Turning Data Into a Digital PR Campaign

Data Strategy
Data Visualisation

Data brings an element of credibility to a piece of PR that attracts both readers and journalists. Elevate your digital PR campaigns with data using this advice from our Digital PR and Content Lead.

 

WHY SHOULD YOU USE DATA FOR NEXT DIGITAL PR CAMPAIGN?

 

Journalists love data. So does your target market.

Data “brings reliability and context to a story.” And at a time when fake news is rife, journalists need to dig deeper to bring their readers stories supported by reliable sources and data. Data also helps build trust and credibility with readers which can help increase your brand’s reputation among your target audience. Additionally, data usage is crucial for instilling the desire to take action in your readers. Whether you want users to continue reading, make a purchase, click a link, or share your story with others, data can encourage them to do this. 

Psychologically, providing data gives users a ‘reason why’ by answering questions they did or didn’t know they had before you put your data in front of them. It fuels their desire to act, and it can do this in numerous ways depending on the type of data you’re showing them. For example, the campaign we ran with Beer Is Here we used data to create a map of all the breweries offering beer home deliveries during COVID, the aim was to use this data to make more breweries sign up as a result of FOMO.      

Generally speaking, articles are always going to be stronger when there is original research included. Value and significance are attributed to data, and ensure that findings are taken more seriously. Numbers provide precise and definitive answers whereas words are vaguer and can have multiple meanings. Therefore, when you produce data-driven content, you position yourself as a source of unique and ‘new’ information that journalists and readers can only get from you. 

Data can range from an in-depth survey right through to social media data or google trends insights. Plus, data-led campaigns usually have a higher success rate as they can result in several, alternate angles.

 

THE BENEFITS OF USING DATA AS PART OF YOUR DIGITAL PR CAMPAIGN

 

Leveraging data can give your brand a competitive edge - if you’re using your own data (that your competitors don’t have access to, i.e., you conducted it yourself) then it’s a win-win. Other benefits include: 

  1. Increases brand awareness: It places you in front of a relevant audience and in turn, drives highly qualified traffic to your website. It also shows you are a trustworthy source.
  2. Improves domain authority: It signals to Google that you are an authoritative and trustworthy source. The higher you rank in Google the higher the potential to bring in more traffic.
  3. Helps to build relationships with journalists: If you are reaching out to journalists and news desks with quality data for a story then they’ll be more likely to come to you again for further stories, ideas, quotes or case studies.
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TELL A STORY WITH YOUR DATA

So, we’ve covered why data is important and that journalists love statistics, but ultimately what you need to really consider is that journalists really want a story. A reason why they should publish that data. What can it tell a reader? 

Whenever you’re pitching an idea you should always consider: why would the audience of the publication (i.e., your target market) care about the data? What narrative does your research tell?

When summarising your data you should: 

  • Come up with a punchy headline that tells the story straight away (ideally in under 10 words!)
  • When writing your press release or pitch be clear on what makes this content newsworthy. Is it new, different or updated data?
  • Use images: The best data reports use infographics, maps or charts to visualise the story in another way.

 

4 WAYS TO COLLATE DATA FOR YOUR DIGITAL PR CAMPAIGN

 

#1 YOUR OWN DATABASE

Everybody who owns a website has data of some kind, be it visitor data, purchase data or even scroll and interactions behaviour. All of these can help shape a digital PR or marketing campaign and is a goldmine for journalists! 
The data you have could provide insights into consumer behaviour at a certain time of year, For instance, has a certain product spiked in a particular time of year/month? Can this be down to a cultural, social, or political event? If your website has a search/ chat box, is there anything that you can obtain from users' behaviours/queries? 

Example: 

At Reflect Digital we worked on a campaign for Simply Hops during the Covid19 pandemic. They created a website which allowed people to buy beer from taprooms and pubs and get them delivered to their homes. It also allowed those businesses to register with the site and upload their details so people could find them easily by entering their postcodes. A month after we launched the site, we obtained data to create a map highlighting areas of the UK where breweries had signed up to the site. This allowed us to follow up our initial campaign to the press, in particular local press. You can read more about this campaign here.

