Data Storytelling Advice with Dr. Jillian Ney & Sarah Panus – Episode 71

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How can brands better leverage data AND empathy to improve brand storytelling plans?  Sarah chats with Dr. Jillian Ney to share advice about how to become a Content Investigator for your brand.

THIS EPISODE AT-A-GLANCE

  • Observe Summit warmup
  • The backstory of Sarah’s interest in storytelling
  • Sarah’s F-E-D model
  • Balancing the speed of consumer conversations
  • What data should we be looking at?
  • Translate your findings into stories
  • Learn more about the next Observe Summit

Full Podcast Transcription

Sarah Panus:
I know for me, I always for some reason, inevitably always pick the longest checkout line in the grocery store.

Dr. Jillian Ney:
It can be the shortest one, but take the longest time.

Sarah Panus:
See? Yeah! I got this – Nope, it takes so long line and everyone around you is going through it. See that’s a shared human moment.

Sarah Panus:
Hi, my name is Sarah Panus. I have spent the last two decades driving digital content for billion dollar brands. Now I help content marketers build winning brand storytelling strategies and reduce feelings of overwhelm and confusion. Join me as we discuss strategy, creativity, confidence, and building a better connection with your audience. Think of this as a creative content marketing jam session mixed with chicken soup for the soul. This is the Marketing With Empathy podcast. 

Sarah Panus:
Hey, Hey, Kindred Speakers. Welcome back to another episode of the Marketing With Empathy podcast. I’m Sarah Panus. And if you are new here, Welcome. Thank you so much for joining. Today’s conversation is gonna be a conversation you get to hear at that I previously had with Dr. Jillian Ney. She and I did a LinkedIn live conversation and as we all know, the percentage of people who see every single thing we post on social is pretty small, right? And so, I thought it’d be a great opportunity to re-share that conversation with all of you here. It’s also a great example of how you can repurpose content across multiple channels, right? So I’m living proof here. I’m doing it. So I’m taking that LinkedIn live conversation that Dr. Jillian and I had and I wanna share it with you guys because it is all about data storytelling.

Sarah Panus:
And I’m trying to do more LinkedIn lives, um, be more active on LinkedIn. So if we’re not connected there definitely invite you to please connect with me on LinkedIn. You can find me by looking at my name, Sarah Panus. And I would love to hear from you, let me know if you’re a listener of the podcast. I would love to, to get to know more about my listeners. Dr. Jillian Ney is the founder of Social Intelligence Lab. And she also is the founder and creator of an annual two day summit, called the Observe Summit and it recently happened in March. And it was a two day virtual conference that I had the pleasure of being the closing keynote speaker for. It was a blast. And I spoke about becoming a content investigator. And so what Jillian and I did on LinkedIn live ahead of the conference was we had a great conversation. She asked me a bunch of different question that went deeper into data storytelling. 

Sarah Panus:
So I wanted to share that for all of you guys. So you could hear that as well. So before we get into the episode and hearing Jillian and my conversation it’s time for a quick podcast review spotlight. So today’s Marketing With Empathy podcast review comes from Arlie K who wrote in Apple Podcast. They wrote,

The resources that Sarah has cultivated here on marketing with empathy are second to none. Every episode is packed with valuable insights and actionable takeaways. I so appreciate her refreshing approach.

Arlie K, Apple Podcast Review

Thank you so much, Arlie K. I really appreciate that. I appreciate the five star reviews. And if you are listening and you enjoy this podcast, I please ask you and invite you to share a review with me, leave a five star rating if you feel I’ve earned it and deserve it. The ratings obviously help the algorithm serve up this podcast to more and more people, to more marketing professionals and more brand storytelling professionals that we can all advance in our careers & level up in our lives. Thank you again to Arlie K. Leave a review and maybe who knows, maybe I’ll be reading your review one day on this show. We will jump into hearing Dr. Jillian Ney and my conversation about using data to tell stories after a word from our sponsors. 

OBserve summit warmup

Dr. Jillian Ney:
Hello and welcome to the Observed Summit warmup. I’m Dr. Jillian Ney, the founder of the Social Intelligence Lab. And today I am joined by Sarah Panus, Chief Content Strategist and founder of Kindred Speak. So Observe Summit is all about taking a fresh perspective on everyday society and culture using digital conversations and social data. Sometimes coming at a problem from a different angle can result in a solution above and beyond what you expected. And that’s what Sarah has for us today. So during Observe Summit, Sarah is going to close the conference out on day two. She’s our closing keynote. And she’s gonna be talking more about becoming a content investigator to help you create better storytelling content. But today we’re just gonna have a general chat about data storytelling. I’m really looking forward to this, Sarah, thank you so much for joining me today ahead of the event. How are you doing? 

