8 Places to Find Data to Support Your Content
If you read the Eloqua Community State of the Content Marketing 2014 report, you will notice a trend.
58% of respondents use presentations and slide decks. 40% produce infographics and a staggering 76% use white papers and eBooks in their content strategies.
Now, what’s the one thing that all these content types share?
They are all based on data. Blog posts or memes can feature your ideas but if you want to convince someone to work with you through an eBook or a slidedeck perhaps, you need to include data to support your points.
And that’s also where the main challenge content marketers face each day: where to find meaningful data to fuel and support that content (not to mention find stories in that data to communicate through your content).
Well, rejoice. For this post I decided to put together a list of resources that can help you gather the data necessary for your next project.
Academic journals and other high authority research publications can provide you with a ton of useful data and resources to back up your point. Buffer use tons of it on their blog (just check out this post for instance), so do people like Gregory Ciotti or Derek Halpern.
If you don’t have direct access to academic libraries, which I doubt you would, Google Scholar can help you find relevant research for your posts.
Tip: As many research papers are often restricted as to who can access them, I usually use the inurl:pdf query to find direct access to PDFs.
Similarly to Scholar, Google Books offers access to unlimited numbers of books related to your topic. Simply enter your topic and Google will provide you with a list of related books. Moreover, you can preview or even read many of the books online for free.
Similarly to Google Scholar, ResearchGate provides access to various academic research papers. Being a sort of a social network for researchers, it allows you to reach out to individual authors to ask for data verification but also, request copies of their papers (which I have done few times) if you can’t access them in any other way.
Zanran calls itself a search engine for data and statistics. And, that’s what it does. It allows you to find semi-structured data – graphs, tables and reports on pretty much anything you want.
Even though it’s typically used to monitor the web for content that’s of interest to you, Alerts can sometimes return some interesting data on topics you keep an eye on. You can also set specific alerts to monitor for research findings in your area of interest.
Guardian offers a section on its website devoted to the collection of and analysis of various data and research.
For those of us not afraid to dip their toes in to a geekier side of life, Freebase can be great resources of data.
Freebase calls itself a “community-curated database of well-known people, places, and things”. It is basically a huge knowledge graph of places, people and things.
You can extract different information from Freebase with queries. I am not technologically gifted enough to use it but if you feel you can, here are some example queries to get you started.
Lastly, Your Own Data
Funny how we never think of own data when creating content. And you may not even realize how much information your company might have already. Statistics, traffic, customer preferences, most common issues, support queries and a lot more could form a base of a lot of engaging content.
Creative commons image by Tom Brown / Flickr