A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Create Useful Data-Driven Content

A data-driven visual.

To create a typical data-driven article, a lot of research, research, and research is required. After that, you will need to put your findings into aesthetically pleasing visuals like the one above.

Marketers and bloggers create such content to deliver high-quality, informative articles to their audience. Besides that, they also use data-driven content to showcase authority in their industry. When someone needs statistics to back up an article, they could use this content, thus earning the marketer a backlink. Data-driven articles also rank quicker on the SERPs as there aren’t many of them out there.

As you can see, there are lots of benefits to creating data-driven content. And that is why people put so much effort in.

In this post, we’re going to walk you through the steps you can take to compile your first data-driven article. After compiling, use the free tool on Zen flowchart to present your thoughts in a visually-pleasing format. They have lots of flowchart shapes and mind mapping elements you need to get started with creating something that looks like the above.

How to create useful data-driven content

1.   Find a topic

What do you want to write about?

Simple as that may sound, it’s actually quite complicated for data-driven pieces. For regular articles, you can find a topic to write about by brainstorming or checking competitors’ sites.

However, when it comes to data-driven articles, you may not have that luxury. And the reason is that not every topic has the potential to generate sufficient data. Also because not all data are relevant to an audience.

So, when you’re researching topics for a data-driven article, you need to consider things like:

1) What is the potential for finding sufficient data for a topic?

2) Does this topic have the potential for plenty of subtopics?

3) What is the relevance of this topic to my audience? I.E., Will the data collected/discussed offer readers any real-time value?

4) Will people want to reference the statistics and findings in their articles?

If all of the above checks out for a topic, then that topic should be good.

Imagine you run an Instagram marketing business, and you want to create a data-driven article for your blog. A good subject area for a data-driven article will be analyzing the app’s income potential. Such a topic can lead you to statistics about the app usage, user usage, demographics, etc. In terms of relevance to users, your findings can be used by influencers looking to monetize Instagram or businesses looking to make sales off the platform. And, of course, other Instagram-based articles will gladly use your stats in their post if your findings are legit and concrete.

How to find a topic for a data-driven article

  • Conduct niche-specific research to see what’s trending in your industry
  • Look into narrowing down generic topics. For example, a broad topic like Parenting 101 can be narrowed down into something like “How to train a minor.”
  • Browse hundreds of sites in your niche and identify what’s not being talked about. Use the knowledge gap to your own advantage.
  • Use tools like Buzzsumo to see what people in your industry are talking about
  • Research industry-relevant pages on social media to find knowledge gaps.

2.   Research, Research, Research

A data-driven article is only as good as the amount of research you put into creating it. If you do minimal research, you don’t need anyone telling you you’ll get surface-only information. However, if you go deep, you’ll definitely find information hidden from others.

To create a piece that will be useful to your audience, you have to spread your wings far and wide to find things others wouldn’t.

I see a lot of people dedicating special hours to research. But that’s not really necessary. I do my best research when I don’t even intend to, like when on a bus. Also, you can follow the top 15 authority sites in your niche. Usually, these sites contain credible information – information you can use as supporting facts for your article.

3.   Focus on the important stuff

While researching, you’ll definitely come across a lot of information. However, not all of these will be useful to your audience or your point of argument.

To ensure your article is laser-focused, you should limit your information extraction to only those data that support your point of argument.

For example, let’s say you’re writing about the topic, “How to make money from home as a freelancer.” Generic data from the remote work industry may not be relevant to your write-up. Yes, freelancing is a form of remote work but don’t forget the remote work industry also encompasses full-time workers. Since you’re talking about freelancers, there’s no point mentioning generic data like that of the entire remote work industry.

4.   Create your article

With everything you’ve gathered, you should have enough to write your piece. So, go ahead and do your thing.

As a general rule, it’s advisable to first create a content outline that details the different subject areas discussed in the article. You can note this outline somewhere and then check each item off the list as soon as you create content for it.

Also, considering the context of the article, visual elements are a must. You can’t just write blocks of text and expect readers to understand your findings. You have to present your discoveries in visual formats, e.g., charts, graphs, infographics, etc. Such content will help readers quickly grasp your message.

Additionally, turning your data into visual content makes it possible for other webmasters and site owners to use your findings in their articles. And that’s a guaranteed way of earning backlinks.


Data-driven articles come around once in a while. And that’s because they require extra effort to create.

If you have the time and know-how, you should make it a habit to create such content regularly. As we’ve shown in this article, there’s a lot your site can gain from data-driven content. So, please, don’t be too lazy to create them.

By Uday Tank, Entrepreneur and Content Marketing Leader at Rankwisely

Edited by Zintle Nkohla

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