Sarah Panus:
Hey! I’m doing really well, thank you. Super excited to be here. This is my first time going live on LinkedIn, so this is fun. And I actually put makeup on, on a Friday. So it’s kind like a big deal for me, Jillian. 

Dr. Jillian Ney:
You need to go out after this as well, just to make good use of that makeup. Yeah. 

Sarah Panus:
Yeah, right! I’m so used to now not doing makeup. The whole pandemic has definitely changed my routine. This is a great way to start the day. 

Dr. Jillian Ney:
Yeah, your hair is looking good as well. So I have, I’ve got a thing. This is my secret. And then when you see me on here, the back of my hair is not done.

Sarah Panus:
It’s just zoom video hair.

Dr. Jillian Ney:
Thank you so much for coming along. So let’s just get straight into it. Tell me a little bit more about your work and how you got into storytelling. 

The backstory of Sarah’s interest in Storytelling

Sarah Panus:
Absolutely. I’m a content marketing brand storytelling strategist, as you mentioned. And I’ve spent the last 20 years working for corporate, on the corporate side and the agency side. Mostly on the corporate side, helping lead content marketing, social and influencer marketing for large billion dollar brands. And a couple of years ago, I took all of that experience on that side and I shifted over and I started my own consulting business. And so now I run my own company called Kindred Speak. And the name is really indicative of what I do, which is helping brands speak a kindred language with their audience. And essentially what that means is through storytelling, how can you humanize your brand to better connect with your audience because that drives better results. And I’ve seen it over and over again, drives 7 X engagements, drive leading ROI when you have the right content plans in place that are connecting and relating with your audience space you are gonna just get better business results.

Sarah Panus:
And so I kind of have two facets to my business of what I do and how people work with me. Right now, one capacity is doing the work for you. So being kinda like a “rental” editor in chief, if you will, for a company where I can do a lot of different things. I’m an editor in chief of a large blog for a retailer right now. I can help with brainstorming, coming in and helping develop content plans or strategies, audits, helping manage third party content partnerships, those types of things. That’s like the done for you work. But then I also have a passion because I spent so much time working on the corporate side myself, is I really also want to help educate and people who work inside companies. So I can teach you how to do and think like an editorial director for your brand as well, whether it’s individuals or teams. And so I have a couple online courses that I have where I help teach you how to do it long term, so you can advance your career and just feel more sane at work, which is something I know we all want to do. 

Dr. Jillian Ney:
Yes, definitely. Yeah, we definitely want to feel a little bit more sane. So I forgot to say at the start of this as well, if you have any questions for Sarah, please do pop them into the chat. It does take a few seconds for it to reach us, but we’re more than happy to answer any of the questions that you have. Sarah, from all of your work that you’re doing, we’ve mentioned quite a lot strong on editorial and content. But everything that you do has been driven from data, to be able to get that kindred link with the audience. Is that right? 

Sarah Panus:
Yeah, definitely. I mean, whether I’ve been on PR or social or influencers or more longer format editorial, data really takes the guesswork right out of – What the heck should we create? What do we wanna talk about? What do they wanna hear from us? How can we help them? You know, content strategies in general are, have always been this blend of art and science. The data helps inform both and I think both are really important. I think sometimes you can lean too much and only care about the data and just look at it in one black and white way, but you miss some of the other facets of it. And so, what I’m gonna be talking about at the Observe Summit is how we kind of can blend. I have like this method I’ve created called the FED method, F-E-D. And it blends, focus + empathy + data.

Sarah Panus:
But the piece, and I’ll expand on that a little bit. But the piece with data is data really helps a variety of ways. It helps validate, right? Like what you should be talking about. It informs how to talk about it. It actually helps you be more creative and focused because you know, and have more insights that you can expand on versus wondering what the heck to talk about. And then I also find from the ideation and the upfront faze, but also after you have the idea and if you need to sell it into some others internally and get buy offs or get allies and get budge. Data is really helpful in painting that piece of the pie, cuz then you can speak to both the analytical and the emotional mindset of somebody. I always find that it’s a lot easier discussion on the corporate side if you have some data to back up your idea. 

