nothing but how your stories generate a response. Some stories leave you awestruck, while some with wet eyes. Your data stories should elicit some response and prompt them to take action. Let your data scare them into giving up fried foods or inspire them to invest in stocks the moment they see your data story. CTAs aren’t just for marketing; data also drive them!

Create a successful data story in 5 simple steps:

1. Always listen to your audience

To draft a data story for your target audience, you must first figure out who they are. Knowing them entails being aware of everything, including consumer behaviour, interests, and pain spots. Understanding them at this level will allow you to assess future demands and consequences and develop data and a story that reflects them.

2. Highlight the relevant data

Recognizing who you’re writing for will assist you in figuring out what kind of information to search for and add in to make it more understandable. For example, you can utilise quantitative data like income, time, or the number of individuals affected, or qualitative data like techniques, strategies, or quotations. Don’t clog up your screen with useless information; focus on what’s vital and required.

3. Be ready with your storyline.

Now that you have identified your target group and have your data in hand, start collating it and weave a relationship out of it. The data you have obtained and the people you are communicating with might have something in common, which could lead to some impacts. Try to incorporate that central idea and construct a story around the three fundamental points outlined above: character, message, and action.

4. Start working on your draft.

Having your plot in mind, you can evaluate which aesthetic styles or arrangements might be most effective. First, doodle up various designs and combinations manually to grasp what would work pictorially. Then, brainstorm and plan your layout, knowing what data is vital, where to put it, what image will match, and what words and quotes would work.

5. Paint some great visuals

Start refining your work with grace and sophistication once everything is in place. Work on your colour palette, select detailed patterns matching your target audience, and research and sprinkle the pain points liberally. Finally, create a story that will pique people’s curiosity and prompt them to take action.

How to create stunning visuals for data storytelling?

Tips for designing stunning visuals in your data story:

  1. Use colours that are relevant to the brand or highlight the topic. For example, add green colour to a story about the nature or environment. Or else, if orange represents your brand, do add orange colour.
  2. When describing a process or flow chart, don’t forget to use arrows or shapes. This makes your material easier to comprehend and absorb.
  3. In some places, add symbols or icons to represent a word- Telephone for a call, lady for women, or something pictorially simple to understand.

Best data storytelling tools in 2022

Numerous data storytelling technologies are being developed to meet the demand for improved data storytelling. We have compiled a list of the top 5 data storytelling tools:

  1. Nugit
  2. Toucan Toco
  3. Flourish
  4. Datawrapper
  5. RAWGraph

Data storytelling is the game-changer of analytics. By 2025, Gartner predicts that data storytelling will be the most widely used method of consuming analytics. As a result, data storytelling has a bright and promising future. So, work on your expertise, polish your inherent skills, and you are good to go. To narrate a fantastic data story, you don’t need to have years of professional experience in designing- if you have attention to detail and an eye for design, you are qualified to be a data storyteller!

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Romina Gopalan is a top-notch upskilling advisor & content writer. Her areas of expertise include Digital Marketing, Data Sciences, IoT, RPA, and UX/UI writing. Her sharp research and writing skills allow her to identify futuristic opportunities. Thus, helping you understand how you can leverage expertise in any domain.

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