Unit 2: Marketing Analytics
Part 5: Storytelling with Data
This post is specifically geared toward authors who are interested in pitching their work to a large publisher or agent. It is for authors who want to concisely convey the growth potential of their writing business.
Before we jump in, I’d like to reference the above Key-Book-Publishing-Paths (click HERE to download if the above image is too small) chart created by my favorite author-educator, Jane Friedman. Which type of author are you? What kind of author do you aspire to be?
If you have self-published a title or two and are looking to pitch your next book to an agent or publisher, this post is for you! We will look at how to take your data – sales numbers, social following, subscriber numbers, etc. – and turn these into part of your pitch presentation.
As an author, you are used to crafting a story out of an image, a memory or a thought: storytelling is your art. As an authorpreneur, you will also need to learn the art of communicating more than just your art or your talent. We are all communicators at heart, and it is important that we communicate our art and our business in ways that not only allow our audience to understand us but also to remember us. This is especially important when you use all the data that you have previously learned to collect and analyze in order to create a telling story about your writing business.
Echostory created this infographic to clearly show The Power of Storytelling:
First of all, you will need to understand the importance of turning your data into a linear story that captures your audience’s (either agent or publisher) attention, and leads them to see a whole picture. This picture contains a logical explanation of your data along a timeline that is easy to process, the overall outlook that you have for your writing business, as well as a conclusion to where you see growth potential. Your presentation should, therefore, contain a proper beginning, middle and end, maintain your audience’s attention, and provide them with a story that they will remember when they go home, and in a week’s time. You want your business story to be remembered and passed along.
In addition to actually crafting a story out of your data, you will also find it beneficial to use images to outline it, something that visually stays in someone’s brain for a while after they have seen it. Pure numbers don’t usually stick around for long, but a story and an image tend to make them more palatable and memorable. You know how important your data is, and you know what it means to you and your business: your aim is to present that to others and make them as excited as you are about it. So, your data-driven story presentation should contain a linear outline, images, and numbers, as well as pertinent labels where necessary.
Another thing to keep in mind is as a communicator not only are we crafting a story, but we are also keeping our audience entertained, and there is nothing better than a little eye candy here and there to keep that entertainment level rolling. When we talk about eye candy in terms of data presentation, we really mean the creation of something visually refreshing and animated, that keeps all eyes and ears on the story and triggers something in your audience. This could be a photo, an animation or a sound bite, and you should use it specifically to create a certain reaction, whether it is feedback, a thought process or even a vision. It’s always important to only use eye candy if it really helps back your story, otherwise, it will defeat your main object, and possibly drive your audience off track.
Another tool that can really help you when communicating a data story is repetition and redundancy. Off the bat, this may sound like it would have the opposite effect, but if this tool is used correctly it can help you. Basically, the way you need to look at it is there are ways to repeat your ideas without actually sounding repetitive. Your main goal is to take your message, data, and visual cues and present them several times in different ways. This may mean taking certain important data and/or information and presenting it in different fashions, using similar visual cues and words to ensure your message is repeated and remembered. Great labels throughout your presentation will always help your audience really understand your message, and also remember it consistently.
Last of all, and probably most importantly, your data story needs to be relatable to your audience (either an agent or a publisher). However exciting, fun, and visually impressive your presentation is, if your audience can’t relate to it then they won’t remember it. You don’t want your hard work to go to nothing. Your aim is to present your written work and writing business in such a way that they can see how partnering will be a win-win for both parties. When entering into a book deal, the publisher wants to know that you’ll create great work but also that you have narrowed your audience and target market so they can build on your success. And you can only do that if you make your data easy to understand and relatable.
You are already a natural storyteller and communicator – now use this gift to tell the story of your business and help it grow!
Growth Hacking Tip: Use Gmail ads to bid on your competitors’ keywords
Use Gmail ads to target by keyword in a user’s inbox. This hack allows you to find people who are likely receiving newsletters and other promotional materials from your competitors, and target them with a similar product.
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Photo of the Week: Catching a wave near Bush Terminal Park in Brooklyn. 🌊
Meal of the Week: Vegan 🍣 ‘sushi’ 🍣 and turmeric lemonade at Le Botaniste in Manhattan.
— Marquina (@Marquina) July 18, 2017