In the world of digital marketing, media is either paid, earned, shared, or owned (also known as, the PESO model).
While each of these media types has its own strengths and weaknesses, earned media is considered to be the most credible, cost-effective, and long-lasting. It's probably why the PR agency industry grew an average of 30% over the last five years.
In this blog post, Drive Research, a PR market research company, will dive into how we strategically earn media attention from top-tier news outlets through the use of custom public relations surveys.
What is Earned Media?
Earned media refers to the unpaid mention of a brand by a third-party source such as media publications, television, bloggers, influencers, customers, etc.
Typically, press coverage is earned when a brand releases newsworthy information in the form of a press release and a journalist finds the information interesting and valuable enough to include in a story (or even write an entire story based on the exclusive research).
Examples of earned media include:
- Media, blogger, and influencer relations
- Media/press placements
- Social media shares, reposts, and retweets
- Reviews and testimonials
- Interviews with the news/media
Earned media is part of a much larger trifecta that makes up a digital marketing strategy.
💡 The Key Takeaway: A perfect marketing strategy includes a component of public relations and media coverage. Not only does it help grow brand awareness, but earning backlinks from top news outlets helps your website domain rating -- and thus helps your website rank higher on Google.
Crafting the Perfect PR Pitch for Journalists
On any given day, the average journalist may receive up to 100 pitches from PR professionals. I don’t know about you, but I definitely wouldn’t read 100 unsolicited emails every day.
Given the steep competition in a journalist’s inbox, marketers have to get creative when it comes to drafting an attention-grabbing subject line and a short and sweet email pitch.
When pitching a story to the media, it’s important to think with your journalist hat on. 🎩🎩🎩
Is the story you’re trying to tell actually newsworthy? Remember, it’s not about what you find interesting, it’s about what the audience of the news outlet finds interesting.
When it comes to developing an earned media strategy, a PR survey is a great place to start.
Market research has the ability to uncover new, interesting information that will, in return, make an attention-grabbing news story.
Watch this short video to learn more about public relations surveys.
💡 The Key Takeaway: Think about how many emails you get in one day. And of those emails, how many do you open from unsolicited contacts? Probably not many. In order to get more press coverage in 2022, start utilizing online surveys to generate data-driven headlines that will capture the attention of journalists.
What Do Journalists Look for in Pitches?
Before writing questions for a PR survey, it’s important to consider your brand’s end goals and objectives.
Perhaps you already have news headlines in mind, or maybe you’re looking for a new way to generate brand awareness.
Wherever your company may be in the online survey writing process, it’s essential to think about what journalists are actually interested in writing about and how you might try to pitch the survey findings to obtain media coverage.
A recent study conducted by FRAC.TL found that top-tier journalists look for:
- Relevant content (93%)
- Exclusive research (59%)
- A trustworthy methodology (54%)
What does this mean for your brand?
To be successful in obtaining media placements from your next PR survey, your company may want to consider using one (or more) of these key components.
1. Focus on newsworthiness 📰
If a press release isn’t relevant, your email will be quickly moved to the trash bin.
When drafting a newsworthy PR survey, it’s essential to work backward.
Start with the topics that journalists will find the most interesting and craft questions that will lend insight and create attention-grabbing news headlines.
How exactly does Drive Research know what’s newsworthy?
Our PR survey company monitors the media to stay on top of what’s trending. We scour the internet to find gaps in what the media may be missing and fill them with new market research findings.
2. Offer exclusivity 🤫
Chances are those 100 email pitches that clutter journalists’ inboxes were also sent to hundreds of other journalists.
Instead of sending your press release out to hundreds of writers, your brand may want to consider offering one individual journalist or media outlet an exclusive to make your information even more enticing.
Plus, exclusivity helps make the writer feel more invested and helps to forge positive relationships with the news/media for future earned media opportunities.
3. Work with a third-party 📈
The increase in popularity of DIY market research technology has made in-house surveys even more possible than before.
While it may seem easy to conduct a PR survey yourself to cut costs, working with a third-party is important to ensure a trustworthy methodology.
Learn more about the anticipated costs in our blog post, The Cost of a PR Survey with a Third Party.
Hiring a public relations market research company eliminates bias and helps the journalist feel at ease that they’re reporting on accurate and reliable information.
Other than eliminating and reducing any potential bias, working with a third-party PR polling company allows the research to be done quickly, professionally, and with a fresh perspective.
💡 The Key Takeaway: When selecting what stories to publish, news outlets look for pitches with relevant content and exclusive research by a trusted source. A PR survey easily checks all of those boxes.
Why Invest in a PR Survey to Earn Media Coverage?
A public relations survey is a publicity strategy that is commonly used by major brands to generate media coverage.
Through PR polling, a brand can sponsor a research study, typically in partnership with a third-party market research firm, which results in proprietary, newsworthy research findings.
There are several benefits of investing in PR market research rather than a paid digital advertising campaign. There might include:
- Cost-Effective and High ROI: PR polling is known for its high return on investment due to its many uses and low cost compared to paid media such as social media advertising.
- Increased credibility when shared by trusted sources: Consumers know that advertising can be deceptive, which is why being featured by a credible media outlet builds trust with your audience.
- Establish your brand as an industry expert: PR surveys allow your company to be considered a thought leader by contributing new, proprietary information to your industry.
- Increased exposure and brand awareness: Your company’s paid advertisements can only expand so far, while public relations market research allows your brand to build awareness among new audiences.
- Collect customer testimonials: During a PR study, you’ll have the opportunity to collect reviews and testimonials that can be featured in a press release, on promotional materials, in a blog, or on your website.
💡 The Key Takeaway: PR market research has a multitude of benefits. Not only will the exclusive research attract news outlets, but they are cost-effective to execute and help signify your brand as a thought leader.
PR Surveys go Beyond Capturing Media Attention
When it comes to investing in PR market research, our clients see the benefits of their survey findings extend far beyond earning press coverage.
PR survey findings can also be useful for:
- Powering marketing campaigns
- Collecting customer testimonials
- Creating your website copy
- Writing blogs
- Hosting webinars
- Sharing research-inspired content on social media
- Inspiring promotional materials (i.e., flier, brochures, etc.)
- Storytelling with a branded infographic
Whether your company is interested in a PR survey simply to capture media attention or to maximize your ROI from the market research and invest in all of the above, your brand is sure to find value in exploring the benefits of PR market research.
💡 The Key Takeaway: While your goal in 2022 might be to earn more press coverage, PR surveys can deliver on the promise and much more. Results from an online survey can be repurposed into several different types of marketing and sales collateral to maximize the ROI of market research even more.
Drive Research is a PR market research 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.
Questions about how to make surveys work for PR?
- Message us on our website
- Email us at [email protected]
- Call us at 888-725-DATA
- Text us at 315-303-2040
A SUNY Cortland graduate, Emily has taken her passion for social and content marketing to Drive Research as the Marketing Manager. She has earned certificates for both Google Analytics and Google AdWords.
Learn more about Emily, here.