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How to Turn Your Data Into Earned Media Coverage

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When it comes to pitching media with data-filled stories, you’re in luck — data is the first step in what could potentially be a highly successful earned media placement. However, simply having data does not guarantee success. The type of data, the way in which it is structured or visualized, and how it is presented can make or break a pitch to the media. Below we dive into multiple examples of successful data-forward stories and the dos and don’ts of data for the media.

Syte: Timely, Consumer-Focused Business Feature in WWD
Syte, the visual product discovery platform powered by AI, shared an analysis of its e-commerce data across the fashion, jewelry and home decor vertical from January to June 2021 to provide insights on an anticipated retail revival.

The research report broke down more than 823 million e-commerce sessions as consumers anticipate busier months to come. Syte noted three very distinct shopper profiles emerging post-pandemic: the bulk buyer, the frequent fashionista, and the doubtful decorator.

When working with Syte we asked for: 

  • Online browsing & buying benchmarks for fashion, jewelry, and home decor
  • Mobile and desktop conversion rates, average order value
  • Detailed breakdown of shopper’s personas and their on-site behavior  

The angle worked because:

  • Stores were starting to reopen
  • As stores were reopening, retailers were concerned about how consumer behavior changed  

We targeted a journalist who: 

  • Always had data as the backbone of her stories 
  • We knew would like the personas we created
  • Would like the association of her previous coverage about retail’s revival 

 The result? A business feature in WWD.

CodeSignal: Hyper Focused, Data-Driven Forbes Article
CodeSignal, a technical assessment platform dedicated to helping companies go beyond resumes in tech recruiting, analyzed the results from the General Coding Assessment (GCA) gathered from 95,000 email addresses ending in .edu. 

They then compiled their best schools for tech talent based on these GCA test scores. The hunch: school ranking had no correlation to skill level of coders. 

When working with CodeSignal we asked for:

  • The essence of what the founders created CodeSignal for 
  • CodeSignal’s mission is to remove bias from the hiring process and understanding why students from top tier universities continue to secure high profile jobs 

The angle worked because:

  • Released to be ahead of the US News and World, which typically launches its annual education report in late August / early September.
  • Stayed hyper focused on .edu individuals who took the exam 
  • Tech talent isn’t bred at top tier universities but at lesser known universities 

We targeted a journalist who: 

  • Wanted an exclusive
  • Liked the “shock and awe” of disproving a popular report 

The result? A Forbes article revealing only 2 out of the 10 schools (MIT and Carnegie Mellon) from CodeSignal’s list were in the top 10 US News & World Report Best Undergraduate Engineering Program Rankings.

Brivo: Expansive Data Set Landed in Bloomberg
Brivo records the time and location of tens of millions of commercial-building access events from doors connected to its platform.Brivo data showed religious buildings remained 26.5% below the normal access rates but varied greatly by location.

When working with Brivo we asked for:

  • The whole entire data set 
  • A breakdown of the types of locations as “commercial” was too broad and boring 

The pitch worked because:

  • We leveraged the success of the WSJ piece previously so the data team was excited for more top tier press 
  • We didn’t hide or edit anything, allowing journalists full access 

We targeted a journalist who: 

  • Was already using public information (in this case, Yelp!) to dig up stories 
  • Leveraged the massive footprint of Brivo: Brivo has 70,000 locations across the country with over 20 million users

The result? A Bloomberg Business article.

Data Story Pitching Dos:

  • Point to others in your industry who have had success placing stories (even use the examples here!) 
  • Get a real estimate of how much time or energy will be needed to get the data in the right format or in a way to get the right insights 
  • Leverage data that only your organization has. Second best: Leverage an analysis that only your org has done to a large extent 
  • Showcase the insights in a visual way 

Data Story Pitching Don’ts:

  • Expect unstructured data to be of interest to anyone in the media. No one is going to look at your pile of spaghetti 
  • Assume someone will take the ball to pursue a media story that is not guaranteed. You’ll likely need to push and encourage others on your team 
  • Go it alone. Have your PR team tee up who, which outlet, and why the media would be interested. This is not an ask you want to make if you do not have media relationships 

 

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