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When faced with raw data, it can be daunting to working out how to use it in a press release, especially if numbers and excel aren’t your thing. But there’s no need to be scared of data. After all, it’s what’s going to make your press release more reliable and and get it noticed by journalists.

If you’re struggling with using data in a press release, I’ve shared my top tips below to help write a proper newsworthy press release:

Why do we use data in a press release?

Data is one of the most important parts of a press release and should always be used if it can be. Data not only helps validate your press release and makes a story more reliable in the eyes of a journalist, but it can also completely shape your press release and the angle you’re taking with it. For example, if you’ve conducted a survey that shows that 90% of Brits don’t trust their partners; this is a great angle for a release that is sure to be of interest to the press. If you can use data in a release – do it!

What makes a great data-led story?

Firstly, data that is relatable, or in the public interest helps make a great story. Say there’s news that property sales have plummeted by 50% in the past six months. If you’re outreaching to press with data that shows that 70% of sellers are struggling to sell their home, this is going to help increase the chances of pickup. Shocking or surprising statistics also help make a great data-led story. Think of the ‘F**K me Doris’ test – if it would shock your grandma, it is sure to be a great story.

What makes great data?

You may not think so, but there is an art in choosing the best data for your press releases. Particularly high or low statistics always work well with the press, especially if it’s less than 20% or higher than 80%. Look out for any clear differences between men and women’s answers too, as these are especially attractive to lifestyle press.  Any anomalies in age data also make a strong news hook – think along the lines of ‘gen z vs millennial vs baby boomers’. Lastly, regional data will always be of interest to regional papers, especially if it’s related to property or crime statistics in the area.

And one final thing – always make sure the data you’re using is taken from a large enough respondent rate. If less than 100 people responded to the question, this isn’t reliable enough and it shouldn’t be used.

How do we use data in a press release?

The first thing I would recommend is pulling together a data analysis, to make sure all your stats are in one place. Highlight any stats that match the criteria above to pinpoint the best stats to use in your release. When it comes to writing the release, always lead with the very best stat in your headline, and reiterate it in the first paragraph too. Use a couple of bullet points under the headline to highlight other notable stats, and explain these in more detail in the first few paragraphs.

And the most important part of using data in a release – if it’s not adding anything to the story – don’t use it! Data should only be used if it’s newsworthy and adds something to the point you’re already making. Don’t just pop a stat in for the sake of it. For more info on how to format a case study check out this blog from my colleague Bex on ‘How to Write a Killer Press Release’.

A final checklist for using data in a press release:

Got all of that? Here’s a final checklist for using data in a press release:

  • Are you using only the strongest stats?
  • Has the data used been taken from enough respondents?
  • Are the contrasting stats different enough? e.g. if it’s 44% of women and 48% of men, it’s not that different and not that newsworthy!
  • Are these stats surprising and interesting?
  • Are you contradicting yourself with the data? If you don’t know what you are trying to say then a journalist won’t. Always keep your point clear.

Hopefully, this post will help you effectively use data for a newsworthy press release. To find out more about what we’ve been up to at c3, check out our twitter or contact us directly.