In a recent blog post entitled Data-Driven Journalism, Walker Sands, a Chicago PR agency, outlined two ways to get media placement for your company or your client with research. The premise is that journalists and readers are hungry for interesting stories, and in today’s data-driven world some of the most interesting stories come from – of all places – statistics. Ken Gaebler, founder of the agency, notes that there are two effective approaches. In his words, “You can mine data or you can make data.”
The first approach is to mine data. Find data that you already have, analyze that data, use it to answer interesting questions, and then tell the story. For example, financial services, HR, benefits, and other outsourcing companies like Hewitt Associates track a wealth of data about employees and employers as part of their business. They can then use that data to write interesting stories about how many people cash out their 401(k) plans when leaving a job, or how many companies are switching healthcare plans as costs continue to rise.
The second approach is to generate new data by commissioning a survey that answers interesting questions to drive your story. For example, one client I worked for got significant story placements by surveying people about skin cancer myths and reasons for not taking simple precautions like wearing sunscreen. Another gets ongoing coverage for a survey of IT professionals about future trends in the marketplace.
With both approaches, the trick is to (1) build a credible foundation with expert research and data analysis, and (2) turn data into stories. Versta Research can help you with both pieces. We can help you answers questions with expertise, turn data into stories, and ultimately help you communicate those stories to the audiences who need them most.
–Joe Hopper, Ph.D.