Using data to tell a compelling story which gets coverage

By Ellie Mack
31st March 2021

It’s no secret that to secure PR coverage, the content you’re selling in has to be unique, authentic to your brand and obviously, interesting and engaging.

We’ve recently been placing a lot of focus on the power of data to tell a compelling story, with some seriously strong results.

Data and statistics substantiate any story you’re trying to tell, they add credence and authority to illustrate your points, as well as allowing you to position your brand in a much more authoritative space.

Data and compelling, creative campaigns doesn’t sound like a match that fits naturally! But believe me, data can fuel that creative angle, and give you and your brand a unique approach over your competitors.

Using data in PR doesn’t mean paying extortionate prices for consumer surveys – those days are most definitely gone! You can get data from anywhere and everywhere, it’s at our fingertips, you just have to know where to look and what you’re looking for.

Platforms such as Instagram and TikTok hold a wealth of interesting data, as well as sites including TripAdvisor, Numbeo, ONS and my personal favourite – Google Trends.

Whilst these data sources are available to everyone, the most personal and useful data to any brand is its own internal data, this can tell a more unique story than anything else. For example, are you seeing a surge in the sales of particular products and can you match this with any other data, such as search demand?

So, what are the benefits to using data to tell a story, and how does this approach secure you better coverage?

1. You can increase your brand authority

Being able to back up statements or messages with clear facts is key to gaining trust with your audience and therefore developing authority on that particular subject.

By releasing data-backed content, you’re able to position your brand as an industry thought-leader; a company which has a valid opinion and understanding of the topic in discussion, with access to statistics around the subject.

This is a hugely important approach for emerging brands who want to establish their authority and be able to compete with larger, more well-known names.

For example, one of our clients is Kiddies Kingdom, a baby and nursery retailer based in Yorkshire but with a strong, growing national presence. We used Spotify data to reveal the top songs listened to whilst giving birth.

The aim was to build up authority of Kiddies Kingdom within the national parenting space and position them as experts, whilst engaging with this community.

We even made a playlist from the top songs so that expectant mums (Kiddies Kingdom’s core target audience) could listen to the songs themselves, putting the brand right at the heart of a key moment for that audience.

The campaign was unique and engaging, and subsequently gained coverage on core sector titles such as Emma’s Diary, My Baba, Family Matters, Pregnancy and Parenting Magazine as well as national lifestyle publications including Heart.

2. There’s always a story to tell

Unless you’re working for one of the biggest brands around, there isn’t always a constant stream of internal updates or new product launches to talk about.

So, data offers the opportunity to always have something new and unique to talk about, you just need to find what’s most interesting and relevant in the datasets you have access to!

For example, for Valentine’s Day earlier this year, we created a campaign for our travel client Lyme Bay Holidays using a golden ratio matrix of TripAdvisor, Instagram and Google search data to find location-specific metrics on romantic places to visit.

We looked at romantic restaurants, proposal ideas and wedding hashtags to find the ultimate romantic destinations across the UK.

This gave us a really engaging and relevant story in a time which has been notoriously difficult for travel brands to cut-through.

3. You can target different sectors with the same data

This example brings me perfectly to this point. Most data-led stories are typically multi-fold, in that they can be re-worked, re-angled and re-used over and over again – meaning you can secure repeat coverage throughout the year from one idea.

Creating a campaign that is led by data means that you can filter by which part of the dataset would be most relevant to the audiences you want to reach. So, you can use the same campaign and the same dataset, but filter to find a different story which is relevant to different audiences.

For the Valentine’s Lyme Bay Holidays campaign, we could then break the data down by regions and target different regional publications across the UK with a slightly different angle for each.

Not only did this campaign result in widespread coverage across the Devon area (the client’s location) including Devon Live – but this also featured on 30 regional wedding publications, reaching a target audience of UK honeymooners, unable to holiday abroad.

Another example of this is our recent campaign for windows and doors retailer, Quickslide. We used Instagram data to reveal the most popular stately homes across the UK.

Because the data included properties from right across the UK, we were able to secure a huge amount of regional coverage – slightly changing the angle for each region depending on which stately homes were in that area.

A core region for the client is Yorkshire, and we were able to secure over 50 pieces of linking coverage for the client here, including on the Yorkshire Evening Post, further positioning the brand as an authority to its regional audience.

4. Data stories encourage conversation

Most stories backed by data are striking and thought-provoking, and notorious for starting conversation.

Data that puts certain groups of people or regions in a positive light, i.e. “Yorkshire the best place in the UK for a Sunday dinner” gives those included in that group a sense of pride and creates something they want to share and announce, or it could be data that the audience is shocked by and disagrees with – but it all encourages conversation, especially on social.

This style of campaign therefore, means your able to make your campaign work harder, securing social media shares, further reach and ultimately drumming up huge conversation around the brand to your core target audiences.

For example, for our client Terrys Fabrics – a homeware brand – we used IMDB data to reveal the UK’s favourite home makeover TV shows, with Escape to the Chateau coming out in the top spot.

Not only did this list secure coverage on the client’s dream publications, Ideal Home and House Beautiful, but Escape to the Chateau’s Dick and Angel themselves shared the results on their Instagram channel!

This hugely increased the reach of this campaign and positioned Terrys Fabrics as industry leaders in the interiors world.

Data doesn’t have to come first

You don’t always need the data first to find the angle – you’ll know what angles will resonate best with your audience and what type of content would position your brand in a relevant and authentic space, data just elevates it to put you in a trustworthy and authoritative position.

You can find your idea first and then think about what data would be relevant to back it up.

If you’d like some support finding some data-led, creative angles for your PR & outreach strategy, get in touch and we’d be happy to chat.

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