Dr. Jillian Ney:
Yeah. And what happens and I’m holding my own hands up here. Sometimes we think that we know who and what our audience is looking for because, well, in my case, we speak to people every single day. So we get a general idea, but then when we go and look at some other things, the data maybe doesn’t necessarily always back that. So when you’re coming in and you’re, cause we mentioned validating what it is that we should be talking about, the data then can back up to say – No, you think that you should be talking about this, but actually the audience is over here and they’ve got all of these other needs. Am I right saying that? 

Sarah Panus:
Sometimes it can, right? But I think that’s what the key thing with data is, that you need to look at it from more than one source. If you’re looking at it holistically from a lot of different places and this is really where I talk about becoming a content investigator. Social insights and listening is a huge aspect of this, but there’s a lot of other places to look to marry those things together. I think of it like a puzzle, right, where you have all the different puzzle pieces which reflect all the different places where the data can come from but then ultimately you layer those together and that creates the picture of the puzzle. Well, that creates like your content plan, that creates clarity, it can help with your validation question you just asked. Which is, sure, if one channel or one outlet is telling you maybe something contradictory, I would say – Okay, that’s really interesting, let’s look a few other places and see are other places telling us this too. Because then maybe your initial gut thought or your initial insights or maybe things have changed over time with that audience base. 

Sarah’s F-E-D model

Dr. Jillian Ney:
Yeah. Perfect, thank you very much for that. So let’s chat little bit about the model that you’ve created. So it’s called it’s the F-E-D framework.

Sarah Panus:
Yes. Yeah, so F-E-D is an acronym. F stands for focus, E stands for empathy and D stands for data. And so this is really how I help pull together content strategies throughout my career and then through my clients and things. But it’s really a great way to create a very solid foundation for your content plans or for your strategy plans. So with focus what I mean by that, other than the obvious is focus. Is I haven’t met a company yet, that doesn’t have, maybe I should rephrase this. Every single company I’ve ever worked with or ever spoken with or people at companies, they always have too many things on their plate. There’s too many things that they’re trying to work on. Right? And so focus is usually a challenge of trying to be like well, what should we like hone in on. What should we talk about?

Sarah Panus:
From a storytelling perspective, I always recommend, as an organization, identify and clarify your three brand storytelling pillars. So three. Those are three umbrellas, three buckets, that you are focused on for that year. And you can then define and what types of stories and things that fall under those three pillars. But what that does, this rule of three, is it helps you focus. It helps you say no to distractions. So if something comes up and it really doesn’t fit in at all to these three storytelling pillars that are supporting business priorities, business objectives, business results, right? You have to tie it all together. Then you say no, or you figure out a way to change the idea until it fits into a pillar.

Sarah Panus:
So it is an amazing way to help you then from those pillars, then you can expand. Because, you know, okay, these are the pillars. We know who we’re trying to reach from an audience perspective, that creates an amazing, just so much clearer way to make a content plan. Content themes, like what should we focus on? So that’s what focus is at a very top line levels, both three storytelling pillars. And then empathy, empathy by definition is all about, I describe it as connecting heart to heart and mind to mind. So empathy is a huge aspect of storytelling because you can’t, stories in general statistically are 22 times more memorable than facts and figures alone. So it’s like the blend of the two, right? So if you have, so the data can help validate and beef up a story but you have to remember the humanness behind what you’re trying to share. 

Sarah Panus:
When you’re trying to connect with your audiences, because you wanna connect cause you wanna have better results. Right? Cognitive empathy is actually where I think us as marketers and communication professionals, that’s really where we’re gonna be able to shine. Because cognitive empathy is about the ability to understand like how a person feels and what you think they might be thinking. You’re trying to put yourself in their shoes. Right? And so that mindset is what really helps us best reach the other person. You can talk the way that they think. And so data and the insights helps you to get to that observations, but also from like a bunch in a variety of different places. So I talk about, when I unpack empathy, I talk about just a phrase I coined called empathy filters. And empathy filters is essentially just that. It’s like, what is the reason for this story, this content. How is it going to connect heart to heart or mind to mind? 

