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Why Journalists Love Consumer Stories in Digital PR Content

By Megan Sanctorum

The Power of Consumer Stories in Digital PR & Earned Media

Before creating a digital PR campaign, you should always start with the end goal in mind. For the majority of businesses pursuing digital PR strategies, the goal is to earn quality media and press coverage.

How do you accomplish that? Create content journalists want to write about. Consumer trends and personal finance topics are always on their radar.

Image of dollar bills and text "let's talk money"

Why Consumer Stories Make for Successful Digital PR Campaigns

Our team finds consumer narratives routinely perform well when it comes to earning media coverage. Why? Because they are inherently newsworthy! They are timely, relevant, and impactful (to name a few).

[You can read more about the 8 values of newsworthiness on our blog]

Journalists typically need “new” information and a human element to tell stories that their audience can easily connect to. Stories about money, finances, and shopping check those boxes.

Consumer Stories are Timely

Whether it’s the financial impact of the pandemic, inflation, or tax season… current events are always impacting consumers’ wallets.

Finances can prompt an emotional response in viewers and give the “human element” journalists use to make their stories more compelling. Narratives about how people experience life, money, and the economy touch on the core values of newsworthiness.

Consumer Stories can be Evergreen

Evergreen stories are those that are not time-sensitive. Oftentimes, money-centric and consumer news stories fall into that “evergreen” category.

While “newsjacking” may help a campaign stand out in a crowded news cycle, evergreen content provides a unique opportunity for longevity. We’ve seen evergreen consumer digital PR campaigns continue to receive news coverage and backlinks long after active outreach is complete.

How to Find Ideas for Consumer Stories in Digital PR

When it comes to ideation, inspiration is all around you. You can create a newsworthy digital PR campaign for any industry, and incorporate the economy, consumer spending, or consumer habits.

Financial service providers and banks can look at broad topics, like credit card use, debt, spending, and saving habits. Healthcare providers can look at how cost is (or isn’t) impacting the way Americans take care of themselves. Companies that sell goods can look for trends when it comes to the way Americans choose to spend their money.

So, what industries do consumer-focused digital PR concepts not work with? None! 

Circle that says "consumer stories" with the names of major industries around it

Watch the news, read magazine headlines, and see what’s trending on social media. Economy and consumer-focused ideas are everywhere.

How to tell Newsworthy Consumer Stories with Data

New data will be key to earning coverage for your campaign and financial PR content. You want to position your client as an authority in their industry in order to earn coverage. 

Since relevant data narratives will vary from business to business, you can use several methods to gather data. Here are a few of our favorite data methods for personal finance and consumer stories: 

  • An analysis of Google search trends can show the most popular terms and topics Americans are looking up online. It can also show the cities/states that are Googling certain terms the most
  • Survey platforms are another popular way to gather insights from either Americans at-large or certain demographics. This case study outlines how we used data from a survey to help our client break into a tricky news cycle.
  • Social media is another tool you can use to gather data for your consumer-focused digital PR campaign. You can analyze social media trends to see what Americans are posting about and how they feel regarding certain topics.
Google logo, check box, major social media platform logos

You can use one (or all) of the methods to compile data and create consumer-centric research.

[Want proof that this methodology works? Our 2020 and 2021 year-in-review pieces show the success we’ve had with these methods when it comes to earning high authority placements for our clients]

Identify Newsworthy Angles Within Data: National vs. Local

Once you’ve collected data for your campaign it’s time to analyze the findings and determine the most newsworthy angles. 

Certain data types lend themselves to different narratives. If your research has national trends, you could focus on national finance outlets like CNBC, Bloomberg, or the Wall Street Journal. If you have city or state-specific data, local television, newspaper, and radio outlets will take notice.

For example, we recently did a consumer-focused digital PR campaign about Americans’ dental habits. The research earned coverage in both local and national outlets, but how the outlets covered it was very different.

two laptops, one with USA today article, one with CW33 article

National publications used the statistics with mass appeal. Local outlets honed in on city-specific data that was unique to their audience.

Identify Newsworthy Angles Within Data: Using Demographics

Breaking your data set down by demographics is another way to offer fresh consumer insights to journalists. Look for differences in data or survey responses based on gender, generation, etc.

You can take advantage of newsjacking by focusing on a demographic that is trending. In 2020 it was all about millennials, in 2022 Gen Z dominated the headlines.

Screenshot of a Google search of "gen z + study"

How Consumer Stories Get Shared by the Media

Consumer and economy-focused digital PR campaigns get coverage from major news outlets regularly.

Screenshot of six news articles in major publications

Three Trends in Consumer Stories

In order to leverage the power of consumer stories in digital marketing, your campaign should follow the trends you see in the news. These are the top three angles that we’ve found consistently perform well.

1. Cyclical/Recurring

Cyclical or recurring digital PR campaigns are tried and true. You can predict the media’s appetite for consumer-based stories around topics like the holidays and financial seasons. 

For example, is Christmas coming up? Maybe you look at how much people are spending on decor each year. How are they doing their shopping? Are they using online retailers or getting in the spirit by going to the mall?

Tax season is another recurring event that dominates the news cycle for weeks. You can look at how people file their taxes, when they file, or even the generation that procrastinates the most.

2. “Unicorn” Financial Events

When irregularities like a recession, COVID-19, or inflation occur, you can bet the media will be hungry for content. Journalists will want to tell the story of how the event is impacting Americans and their bank accounts. 

Ask yourself: how can your digital PR content establish your client as a thought leader and contribute to the discussion?

3. Consumer Habits

Consumer habits can change a lot (or a little) year over year. If your research can provide hard stats about those habits… you’re golden.

For example, we helped a market research client create a campaign about Americans’ use of “buy now, pay later” services. The content earned more than 300 backlinks and continued to earn media coverage for months, even after active outreach had ended. We positioned our client as the “authority” on the topic and it paid off.

What Publications Share Consumer Stories?

It’s not just financial media outlets that have an appetite for consumer stories. National, lifestyle, technology, health, travel, and local news outlets have all shared our consumer and economy-focused content in the past.

Journalists of all backgrounds want to write about topics with data, mass appeal, and a human connection. Consumer-focused campaigns will catch their eye and can play a major role in your overall digital marketing strategy.

Read more from our blog