Public relations pros are experts at taking a topic, client, or product and slicing and dicing it into many different story angles. A tried and true tactic is using a PR survey results to help generate media coverage.
However, just commissioning a survey does not guarantee results…you have to be smart about it.
Tip 1: Think about your story angle
Think about what you want the data to say to help move your storyline forward. Leveraging anything from what’s in the zeitgeist to gaining consumer attitudes or insights on a topic are good areas to start.
For example, I had a client who wanted to talk about the competitive pricing of their product compared to the market leader.
Since we couldn’t pitch a story that said “our product is cheaper and just as good if not better than the market leader,” we decided to use a survey to ask adults how they would spend $1,000 (the annual delta between the products) that they could save over a year.
The survey results allowed us to have a natural way to raise the pricing topic. (for more details)
Tip 2: Target your audience
While research pros think of “audience” as those to be surveyed, PR practitioners think of the “audience” as not just consumers/customers but also reporters/media outlets. And naturally you want to get as much media coverage as possible from your survey results to maximize your ROI.
Therefore, thinking about parsing out the results in a tiered approach can give even more traction.
For example, perhaps you have a key reporter in mind to “break” your story.
So, you work with that reporter for the “curtain-raising” story, followed by a blog post (linking to the story) and coming up with a general pitch to a broader group of journalists.
Working with a national print/online outlet can help your story jump to broadcast channels…and that’s just all gravy!
Your first “curtain-raising” story signals that the story is credible to other journalists and can help spur more results when targeting other print, online, broadcast, bloggers, podcasts outlets.
And remember, everything you send to a reporter is fair game.
So please do not send something inappropriate/cringe-worthy or a fluffy pitch to a serious reporter or vice versa.
Sometimes poorly targeted pitches get printed, including excerpts or in their entirety…Ouch.
Tip 3: PR Survey Advertising
While experienced PR polling pros know if you want media coverage then your survey cannot be overtly commercial.
However, sometimes, over-eager executives don’t appreciate the nuance so it is our job as subject matter experts to diplomatically explain how and why the data will be used.
Explain your communications strategy and if needed, the research company you work with can provide you with talking points or even join a conference call to provide industry best practices.
You can also point out that survey results can be used in an advertising campaign, but the survey shouldn’t be structured to just say how great your product/idea/company is.
Reporters like “tension” in their stories and are very unlikely to publish something that is a glowing review.
Tip 4: Make it Credible
Do you want to get national (or any) media coverage? Then you have to shell out some additional bucks to ensure the survey results are statistically relevant to the population.
The minimum is 1,000 responses, which provides a margin of error of +/- 3.1% but even better is 2,000 responses for a margin of error of +/- 2.2%.
The media is not interested in survey results with a margin of error greater than +/-3.1%. The margin of error is too high for credible outlets to deem accurate or credible. (read more here)
Tip 5: Toot your own horn
Similar to slicing and dicing topics into pitch angles, take the survey data results and amplify them in your owned channels.
There are lots of ways to amplify your message, including:
- A blog post about your survey results
- Thought leadership piece for LinkedIn citing the results
- Infographic and publish it in its entirety as well carve into snackable bites
- Sample tweets, LinkedIn and FB posts for employee evangelists to share as appropriate
- Bylined articles for trade or business journals
- Promoted and/or paid social media posts
- YouTube video or animated infographic
- Customer emails
- Marketing materials
- Sales materials
About the Author
This is a guest post from Lara Wyss, senior public relations executive and founder of LaraPR, a preferred PR partner for Drive Research. Lara's work is focused on the intersection of award-winning communications strategies and world-class organizations – drawing consumer, corporate, and issues management experience to strategically grow brands.
Drive Research is a PR polling company located in New York. Our services extend across the U.S. and the world. Our market research firm has worked with Fortune 500 brands, helping deliver insights, action items, and ROI on their survey efforts.
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