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Our 5 Best (Free) Data Sources for Data-Driven PR

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Date

May 16, 2024

Read Time

min read

Category

Digital PR

Date

May 16, 2024

Read Time

min read

Category

Digital PR

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You/your client’s owned data ONS Google Trends Reddit Job sites

Data-driven PR is a hot topic right now. But like most PR agencies, we’ve been integrating data into our storytelling for years. It’s an essential part of what we do.

Traditionally the go-to source of PR data is surveys. But to us, data-led PR means so much more. While surveys are a fundamental tool in our PR toolkit, there are thousands of free data sources that provide equally invaluable insights. From our clients’ owned data to nationwide datasets covering every region, these sources are less expensive (and in many cases more insightful) than survey data.

Interested? Here’s our top free data sources, with a few examples of successful PR campaigns we delivered:

You/your client’s owned data

Our number one source for data-driven PR. Owned data can be some of the most insightful sources of campaign data, yet it’s regularly forgotten about. Every company has access to huge amounts of customer, product and sales data – all of which can be anonymised and integrated into your content. And the best bit? No one else has access to this data. It’s completely unique to you, meaning you can create PR narratives that truly stand out from the crowd.

Top Tip: A massively underutilised source of owned data is your own website analytics. Every day, your target audience engages with your website. The pages they view, the actions they take and the journeys they go on can all provide great insights. One of the best hidden gems is ‘site search’. If your website has a search bar, you can use Google Analytics 4 to view everything people have typed into it – providing invaluable insights into your audience’s priorities. This can form the basis of a data story in itself, or can bolster wider search narratives from tools like Semrush. Here’s a great guide we’d recommend to help you access site search data.

ONS

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is the UK’s largest independent producer of official statistics, and an incredible source for data-driven PR campaigns. Construction? Tech? Energy? Finance? Whatever your (or your client’s) industry, ONS almost definitely contains data on it. Endless free insights across every sector – ONS needs to be in your PR data toolkit. Datasets are typically segmented too – meaning it’s perfect for targeted campaigns (e.g. regionalised stories).

We’ve lost count of how many times we’ve integrated ONS into our features and data stories. One of our favourites was this name story for nametag provider My Nametags. Using ONS data, we identified the most popular names of the past century. Straightforward data sourcing, but extremely effective storytelling. The story got great traction in both national and regional titles, and was a hit with My Nametags’ target audience. Wonderful.

Google Trends

Google Trends is a staple of every PR’s toolkit. It’s Google search data that’s comprehensive, easy to compare and free. Trends lets you demonstrate a topic’s change in demand over time, make comparisons between different topics or predict future trending topics.

In our data-driven PR campaigns, we typically use Google Trends in two ways:

  1. As a compelling hook – the growth (or decline) of search terms can be a perfect way to demonstrate the relevance and importance of a subject. Put simply, it helps show people (and journalists!) why they should care.
  2. As the basis of a story – from comparing different search terms to identifying trends in dates, times and locations, Google Trends can provide insight into how people think and feel about different topics. You can track back to 2004, and even download trends as a .csv for detailed analysis.

Either way, the smallest insights can form the basis for hugely compelling angles. During data research for our client Origin, a leading aluminium doors and windows supplier, we discovered that Google searches for home renovations peaked during the middle of the night. Using this insight, we built a story around the narrative that people were losing sleep over their house renovations – and it was a success!

Reddit

Reddit is one of our favourite data sources. We’ve previously discussed how it can be a goldmine for audience insights, but it’s also a great source of quantitative data. Reddit threads like r/dataisbeautiful and r/datasets contain thousands of innovative datasets – with Redditors adding to them every day. These threads are an exceptional source of new data sources and inspiration.

We continually find data ideas we’ve never considered before. From the geographical distribution of UK pub names to how long it takes a hacker to break your password, we absolutely love it. And when bolstered with qualitative insights from Redditors, it can provide a one-stop-shop for data-led PR.

Job sites

Slightly more niche but equally as valuable, job sites like Indeed and Reed are another Energy favourite. Millions of jobs are advertised across every sector, every year. The result? An enormous amount of unexplored employment data.

The value of this data goes far beyond recruitment. You can analyse which industries are growing, which skills are in demand, how jobs are evolving, the value of different roles and differences in regional employment. What’s more, the broad spread of job advertisements means you’re likely to find insights that are very relevant for you or your client’s niche. For example, you can access recruitment data by:

  • Industry – useful for cross-sector analysis of different industries.
  • Location – useful for demonstrating regional differences in employment and skills.
  • Salary – useful for identifying disparities in pay by region, job or industry.
  • Experience – useful for identifying valued skills, accreditations and education.
  • Company – useful for reporting on larger companies’ activities (and for competitor analysis).

These employment insights can form the basis of a story itself or can be combined with other sources to build data-driven narratives. Sound useful? We think so too.

If you’d like to explore how we can deliver data-driven PR for your brand, get in touch with Louise at louise@energypr.co.uk.

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