Marlin PR
Data Stories Research Pr

How to create great data stories for PR

Researching fresh data is a great way to help your business become part of a broader conversation in the media.

Surveys give you the opportunity to have something new and interesting to say on a subject, which helps build a case for why journalists will want to talk to you.

But just doing the research really isn’t enough on it’s own. Once you’ve got the data, you need to craft it into news stories that are going to work for your target writers, and their audiences.

So here we’ve broken down our top five tips on crafting great data stories for your business.

1. Think about whether your audience is business (B2B) or consumer (B2C)

The first thing to consider when beginning the collation for your data story is the type of story you’re trying to build. Research stories often fit into multiple categories, but can be broken down into those suitable for consumers or businesses. Whilst there is no particular advantage to either story, both require different data sets.

For a consumer story, do your best to get a dataset above 1,000 respondents. It is crucial to get a sample representative enough to be taken seriously by the media. Some publications simply won’t accept research below a certain amount of respondents.

B2B data sets are a little more difficult. Often these are a little more niche and therefore require a more selective participant field to provide valuable insights.

TOP TIP: Work with your partner research agency to outline the best questions that will promote the most engagement and respondents.

2. Look at your data with an open mind

It is always a good idea to test specific hypotheses within your data ahead of looking for figures that fit within your narrative. This allows you to be open to what the data is telling you, regardless of the angle you were thinking about before you commissioned the research.

Whilst your goal is to create storylines that reflect the impact of your product/brand/service, there may be insights in the data that open you up to a completely different audience.

TOP TIP: Share the data with someone in your business that has played no part in it’s collection. Ask them to look at the data objectively and identify correlating statistics/figures.

3. Think about partnerships

The exciting part of taking your research out is seeing the coverage come fruition. To really make your research sing, have a partner support it. Whether this is a client that has been a direct beneficiary of your product, or an industry body that will add further credibility to your research.

The brand association from coupling with an industry body could help catapult you to the front of the conversation.

TOP TIP: Try and onboard an industry body as early in the process as possible. Often with regulators, there will be a number of hoops they will have to jump through in order to publicly back independent research. This will reduce the chances of your schedule being pushed back.

4. Consistency is key

There are a number of effective ways to bolster the authenticity of your research, but none more so than a repeat project. If you have the budget and resources, it may be an idea to explore the possibility of producing a recurring data project.

Major publications are much more likely to take note of a comprehensive, long-term data project that gives a more insightful data set that accounts for trends over time.

TOP TIP: Think about repeat studies early. It’s important to outline question types in a way that will show trends rather than one-off.

5. Be honest about where the data is coming from

Data is such an important aspect of your offering, that it seems nonsensical to push a storyline that doesn’t work in-line with your companies’ core values. However, there is a fine line between showing the results of your research, and giving your company’s thoughts on what that data means.

The takeaways of your research should be clear, and the thoughts of your company should be clearly noted separately. This reduces the chances of your audience and news publications being mislead by the data. This also shows the flexibility of your research, with different stakeholders able to draw a number of different conclusions from the raw information.

TOP TIP: If you share your data in a research paper format, then have a section dedicated to what this data means for you and your industry. This clearly separates it from the raw data, but keeps the effects of your data front and centre for readers.

Here at Marlin, we work with tech innovators of every shape and size, from nimble startups looking to show the groundbreaking work they’re doing, to listed visionaries on a mission to make the world a better place. If you think we can help you, get in touch through [email protected] or drop us a DM on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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