Beyond Enlightenment – How to Make an Impact With Data Storytelling

Beyond Enlightenment – How to Make an Impact With Data Storytelling

This is a guest post by Brian Skewes, a technologist into deconstruction. Over two decades of self-employment, he has accumulated a wealth of inadvertent real-world lessons related to building, running, and preserving a small company.

There’s a phrase that’s become popular in web analytics, digital marketing, and business consultancy in the last few years: data is everything.

There’s a lot to recommend it. It’s short, snappy, and captures the importance of data to the way in which we do business today. Whether you are building organic links or in the process of drafting an employee development plan, the path to success runs right through a big ‘ol pile of numbers.

Unfortunately, there’s more to numbers than just numbers.

This is due to the nature of data itself. The problem with relying on numbers and nothing else is that no matter how impressive it is, it also remains inscrutable, incomprehensible, or simply boring for the majority of people. Unless your audience is composed entirely of the type of person who can instantly visualize columns of figures, you are going to need to provide some context for the ever-so-impressive stats.

This is where the concept of storytelling comes in.

In this Process Street article, we’ll look at how you can go beyond data acquisition, compilation, and presentation. We’ll show you how to make your data come alive through the magic of storytelling.

Once upon a time…
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5 Essential Lessons I Learned From GitLab’s Marketing Playbook

5 Essential Lessons I Learned From GitLab's Marketing Playbook

Writers are inherently nosy curious. Here at Process Street, we’re no different. So when I was given the opportunity to check out GitLab’s marketing playbook, I jumped at it.

GitLab itself is an interesting company. Completely remote and open source, GitLab’s evolution comes not only from its own development teams, but also contributions from a community of over 3,000 contributors and two million users. Plus it promotes total transparency; all of GitLab’s documentation is freely accessible on their website.

Like I said, interesting place.

There are enough similarities between our two companies, that their approach is particularly valuable in terms of what procedures we might steal learn from to improve our own processes.

And we love improving processes.

In this article, I’ll list the five most important lessons I learned from GitLab’s marketing playbook:

So, let’s get started.
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How to Create A+ Content with a Content Development Process

Content Development

Content marketing. Content strategy. Content… development? 🤯

There are so many content-related words buzzing around the world wide web.

Confused?

I don’t blame you.

However, any marketer or content creator worth their salt will know that content development is not a process to skimp out on.

That’s why, in this article, I’ll be discussing – and all in plain terms – what content development is and why it’s important. Plus, I’ll provide you with a content development process that’ll ensure you’ll research, create, edit, and promote stellar content audiences will want to engage with. Every. Single. Time.

Simply read through the following sections to get the complete low-down on content development:

Ready to become content with your content?

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9 Places to Find The Best Copywriting Examples for Your Swipe File

Copywriting Examples

Your boss has just asked you to write an email telling your customers their free trial has ended and encouraging them to upgrade to premium.

Where do you start? What do these emails look like? If you had a swipe file, you’d have a reference point straight away.

Swipe files are collections of material kept by creatives for easy reference, consisting of great material you can learn from. If you’re just starting out, you’ll probably want to start making one and be prepared for your next assignment.

It’s best to amass your swipe file as you go, quickly adding quality copywriting examples when you see them and tagging for easy reference. Keep reading to find out how to do this using Evernote. But first, let’s look at where you can find awesome material to get started.

Swiped.co

While relatively new, Swiped is actively archiving a large selection of new and classic ads, emails, pop-ups, sales letters, direct mail examples and more.

If you’ve already got some material for your swipe file, go ahead and upload it to Swiped! It survives on user uploads and is an amazing labor of love by Mike Schauer.

Swiped Copywriting Examples Home Page

It was created because archives of ads are sparse, and if you’re a copywriter or advertisers without a hefty swipe file you’ll have to rely on the rare chance that someone has uploaded the advert you want to reference somewhere on the web.

As it turns out, most people don’t really like ads that much. More often than not, you won’t find what you’re looking for.
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Writing a Listicle: The 11-Step Guide and Why They’re Awesome

listicle

One problem dominates the field when setting out to write a listicle.

They’ve been done to death, and a lot of us are sick of them.

From Buzzfeed and the Huffington Post to Bustle and beyond, thousands of lists are published every year, the majority of which are not exactly high-quality.

People see lists and have been trained to think “clickbait”. That’s what this post will help to avoid and prevent.

Read on to find out:

  • What a “listicle” is
  • Why they are so popular (to read and write)
  • How to plan a listicle in 6 steps
  • How to write a listicle in 5 steps

Enough talk – let’s get to it.

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The Inbound Community’s Guide to Perfecting Your Blogging Process

blogging process

When was the last time you forced your eyes onto a glaring screen at 4am, furiously typing after just waking up with the best idea ever?

Last night? Never? Well, neither answer is surprising. As I suspected (yet can now say with complete certainty) content writers are an odd mix between two types of people:

  • Charles Bukowski hammering at his typewriter with classical music blaring through the radio
  • A strait-laced data nerd, carefully analyzing keywords and writing content that has been proven to engage before it even hits Twitter.

While readers think of content in terms of ‘video’, ‘infographic’ and ‘blog post’, we writers think of it as that damn thing which keeps us up at night. So much so that Ed Fry, general manager at Inbound.org, has started writing short-form posts to get the idea out of his head and allow for a proper night’s sleep.

A recent thread at Inbound.org revealed excellent tips which both shared new ideas with me and reassured me that I’m not wrong in the head.

In the discussion, members of the Inbound community like Mention’s Brittany Berger and SplashOPM’s Derric Haynie share their blogging process – both step-by-step (for the more ‘together’ writers) and free-form rambling-style.

In this post, I’ve collated and curated the information to give you an overview of how successful and prolific content writers go from idea, to draft to finished piece.

I’ll also be taking careful note of the way I write this post, and give you a bullet-pointed rundown at the end.

Which text editors do bloggers use, exactly? Should you write to educate or provoke discussion? How far in advance should you plan your content? Let’s find out.

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4 Writing Mistakes to Avoid (Unless You Like Sounding Silly)

Writing Mistakes to Avoid

If you’re looking for a study that nicely sums up why business writing is distant, pretentious and ruthlessly disengaging, look no further than 5 Monkeys and a Ladder. This famous urban legend, based on two real sociological experiments, explains the close-minded and anti-growth attitudes that result in the inflated, artless tone content and copywriters so easily slip into.

The Study

Five monkeys live in a room with a ladder, a bunch of bananas and a cold water sprinkler. When a monkey goes to the top of the ladder to reach for the bananas, the sprinkler turns on and splashes the others with cold water. The other angry monkeys beat it up, and it eventually learns to stop trying.

Monkeys in a room

The monkeys are replaced one by one, and each new monkey tries to climb the ladder for the bananas but is pulled down and beaten up by the rest of the group. After some time, the last original monkey is replaced with a new one and tries to climb the ladder. Guess what happens… they all try to stop it, without even knowing they’ll get sprayed with water, just because that’s the way things are.

“The most damaging phrase in the language is: ‘It’s always been done that way.’” – Grace Hopper

The Way Boring People Write

Something we should remind ourselves of in times like these is an essay by George Orwell called “Politics and the English Language.” Unlike his other informative essays such as “A Nice Cup of Tea,” this was directed at politicians, those timeless masters of verbal trickery. Orwell was sick of being given watered-down truth cloaked in fancy, meaningless language. In this post, I’ll go through some of the writing mistakes to avoid making, and how it can be applied today.
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