Digital PR: The best FREE data sources for your campaigns!
The best path to a successful campaigns is knowing how to spot the trends, where to find your data and how to use it to relate to the reader of the publications you want coverage in. But how can you stay up to date beyond the obvious (twitter, Instagram, TikTok etc) and where can you look to spark inspo for your next campaign.
Follow industry awards, who won and what did they do?
Awards are the ultimate way of recognising achievements and successes within an industry. They’re social benchmarks that companies aspire to, as winning one naturally boosts your impact, influence, and profile as a business.
If your brand is still in its infancy, you may not have received any nominations within your sector yet – but not to worry. It’s still important to follow the relevant awards so you can make a call on what areas of your business you could improve and what you’re currently doing well. And also, keep an eye on any winning competitors and take a look at their strategies to see how they did it.
Follow Twitter profiles and newsletters
In terms of Twitter, you need to make sure you’re following both PRs/PR companies and journalists. The majority of journos prefer this social media platform for work and regularly use hashtags such as #journorequests to link up with experts for commentary or to connect with PRs.
The journalists you follow should also be relevant to your brand – do they cover topics in your niche or industry? Do you think you’d be a good match if you hooked up with them during your campaign? Keep checking up on the ones you currently follow to make sure they’d still be relevant to you, but also keep on expanding your media list to open up potential opportunities.
PR people on Twitter are just as important – treat them how you’d interact with journos – keep in touch with them/build contacts, etc.
Newsletters are also very valuable for staying in the know. Every week, fortnight, or monthly (how often they’re sent is up to the NL), they’ll drop into your inbox with all the latest news, trends and updates in the world of digital PR.
From there, you can assess if your current campaign needs tweaking (there may be a massive TikTok trend that would be perfect for your brand), or if you’re in the planning stages, jump on what’s hot right now and incorporate it into your strategy.
Sign up to your competitors’ emails!
It’s not sneaky – everybody does it because it’s a great way of seeing how brands in your niche do things from the perspective of a customer.
Analysing your (successful) competition will provide insights into their tone and creative style, which will help you to zone in on what could be done better (or differently) in your newsletters/emails.
Having the intel on what they’re offering can also help you make your services, products and marketing stand out from the crowd. For example, you can respond to rival marketing campaigns with your own originality and resourcefulness, and even competitively set your prices.
The Grapevine newsletter by Iona Townsley
With a tagline like “Inspiration to your inbox,” it’s hard not to take note. Iona Townsley is a Conceptual Creative and Digital PR Specialist, who amongst other things, provides a monthly creative content newsletter that “details almost every digital PR campaign to come out month to month.”
According to its own description, it provides “inspiration, competitor knowledge and allow you to keep your finger on the pulse of what the industry is up to.”
This is hugely beneficial for brands both in the middle of a campaign and when planning one, because it lists every link building campaign Iona and her editorial assistant Annie have been able to find. It includes projects that have already garnered major traction and coverage plus ones that haven’t been picked up by journos yet.
Ultimately, it’s super handy to have a newsletter dedicated to just digital PR campaigns, as it’s a one-stop-shop for inspo, ideas, and seeing what’s working right now in terms of strategies.
(As well as the Grapevine newsletter, she’s also compiled a 2022 campaign report which is incredibly useful. In her own words, Iona says: “In this report, you’ll find a labour of love, revealing from 1,500 campaigns in total which industries commonly get the most links, what kind of campaign formats work the best and which types of campaigns reign supreme.” The info available is like gold dust in terms of informing your 2023 PR strategies, as it provides you with “data-backed insights steering you in the right direction.”)
Content Curated newsletter
Another informative newsletter that helps you stay up to date in digital PR. Content Curated drops into your inbox monthly, and pulls together some of the best content campaigns, PR stunts articles and more, all with the objective of helping to inspire and inform future campaigns.
Mark Porter, SEO consultant and Content Curated founder has called it a “must-read” for all content marketers, and he’s not wrong – the newsletter has over 2,000 highly-engaged subscribers.
Each issue provides help and advice in real-time for mapping out your content plans, most importantly including what trends, updates, or methods are working the best and for which industries.
