Five ways to effectively use data in digital PR campaigns

Five ways to effectively use data in digital PR campaigns

Read time: 4 mins

Written by Jack Anderson

Creating data-driven PR campaigns that get the attention of the national media can be challenging without having sound, credible sources to draw from. However, there are plenty of resources available that allow you to put together interesting, newsworthy content that will get results.

Data can feed into campaigns in many different ways, from supporting claims made in press releases to ranking the popularity of things or places based on relevant metrics. The key is to make sure the narrative you get from the research is going to be relevant to the journalists you pitch it to.

Here are some of our favourite (and proven) ways of collecting data that help forge a digital PR campaign.

Search volume

Search volume and digital PR campaigns go hand in hand, with spikes in figures being an easy source to draw from when creating content. It can be used to find industry trends to comment on or to rank things by popularity, the possibilities are vast.

SEO tools such as AHrefs and SEMrush provide some of the most comprehensive search volume figures available, whilst Google Search Trends is a good free-to-use alternative.

The main drawback though is that it lacks a lot of the capabilities the paid tools have such as; regional breakdown of figures, the ability to search for multiple keywords or phrases at once and being able to download the results quickly into a csv format.


Surveys are a classic and essential method of data collection for any PR practitioner looking to create newsworthy content. If constructed correctly, survey campaigns often yield amazing results and appeal to a broad range of media outlets because it gives insights into what the public thinks, which nearly always generates impactful news stories.

There are two main ways you can a conduct survey campaign with the first being through a third-party company. This comes with a cost, however, you are guaranteed to get the number of responses you pay for, so it’s a no-risk strategy.

If you don’t have the budget for that, then a more cost-effective way is to carry it out yourself. This can be risky as there is no way of guaranteeing that you get the number of responses you need to give the survey the weight it needs to be newsworthy.

Free datasets

There are loads of fantastic, free datasets that can be used to fuel digital PR campaigns that can easily be found online. A good way to quickly check if data is available before you pitch your idea to the client is by using Google Dataset Search.

YouGov is also a great source of free statics, particularly if you are looking for figures to back up claims in your press release or campaign landing page copy. Statista and Kaggle also offer a range of free datasets, with both also having premium services.

The free versions are good if you can find what you need, however, they are limited and often not up to date. The Office of National Statistics (ONS) also has plenty of datasets that are completely free to download and use.

Web scraping

Scraping a website for data is one of the most effective and time-saving ways to get data for a campaign. There are a variety of different tools that can be used for this which have the capability to scrap most websites and extract all the data you need.

However, sometimes websites stop you from doing this, Twitter, for example, clamped down on PRs extracting data on the number of tweets containing keywords and phrases, which was extremely useful for creating sentiment campaigns about pretty much any subject.

Other online tools will also scrap data from specific sites such as The Playlist Miner, which finds how often songs appear on Spotify playlists based on keyword searches. APIs are also available for the likes of Instagram and TripAdvisor but require a basic level of coding knowledge to get the data you need.

Desk research

Sometimes the best way to get the needed data is by manually collecting it and collating it into a spreadsheet. Sourcing your own dataset means you have full control over the metrics, however, it can be time-consuming, particularly for bigger projects.

Campaigns which rank things are often a manual job, such as finding the most popular movie in a particular category. This would involve getting fan/ critic ratings, box office earnings, peak search volume figures etc. All of that information is readily available online, it’s just a case of pulling it all together and scoring your list of films against these metrics.

Although this is the most time-consuming method on the list, it is sometimes the only option to get the data exactly right for the purposes of your campaign. Spending a bit more time on the research phase will pay off in the long run if your ideas are relevant and newsworthy.

So there you have it, our top five ways of getting data for digital PR campaigns. Of course, there are various other methods that we haven’t mentioned here, but all of the above are some of our favourite tried and tested ways that, if carried out properly, will likely get results.

If you’re looking for support in running digital PR campaigns which raise brand awareness and support growth in your backlink profile, get it touch with our digital PR manager Jonny Routledge on e: or t: +44 (0)7913 131246.