For every industry, their data tells a compelling story.

For some in the content space, data can be an overwhelming subject. Content creators live and breathe the written word, but the feeling isn’t always mutual with numbers. But for Sofia Quintero, the two inarguably go hand in hand. Sofia is the Growth Firestarter at Geckoboard, a metric management platform that helps businesses monitor their “vital signs.” She leads the marketing and communication strategy, in addition to its execution — like content production. Scripted sat down with Sofia to learn more about how they’re telling stories through data.

Scripted: It can be challenging to turn data into consumable content, how do you go about doing that?

Sofia: I think what data does is help you to tell the story. Data gives you context. The way we use data at Geckoboard is less about producing infographics and more about creating content based on the insights we gather. We try to understand what is meaningful and important for our customers, and therefore for the audience that we are trying to build.

Scripted: How do you discover what’s meaningful and valuable to your audience to know what kind of content to create?

Sofia: We talk to customers every single day. We have regular conversations on Skype, which is a big part of my role. I try to talk to as many customers as possible to understand what they like about us, what they don’t like. What are the stories around the product, how we can help them in different ways? I think it is important to create content and continuously ask yourself:

“Is this going to be helpful for anybody, is it going to be insightful, is it going to change anything?”

Scripted: How many people do you talk to a week then and do you turn every interview into a case study?

Sofia: My goal is to have at least two conversations per week, and to hopefully get great studies from those. If not, it does not matter because the purpose of those calls is to get to know our customers. If the conversation does not end up in a case study, I use the information to feed into the engineering team, into our customer support service, or into marketing strategy.

Scripted: What metrics do you use to measure your own content’s success?

Sofia: Shares are very important to me. It means that we have produced a piece of content that people feel proud enough to share and to be associated with.

Our view is that content is a long-term strategy – communities are not built overnight.

If people are sharing the content we produce today, it means we’re one step closer to building a community.

In terms of page views, visits and all of that, that is all part of distributing content. Those are metrics you would want to monitor, but it is the engagement that actually tells you if you are doing a good job. You can easily see that in real time with actions like re-tweets, comments, shares, and emails. I have received emails from people who loved a piece of content and took the time not only to share it on the web, but also to let us know how useful they found it to be. That means a lot to us.

Scripted: What was most important to you when you first started creating your content strategy?

Sofia: The most important thing for me is to know whom I am talking to. It goes beyond creating a persona. Really being there and listening to the stories over and over and over again until you find something that is key. Really understanding the language, the concerns and motivations. This is not easy especially when you are targeting multiple verticals.

Scripted: What’s your biggest challenge when it comes to content creation?

Sofia: I think the biggest challenge is trying to think about the future and produce content for today. We can easily get swamped with stuff we need to publish this week and the next one, but really good content comes from spending enough time researching and playing with ideas. Allowing the time to be creative and just get excited about concepts without the pressure of producing volume. Being able to create the space and time for research and creativity is key and a big challenge at the same time.

How do you use data to tell stories? Share your experience with us in the comments section below.