Add color and credibility to your copy with numbers
Which personal finance story would draw you in? One that starts:
Or one with this lead, from Northern Update, the marketing magazine of Northern Funds:
The latter? Me, too.
Name names and number numbers. Draw attention to your message and prove your points with numerical detail.
1. How big is big?
Show readers size and scale with statistics and comparison.
Here’s a before example, the lead of a content marketing piece a client sent me to edit:
There’s a number in there, but it’s not used to build the story, set the scene or make a point. Here’s the after, this time with more statistical evidence to make a point about the client’s project:
2. How small is small?
So how small is small? Is it the size of a thumbnail? An iPhone? A toaster? A backpack? A car?
Help readers see size and scale with comparison.
In this before, the client had included a laptop analogy, but buried it further in the story:
But if the whole point is size, lead with that. Here’s my rewrite:
How wet is wet?
If your point is “prone to flooding,” then make that point statistically. Here’s another before, from that same client:
OK, my basement is prone to flooding, too. But how wet is wet? Here’s my rewrite, supplemented with 6 minutes of online research:
Add concrete detail with statistics.
Startling statistics are amongst more than 6 types of concrete material to try.
“If you want to be credible, be specific,” writes Doug Williams, a principal in Tomasini-W2K. “Heinz doesn’t have a ‘multitude’ of varieties; it has 57. Bressler’s doesn’t have a ‘whole lot’ of flavors; it has 33. There aren’t ‘many’ deadly sins; there are seven.
“Well, eight, if you count vague writing.”
How can you make your message more colorful and credible with statistics?
What questions do you have about using statistics in your message?