YouGov daily poll
YouGov specialises in opinion polling and market research through online methods. Its approach involves generating responses from an invited group of web users and then presenting the responses in line with demographic info.
When you subscribe to the daily poll, it sends you top-line data via email every weekday afternoon. The first results you’ll get are the three topical questions YouGov asks the UK every morning.
It’s great for digital PR campaigns because the data that’s being provided is current and relevant, and from members of the general public. I.e the people you’re selling your products or services to.
Plus, the top three results are present issues/opinions. So, if they relate to your niche in any shape or form, you can respond by creating a campaign/using a PR strategy such as newsjacking to get your brand involved in the conversation.
Chartr is a data storytelling site that provides visual stories on business, tech, entertainment and society. If your brand falls into any of these sectors, you might want to subscribe to its free newsletter with “300,000 other visual thinkers and data-driven professionals.”
As well as the newsletter, Chartr is very active on social media and often shares case studies and data graphs with their followers. For example, their most recent post focused on restaurant chain Shake Shack, which recently reported that its sales grew 17% last year.
They also curate other more generalised studies, like a report on “almost 40% of internet users are logging into Facebook every day,” plus “remote work is a pandemic trend that has stood the test of time.”
For those who are visual learners and looking at stats often becomes an eyesore, Chartr is definitely a go-to in terms of staying in the know.
The Week in Data
What it says on the tin, really. The Week in Data “keeps your finger on the pulse” – a phrase that is indented in every PR, journo and marketer’s brain. Whether you’re a data head or not, this weekly digest shares everything that’s been going on in the world of stats.
From “breaking news to cutting-edge innovations” (you don’t get more up-to-date than that), The Week in Data even throws in event discounts and free talks to boost your number knowledge and keep you informed 24/7.
Brands in the financial business, Robinhood is a game-changer. Specifically dedicated to sharing financial news on a daily basis, when you sign up for the newsletter, you’ll get 3 minutes worth of fresh takes on the most important/newest stats in the industry.
(When it comes to money talk, 180 seconds is enough before all the figures just merge into one. Which is why Robinhood offer it all up on a bite-sized plate, featuring the most important breakdowns that day.)
As well as the newsletter, you can also download the app to make sure you never miss a beat.
From investment to crypto to retirement, there’s nothing in the financial sector that Robinhood doesn’t cover.
Other free data sources available:
In terms of data, there’s a whole load of other free resources online that you can access, too. This includes:
Google dataset search
Of course, Google has its own feature that offers up freely available data. Dataset Search is Google’s own search engine that provides researchers, marketers etc. with online data that they can use in their campaigns.
If you’re looking for stats on a certain topic, all you need to do is type the subject into the search box (just like you would on regular Google) and click search. All the available info Google has on the query will pop up in front of you.
Statista specialises in market and consumer data, so naturally offers stats, reports, market, consumer and company insights via its online platform. It’s a leading provider in this sector and has around 2 million registered users, 31 million visits per month, plus info on over 80,000 topics and 170 industries.
So chances are you’ll get what you’re looking for in terms of up-to-date data through Statista. Oh, and the site is also available in German, Spanish and French, which can be quite handy.
ONS (Office for National Statistics)
The ONS is the executive office of the UK Statistics Authority. It’s a non-ministerial department and reports directly to the UK Parliament. There’s a whole load of information you can pluck from the site if your research is purely UK-based.
From the latest data and analysis on COVID-19 to employment and unemployment rates, the population and other government statistics, all are regularly updated and available to use.
Google knows what’s up when it comes to trending topics. Another of its side projects, Trends analyses the popularity of top search queries in the actual search engine across various languages and regions. It then uses graphs to compare the search volume of the queries over time.
The give you an idea of how last year went, Google Trends revealed that the World Cup, Wordle and the late Queen were the top trending UK subjects in 2022.
Give your campaigns the best possible chance
Whatever the subject, industry or niche your digital PR campaign lies in, they all need to have a common theme – be relevant and up to date. By utilising the tools above and just staying ahead of the game when it comes to new trends and updates, etc. you’ll be able to craft a marketing campaign of value, that’s more likely to pop off.