How data journalism and digital PR can give brands more credibility

Positioning your company as a thought leader in its field lends authority to your brands, and it starts with creative digital PR backed by data. 

By William Furney, PR & content strategist, Reachology

How to create news and get your company noticed? It’s not an easy task, unless you have something profound to say that will surely hit the headlines, because countless thousands of press releases pour into newsrooms every day, each vying for journalists’ attention. 

Company developments, such as acquisitions, management changes and dividend payouts are often announced via press releases, which these days are almost exclusively digital — via email or a media syndication or distribution service — instead of the paper-and-post format of previous times. But corporate news is not a guarantee of newspaper and online-site pick-up, as editors decline to publish because they deem it of little interest to their audience. Unless you’re Apple or any other Fortune 500 enterprise

We began this post by talking about “creating” news, and here at Reachology, we know all about generating the kind of highly credible digital PR stories that get noticed and published, along the way positioning our clients as authorities in their sectors and embellishing their companies and brands. We’re talking about data journalism

How data journalism in digital PR works

Unearthing facts, figures and opinions — on any subject, but usually about a company’s industry — and turning it into compelling stories is what data journalism is essentially about. At its core, this journalistic speciality seeks to discover information and views that would be of interest to the public, and it has the powerful benefit of providing high levels of publicity to the company behind it.

Firms who use data journalism as part of their digital PR strategy may not do the work themselves, as it’s often carried out by a digital PR agency like ourselves. So we will sit down with our clients and work out what we want to achieve, and the kind of publicity we’d like to get by targeting various media and other outlets, including social networks.  

We might then devise a survey, for instance, and poll several thousand people in a geographic location, such as Britain or the United States, depending on our client and media strategy; and we’d then pore over the results and see how best to use the streams of data to our clients’ advantage. Our surveys typically produce lots of useful information, including about respondents’ age and gender, disposable income, education and work and even their political leanings. 

Data journalism as part of a digital PR strategy 

Once we’ve decided what the headline news is from our data journalism efforts, we’ll typically write a press release and send it to journalists, with the aim of them mentioning the news as part of a story or as a standalone news item, if it’s of particular note. Or we might pitch journalists directly, about our poll results, and provide a snapshot of what we discovered. 

A recent survey we conducted for a healthcare client in the UK, for example, found that despite two years of the pandemic and an NHS that’s struggling like never before, with record-long waiting lists stretching two years into the future and beyond, the majority of people in Britain do not have private health insurance. More people are attending private hospitals, because they can’t get immediate care on the NHS, and indeed, rising numbers of people are considering private health insurance, our poll discovered. All this was deemed worthy of news coverage by editors, and we gained our client placements in numerous publications (it can often be in the hundreds). 

Using data journalism in an overall digital PR strategy conveys other benefits too: companies, or their digital PR agency, can create blog posts based on the data that external sites may want to link to, thereby providing an SEO boost. And the data can also be turned into visually appealing infographics and videos that allow people to easily digest what can often be complex information and statistics – ideal formats for viewing and sharing on social media platforms and growing your company’s audience. 

Want to know more about data journalism and how it can benefit your brands? Book a free initial consultation with the digital PR experts at Reachology now. 

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