If you’re struggling to come up with ideas for branded content, it’s possible that you aren't looking for inspiration in the right place. There's no need to search far and wide for external data sources. You could be sitting on a content gold mine and don’t even know it.
Most brands already have troves of information that exist nowhere else. This information is the foundation of interesting stories that will appeal to both publishers and audiences.
So where is this content gold mine hidden? Right under your nose. Your company’s internal data can be the starting point for amazing material.
What Is Internal Data?
Internal data is information, statistics, and trends that organizations discover through their operations. It includes facts and figures that companies pull from internal databases, software, customers, decision-making, and reports.
Internal data may include the following:
- sales trends and metrics
- customer habits
- software user trends
- operational trends
- leadership decision-making
- marketing data
- internal research
- cash flow reports
- results from surveys
Unlike external data, which is available to the public, internal data is exclusive to a brand. It’s information that is not available anywhere else. This is just one of the reasons why this type of data analysis is so perfect for brand storytelling.
The Benefits of Using Internal Data in Content Marketing
Exclusive, original data is perfect for content marketing because both publishers and readers love it. Like big data, internal data can be turned into a variety of brand stories that publishers want to promote on their websites and audiences want to read and share. Content based on original data attracts attention and comes with several other benefits.
Rather than regurgitating what the rest of your industry is saying in their content, sharing your company data allows you to present something unique. By opening the kimono and sharing your internal data sets, you’re offering something that can’t be found anywhere else; this is extremely attractive to publishers looking for original content that shares new information.
Audiences enjoy educational content that shows them something they haven’t see before. By using internal data, you can create valuable content that educates, introduces new ideas, and/or provides support for existing ideas.
IN A 2020 STUDY WITH BUZZSTREAM, we sought to find out what the most authoritative methodologies were.Data analytics seems to be the most authoritative way to create content, beating all other content executions.
Releasing valuable data helps position your brand as an authority. You can be seen as a go-to source for data about your industry, which can lead to journalists and industry analysts regularly citing your data-centric content.
More and more customers crave transparency from the brands they love. Opening up your organization and sharing insider information is a way to give customers an inside look into your brand. Kinds of data can include marketing strategy information, production reports, business decisions, sales data, or other internal data sources.
Customers crave transparency because it helps them trust brands. When your data scientists share internal data and an inside look at your business or operations or business decisions, it shows that your company values openness. This lets your customers know you have nothing to hide, which builds trust and lasting consumer-brand relationships.
In a content-filled world, getting brand exposure is difficult. It’s hard to stand out. But original, internal data allows you to cut through the noise and get your brand in front of a larger audience through earned media. Audiences are introduced to your brand and left with an impression that will allow them to recognize and remember your brand.
Internal data is also useful for promoting your brand and showing its value. You can use your internal data to show how your products or services benefit your customers. The data can show how you differ and stand out from competitors, putting your brand in a position to resonate with potential customers.
Sharing internal data helps brands connect with publishers, readers, and even potential customers, but how do you find this data and use it to your advantage?
Examples of Brands Using Company Data for Content Marketing
Let’s look at a few brands that are using internal data to create captivating brand stories and content marketing campaigns.
Spotify Provides Originality
Spotify, a streaming music service app, collects data all day every day. As listeners select songs, playlists, and artists, the music app collects information on the user’s musical choices as well as their location and demographics.
Spotify has unique access to listeners’ habits and traits; this allows it to create original, unique content that isn’t available anywhere else. The company shares the information and trends it uncovers in its data on the Spotify Culture and Trends Blog. A few examples of how it has used the data include:
- The Trends that Shaped Streaming in 2020
- The Top Songs, Artists, Playlists, and Podcasts of 2019-- and the Last Decade
- Here's What Families' Streamed Most in 2020 on Spotify Kids
By tapping into its resource of internal data that no other brand or organization has access to, Spotify creates original stories and insights that can’t be found anywhere else.
Glassdoor Delivers Value
With thousands upon thousands of company reviews and job postings on their site, Glassdoor can collect data on hiring, pay and the broader economy across the world. Instead of keeping this data to itself, Glassdoor shares the data on its Research Page.
The Economic Research page shares all kinds of information on various topics, such as workplace trends, the gender pay gap, and employee retention. It also shares data on the busiest time for job seekers, as well as and growth and decline rates of major employment industries.
