Sheknowsmedia: Developing A Data-Storytelling Practice



With a mission of empowering and inspiring women, SheKnows Media produces content that resonates with real-women by seamlessly integrating users, editors and content creators onto a single platform – making them one of the top lifestyle brands for women.


When SheKnows’ own research lead left to be a stay-at-home mom, SheKnows turned to Research Narrative to fill the gap as they identified a permanent replacement. The request seemed like a natural resolution, as we had already been working closely with SheKnows on thought leadership pieces and had recently finished conducting analysis on their content strategies.


Research Narrative stepped in to fill the role. What we soon discovered was that research’s role was misunderstood and was not delivering the impact it could. Here’s what we discovered:


Research was viewed as a report card instead as a tool to optimize and best foot forward.


When we first took on monitoring brand studies, teams typically viewed these studies a “report card” and sought to tell only “good” stories. Research Narrative shifted attitudes and practices from “pass/fail” approach to uplifting research to a place to celebrate good news, act on opportunities, and tackle challenges head on. Research Narrative established a process to keep sales and account managers in-the-know which meant there were no surprises. This new practice put SheKnows in a powerful position to help their clients be successful. And for SheKnows, it secured repeat business.



Teams didn’t understand the different research tools available to them.


You’ve heard the saying, “You know what you know and you don’t know what you don’t know? Well, that was what was happening with SheKnows. Research Narrative identified gaps in internal teams’ knowledge of the various value added studies available to them. This made it difficult for sales and planners to respond to RFPs easily, often times putting the publisher into a bad position agreeing to studies they didn’t fully understand. Research, Narrative worked with SheKnows to develop an “added value” guide to help sales and account managers know of the different types of studies available to them, when to offer them, which KPIs to focus on, and identify which requirements are needed to execute the study successfully.



Advanced planning was a luxury vs. a practice.


Too many times, the research team was tasked urgent requests with less than 24 hours to react. This was no way to work, which made these requests feel more like fire drills than thoughtful strategic planning. We soon helped get the research requests to a place of “no” – not just taking orders and requests, but rather being strategic thought partner to internal teams and their external clients. This was done by generating master decks that could be repurposed, by being included in kickoff meetings and pushing back where needed. Time was no longer a luxury, but a practice – so one could think more holistically about the business – both for SheKnows and for their clientele.