Why Journalists Love Consumer Stories in Digital PR Content

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 that 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

Consumer narratives routinely perform well when it comes to earning media coverage because they are inherently newsworthy.

[You can read more about the 8 values of newsworthiness here]

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 also give the “human element” journalists use to make their stories more compelling. Narratives about how people experience life, money, and the economy all touch on the core values of newsworthiness.

While “newsjacking” current events may help a campaign stand out in a crowded news cycle, evergreen content is another strategy to consider because it 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 the cost of care 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.

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

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 quality media 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: 

  • Google Search Trends
    • Analyzing search trends can show you the most popular terms and topics that Americans are looking up online. An analysis can also show the cities/states that are Googling certain terms the most. 
  • Survey Platforms
    • A unique survey allows you to gather insights from either Americans at large or certain demographics. This case study shows how survey data helped our client break into a tricky news cycle.
  • Social Media
    • Look for trending topics, keywords, or hashtags. Analyzing consumer sentiment on social platforms allows you to get up-to-date insights.
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. 

Depending on the data and your presentation, you have the potential to secure both national and local coverage. Statistics that apply to Americans as a whole are good to pitch to 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.

Digital PR campaigns that include both elements have the highest potential for widespread media coverage. 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

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 regularly earn coverage from major news outlets.

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.

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