opinions expressed by entrepreneur Contributors are their own.
In today’s world, data is everything. A Centogene data analyst once said, “Data is information and information is power.” When it comes to media relations, data collection and dissemination is a powerful and influential tool. Data has been used to separate fact from fiction, transforming consumer behavior and changing public opinion and sentiment. Data is black and white, transparent and trustworthy across all industries and functions. Therefore, it is an asset and an integral part of a successful media relations strategy.
Data is a resource highly valued by the most credible media outlets. In a sea of fluffy listicles and clickbait, the main business-focused media and trade publications that want to cover B2B companies in articles and news based on data. According to that Wall Street Journal, 97% of companies surveyed in an Accenture study said proprietary data was “very valuable” or “fairly valuable” in differentiating their company from the competition. Experts also consider content-based data analysis to be some of the most powerful content on the web.
Publishing valuable data via a press release provides multiple media outlets with an opportunity to cover a story or conduct an interview, but journalists and companies are also likely to share the data for months — or even years — in articles, blogs, podcasts, and social media quote media or on their websites. Therefore, media work based on original data is one of the few marketing tactics that is truly durable and has a continuous ROI. Another valuable tactic is to offer the research results to your most desirable media first and allow them to publish them first.
See also: Empower your PR strategy with Big Data
Examples of companies using data for media work
Deloitte, a prominent UK firm with nearly 200,000 professionals in independent firms around the world working together to provide clients with assurance, advisory, risk and financial advice expertise, produces valuable surveys that inform business practices for entire industries. Your ongoing Global Risk Management Survey is being picked up by tens of thousands of media outlets. However, data is also often collected and disseminated by smaller companies as an effective content strategy for media relations.
One of our clients at Fletcher Marketing PR, Tellico Village, a residential community for seniors in East Tennessee, conducted a resident survey on retirement trends, which was then used to create a series of named press releases and articles using the data. Senior publications found this original data informative for their audience, leading to media uptake and the ability to reuse the published articles as social media, blog, and email marketing content.
Also see: 7 Must-Know Strategies for Public Relations in 2022
This is how you determine which data should be collected for your campaign
The best approach is to start at the end – not at the beginning. Think about what your audience and stakeholders will value most. Is there a problem in your industry or with your customers that needs to be solved? Here’s an example: Inbound marketing and CRM software company HubSpot created an inbound marketing trends report using data collected from over 1,600 companies with the goal of providing their audience with valuable information to develop better marketing strategies. With their customers relying on their products and services for marketing and sales, choosing a survey to back up marketing insights data was clearly effective as there are over 10,000 media mentions for their report, according to Muck Rack.
Methodology for backing up original data
The type of market research used to collect the data depends on the goal and the information you want to convey. A survey is best for gathering quantitative data and consists of a series of questions to generate insights. Proprietary data, also known as owned data analytics, is another form of quantitative data collected from proprietary sources such as CRMs or other analytics tools within the organization. Whereas a focus group or interviews tend to produce qualitative data that is non-numerical and based on cognitions, behaviors, interactions or observations.
While it’s easy to access proprietary data for media relations, it’s often helpful to hire an outside market research firm to conduct surveys, focus groups, or interviews. Ensuring that data is accurate and collected in an unbiased manner is crucial. Because the data is used to demonstrate thought leadership and credibility, it is beneficial to leave the acquisition to professionals who can properly structure the survey, focus groups, or interviews and analyze the results scientifically.
See Also: Proprietary Research Can Give You Credibility – Here’s How
Distributing and reaping the value of credibility and thought leadership
Once a press release containing the data and key insights has been created and distributed to the media, either via earned media pitching or a post on the wire – or a combination of both for the best results – the next step is to take full advantage of the results and Advertising. While awareness of the results is beneficial, remember that the main goal is to position yourself as a credible thought leader. 65 percent of buyers say thought leadership has changed their perception of a company for the better. And when it comes to sales conversions, thought leadership plays an important role.
A study of content preferences found that B2B buyers are increasingly looking for credible “show-and-tell” experiences to drive purchasing decisions. The study found that 77% of buyers consume at least three or more pieces of content before ever speaking to a seller, and the top content formats are thought-leadership driven, with half including survey reports. So, reusing the results as a variety of different pieces of content is a way to effectively increase campaign ROI. Credibility and thought leadership content elements may include:
Social Media Posts
Along with content, an added benefit is that data results can serve as a pitching opportunity to gain access to speaking engagements, industry panels, interviews, guesting on podcasts, guest blogging, or even being a broadcast news expert. It can be strongly stated that data is a route to credibility. After all, author and statistics professor W. Edwards Demming once said, “Without data, you’re just another person with an opinion.”