Sarah Panus:
What is the background? What does this mean? I have four different categories of empathy filters that I think could uncover the gamut. One is data informed empathy. So that can be something we know like 50% of our audience lives with their aging parents and they’re helping take care of them. That’s like data, right? That’s an insight. You’re like, okay, you’re getting some insight into like their household and what that probably looks like. Then you have SEO informed empathy. So search engine optimization, I think SEO should be every content marker’s best friend because SEO is this humongous focus group of people, going on Google, going online, typing things in. Right? You can get so much rich insights just about, what are people asking about? What are they thinking? What questions do they have? 

Sarah Panus:
Because generally when people are searching online they’re a lot more open with their thoughts versus a face to face kind of focus group and they might temper their responses a little bit. So I think you get so much rich insights. Every single time I’ve ever worked with a company we’ve leaned in on SEO insights to inform storytelling themes. That content is always in the top 10 performers for the year, always. Year after year, after year. It always does very, very well. It’s just so great. For me, I love SEO because and it’s not from the back, like there’s different facets of that CEO. There’s the actual optimization of your website. I’m not talking about that, I’m talking about literally understanding what are the long phrases and questions and things that people are asking them. 

Dr. Jillian Ney:
I’ve heard this called search listening before. And we do have Seth Stevens Dawis, opening the Observe Summit who wrote the book, Everybody Lies. So there is quite a strong focus on integrating that search data into your analysis as well. So it’s good to see it all combining together in a new approach too. 

Sarah Panus:
Oh, a hundred percent. I would say if you’re not, if you’re listening right now and you work in the content space for your company in some capacity and if you’re not already like with your SEO group, whether that’s internal or an external agency, like make it happen. It’s very common I have like a direct line to my clients’ SEO agencies and we’re getting monthly quarterly insights to inform the content strategies is a huge part of our content plans. Very important. So then the last two, the empathy filters one. I call it human informed. So these are just as humans, we’re people we have to, this is where I think the art and the sciences. This is the art, like us just as human beings, we all have like these shared kind of experiences or things that we’ve gone through that we can relate to. Right? So I know for me, like I always, for some reason, inevitably always pick the longest checkout line in the grocery store.

Dr. Jillian Ney:
It could be the shortest one, but take the longest time. 

Sarah Panus:
See! Yeah, you’re like I’ve got this – Nope, it takes so long and everyone around you is going through it. Right? So see, that’s a shared human moment. That’s an empathy filter right there. We could create some or give you, that’d be a great piece of content for someone in that space of understanding that piece. Or another is I know Spotify, the company had some great insight where they had heard, and they were just talking around too just of how many people, if they hear just a great song on in the car, they wait to get out of the car until the song finishes. And so they made like these great ad spots and these great content around that. Just all these funny moments of like these people not getting outta the car. Cause they wanted to finish this song they’re listening to. But you’re like, you can relate to that where you say yes, I love this song, I don’t want to get out of the car yet. That’s a human informed empathy filter.

Sarah Panus:
And then the last I call nostalgia informed. So again, these are like life moments that people go through and will remember. So growing up in the same decade as each other, having the same, TV show you used to watch or cartoon that you loved as a kid or a toy you used to play with or life like having your first child and bonding over the moment of being a parent. Like those are nostalgia informed things, which is why no coincidence, nostalgia is very powerful. And it’s why you see in like the TV realm right now. So many remakes and come acts of old shows we used to watch when we were younger. I mean that’s not, I mean it’s on purpose, it’s intentional because it resonates with us and there’s an emotional tie to that piece of it. 

Dr. Jillian Ney:
Brilliant. No, thank you very much for giving us that, given us a rundown there. That all makes all makes perfect sense and I can’t wait to see this in action at Observe Summit, but we have, I’ve got a question that’s coming from Shaza. She’s asking social data and consumer conversations move fast, what are your thoughts on content planning and balancing the plans with the speed which consumer conversations move? 

Balancing the speed of consumer conversations

Sarah Panus:
Mm, okay. Yeah. You know, definitely things do evolve, but here what I’ve found is if you, as a company are really rooted and you can get rooted in what are our priority focus areas. That doesn’t change as fast. The like nuances under that of what people are saying can tweak, but if you’re really clear on your audience base and your focus areas, I actually don’t think you have to be then to that adds quickly reactive. Because just in my experience, it doesn’t generally go from like one end of the spectrum to the next. I suppose maybe there’s could be some industries where there is that polarization, but generally your people are your people. There’s gonna be little things to think note of. So I would say as you’re listening, and as you’re thinking of content planning, just be really rooted in like holistically what you know about your company, what you’ve historically known. 

