Data is a great way to make news.
To benefit from a data-driven PR strategy, you need to commit to spending time thinking through an approach and actually surfacing the information. To obtain fresh, newsworthy data, it could be a matter of crunching your own numbers or partnering with a survey or research company. Together, you and your PR team should start with a good idea about where the gaps in the market are and what kind of data can answer those burning questions. The bottom line is that reviewing mounds of data to find trends is time-intensive, and often requires special skills, but once collected and analyzed, this kind of information can prove indispensable in making news and telling your story. It can also help establish you as an authority, and when journalists begin to see you as a reliable “source of truth,” they’ll come back time and time again.
Tips to create a data-driven narrative
Putting together a data-driven story requires a commitment of time, manpower, and often budget. Accuracy and insights are vital in order to join the general conversation and help bring new perspectives to the table. Here are some basics about pulling together a story rooted in data.
What is the story you want to tell?
Before embarking on a project like this, you need to establish your objectives. What are you trying to achieve? What are you trying to say about your brand? How will data help tell that story? Where are the openings in the market?
Who is your audience
As you decide what tack to take with the data that’s available, it’s important to understand who your brand’s key audiences are – CFOs, product managers, parents, millennials, etc.– and what kinds of information they want to know. Should your questions and your approach be more technical or more commercial, for examplel? More consumer or more business-focused? No matter what kind of content you’re creating or what industry you’re writing for, you always need to keep your target audience at the forefront. Before you begin writing, get to know the person who will most likely be consuming your content. You can get to know your audience by researching them on social media, conducting a survey, or even holding market research calls to ask questions in real-time.
Knowing your audience will help you craft a story that resonates and speaks directly to their interests because you’ll know what appeals to them.
Find the most compelling angle
A news-making headline will require you or your data-cruncher to find the most interesting, most counter-intuitive, most surprising data points available. Sometimes it means “massaging” the information in order to find the nugget worth promoting. It often requires someone who knows and loves numbers to be able to do this properly. An error of even one percentage point can result in an embarrassing mistake.
Data is only one part of the story. As the experts, you will be expected to provide authoritative insights that help put the data in context and offer perspective. The data then becomes a vehicle for your experts to shine, in terms of his or her own skills as a compelling storyteller, and as a representative of a company at the cutting edge.
Depending on the quality of the data and the nature of the topic, you might consider offering the information on an exclusive or embargoed basis to journalists. At that point, a press release would be distributed more broadly to capture outlets you haven’t yet addressed. The release would, of course, highlight the major findings and perhaps be accompanied by an infographic, which tells the story of your data visually. Infographics are easily shareable and great for posting on social media.
To take full advantage of the data (and the expense!), here are a few additional ways to take advantage of your data may include:
- Webinar or virtual roundtable,
- Email blasts
- Landing page on your website for the survey results
- Op-eds or bylines
- Downloadable white papers
Get Serious about Data
If you want to use data to tell your story, our team at Rally Point can help. With storytelling at our core, we know how important data is when it comes to infiltrating the news cycle. Give us a shout!