The Beginner’s Guide to a Data-Driven Public Relations Strategy

Posted on: 2017-11-16 in Opinion

Sam Holzman, Content Marketing Specialist at ZoomInfo explains how to put together a data-driven PR strategy...

  We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: To be successful in the current business climate, companies must have access to high-quality data and the resources with which to analyze it.
If you haven’t already made the shift to data-driven decision making, consider this: Research shows companies that embrace a data-driven culture are three times more likely to be ahead of their competition financially.
To truly become a data-driven organization, all departments must be on board—including public relations. Keep reading to learn more.
What is data-driven PR?
If you’re not familiar, data-driven public relations is a process in which you gather and analyze data to garner compelling insights to support your company’s PR goals.
You may be asking: why is a data-driven PR strategy necessary? For starters, the PR landscape has been affected by the overflow of content on the web. You have more competition than ever before. Simply put—a data-driven PR strategy gives a better shot at crafting a compelling, relevant pitch that will stand out.
If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve put together some helpful hints and best practices.
1. Examine in-house data
It’s likely that your company already has the data you need to support your pitch—you just haven’t gathered it yet! Customer data, sales statistics, prospect information, and email campaigns contain the perfect fuel for your data-driven PR strategy.
If you’re not sure where or how to start analyzing your B2B contact database, check out the following resources: Example: You’re a marketing company that provides content strategy assistance to individuals, with a specific focus on bloggers. You have organized client profiles over the years. Looking back at your data you learn that the average age of your clients has dropped significantly. With this bit of information, you craft a pitch: younger people are having more success as self-employed content creators.
This pitch not only sheds light on an interesting industry trend, but it also promotes the services you offer.
2. Conduct a survey
Let’s say you have an initiative you feel confident about and believe to be newsworthy, but you don’t have any original data to support it. This is when a survey comes in handy.
Start with a hypothesis – are you trying to prove there’s a problem in your industry? Or that there’s a demand for your product within a specific demographic? With the results of a survey, you’ll be able to provide data that backs up your claims rather than relying on your own intuition.
Example: Your hypothetical company develops a social networking app that analyzes the user’s music-listening habits and connects them to people that listen to the same artists. You believe the app’s premise will be a hit with users but you want some data to support your belief.
You put together a survey that yields the follow results: 82% of people say they get along better with people that have similar music tastes. This bit of data adds validation to the premise of your app.
3. Look at web analytics
Google Analytics is well-known to webmasters and SEO professionals alike, but did you know it can also provide you with useful information to build a PR strategy off of? In fact, traffic data is almost guaranteed to provide newsworthy insights, especially if you have a multifaceted and well-maintained website.
To start, identify specific pages that garner significantly more traffic than others, then analyze the page’s traffic data, paying close attention to points like acquisition, audience and behavior. This process can uncover compelling trends in your sites audience, including demographic data like gender and region, how individuals find your website, keywords they are use on Google and even the content they are interested in on your website.
Example: Your company sells home and lifestyle products across the Northeast, and your website has separate pages for each type of product you offer. You look into your site traffic numbers and find that a significantly high number of users looking at scented candles on your site come from Massachusetts. You illustrate these analytics by creating a map and to showcase Massachusetts’ interest in scented candles.
In this example, your pitch not only provides visual data that is more likely to grab an outlet’s attention, but you also call additional attention to your website.
4. Use another company’s data
In some cases, you may have trouble finding data to support a certain pitch – but that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck. In fact, using another company’s data has its own benefits depending on the size and reputation of the brand you reference. As long as the data comes from a successful, reputable brand, you’ll know that it is accurate and reliable. Moreover, using the data of a successful company will reflect well on your business as you make your pitch.
Example: A hypothetical fitness company develops a new watch specifically designed to organize and track high-intensity interval-based cardio exercises. Though they have little data of their own, they are able to pull the following statistics from a much larger fitness company’s studies: Short interval training is the most efficient way to burn fat; and wearable fitness equipment has grown 200% in popularity over the past year.
Their pitch will then use these statistics to illustrate the importance of their product.
Given the changing PR landscape, it’s essential to back your stories with actionable data. With so many different ways for you to access, analyze, and create data, there’s no reason not to have a data-driven PR strategy. Follow our tips to make sure you meet – and exceed – your PR goals.
Contributed by Sam Holzman, Content Marketing Specialist at ZoomInfo. ZoomInfo offers the most accurate and actionable sales intelligence to help organizations accelerate growth and profitability. The continuously updated database enables sales and marketing teams to execute more effective marketing campaigns and improve lead generation efforts. Visit for more information.

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About this blog

The B2B PR Blog is a resource for both PR professionals and people working in B2B industries on how to devise and implement successful B2B PR campaigns. The blog was founded by B2B PR specialist Heather Baker, who runs video production and corporate animation agency TopLine Film and digital PR and SEO agency  TopLine Comms. The B2B PR Blog takes contributions from sensible industry folk with something interesting to say.


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