The graphs and charts provide valuable information for both job seekers and employees. By providing useful insights, Glassdoor can help its audience while attracting users to the platform and growing its brand recognition.
Movoto Establishes Authority
Movoto is a real estate website that includes thousands of property listings. The information from the listings provides Movoto with an extremely deep database of information on everything from home prices and purchase trends to house sizes, property tax rates, and more.
Movoto is more than a real estate listing site; the business also includes licensed brokers in over 30 states. So, the company found a way to use its data to help buyers and become a leading authority in the home-buying research space so as to support the brokerage portion of its business.
In the Market Trends section of its website, it shares detailed reports on the housing market in cities across the country. Users can sort through data and adjust charts based on dates, home styles, and location and compare information for nearby cities.
By using its huge resource of data, Movoto is able to show off its knowledge base, build its authority, and guide its target customers through the purchasing process.
Buffer Provides Transparency
Buffer is a suite of tools to help brands better manage your social media presence. Buffer's clients rely on it for providing social media scheduling and analytics tools to improve engagement and overall reach with their customers. So to display to its clients it helps, Buffer uses data and transparency to show how it supports its own business.
On the Buffer blog, team members regularly share statistics and data from its operations. In the “Resources” section of the blog, they reveal not only social media data, like when the best time to post on Instagram is, but also insights to how they run their business.
In the post, “Reflecting on Ten Years of Building Buffer,” they dig deep into Buffer's journey and share revenue data as well as tell their story over the past 10 years with great transparency.
By peeling back the layers of its business and opening it up for the world to see, Buffer is using data to be transparent, show its authority, and build trust with an audience who it hopes will turn into customers.
HubSpot Builds Trust
HubSpot is a leading inbound marketing software that also acts as a leading inbound marketing resource. The company provides both software and educational content to help its clients achieve success.
HubSpot shows that it is a reliable resource in its industry by using content to build trust. It shares free content marketing information through dozens of ebooks, white papers, blog posts, and its annual State of Marketing Report.
The State of Marketing is an in-depth resource that includes results from HubSpot’s annual survey of marketers. The report shows that HubSpot knows what it is talking about and that it has access to leading information in the industry.
By sharing a deep resource of marketing knowledge and insights, HubSpot shows customers why they should turn to it and trust its products and knowledge when they have content marketing needs.
Fitbit Establishes Brand Recognition
Fitbit is a smartwatch company that builds products that encourage its customers to be more active and adopt healthy habits using personal health data. The company uses data to motivate their customers to move more by tracking their workouts, calories burned, heart rate, sleep and much more.
The Fitbit blog regularly features stories with trends in data collected by Fitbit's wearable devices. By using information that is exclusive to its database, Fitbit can gain brand exposure by sharing content that is relevant to a large audience.
Some interesting data stories include:
- Finding Your Pandemic Flow: New Fitbit Data Reveals Your New Favorite Activities
- Fitbit Data Can Help You Beat Afternoon Energy Crashes
- Fitbit Research in Europe Reveals Renewed Focus on Our Health During COVID-19 Restrictions
By pulling interesting and unique stories from its data, Fitbit can catch the attention of online audiences, spread awareness about its brand, and build brand recognition with each data-focused blog post.
Kaspersky Labs Shows Its Value
With more than 400 million users across the world, Kaspersky is a large antivirus and internet security software provider with access to tons of information on cyber threats.
Kaspersky doesn’t keep this deep pool of data to itself. Instead, it shares the data to help its clients and show the value of its products. By highlighting stats on cybersecurity risks, it shares an insider look at its industry while educating customers on why they need antivirus software.
The antivirus company has a blog, Kaspersky Labs, that is filled with resources on digital security tips, studies, products, and trends. It also created the Cyberthreat Real-Time Map, an interactive website that allows audiences to see what type of digital threats are happening around the world.
By sharing findings from its database on cyber security, Kaspersky can expose the problem that its brand solves. This shows its value to its customers while educating them on an interesting topic.
Internal Data Provides Value to Businesses
As you can see, many brands have compelling, unique stories at their disposal. They just need to know how to uncover them. So, the next time your creative team meets to brainstorm new content marketing ideas, take time to look at the resources that are already available to you.
Consider the information that you already have in your databases, operational methods, surveys, and internal reports. Think about how you can use that data to create brand stories that are original, transparent, and valuable – and how to create content that leverages your unique information to build authority, trust, and brand recognition.