Creating data for the media

Come and join us at Babel’s panel discussion on 21st January, at the Amba Hotel Charing Cross, London.

On Tuesday 21st January, Babel is hosting a breakfast panel discussion and workshop exploring how businesses can present organic and third party data to journalists, to help inform news stories and features.

Last month, we published a blog introducing the event and delved into where to start with data-led storytelling in the media. Today, we’re sharing a sneak preview of what will be covered in the panel discussion, with some top tips from our panellists; Martin Stabe, Data Editor at the Financial Times; Tim Bond, Head of Insight and PR at the Data and Marketing Association; and Jenny Mowat, Managing Director at Babel.

Martin Stabe, Data Editor, Financial Times

The specialist data that journalists need from the organisations they seek to work with, in my experience, quite often differs from what other journalists typically seek, and is therefore not well understood by many communications teams.

Data journalists need raw, granular data that has been gathered and analysed in transparent ways, on which they can perform original independent analysis. Access to organisations’ data scientists or other technical specialists is also essential to fruitful collaborations.

The best private sector data, from a journalist’s perspective, goes beyond showcasing the provider’s capabilities, and provides unique insights into social, economic or political issues that are not otherwise possible.

Tim Bond, Head of Insight and PR, Data and Marketing Association

There’s a lot of bad research out there. Yes, data can be used to fuel interesting PR campaigns, but journalists (and customers, whether B2B or B2C) are becoming more discerning.

In a world of fake news and dodgy data, we need to do better. I get to see and get pitched a lot of research in my role, and I can vouch that there’s some dross out there.

There are four key points to consider when pitching data:

  1. If it’s interesting to your business, does that make it insightful to your customers?
  2. If the data speaks perfectly to your selling point, then nobody will believe it!
  3. Don’t hide the bad bits (because we’ll either find them or just ignore you).
  4. What’s the goal (lead generation, thought leadership, something else)?

Jenny Mowat, Managing Director, Babel PR

It’s important to present data that tells the reader something they didn’t already know and entices them to find out more.

Agencies often overlook the value of keeping it simple, and research can easily become quite complicated and stray from the core objective. From the number of themes covered, to the language used in questions, to how you present your key insights – simplicity is key.

The substantiality of data also has a big weight on the value of a media pitch. Ask yourself, is your sample size reflective of the target audience? Do you have enough information on the source and validity? Can you build on this through qualitative insights and wider research? If your research isn’t yet sizable enough, it’s worth going back to the drawing board and adding value to your data before you start even thinking about taking it out to the media.

Answering your questions

From identifying topical issues, to data mining and analysis, content creation and media engagement, Babel has in-depth experience developing effective communication strategies that leverage the power of data.

On the 21st January, our panel and workshop will aim to answer your questions surrounding how businesses can best present data to journalists. Martin, Tim and Jenny will be joined by fellow panellists, Caelainn Barr, Data Projects Editor for The Guardian, and Toni Sekinah, a freelance journalist (formerly of Data IQ).

If you’d like to attend the event and find out how to best utilise data when pitching to the media, then please register via Eventbrite or speak to one of the Babel team, we’re happy to help.

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