If your local business struggles to come up with content ideas, look closely for the small data surrounding your brand. From sales statistics to customer success metrics and leads from social, there is a lot of data all around that your business can use to create content, including blogs. In this post, I’ll share some examples borrowed from my experiences working with small businesses.

We often talk about big data and how important it is; we too often forget that it’s small data, which gets to the why of the decisions people make, at play in more than 50% of the business innovations we see, experience and use each day. Since I have and do work with a lot of local businesses, I decided to share how a few of the brands I’ve worked with uncovered valuable data, and then put it to use right away for their brands.

Small data is everywhere.

I’m a big fan of the OKCupid site, in large part because they share some interesting insights we don’t often think of, or at least not in the way in which they express them. I also enjoy the site for how they turn simple but unique information/data into compelling visuals, including graphs and charts. It is absolutely this type of information businesses of all sizes and verticals can use to create an engine for content, allowing you to create content that gets found, share, linked to and has the phone ringing.

OkCupid gender spending habits

The process is even more beneficial for smaller, local businesses because the small data surrounding your business can serve as social proof of your product or service, can be personalized for relevance to a local audience, and often hits close to home, as they see themselves as potentially included in the information.

A few examples of easy-to-attain small data from my own work include the following:

1 – Successful local plumbing contractor

A plumber realizes he’s being squeezed in the local market by much bigger and much better-financed outfits. When he looks at his numbers, his core customers and his reviews, he notices a trend: 80% of his business is emergency repairs, not routine maintenance. This means he was likely seen as trusted brand. He started creating short, weekly how-to videos of the routine maintenance work (or traffic and authority).

Additionally, he created longer, more in-depth posts and videos showing him and his team tackling the more involved emergency repairs. Blog post idea: “Hiring Inexperienced Plumbers Costs Customers 81% More For Emergency Repairs.”

2 – Locally owned restaurant restaurant

The owner couldn’t keep up with demand for his restaurant’s best-selling dish, but he also couldn’t afford to have customers leave unhappy. He decided he’d only sell the dish on Tuesdays and Thursdays and even then to only the first 15 people who asked for it. After that, you were out of luck: Blog post idea: “Be One of Only 15 Lucky People Who Get to Enjoy the Best [menu item] Each Tuesday and Thursday.” (This is the type of content that also gets picked up my local TV stations, local newspapers and local blogs.)

3 – Southeastern fishing tackle manufacturer

After creating a new product that didn’t take off, the brand was surprised to see an uptick in sales for the overall category of products. They reasoned the new product was too expensive for most customers, who saw the videos of it in use on YouTube, but created demand for other less expensive products in the lineup. Blog post idea: “Why 96 Percent of Our Customers Will Never Buy the [Lure Name Here], But That’s OK By Us.”

There are always numbers around us; use them. Small data can help you garner attention, traffic, and grow you’re brand’s relevance online.