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Posts Categorized: Public Relations

How to Use Data-Driven PR Pitches to Spark Media Coverage

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With the rise of Big Data, many observers have noted that we live in a “data rich, information poor” world, meaning that we have more data than we can handle, yet only few insights. After all, data is just numbers and has no inherent value unless we can put them into context of the real world.

And that’s why developing data-driven PR pitches can be tremendous success: They provide insight and context that is otherwise unobtainable, and sometimes surprising. So, how can you incorporate data into your pitches? Here are three ideas to get you started:

1) Use third-party research: No matter what industry you’re in, there is probably a TON of research available to you either for free or for fairly cheap, sometimes through industry associations or research firms. Look for data points that can frame why your business exists. For example, if you’re a startup that helps ecommerce businesses grow, you might find stats in this benchmarking report helpful in crafting a pitch about the companies you’ve worked with become top performers, positioning yourself as an industry expert. However, it’s often not enough to find a single statistic that proves your angle. It’s often a good idea to combine related statistics from separate sources to make your pitch stronger.

Sample headline: Company X develops methodology to create top ecommerce performers. 

2) Mine your own data: Speaking of benchmarking, be sure to mine your own customer data and use that to compare to what else is happening in your industry. A good example of this is mobile ad firm Millennial Media’s various reports on the mobile industry. Most, if not all, of their data comes directly from information gleaned through their own mobile ad network.

What do you do if you’re a new company? Well, if you have customers, you have data. Sure, you might not be able to identify any industry-wide trends with your data, but you can certainly compare that with third-party research a la method #1.

Producing a regular report–be it monthly, quarterly, annually or whatever–will offer media and industry peers  a built in news story when you provide them with an interesting insight. Another great example of this: PNC’s annual Christmas Price Index, which tallies the cost of each of the gifts from the famous “12 Days of Christmas” carol. They’ve been creating this for over 30 years, and it gets media attention EVERY YEAR. 

Sample headline: Ecommerce businesses that use time-limited sales perform 30% better, according to Company X. 

3) Do your own research: Let’s say you’re a business that doesn’t have any data (unlikely), or at least data you don’t feel comfortable sharing. Obviously, you need some data to create a data-driven PR pitch! The solution is to do your own independent research. For example, let’s say your company makes an app for runners. You could create a survey that asks runners various questions related to your business:

Do you track your runs?

If you don’t, why? (Drains batter life, I’m too busy, I don’t care about tracking)

Do you prefer to run in urban, suburban, trail settings?

The point here is that you can gather information about your customers or potential customers to come up with a great data-driven pitch. The side benefit of doing research like this is that you can also use it to drive real business decisions!

Sample headline: 67% of runners say they don’t track their runs because it drains their phone battery

As you can see, incorporating data into your PR efforts can go a long way to garner coverage of your company in today’s data-driven world. Coming up with the right angle can be as easy (or complicated) as looking for the information and insights that make your business relevant.


Is This Newsworthy?

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That’s the question we ask ourselves whenever we’re listening to a client (current or prospective) tell us what’s new with their business. Sometimes, companies sit on news, often because they’re unaware that what they have is newsworthy. Of course, there are other times when companies share what they think is news and, in fact, what they have is just a minor update.

How do you know if something is newsworthy? Here’s a quick list of things to check to help you know if you have a good story.

Has something changed? 

By definition, news is the story of things changing. Very few news stories happen when things stay the same (though they often depict the struggle of people who are trying to create change). Your news needs to illustrate some type of change. That said, not all changes make news stories.

Is it timely? 

The second most important thing about your news is that it’s timely. We live in a world that has a less than 24 hour news cycle. That means that the news media moves fast…reporters often cover stories and then quickly move on to the next topic. If your news is several months old, then it’s possibly past its shelf life.

Is your news relevant? 

This is what we affectionately call the “so-what factor” and is probably one of the most difficult things to gauge. After all, we all think what we’re doing is important. But ask yourself–Will anyone care about this? is your news part of a trend? Or perhaps it bucks an important trend?

Will anyone outside your industry care? 

Once you’ve figured out if someone will care, you should ask yourself if it’s relevant only to your industry. That’s not to say what you have isn’t worthy of the front page of the New York Times, but if no one outside your industry will care, then you might want to hold off on calling the New York Times. Instead, focus on reaching out to outlets that cover your industry.

Is your news entertaining?

In today’s fast-paced news cycle that races to grab as many eyeballs as possible, it’s important for your news to be interesting, or at least entertaining. Remember, news outlets want to publish stories that drive page views–and you want your news to be viewed! Think about what you can do to make your news more interesting and entertaining, to make it really stand out, grab people’s attention.

So the next time you think you have some news you want to share, be sure to think critically about whether it’s really newsworthy. You’ll get more mileage out of better quality news, look better to your customers, your industry and your peers. Plus, do you really want to get on the bad side of an important journalist by pitching a boring news story? We didn’t think so.


Quick Things You Can Do to Build Buzz

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It’s great to have a strategy and a plan. But sometimes, you’re strapped for time and budget, and you just need to build some quick buzz for your product, service or company. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there.

Building buzz often takes a commitment of time and energy, but there are a few things that you can do when you need a quick boost. Here are some ideas for you. Keep in mind that these ideas aren’t necessarily meant to be strategic. They’re meant to be tactical.

Say Thanks to Your Best Customers

When was the last time you sent your best customers a thank you note? Probably around the holiday season. It’s always good to say thanks, especially when it’s least expected. Doing this can not only strengthen your relationship, but it can also trigger some happy shares on social media. By the way, don’t do this by email. Be classy and do it with a card.

Do Something Spontaneous

Grab your team, throw on a favorite tune, and just start dancing. Oh, and video tape  your team dancing. It doesn’t have to be fancy or well-edited. Just have fun. Then put it up online (as long as your employees agree to it). At the least, it shows that your company is human. At the best, your video goes viral. It’s a win no matter what.

Write and Send a Press Release

Normally, we don’t recommend sending a press release just for the sake of sending a press release. But when was the last time you announced something? Sometimes, it’s a good idea to send a press release just to stay on people’s radar. Maybe you don’t have any significant news to announce, but let’s be real: Your business is (hopefully) not at a standstill. There has to be something newsworthy going on like recent new hires, new clients, maybe some product updates, etc. It doesn’t have to be fancy, and your expectations or aspirations for this release should be reasonable. But it’s important to cultivate and maintain what we call a baseline level of awareness.

There are many, many things you can do to quickly create buzz. We’d love to hear your tricks and tips for keeping the heartbeat of your company going–at least publicly.