In the spirit of telling stories with data, I’ll start with this number: As of 2018, there are six PR pros for every one journalist. Journalists are more outnumbered than ever before, and the trend shows no sign of slowing down.
We know that reporters are flooded with pitches, especially in the fashion, beauty and lifestyle industry, where product roundups and holiday gift guides are a dime a dozen. And we know the best practices for pitching, from researching the right targets to personalizing your pitch. But these practices aren’t enough in an increasingly competitive media landscape.
The best way to stand out in a sea of stories is to add real value to your pitch. And real value means real numbers. Data can be a scary word, especially in a profession that I may or may not have chosen because I hate math. But once I got started in PR, I realized it was time to face my fears, because when it comes to pitching unique, relevant stories for lifestyle brands, it’s all about the numbers.
Here are four reasons you should nerd out in the name of PR, and start telling your lifestyle stories with data:
1. You add major credibility to your stories.
When you’re pitching for a lifestyle brand, it’s easy to point to a trend and say “this is a trend!” without backing it up. But this doesn’t help a reporter. Instead, find data that shows your trend is actually, well, trending. Google Trends, Mintel, Gallup and Pew are all great, reputable sources for secondary data on consumer lifestyle trends. I love digging through Google Trends to find out what people are searching for and how a brand might fit in. For instance, if you’re pitching a wellness angle for your client, you can back up your story with the Mintel finding that two in five Americans (41 percent) say they manage their health to feel less stressed, and that they’re looking for ways to add more wellness methods into their daily routines.
2. You can leverage data directly from your client to find new stories.
Sometimes you don’t have to look far to find a good story. Your client might have their own existing data that you can mine for interesting trends, and you’ll dig up stories you never knew you had. Let’s say your client is a skincare brand, and they notice that their sales in acne products spike around the holidays. You can connect the dots in the data: Maybe the winter weather dries out skin and causes breakouts, or maybe the holidays stress us out and we need to protect our skin from that stress. Right there you’ve got a timely, relevant hook for holiday pitching. Isn’t that so much better than just saying “Here’s a face mask, makes a great stocking stuffer”?
3. You will stand out from the crowd during busy pitching times.
Lifestyle is a crowded space, and for every Instagram holiday and celebrity makeup look, you’re up against a lot of competition. For National Lipstick Day, beauty editors are probably bombarded with pitches promoting lipstick brands. Enter the data-driven story: One year, Walmart got the spotlight in media outlets like Bustle and Glamour on National Lipstick Day. How? Their PR team shared an infographic with data on the best-selling lipstick shades by U.S. state. That story is so much more compelling than just telling someone to buy lipstick, and it was all from data that Walmart already had (see reason #2)!
4. Your client will become an authority in their space.
Sharing data-driven stories is a good way to establish your client as a credible source for articles in the long run- not just one story in the moment. Media relations is all about building genuine relationships, after all, and if a reporter knows they can turn to your client as a resource, you’ll become a go-to for their future stories. It’s especially important to play the long game if you dream of landing your fashion and lifestyle clients in those glossy, long-lead print magazines, and data can get you there.
Data is a game changer, and even if it seems a little intimidating to those of us who weren’t a fan of statistics class in college (if you haven’t guessed by now: me), it can be your best friend. Journalists reject 95% of the pitches that flood their inbox, but if you use data to drive your stories, you stand a much better chance of making sure your pitch is in the other 5%. And that’s a number we can all get behind.