Sarah Panus:
It’s gonna still be that same foundation, but be ready to identify and raise the flag of saying, Hey, we’re noticing a change here last month, two months, three months, this has consistently tweaked and changed. So then of course, you’re gonna wanna just have those conversations and react. But I think it gets dangerous as a brand, if you said, if you just go like all over the place, because then what do you stand for? Who are you? What’s your basis? So if you’re rooted, it’s not gonna be super set in, but you in the social listening can be that voice and that flag to add value in your organization to say, Hey, we’re noticing these tweaks. These are things we need to change and here’s why. 

Dr. Jillian Ney:
Yeah, no, definitely. Cause when you were speaking there, it just reminded me. I was, I was doing a little bit of just surfing on TikTok as you do. And I see a little bit, I mean like three hours probably. And what really struck me and this was one of the first times I had been on TikTok. And what really struck me was is that the creators, they are jumping on trends all of the time. And then you see the same trends coming from all of these different creators, but it’s a slightly different within that brand, within that brand view you don’t need to be jumping on all of those different, all of the different sounds and backgrounds and things like that. That’s happening. It’s a slightly different world. Am I right in saying that? 

Sarah Panus:
I think, I hundred percent think so. I think there’s the plan and you’re like focus things, but then you gotta leave room for wiggle room. So I think that if that answers your question, Shaza, hopefully I’m saying your name right. That’s the creativity of like – Okay, well let’s react. Let’s like try this out, but it should still align to your priorities and your pillars. And it still makes sense there while giving you that creative freedom to experiment a little bit. Which is one of the nice things about social is you can experiment. But just make sure it still makes sense for what you’re trying to accomplish at the end of the year. 

Dr. Jillian Ney:
Yeah. Perfect. Thank you very much for that. So let’s go onto a little bit more on the data. There is tons of data out there, tons and tons, particularly in the social space and then kinda internet data. What should we be looking at? 

What data should we be looking at?

Sarah Panus:
Good question. I think it depends obviously a lot on your organization and what you need and what you don’t yet have. So filling gaps is a huge one. But I think I would start with, what should you be looking at? I would say if there’s kind of two facets to this. Where should you be looking for it? And then what should you be looking for? So I think the, where, social listening is obviously huge. So that’s check, but then pairing that and integrating your social listening insights with other places like I teed up in the beginning. So other things I like to look at, like SEO, I mentioned, right? Looking at those SEO insights looking at whatever other internal consumer insights you have on your customer base. If you have a customer loyalty program that’s really rich because those are the people who already bought in and are engaged with your product or your service. 

Sarah Panus:
And so it’s like, how do you get more of those people? So what insights can you get from that community just to replicate, to clone them and to more of them? I also really like to look at from a customer service perspective of from online customer service or phone customer service but those people who are talking with your customers. Also understanding what are customers saying? What are questions? I actually think this is a great way that content can save companies money, where if you get great insights on common things that keep coming in. You’re like what if we created a piece of content or a video around this, that actually answered something more, then you could start to see a decrease in your call volume or having to respond to all those people. So we always talk about making money, but you could can save companies moneys too. 

Dr. Jillian Ney:
Yeah. Someone actually gave me a really great, and of course, now that we’re on talking about this, I can’t remember any of the details. But I did discuss this with someone the other day about how the content ended up because they knew what people were looking for. It ended up changing custom customer care and off the phone, it took it off online and it saved the company rather than a lot of money. So it’s pretty worthwhile in doing so there’s kinda standard pieces that help with that experience. And then there’s other things that help to sell and create awareness. 

Sarah Panus:
Yes. That’s great, that’s great to hear cause I completely agree. And it is always some, one of those things that when I talk about it’s kind of a surprise cuz people aren’t thinking of it in that of content in that capacity. But you’re like, there’s so many ways that content and storytelling can help your company. I also really like to look at paid media, so paid advertising results. And so whether that, campaigns that are working or haven’t worked, messages, reactions, and engagements to that. But then also just from like a media perspective of any insights that you have about what over indexes with your target audience, whether you know what types of channels and places and things. If you know a high percentage of them listen to podcasts as an example. Right? Those and then you’re like, okay, well what podcasts that gives you more insights just to who they are as people. 

