By now, you likely know how valuable data can be; if not, I recommend you start with Beth Monaghan’s post on data journalism. Data can help establish your company’s thought leadership platform, root your point of view in authority, demonstrate new trends on the horizon or that old trends are, well, old. If your company has data (whether it’s your own or commissioned by a research firm), it can be valuable in more ways than just helping you make critical business decisions.
The challenge with data is figuring how best to analyze and share with your target audiences. The truth is, with rich data, the possibilities can be endless. Campaigns that present valuable insights can not only benefit your bottom line, but can also help your customers, partners and the broader industry. That’s why I got so excited when I came across Silk, a Web app that helps you collect, sort and view information you need – without making you comb through the data yourself. You can organize, publish and share data publicly (for free) or privately (for a membership fee). Each Silk contains data on a specific topic; for example, it should come as no surprise that there is a Silk on Ebola outbreaks.
How it works
Getting started can be as easy as uploading an Excel file, which is then turned into an interactive site that lets users engage and interact with your data. You can even embed your data “visualizations” across the Web – on your website, blog, Tumblr, etc.
If you aren’t ready to use Silk for your own data, you can use it to sort through data from other sites. A few good examples of sites include Wikipedia, IMDB and CrunchBase, all which provide a lot of data about specific topics. Silk allows you to drill down to find the information you need without extensive searching and comparing.
From a PR perspective, a new data-sharing tool like this is very exciting. There are numerous ways to integrate it into your PR/marketing program, such as creating a Silk as a component of a market research campaign, identifying new trends or content and finding data that complements existing collateral (e.g., infographics).
We all know how valuable data can be. And we all know how daunting the task of collecting and sorting through that data can seem. But, with tools like Silk that allow you to experiment with the vast data out there, there is really no reason to not at least give it a try.