If you’ve got a blog but are starting to worry that you’re filling it with fluff, help is here. And that help comes in the form of hard data. That’s right – studies and statistics can be the key to taking your posts to the next level.
There are two main ways to approach this:
- You’ve already got some good posts that offer advice or expand on topics related to your industry. They’re helpful, well-written, and informative. But maybe they run a little on the short side, or maybe you feel like they lack substance and authority. Referencing statistics can be a great way to add length while lending additional authority to your ideas.
- You have a hard time coming up with ideas for what to write about in your blog posts. Studies and statistics can be great for generating some ideas. If you simply do a search for studies related to your industry, you should come up with all kinds of stuff. Browse through the results, and I’ll bet you find some inspiration.
Regardless of whether you’re using studies and statistics as a starting point or as a way to add substance to your blog, here’s a bit of advice that should set you in the right direction.
Studies and Statistics Can Help Find What You Need
If you’re not sure where to find what you’re looking for, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at just how easy it is. There are readily available (and numerous) studies and statistics for just about any topic you can think of. The easiest way to find what you need is through a simple search.
Here are a few random searches I did, and what I came up with.
Home Improvement Statistics
Review the search results and check to make sure you have reliable sources. Studies that come from an unbiased research bureau or trade organization are normally ideal.
And a few reliable sources for general statistical data to get you started:
U.S. Census Data – Find demographic information, including age and sex, urban/rural composition, and income.
Global Entrepreneurship Monitor – Find data about entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Federal Reserve – Consumer Credit Data
A.T. Kearney – Connected Consumer Study
Consumer Barometer with Google – Offers a variety of curated insights and data related to consumer behavior. Plus, check out the graph-building tool.
International Journal of Consumer Studies – You’ll have to pay for access, but you’ll find lots of valuable scholarly studies related to consumer behavior.
U.S. Small Business Administration – Official source for a variety of studies and statistics related to the economy, entrepreneurship, labor, income, demographics, etc.
Plunkett Research, Ltd. – Offering multiple levels of paid access, this site allows you to view a sizable database of market research. You can also order custom research projects. (If you’re not sure about the paid membership, there is a free trial option).
Hoovers – Pay per download to access industry reports and competitor data.
Use the Data in an Interesting Way
Once you’ve gathered the data you need for your post, the next thing to do is to transform it into a format that is interesting and engaging. Statistics on their own are informative, but not much fun to read.
Statistics – Make them Visual
Studies show that people are 80 percent more likely to read a piece of content with colored visuals (Xerox). Images, especially those with color, draw people in and increase engagement. Even if the content itself is the same, it seems less dry when there’s at least one image.
If you want to use a visual medium to communicate information, then infographics are a good way to go. Infographics get 3 times as many likes and shares on social media than any other type of content (Massplanner).
To create your own infographics, you can check out one of these easy-to-use, free (and/or cheap) tools:
Canva Infographic Maker – simple interface. Many free elements, with premium elements available for just $1 each.
Easel.ly – offers many different templates, with free and low-cost subscription options.
Venngage – one of the most intuitive to use, this tool lets you produce branded infographics for free, or pay a monthly fee for unbranded infographics and additional features.
It may take some time to get the hang of it at first, but once you’ve used one of these tools for an hour or so, you’ll find it easy to turn studies and statistics into vibrant visual aids.
When creating your infographics, remember not to overwhelm the reader with an excess of information. Instead, choose your most important data points. 10 different points should be the absolute maximum for most purposes. If you have additional statistical information you want to share, do it within the text of your post.
The purpose of the infographic is to distill the essential points into an appealing format. This enhances the overall experience for readers who review the whole post from start to finish, as well as for those who just skim. Even if you only skim a post or article, you probably stop to look carefully at an infographic.
You can also weave studies and statistics into your normal informative, advice, and story-based posts. The problem that many bloggers run into here is that they get all these great stats, then they just throw them into a dry list with little to no explanation.
If you’re going to be using statistics, you should think about what point you’re trying to prove. The statistics should back up your larger point. At the very least, you should provide some context for the stats you use.
So, for instance:
44 percent of women online use Pinterest, but just 16 percent of online men do (Pew Research)
gives you some information, but don’t you really want to know more about what the writer thinks? It might be better to say:
More women than men use Pinterest (44% of online women vs. 16% of online men), so if you’re planning to use this platform, think about your target audience. If you have a visual or project-based demographic, this could work, but know that you’ll mostly reach women. You might also reach a subset of men if you deal in home decor or other DIY interests.
There’s a clear difference here – one provides you with a statistic accompanied by zero explanation, while the other explains the relevance of the statistic.
If you read the statistic without context, your first thought might be “well, I shouldn’t use Pinterest if I want to reach a broader segment of the population,” or it might be “I should only market to women via this platform.” But neither of these is exactly correct.
On the contrary, you don’t necessarily need “female specific” marketing techniques, nor should you assume men aren’t paying attention if you’re using Pinterest as a marketing platform. How you use the platform depends more on what you’re marketing (though the demographic is important as well). You don’t come to a blog to get the statistic (you can get that on your own). You come for the analysis.
As long as you provide the context and allow your expertise to shine through, studies and statistics can do a world of good for your content. To stand out from the crowd, make sure your blog posts incorporate great writing, storytelling, and images when applicable. Stats alone won’t help your blog, but they will beef up already great content if you use them right. If you have fun with writing and are an expert in your field, adding statistics to your posts should only make things better. Try it out; If you’re still enjoying yourself, chances are you’re doing it right!