5 brands using data to generate blog content

Like it or not, your brand’s blog is important. According to eMarketer, brand sites and related pages are still the primary way a consumer gets information about a company. A study last year found that 48 percent of online shoppers said they trusted content on brand websites. If that sounds small, it’s still more than the percentage of people who trust mainstream news.

The IPG’s New Realities study this month found that consumers liked searching out information on brands — and if an engaging experience was part of the process, they were likelier to remember the brand and adopt it. 

But short of weighing in on what’s trending online or simply pushing out dry company news, it can be hard to figure out what content to put out there. A growing swathe of brands is turning to proprietary data to create interesting content. “Owned content that highlights data — particularly visual content like infographics — conveys a large amount of information very quickly, and people tend to pass it along on their own social media. The more entertaining the content, the more shareable it is to a larger segment of consumers,” said Matt Thornbrough, svp manging director of Media Partnership Corporation.

Below, five of the better ones.

This week, Spotify launched the Insights data blog, which will feature articles about music and how people listen to it. The company says it has data on 20 million songs and listening habits across the world. The platform tapped the services of Eliot van Buskirk, a former CNet and Wired columnist, who is also editor-in-chief at music discovery technology company The Echo Nest, to serve as an in-house “data storyteller.” Spotify acquired The Echo Nest earlier this year, sending a signal about the importance of big data in the music business and how context could drive music recommendations.


“We’ve been working on Insights for a while and are launching now because this is how long it took to conceive, plan, and implement, rather than trying to keep up with a trend,” van Buskirk said. “We felt it was important to find a substantial home for this content, which both companies had been generating.”

The first post on the Insights blog, which Buskirk wrote with input from Ajay Kalia, Spotify’s product owner of taste profiles, examines how music spreads through the world and how cities influence its spread.

OkTrends is the dating site’s insights blog and features gems like how your race affects who you’re attracted to, the mathematics of beauty and what the best questions for a first date are. Launched in 2010 by Christian Rudder, president and co-founder, the site was initially a way to attract new members by offering them useful content. This week, he released “Dataclysm,” a 247-page book featuring that data, along with other insights culled from Facebook, Google and other friends that showcase human interaction patterns. You can buy the hardcover on Amazon for $17.11.


If dating can yield great insights, just imagine what porn can do. Pornhub has lots of sexxxy data and uses it to create smart content that is incredibly readable. For example, a recent post looked at how people were becoming more curious and interested in BDSM and got its group of statisticians to crunch some numbers on who is watching BDSM videos, where they come from, and what exactly they’re searching for.


GE has tens of blogs, but its Visualization brand blog is one of its best. It gathers data generated by all its technologies, then uses it to power gorgeous visualizations of salient issues, like the truth about LEDs and a breakdown of the world’s energy consumption. It’s a two-fer: GE gets to draw attention to its products but also helps generate interesting reads.


The Weather Channel has a veritable treasure trove of data, which it often sells to other companies. For example, the makers of an allergy pill could use data on when the pollent count may get highest to plan its inventory. But its Insights blog is a true data wonk’s delight. Lead forecaster Guy Walton has kept a running summer contest that calls on weather data aficionados to make educated guesses about the climate in what he’s called “The Climate Lottery.” He also crunches average temperatures and other numbers to rank states and presents it in pretty charts.





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