How to Use Proprietary Data to Drive Media Coverage

How to Use Proprietary Data to Drive Media Coverage

19th January 2017

If your company possess data that can help others better understand a specific market and its trends, then you better use it. Here’s what you can learn from BuzzSumo and TripAdvisor about getting the journalists’ attention and being mentioned in the media.

If you ever tried promoting a press release, you probably already know how challenging it is to convince at least one journalist to publish it, not to mention to write an article about your company or the product. And there’s a good reason for it. Journalists are scouting for stories that need to meet two conditions: 1) they are interesting, new, and relevant to a wide audience and 2) they come from a reliable source.

Of course, there are many ways in which you can answer to journalists’ needs. Services like HARO (Help A Reporter Out) let you see exactly what journalists are looking for right now. If you’re fast (and relevant) enough, you can get mentioned in their next article.

But if you want to be proactive, the story has to come from you, and the best way to find it is right there, in your own backyard. Using proprietary data, such as customer surveys, market research, or even market insights based on your customers’ behaviour can provide you with a story that’s worth mentioning in, or any other publication you’re interested in.

Here’s how to create your next data-driven PR campaign with examples from companies who are really great at this, and a few suggestions of tools that might come in handy.

Part 1: Research and create the right angle

Having the right data is essential. Next, you have to take a look at the results of your research and draw a conclusion that can help others in some way.

Let’s consider the following example.

When I think about data-driven content, BuzzSumo is the first tool that comes to my mind. It’s an amazing example of how to leverage the data that you have to get media exposure.

BuzzSumo’s biggest advantage is having a great product that is built for research. Basically, they use the tool’s capabilities to understand market trends. Their conclusions and interpretation of the data is just as valuable as the data itself.

How to Write Viral Headlines: New BuzzSumo Research is a good example. I have to admit, I’m not completely aware of their outreach process – if BuzzSumo contacted the journalists or people simply liked the research and wrote about it. The end result is that this piece was mentioned in,,,,, and many other blogs and smaller publications.

In fact, I used BuzzSumo to check who linked to them in the first place:


TripAdvisor is one another example of a brand using proprietary data.

For about 8 years, they have been publishing a report called “Traveler’s Choice”. This includes the world’s top rated destinations and is based on the millions of reviews and opinions from TripAdvisor travelers.

The winners are usually determined using an algorithm that takes into account the quantity and quality of reviews, as well as the ratings for hotels, restaurants, and attractions in worldwide destinations. (source:

Part 2: Find the right audience

What I mean by that is figure out which publications are right for you, and most importantly, find the journalists who write about the topic you want to share.

Here’s a very spot-on advice from a tech journalist.

All tech writers are not the same. We each have specific “beats” or topics that we frequently cover. If you are building a social app, don’t reach out to the Apple reporter. If your company makes cloud storage products, don’t reach out to the e-commerce writer. You might as well be selling me a taxidermy kit. – Bekah Grant, former writer at VentureBeat

[How to pitch the [tech] press]<

Part 3: Reach out and measure your results

The PR email pitch is an art and a challenge in itself. While there is no single silver bullet that will work every time, there are a lot of don’ts that, fortunately, have been covered by many people already.

You can always look for How-To articles or you can follow @SmugJourno. She is a great resource for “how-not-to” examples.

It’s important to learn from others, but it’s more effective to learn from your own mistakes. So do the best you can and keep track of your work. You can use (a tool designed to keep track of PR outreach) or any other CRM for that matter.

In time, you’ll learn what works best for you, and you’ll build a network of journalists that are exactly in your niche.

A short summary

Here’s a quick rundown of all the steps you need to take:

  • Be constantly aware of the resources that are right in your backyard: data on your customers, the market, trends you can discover using your tool, etc.;
  • Spend time analysing the data and build an angle that is relevant to a wide audience;
  • Use the right tools to find your niche (BuzzSumo), reach out to journalists (BuzzStream,, Nimble), and keep track of your results.

Photo credits: Olu Eletu (


Written By
I’m a SaaS marketer always happy to read & talk about all things inbound, SEO, storytelling, design, and literature. Currently based in Dublin, Ireland. Working @HubSpot.
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