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How to Win PR and Media Coverage With Unique Original Data

The competition for online attention is growing by the second. Here's how to make sure your business or brand stands out.

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The competition for online attention is growing by the second. Millions of blog posts are published daily, and they’re read for just seconds on average. Couple that with ever-increasing levels of outreach, and you can kiss your journalist pitch emails goodbye. But, not all hope is lost. Media coverage is still within reach for the targeted and creative.

Here are a few ways you can stand out to win PR and brand features with unique and original data, based on years of experience doing it for global tech brands. 

1. Be a sniper in a world of carpet bombers

Snipers are inherently precise and accurate. Carpet bombers are the polar opposite. When it comes to landing PR and media coverage, snipers are the most effective unit at your disposal.

Here’s why: The vast majority of people pitching journalists and bloggers have already created the piece of content or crafted a story they want told. They now have to sell it to that exact target after the fact, effectively demanding attention and press, rather than crafting a narrative they know their subject is interested in. 

This is carpet bombing, and it’s highly ineffective. It lacks both strategy behind the content or story and personalization for the recipient. Journalists can spot your bombing run from a mile away. Instead of creating content and then attempting to distribute to the masses, do your research first. 

Make a list of 50 publications you’d love to be mentioned in. Look for the most relevant staff writers covering topics in your wheelhouse. Take detailed notes on what they frequently write about, care about and talk about. Look for commonalities that stretch beyond a single publication and meld into the milieu of writers in your niche. 

What subject matter are they focused on right now? Can you tie that subject to current events and social or search trends? Build your unique study around that core theme so that when you do go to pitch them, you already know they’re interested in seeing the results. 

Related: Why PR Is Fundamental in Scaling Your Business Rapidly

2. Conduct a pre-survey to your survey

Good surveys and pieces of original, unique data are built around a foundation of interesting questions. Media coverage isn’t meant to add glitz and glamour to your data. Your questions should be the driving force behind its natural newsworthy appeal. 

Put it this way: If people aren’t interested in the questions your data extrapolates, nobody is clicking. And if nobody is clicking, no journalists are sharing and promoting it.

Before you conduct an actual study and survey for data, do your research. Conduct a pre-survey using a poll on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. Use a tool like Answer The Public to see a variety of questions people often search for around specific subjects. 

Related: Should You Start With PR or Marketing First?

3. Work backwards from headline to data collection

Before you put time and money into a unique set of data, work backwards from headline to survey. In other words, visualize and brainstorm what your potential survey headline will be. 

What are people in your niche most interested in hearing? What emotions can you leverage to pique their interest and capture attention? How can you relate your potential survey to current events and trends people care about? Answering these questions will help you identify multiple angles of approach for your data. 

When it comes to unique data and utilizing it for earned media, you can’t spray and pray, hoping for something to land. You have to identify your ideal press targets early, conduct pre-surveys to find what people care most about and work backwards to asses which headlines, themes, topics and emotions will make the biggest impact. 

Related: The Impact of PR on Small Businesses

Jeremy Moser

Written By

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

Jeremy is the Co-Founder at uSERP, a digital brand building agency. He's also the Chief Marketing Officer at Wordable, which he acquired in 2020. On the side, he grows SaaS startups like responsely.com.