Sarah Panus:
Website reviews are really insightful, of course to hear what your customers or people are reviewing about your product or service. And then never forget like your employees and getting their feedback as well as another place of data that you can be measuring. Because especially if you have like a company that has direct to consumer, like face to face, or even in the B2B space, whoever is face to face with the people you’re serving, get their feedback. I think a lot of companies actually kind of put employees in like a separate bucket and they don’t tap into them of how they could actually feed into your content cycle better. They’re an amazing and passionate group of people who work for you. And so you don’t wanna forget to tap into their insights as well. Yeah, so a lot of places.  

Dr. Jillian Ney:
Yeah. A lot of them are speaking to customers day in and day out as well. So they can be the best people to speak to sometimes.

Sarah Panus:
Oh, 100%, a hundred percent. And how many companies you talk to and an employee will feel like, ah, they don’t hear my voice or they don’t really listen to that. Or I have an idea, oh, have you shared that with anyone? No. So there, there’s just so much opportunity there of making sure you’re really tapping into your employees for information. And then you can also include them in the content itself of course too. And then just to add onto that then. So that was like places I would look for. And then, what do you look for that again, is gonna boil down to what additional things do you want to know? I look at it from a storytelling perspective, as how can we find out any facet or about the human beings that we’re trying to talk to. 

Sarah Panus:
So again, humanizing our brand to connect to them. What do they care about? What do they think about? I mean, you can literally get down to, are they cat people? Are they dog people? What’s their sense of humor like? I think that’s an interesting one because then you can kind of know if you’re gonna do humor as a brand. Like what should your angle? Cause humor can be tricky. You know, what’s your slant there? But you can understand that or what are the, the causes they care about? What are the things they really react to? So for social listening, you can get at that by looking at what are they really engaging with. Right? You see like all these memes and things. And if that really strikes a chord, you’ll see it. Right? And you’ll be like, oh, that’s like something that they’re fully understanding and knowing. 

Sarah Panus:
So in addition to, I mean, obviously there’s all the standard things of age and demographics and all that stuff. But, I like to look deeper in hobbies, personal interests, their family dynamic. So I remember from one project, so from a listening project, excuse me. We did, we learned that there is a big percentage of people who were living in multi-generational homes, meaning kids, parents and grandparents were all living in the same house together. Right? And so from that insight, then you could do additional research. We did additional research and you’re like, okay, well, that’s a lot of pressure on the parent cause you’re taking care of your kids and you’re taking care of your aging parents.

Sarah Panus:
There’s a lot of dynamic there. But from the research and then we looked at other third party research from the pew research and it showed, instead of approaching it as, this is stressful. You know, focus on your self care. Here’s little ways to manage that, the people who are taking care of both kids and their aging parents, they really saw it largely as rewarding according to other third party research we found. So it was just a different tone, right, of how you make sure you’re talking about it. So it’s not about, you know, you’re stressed and here’s some tips. It was more how to take better care of yourself so that you can keep on loving the people you love the most in your life. It’s just a different tone. So you see how that it’s a little different nuance. 

Dr. Jillian Ney:
I really like that. Framing matters so, so much. Yeah, so we’re running it with time, but I mean I can sit and speak to you all day, Sarah. But I think one of the things, and you’ve touched upon it here, it’s like being able to transform the findings of an analysis into telling stories and content. Can you give us a little bit more about that?

Translate your findings into stories

Sarah Panus:
About tailoring it into the content itself? Is that what you asked?

Dr. Jillian Ney:
Yeah, so I know from our perspective at the Social Intelligence Lab, we get everyone with all of these reports and there’s lots of charts and graphs and things going on. And everyone’s like, I don’t know what to do. Well, not everyone, but people say, I don’t know what to do with that now, how do I transform all of this into something that’s gonna work for me? 

Sarah Panus:
Yeah. So the short answer is what you wanna do is you wanna look through it and then this is why focus comes into play. Okay. Focus. We know these audiences trying to, these are our three storytelling pillars. We’ll look at all of this holistically. I literally like to print things out when I’m at that phase. And I go through it with a highlighter and I highlight the pieces that make sense. And then I start to group it cause you’re like – Oh, that here and here, those actually are kind of all in the same bucket, let’s put those together. So I look for trends of seeing something multiple times or a really strong empathy filter where this is really resonating in a very strong way with people and with our audience. 

