Having a great design on a piece of content is really important and you can find a post here on things that make a great design. But the design can only ever be as strong as the data supporting it. Data gathering and research is one of the most time consuming part of content creation and is extremely vital to the success of the campaign. Not every brand has the luxury of having an amazing internal data source and the majority that do, don’t know how to harvest it properly. In this post I want to take you though a number of sources that can be used to get great, relevant and up to date data.
When to Use Data Sources?
Data sources aren’t just great for harvesting data but can be used to generate whole content campaigns. Before the brainstorming stage it can be a worthwhile exercise to peruse a couple of large sources to understand what research or studies have been done recently which could lend themselves to a larger campaign.
The best way to do this is to follow a similar pre-brainstorm framework such as the one below to allow a brainstorming team to correctly understand the themes and topics that the data lends itself too.
For example if a client lends itself to the automotive sector (by product of consumer interest) I could fill in the second column with a study on drink driving accidents and column three with the themes of accidents and laws. These hypothetically could lead a brainstorming team to content ideas such as “Does the UK know Speeding/ Drinking limits” (survey and data).
So lets look at all the different data sources, which can be great in generating ideas and supporting amazing pieces of content.
Surveys are a great way of getting unique data and creating a brand new news story. They also make great supporting pieces of content, for example if we were to build an interactive tool that lets you work out a metric such as how happy you are, we would then create a static infographic with survey data on how happy the UK is.
When it comes to surveys there are 3 main data providers to use. Google surveys are great for those with a very limited budget however as a word of warning some journalists may question the validity of the data.
One poll are much more trusted data source due to the way they conduct their surveys. This is also a known brand amongst journalists and carries a seal of approval. Finally the more expensive option would be to use a You.Gov survey.
The unique data you receive from a survey allows you to create great content and you have a unique hook, which no other brand can copy.
Data.gov.uk is a great source for national statistics. Their filter and search function allows you to browse old data and new datasets. This function is also great as they often publish the same report with yearly updates so if you’re looking for comparisons or trends you can export multiple years.
The data is available in a number of different formats depending on the report type. With national statistics and trends, you need to ensure the latest data set is included in the research, the site also allows you to filter by recently published.
You can also use the Office of National Statistics as a way to find further Government data.
If you are looking for something beyond national statistics European Union Open Data Portal is a great sources for EU data. On the homepage, the site regularly shows what datasets have recently been updated. This is a great way to stay on top of the most recent research available. It also appeals to journalists form a time sensitive angle, as many journalists will not have been exposed to this data yet.
The site also allows you to use SPARQL to search their database for particular namespaces or query’s which is great if you looking for very specific data.
London Specific Data
Data.london.gov.uk has London specific data in it relating to employment, environment, habitation and health. It’s really useful if you are looking to compare London to other cities or areas across the country.
Police and Crime Data
Data.police.uk has all the stats relating to crime across the UK. You will be able to find crime data for every UK force. You will be able to pull crime rates and the break down of what crimes are committed over a number of years to find trends.
Although there is not one site I can point you towards, University data is a great, slightly underused data source. Many universities publish data and research form their lectures on their site. You also have the ability to email departments and see if they would like to work in collaboration to produce joint research.
Also master dissertations are a great way to find research that has already been carried out.
Although this is a paid solution it offers a number of insights into data from a number of niches and topics. Again it is worthwhile keeping an eye on the dates the data was retrieved. It has a huge back catalogue and although for some campaigns this data can still be relevant, it’s always worth keeping on top of new data. The most recent statistics is a great widget on the statista home page to keep an eye on.
These really are just the tip of a very data heavy ice-berg. If you’re interested in creating any data heavy pieces of content please get in touch with the team or find some of our case studies on the main site.