Newsworthiness is the main feature sought in press releases. The most remarkable factor among the newsworthiness criteria is the figures and statistical data. A press release reinforced with figures and ratios will always attract the attention of journalists and have widespread media coverage.
It is seen that the press is full of news involving figures and statistics such as “Number of immigrants exceeded 270 million” or “Annual cigarette consumption is above 100 billion in Turkey”, and even such news hit the headlines. What makes figures and statistics so valuable in press releases, which are basically news texts? For you, we discuss the answer to this question in our blog post.
Newsworthiness is the main delicacy in press releases that allow individuals or institutions to establish a sustainable relationship network with the press. Although the newsworthiness varies according to the type of publication, the time of publication, publication policies and cultural characteristics of the public, it depends on criteria such as currency, curiosity, impact, public interest, extraordinariness, fame and negativity on a universal scale. However, data-driven texts are always more newsworthy. In fact, the use of figures and statistics suggests that the subject of the text is based on evidence. A press release reinforced with figures and ratios is considered by journalists as a significant and interesting text, especially by meeting the currency, impact and curiosity criteria. On the other hand, it would be a mistake to believe that every text containing figures is newsworthy. What matters is to use the figures and statistics correctly and in a manner that makes sense.
1- Double-check the source of the data
The figures and statistics in press releases must be based on reliable sources. Otherwise, risky situations that may damage image and reputation may arise. These sources include a company’s data on its field of activity, a research report published by the research companies on the subject, or data shared by the statistical institutions. Regardless of the source used, it should be referenced in the news text.
2 - Make the journalist envisage
Although the figures and statistics are newsworthy due to being based on concrete outputs, they remain incapable of making sense by themselves. For example, the statement “Number of immigrants reaches 272 million” contains numerical information, but it may not be sufficient to make the journalist envisage the actual magnitude. Instead, the statement “Number of immigrants exceeded 3.5% of the world population” both supports the data and makes it easier to be visualized.
3 - Make it striking
Even if the data to be included in a press release presents a valuable output, it will not be effective unless it is expressed in a way that draws the attention of journalists. For example; if company A having an export figure of USD 50 million in 2018 increases this figure to USD 100 million in 2019, it would make the data more striking and catchy if it is expressed as “Company A doubled its exports in 2019” or “Exports of Company A increased by 100% in a year” instead of announcing it with a statement such as “Exports of Company A are worth USD 100 million in 2019”.
4 - Include quotations
The figures and statistics to be included in a news text are also crucial for determining the problems regarding the subject and giving an idea about the solutions. At this point, it is necessary not only to inform the journalist of the data but also to explain what this data means and evaluate the current state. This provides an advantage in terms of the image and reputation of the brand spokespeople that will be mentioned in the press release. If the agenda of the press includes a similar issue, journalists may request opinions from brand spokespersons who have previously made evaluations in this field.
5- Don't go beyond your area of expertise
Evaluation of numerical data on a subject that is not adequately mastered increases the possibility of misinterpreting the output. This may cause misleading the press and target audience, resulting in loss of reputation. It is essential for individuals or institutions to deal with the figures and statistics related to their respective areas of expertise, both for the association of their names with their respective areas of expertise and elimination of the disinformation risk.
6- Don't make changes on the figures
The numerical data contained in a press release should not be changed but used as specified in the respective sources. For example, the fractional data should not be rounded but should be expressed more understandably. A statement such as “The city's green area rate reached 4.7%” may be replaced by the statement “The green area rate of the city is almost 5%”. On the other hand, "The city’s green area rate reached 5%" is an example of misuse.
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