Sarah Panus:
So those I highlight, right? So then what you do, summarizing, you’ll go through and you find the biggest things you look for groupings, cuz then that gives you validation of, okay, there’s something here. This is really strong. Then what you do is then you can build that into your content plan. So I use it to inform literally for my clients, like building out the whole year’s editorial content calendar. What are each of the months monthly themes. Every month is informed by data and it’s from all of this research. Then we have a whole calendar of, here’s the monthly theme. These are the type of things we’re gonna talk about. This is what we care about. So but that’s on a planning perspective. Down to the individual content piece itself, if it’s a blog story, let’s just say, or a video then well this stat, this piece of data, this emotion for sure the things we wanna have come into this piece. Or we wanna quote this, like that’s at a very tactical level, right? So there’s big and small ways that all of this can come into play into your content plans themselves. 

Dr. Jillian Ney:
Brilliant. Thank you very much for that. That was well done in like a minute and a half. So go professionals. This is why we hired the professionals. So Eric’s come on to say that you really appreciate your holistic perspectives on insights, so thank you for that. Let’s just chat a couple of minutes about Observe Summit. So you’re closing out the summit. Data storytelling’s one of the ones that we get asked it a lot. So I’m super thrilled that you’re gonna be with us. So can you tell us a little bit more about what it is that you’re going to be talking about during the summit? 

Sarah Panus:
Yeah. So I’m gonna unpack this like topic of being a content investigator, how do you tap data and empathy storytelling for better results. And so we’re gonna talk about how this holistic approach just helps you understand your target audience, helps give you more focus. But from a big picture, from a career development perspective for everyone listening, how it makes you more valuable inside of your organization? Because using data like this and thinking with this mindset really positions you as like the go-to resource inside the organization of, um, that you can break down silos. In my experience like social insights and social listening, obviously benefit way more groups than just social. But there are some companies that just isolate it and think of it as like social and this is just digital. But like I talked about, there’s so much impact holistically within your whole organization that you can offer up. And what an amazing way to advance your skillset, to position yourself in your company as that go-to resource like I talked about and add more value, but then drive better results. And so we’re gonna talk about that whole concept of becoming a content investigator and then leveraging your toolkit to do that. 

Dr. Jillian Ney:
Amazing. Well, you don’t want to miss that one. So, that session is going to be on Tuesday, the 2nd of March. I can’t believe were in March already. 

Sarah Panus:
I know it’s crazy. 

Dr. Jillian Ney:
But the first two days of March will be the best two days of the whole of March. So do come and join us at Observe Summit. You can get tickets at observesummit.com and as I said, Sarah will be there closing us out of the summit. So Sarah, thank you so much for joining me today. I had so much fun and thank you to everybody who was listening in and for all of your great questions. Thank you everyone. 

Sarah Panus:
Thank you, Jillian. Bye everyone.

Closing Remarks

Sarah Panus:
Hi fives for finishing another episode. When faced with an obstacle, you’re the type of person who gets better instead of bitter. I hope you feel creatively inspired and invite you to check back often for more goodness from me and my guest. If you want more actionable advice and inspiration head over to kindredspeak.com for show notes, all discount codes from today’s episode, and to sign up for my newsletter. Subscribe now to the Marketing With Empathy podcast on Apple Podcast, Spotify and wherever else you get your podcast. And if you’d be so kind, will you please leave me a review. This helps my podcast get noticed by others. Keep smiling.

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ABOUT SARAH PANUS

Sarah Panus is a brand storytelling marketing strategist, Minnesota mom, and owner of Kindred Speak, LLC, a remote consultancy that helps corporations attract upper-funnel leads that drive bottom-funnel results through storytelling.  Her mission is to add value to the world by humanizing brand+consumer connections. Her online courses teach content professionals inside corporations think like Editorial Directors for their brand to drive stronger results while enjoying their jobs more.  She’s spent the last 20 years helping brands including Sleep Number, Starbucks, Nestle Waters, Christos Bridal, Game Crazy, Cone Inc, and others, speak a kindred language with their audiences, driving brand advocacy and millions in revenue and brand engagements. Learn more at www.kindredspeak.com. Follow Sarah on Instagram and LinkedIn.