What is data-driven storytelling?

Data-driven storytelling combines hard facts with human emotions to help craft an engaging narrative that’s anchored by facts. It uses data visualization techniques (i.e., charts and images) to help convey the meaning of the data in a way that’s relevant and engaging.

“We need Storytelling. Otherwise, life just goes on and on like the number Pi.”
– Ang Lee, Filmmaker

It is not new to tell stories using data. For instance, data-driven journalism has been growing for several years.

Data-driven storytelling is not only an information collection type but also a particular presentation style. It is used by in-house communications, marketing, and even in electoral campaigns (known as data-driven political campaigns). Power comes from winning tight races. And, to win tight races, you must have a winning message.

If we use social media also as an example of heavily analyzed stories with data (clicks, impressions and conversions) – the most commonly searched question regarding social media is: “How can I get more followers?*” The answer, well-defined, consistent story.

The same applies today; 2000 years later, the science behind storytelling is rock solid.

The classical Greek philosopher Aristotle (384-322 b.c.e) never sat at a computer keyboard but he was one of humankind’s greatest intellectual figures and set out a few basic elements to telling a compelling story. In his book Poetics, Aristotle states “The exhibition of character by a hero must be consistent” and even accepted if a character is “inconsistent, still he must be consistently inconsistent.” The same applies today, 2000 years later the science behind storytelling is rock solid.

*Insights via Sprout Social.