You’ve probably read a blog post where a writer crammed five stats in one paragraph. But you’ve also skimmed content that only had one stat in the entire blog post.
Is there such a thing as having too many (or too few) stats in your content? Any experienced content marketer will tell you: it depends.
Let’s review five questions to determine whether you should add more stats or edit them out of your next content piece.
Why Add Statistics to Your Content?
Here are a few reasons why content marketers should consider adding statistics to their content:
Enhance credibility: Statistics provide evidence to support your claims and arguments to increase the credibility of your content. By using data from reputable sources, your audience will recognize that your message is based on fact, rather than just opinion.
Engage your audience: Statistics can make your content more engaging by illustrating and reinforcing your points. Data makes your narrative realistic and relatable to your audience.
Provide context: They can add depth and context by providing for your audience to understand the subject matter. For instance, if you’re discussing a complex or technical topic, statistics can make the information more accessible and easier to grasp.
Make your content relevant: By using statistics specific to your audience, you can show how your content relates to their needs and interests. You’ll make your content more relevant and meaningful to your audience and increase its impact.
Support your arguments: Statistics can support and strengthen your arguments with evidence. For example, if you’re making a case for a particular course of action, you could use data to show the potential benefits or drawbacks of different options.
5 Questions to Determine How Many Stats to Add
The best practice is to include around one or two stats per article, depending on the content’s length and context. Of course, every content piece is different — so use these questions to decide how many stats to include.
1. What is Your Purpose?
Content serves a specific purpose. You may want to educate readers about a novel topic or inform them about the latest news from your perspective.
The content’s purpose also may involve the buyer’s journey. If you’re communicating with hesitant buyers, your purpose will be to get them through the checkout process.
Similarly, the stats within your content should serve your content’s purpose. The stats can support your opinions showing readers why they should believe you. Or the stats can display a stark contrast to your viewpoint, allowing you to tell your story.
2. Is the Stat Relevant to Your Audience?
Statistics should match your readers’ interests. If the stat fails to resonate, it may not hold their attention and could potentially distract from the overall message.
Relevancy is not about stating the obvious. You want your stats to coincide with your audience’s experiences, expertise, and needs. Andrew Johnson, a former senior content analyst for Content Science, agrees:
“With the size of the digital universe currently doubling every two years, there’s no shortage of content out there for your audience to choose from. Your customers or users seek content that matches both their level of expertise and specific needs.”
Chat with your sales and customer support team to understand what’s relevant to your audience. Their insights can guide you to select stats that will intrigue your readers.
3. Does the Statistic Highlight Your Main Points?
Stats should contribute to the main points of your content.
Ask yourself: Do the stats provide evidence or support for my main points? Do they illustrate a trend or pattern that is relevant to my topic?
For example, you don’t want to include a stat about how content marketing helps eCommerce businesses when your content focuses on nonprofits. You’ll only confuse your readers.
If a statistic doesn’t contribute to your main points, it may be best to edit it out or save it for a different piece of content.
Also, consider the source of the statistic. Using statistics from reputable sources and citing them properly can add credibility to your argument.
On the other hand, using statistics from questionable sources can undermine your main points. So, you’ll want to avoid grabbing stats from outdated roundup posts.
4. How Does the Stat Enhance Your Narrative?
Statistics should provide an extra layer of support to your content. Consider stats the armor that protects your assertions.
When choosing statistics, think about how they can strengthen your narrative. Stats should advance your story and offer evidence to back up your claims.
Also, don’t feel pressured to mention and move to the next topic. Stats are just one element of the larger story, so get creative.
“Stories naturally allow for more creative liberties. Rather than trying to blankly explain some process or some collection of items, you get to come up with a cast of characters, and imagine what they do (and how they do it),” says Anna Johansson, contributor at The Tilt.
For instance, present the stat to the reader, then show how a customer proved the statistic wrong. Explain how your product offers a solution despite what research says. In this scenario, the stat becomes a critical piece of your narrative.
5. Does the Stat Have Visual Appeal?
Statistics with a visual appeal can engage your readers and make your writing more memorable. Incorporating visuals, such as charts, graphs, or diagrams, can convey complex information in a more easily understood way.
Visuals can also help to draw readers in and keep their attention, making your article more engaging and interesting. When presenting statistics in your content, consider whether adding visuals could enhance the impact of the information.
Check out this LinkedIn ad from Brex, a spend management software. To promote its latest CFO Survey, the brand used statistics along with progress circle charts.
To Add or Not to Add, Statistics
Statistics are a value-add to your content. You don’t want to add them just to please your editor. Instead, focus on your audience’s needs and interests when adding stats to your content.