Source: Beer Is Here, Simply Hops 

 

#2 SURVEYS

Surveys are one of the best ways to obtain unique figures that provide a snapshot of consumer behaviour or the public’s view on a particular topic or theme across the UK, which can be turned into a powerful story with a number of headline opportunities. 
More often than not it is best to invest in a third party to help collate these figures, such as One Poll who can conduct the market research for you and ask people from particular age groups and locations etc and accurately reflect the thoughts of the nation and target audience.

Example: 

#3 FREE DATA SOURCES

There are plenty of free data sources to help you with your Digital PR and outreach campaigns, ranging from the ONS through to the HM Land Registry. 

If you don’t have the budget to carry out a survey or the data then try searching for data that is in the public domain. This could help with a digital PR campaign or even amplify a campaign further.

Example:

In the example below we gathered data from the ONS and the HM Land Registry to compare house prices in Kent for a Kent-based estate agent… This piece generated a lot of interest from the press, particularly in Kent and not just online but on TV and radio too. 

Here are some free data sources you could use: 

  • ONS – The Office for National Statistics is the UK’s largest independent producer of official statistics and the recognised national statistical institute of the UK.
  • YouGov – A global public opinion and data company that shares its survey findings.
  • Statista – Similar to YouGov although there is a fee to obtain some data..
  • Data.gov.uk – The UK Government’s open data
  • Google Trends – Analyses the popularity of top search trends amongst Google users all over the world.
  • SEMRush Keyword Research – This provides updates on search volumes, trends and more.
  • Local council sites (gov.uk) – Local council sites are a great resource for finding data on local amenities.
  • Data.police.uk – A great resource for getting information on crime statistics for England, Wales and Northern Ireland
  • Reddit – A great platform to use to find out what people are talking about and what topics are trending.
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#4 SOCIAL MEDIA

Another free source of data (and one which warrants its own section) is social media - which is a really effective way of bringing a story idea to life, especially if you want to create content such as ‘the most instagrammable XYZ ’ or ‘most popular XYZ’. Hashtag data is the best way to obtain these figures. 

Example:

We carried out a simple campaign for one of our gardening clients, Hopes Grove Nurseries, which revealed what the most popular bee-friendly plants were on Instagram, according to hashtag data. This coincided with World Bee Day and search data, which revealed that there was a trend in people searching for ‘bee-friendly plants’. 

With this data, we then created an infographic and outreached to top-tier and lifestyle publications alongside expert bee-friendly flower advice from the client’s Director, Morris Hankinson. This campaign resulted in coverage in the likes of The Daily Express, Independent, PA and Living Etc as well as industry publications generating over 10+  links and brand awareness for the client with over 10k impressions on the blog itself! The client also saw a rise in bee-friendly plant sales following the campaign.

 

WHY USING DATA AS PART OF YOUR DIGITAL PR CAMPAIGNS JUST WORKS

Any ‘new’ data that you can provide a journalist with then the better. As long as it’s interesting and highlighted to them in a well-thought-out way. 
One of the biggest things you should always consider though when thinking about data collection is your budget. A lot of data collection involves time and if you are looking to outsource to a third party (like one poll, who we’ve suggested above) then a cost will be involved. 

It’s always worth remembering that if it doesn’t produce the results you were hoping for then look at how you can turn it around and get the right hook. Maybe your top line was actually at the bottom of your press release or maybe you didn’t see a particular figure that will stand out more. Speak to your peers and those around you (and even your contacts!) who will always be able to give their point of view too. Good luck!

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Journalists love data! Use that to your advantage.
  • Data brings reliability and context to a story.
  • Make sure you can tell a story with your data.
  • Look at the various ways of gathering data and how can you illustrate it.
  • Take your time to ensure you have got the best top line - if not - start again!

 

At Reflect Digital our Digital PR team are no strangers to turning data into a story. Not only can Digital PR be used as part of an effective SEO strategy to increase visibility and awareness it can also lead to increased conversions. If you'd like to discuss with one of our expects about how we could help you turn data into an effective  Digital PR campaign, then get in touch - we’d love to hear from you. 

 

This article was originally published to Reflect Digital on 5th September 2022.