Award Winning

Best use of Content within Media Relations 2020: SEMrush

Agency: Semrush
Award: Best use of Content within Media Relations

Brief

Have you ever wondered what the wider public thinks of vegan sausage rolls?
Or what region in the UK is searching the most about mental health? 
Do you know which websites saw major site visit spikes during lockdown?
Or how many vulnerable people are searching for domestic abuse support in the UK and across the globe? 

Most people are familiar with Semrush as an all-in-one digital marketing toolkit. We collect and analyse online search trends for brands across the world. As well as finding what people are searching on the internet, we can see Year-on-Year trends and identify shifting patterns in consumer behaviour, demand and opinion. 

  • Using website analysis, we are able to see emerging patterns in site popularity. 
  • With ad spend we can see in which categories specific brands’ budgets are being spent.
  • With our Twitter sentiment analysis we can identify the wider public’s reaction to topical and controversial conversations in society. 

So with a plethora of resources at our fingertips, we want to highlight the power of data in storytelling while uncovering the hidden stories in statistics without bias. Online data shows trends and opinions through real world actions rather than claimed behaviour. What other online visibility and management platform supports local community journalism and storytelling like we do?

Our mission is to fight the fake news battle by ensuring people have support and access to accurate, up-to-the-minute information in order to create informed, educated and factual content. By offering Semrush data insights free for journalists and media professionals seeking to use the stats to enhance content creation – we aim to make a positive contribution through responsible PR and mission-driven marketing. We want to highlight the power of data in storytelling while uncovering the hidden stories in statistics without bias. 

At a time where we are seeing a continual flood of opinion, false theories, and fake news so easily spread online we believe the world has a real need for authoritative and independent arbiters of fact. Ground-breaking stories and insights lurk in the detail of data. Our mission is to help content creators tell better stories. While the online world and growing onslaught of tech may have thrown at us misinformation, it has also opened up new ways of accessing insight – including sourcing up-to-the-minute perspectives on popular opinion and the ability to identify trends through aggregated online search behaviour.

Solution

With a mission to prove the power of data in storytelling and uncover hidden stories in statistics by using data-driven journalism, and an aspiration to drive positive change by eradicating fake news, Semrush was able to reveal the worrying uplifts of searches for certain helplines and support groups during lockdown.

Narratives were starting to appear online from individual domestic abuse charities, discussing specific first-hand accounts from victims of violence, about the dangers of being locked down in the company of their abusers. But for a topic so personal, especially when the voices which needed to be heard, couldn’t in many cases speak loudly, how could the true scale of the problem be mapped?

Semrush was able to become part of an important conversation to help drive awareness before any official figures could be released. As we collate and analyse global search trends on a daily basis for brands – it’s a service we make available for all journalists – we were able to provide an unbiased and country-wide set of statistics about searches for advice and support on domestic abuse. After all – scared and traumatised people may not be able to call or speak to someone for help – but they can turn to their search engines. We could compare spikes in searches to ‘typical’ levels of online requests on the topic being undertaken before lockdown, and demonstrate that sufferers were being forced to seek support online when they were stuck in their homes with their abusers, day in and day out.

Good journalism lies in finding the human angle. When in a lot of cases victims couldn’t speak openly and ask for support or advice, they were turning to the online space to seek help. Individual support charities couldn’t show the whole scale of this issue – but we could. By providing this comprehensive and independent set of information, several media outlets were able to talk to the scale of the problem on a country-wide level, rather than airing isolated, highly emotive personal accounts that can’t apply the issue to a national scale.

Results

During lockdown many suffered from domestic violence. Our data showed an alarming increase in searches relating to Domestic Abuse since lockdown, including spikes in searches indicating that people reached out for help. We saw major increases in searches for terms like “domestic abuse hotline”; site traffic to the domestic abuse helpline website skyrocketed. 

By uncovering statistics – we raised awareness for support of victims suffering behind closed doors. 

Not only was this a massive success with coverage we secured on a national and international level, but we also raised awareness of serious social issues. The long term goal here for Semrush is to provide data and insights that can become accurate informants and barometers of important conversations that ultimately drive changecertainly what we did. We revealed truths about significant stories in our community – an approach we will continue. 

We host online global webinars with journalists to show how to unearth stories in statistics, as well as how to access free Semrush data insights. We hold demonstrations of our toolkit to help identify trends and emerging patterns. 

We work around the clock to provide major media outlets (Sky News, BBC, CNN, Forbes and The Guardian) with free, bespoke data insights. We encourage reputable and credible sources to publish data-driven journalism. Our data does not discriminate, it gives a voice to the vulnerable who are unable to speak for themselves. Semrush is proud to be part of that narrative.  

UK

  • Sky News used SEMrush stats on prime time TV to show domestic abuse rose = 12.6 M viewers
  • Increased web searches related to domestic abuse based entirely on SEMrush stats by Sky News  = Reach of 102.8 M viewers
  • Worked one on one with Victoria Derbyshire for BBC Panorama on domestic abuse during lockdown = The world’s longest running news program
  • Semrush stats published on 19 other occasions in the UK 

Global 

  • In Australia we saw 10 online publications using the data 
  • In Canada we saw 5 online publications and 1 TV feature 
  • Semrush hosted a global online journalism event in partnership with Sky News about the data-led story
  • Nearly 80 journalists from across the globe registered and became aware of Semrush as a source of reliable and insight-packed data
  • Journlism.co.uk wrote an article in praise of Semrush data provision.
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