Data-Driven Content for Link Building: What You Need to Know

Interactive Content Strategies

Written by Jeremy Earle, JD

June 14, 2022

There must be an element of surprise and intrigue in the data-driven material you produce. Here’s how to pick the correct subject and write effective content that naturally attracts links.

The person who invented the phrase “content is king” failed to notify us of several procedures necessary to produce linkable content.

Getting your material seen in the search engine results pages (SERPs) isn’t as simple as writing it, posting it, and calling it a day.

I’ve worked with various companies to develop content that is informed by big data.

An example was a New York-based educational firm. Over three months, I collaborated with the editorial staff on a piece of long-form ego bait content.

More than 100 press mentions and more than 100,000 visitors were created in a single month, resulting in 52 backlinks.

Using data-driven content in your link-building campaign is easy if you were know-how.

To be a source, you must be the source.

It’s a major pain in the neck to gather your data for an article.

You know what I mean if you’ve ever attempted to conduct a consumer survey.

It’s important to “Be the source,” as Search Engine Journal’s founder Loren Baker explains.

People will want to link back to the source of information if you develop your datasets for them to use.

Several free and paid tools allow you to search for trending subjects and collect your data.

As an example, look at Echelon Insights.

To better understand the Republican primary electorate, they used Google Consumer Surveys. During the first Republican Primary Debate, Echelon Insights found that Donald Trump had 32 percent vote.

Some of the most well-known websites in the world linked to this investigation, including Wired, The Washington Post, and The Observer, among many others.

Pick a Subject You’d Like to Discuss

The quality of its data doesn’t always determine the quality of a piece of material.

A story can only be told using the information you have at hand.

To begin, you must choose a topic for your writing.

When it comes to data, this might be a chicken and egg situation: do you use the data you have to construct your topic, or do you choose your topic and then collect some data surrounding it?

Whether or not you have pre-existing data or a topic in mind that is noteworthy, or trending may be a factor.

Google Trends and BuzzSumo are good places to start when figuring out what themes to write about. These tools are designed to aid in studying current and future trends.

Gather the information you need.

For data-driven content, collecting data is the first step.

Data collection begins, whether I’m interviewing users or using my information.

It’s not about the quantity of creating content with your unique data.

For example, Shutterstock’s 2017 Creative Trends infographic uses its data to create a very helpful piece of content. More than 50 links were generated from this infographic.

There is a common belief that the more content you put out, the more leads you’ll get. This is just not the case. You can accomplish your aims with just one key piece of content.

Organize Focus Groups

Surveys are a great approach to acquiring information and statistics on specific topics you wish to concentrate your efforts on.

Before you ask a question, give it some thought. To develop a wide range of perspectives for your writing, you want to acquire the greatest outcomes possible.

Ask only a limited number of open-ended questions to ensure that your tale is well supported by the questions you ask.

Include a wide range of demographic questions so that you may compare the responses given with specifics about the participants. You’ll be able to pitch the local press with a slew of different angles and sub-stories.

Make an Inquiry in Your Neighborhood

Do you have a following of consumers and/or admirers?

Use the information by conducting a survey or sending out a questionnaire to gather data.

Much like Moz‘s survey.

Please go here to access the survey questions. Here are the survey’s results.

A total of 32 backlinks were generated as a result of the results.

What better place to start a conversation about what you want to write about than in one of your company’s forums, where consumers gather to share their thoughts on a wide range of issues.

Many firms also have a huge database of customers’ contact information, and some send out newsletters regularly to keep in touch with them.

If you have a list of email addresses, you may send them a questionnaire, survey, or form through email and reward them with a discount or entry into a prize drawing once they’ve completed it.

Use Facebook and Twitter polls to collect data if you have a substantial social media following.

You might host a competition on your website and use a data collection system as an entry method to get the information you need.

Make Use of Your Data and Reports

Many SaaS organizations are unaware of how much data they already have.

Analytical tools are certainly available to you to monitor the success of your website and marketing campaigns. As part of your content marketing plan, these tools can provide helpful information and statistics.

A good place to start is Google Analytics, which provides a wide range of information about your customers, including demographics such as their demographics (age, gender, location), as well as the industries they work in, the products they buy, the devices they use, and more.

It’s also possible to conduct your tests and experiments to provide data and insights that will interest others in your sector or your clients.

Seek for Diverse Perspectives

Finding the right angles and facts to use in your reporting is the first step in ensuring your article is as newsworthy as possible.

Data analysis can be difficult, especially if you’re staring at a spreadsheet full of numbers and metrics.

Make an effort to identify and highlight any relevant figures and facts that support the story or headline you’d like to use.

You can discover relationships between various data sets using conditional formatting and pivot tables.

Let go of what you don’t get and look at things differently if you don’t get what you want.

Once you’ve gathered some solid evidence, it’s time to break down your findings by demographics. Gender, age, location, and other demographics can help you identify a variety of local angles for your material that you can pitch to local press and publications for further exposure.

Your Data Can Be Presented in a New Way

Your content’s success hinges on how well you convey your data.

Data visualization is the first step in making your material more interesting and more likely to be shared with others. However, it isn’t simple to do.

When it comes to visualizing your data, it’s best to get the help of a designer. A data visualization tool can let you create your own if you don’t have access (or money) to a professional.

My favorite data visualization from Podio is this one.

To make your data come to life and convey your tale, you’ll need to have some supporting content in place after you’ve finished creating your visual.

Your material needs to be adaptable for mobile and tablet devices, so keep this in mind when creating it.

How to Organize Your Content in a Helpful Way

As Larry Kim would say, make all the supporting efforts around this item if it’s a unicorn.

The following is the way I organize my content support tasks:

The PR team should be involved in the strategy-creation process. Some of the highest-quality connection chances are developed by PR teams, but they often miss out on many other opportunities.

  • The manual outreach is where link builders come in.
  • Reach out to blogs in your field manually to get backlinks and guest posts.
  • Write a series of blog posts to explain the facts in more detail and target new keywords.
  • Host a webinar with other companies to discuss the information.
  • Make presentations at conferences using the information.
  • Create infographics, charts, and graphs based on the data.

Exemplary Displays of Data-Driven Design

Even though they don’t have a dedicated data visualization section on their website, The Guardian takes the lead in this area. For ideas on making your data visually appealing, this is the place to go. Here are a few data-driven resources to get you started:

A Day in the Life of Americans has provided us with a wealth of fascinating data visualizations, and this one is no exception.

Have No Information?

Make use of our data collection services if you don’t have the time to gather information on your own

It’s no problem at all!

You can create a new data collection by combining information from many sources.

For example, you may compare and contrast two sets of data created 10 years apart.

It’s also possible to look at someone else’s data and find new aspects that haven’t been explored yet.

If you’re looking for some fascinating statistics to use in a piece of journalism, here are some more places to look:

  • Pew Research Center
  • Wikipedia
  • Google Scholar
  • The Office for National Statistics
  • Reddit’s Data is a source of information. This subreddit is stunning.

To discover a wide range of information online, type “[keyword] data sets” or “[keyword] market research” into Google.

Check out this piece for a real-life example and much more inspiration: Link Building with Data-Driven Content (Even Without Data)


Three times a year

After 2-6 months, you’ll see results.

Sending an average of 60 links a month

Google Trends,

Google Consumer Survey,


Google Analytics are useful resources.

  • Great material has no expiration date. An increase in traffic will occur at the beginning and again six months later when you continue to advance in the search rankings with high-quality content.
  • Your material is more likely to be read and shared based on data rather than assumptions. Well-researched content is likely to be impactful.

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