Written by: Jacqui Maddock
There’s no doubt data can be daunting, especially to the less numerically-inclined. Which is, to be frank, many of us in financial services PR and marketing who prefer words over numbers.
But in today’s world, the digitalisation of many of our interactions has opened the door to countless possibilities in collecting, analysing, then drawing meaningful insights from data.
And it’s how we use these invaluable insights, interpreting numbers into words, that shapes and delivers a successful PR strategy.
In a first sense, the ‘datafication’ of PR allows us to get to know our audience, and our customers, like never before. We can determine their point of view on a topic, and if it changes, when, why and how. By doing this, we are now able to tailor messages in response to insights drawn from big data, chart its traction in real-time, and strive for the ultimate goal for our financial services clients: creating a story that is interesting to their target audience, and sticks. An added bonus: the more interesting and memorable the story is, the more shareable it becomes.
PR strategy in the world of big data centres on online reach and delivering the right message at the right time. If you’re not analysing your actions and their reach in real-time, you are in effect, flying blind. Taking stock as you implement your plan is a powerful thing. It allows you to adjust and optimise your messaging as necessary, and positions you to achieve the greatest result.
What every campaign wants to see is growth. Growth in visitors, growth in referrals and growth in conversions are key measures of success. Data offers us the tools to angle our messages and stories, then measure the traction of our strategies, but at the heart of any good campaign is a clever and compelling narrative.
Different types of data work differently in order to drive media coverage.
1. Proprietary Data
Proprietary Data is classified as content that you, and you alone have access to and ownership of, through your organisation’s resources, technology or customer base. Proprietary data remains a popular tool for PR professionals in large part because it is precious, original information, a rare and invaluable tool for developing content and narrative.
2. Commissioned Data
Commissioned Data, by comparison, is data produced by an organisation or its partners, and includes research reports, studies, surveys and opinion polls. Ordinarily, significant costs are involved in compiling the data, but they are usually more than outweighed by the benefits of novel or compelling findings.
BlueChip Communication assisted in the development and release of RaboDirect’s National Savings and Debt Barometer, a commissioned piece of research into the savings and debt habits of Australians, with the aim of increasing the profile and credibility of RaboDirect amongst its target audience and other opinion leaders. The results speak for themselves – we saw front page coverage of the research report in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. Articles about the survey also appeared in the Business Day section of the papers, online, and in metro and personal finance publications.
Another good example is the case of Natixis’s 2016 Global Retirement Index (GRI). The Index compares the ability of 43 countries to meet the needs of their retirees by examining the factors that drive retirement security, with Australia ranking sixth in the world. We formulated our PR strategy by picking out key angles and insights that would be of most interest from an Australian media standpoint, such as that despite ranking 6th overall in the GRI, Australia only ranks 16th in “Material Wellbeing”, which we saw as a call to action for Australians to engage with their super to ensure stronger retirement outcomes. The GRI also found that 70% of respondents rank retirement as a top financial planning priority but do not have an accurate picture of what is needed, with most respondents believing that 64% of work income will be needed for retirement, but most experts say it is more likely 75-80%. This means education and engagement is needed, as is better asset allocation and portfolio decisions from investment managers.
BlueChip Communication chose to pitch an exclusive interview with our target mainstream journalist, based on his interests in superannuation and retirement planning, and influence. We incorporated this messaging into 1:1 briefings with key industry publications.
As a result, we achieved 7 pieces of coverage in trade and mainstream media, including a piece in the Sydney Morning Herald which was syndicated to other Fairfax publications such as the Australian Financial Review and The Age. These were followed up with contributed opinion pieces, which continue to allow Natixis to explore the most relevant themes for the Australian market in greater depth, aligning with the company’s wider ongoing strategy.
The research report becomes a narrative to your brand’s given perspective on a topic. This example delivers relevant and timely information on retirement and superannuation and in doing so it ties GRI and its brand to a topic which has a great impact on Australian audiences. It gives legitimacy to the brand, its content, and its profile.
3. Curated Data
The third type of data to consider is curated data. As the name suggests, companies can leverage preexisting research reports, studies and surveys to identify new opportunities for old information. Curated data is the least costly to an organisation, and if delivered through an editorial calendar, has the potential to offer multiple bites of the cherry.
A good way for a financial services brand to use curated data is to reference, say, a recent Australian Bureau of Statistics report and use those statistics to form a view and add insight to commentary for media.
Doesn’t sound so scary now, does it? If used meaningfully and strategically, data and research can play a big part in your PR strategy to help achieve positive outcomes for your business. Give it a go, the possibilities are endless!
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