How the right research can maximize public relations

How the Right Research can Maximize Public Relations

When it comes to generating media attention for your clients, it goes without saying there’s a lot of competition for limited ink, airtime, and online mentions. But there are a few time-tested rules that, when followed, can often guarantee the success of your campaign.

First and foremost, is the story you’re trying to tell relevant – and to how broad an audience? Second, is it a unique story, or one that’s been told in some form before? Third, do you have the proof points to support your story, or are you leaving your audience to simply believe it’s true?

Regardless of brand, sector or industry, the stories that rise to the top are not only relevant and unique – they are rooted in proof points and supporting data that lend credibility and authenticity to a story. A newsworthy hook backed by the right data (which can only come from the right research) constitutes a much stronger pull for media outlets. It provides new facts and information, demonstrating the thought leadership that brands crave.

The first – and most important – step towards developing a newsworthy hook is deciding what type of research is best suited to the public relations initiative at hand. Surveys are generally regarded as the most effective form of market research when the goal is to generate media attention in a limited time frame.

Survey research can be conducted across virtually any audience to mirror the users of a particular brand. Data is summarily collected, organized and analyzed by the partner company you choose to work with, a process that can yield not only useful strategic information, but data that can be compiled to tell a story that’s of interest to the general public.

When research budgets are limited, shared cost or omnibus surveys provide an affordable alternative to dedicated surveys. Participation in omnibus studies is straightforward: A company pays a set fee to insert the question of its choice into an ongoing survey targeting a nationally representative group of respondents. While companies can certainly pay more to have multiple questions inserted into an omnibus poll, significant results can be realized from omnibus studies with only a few questions – making them a sound investment for companies with little budget for public relations-driven research. That omnibus surveys are less time intensive than other types of polls is yet another reason why they may be especially suitable for public relations purposes.

While research can be an effective means of garnering press coverage for your company, you should always consult with a credible market research firm to determine precisely what type of research, fielded to what audience, would best suit your company’s needs. Using a third party firm also ensures that the media see your results as credible. If a custom survey is recommended, ensure that the survey is of the highest caliber – and that the research firm recommending the survey has a history of delivering superior results for their clients. And remember, superior results aren’t limited to the data itself. No matter how exceptional, data can rarely be crafted into a newsworthy hook when unaccompanied by the proper context. A quality firm will deliver your data in a way that lays out the best story for you. And if you’re lucky, you’ll even get a lead on how to transform your data into every publicist’s dream: the perfect, headline-grabbing sound bite.

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