The role of research in media relations

In PR, it is always best to have the facts on your side. From pitching a new client to building a strategic communications plan to finding the right media pitch targets, research plays a critical supporting role in helping you to make smart, informed recommendations.

There are various types of research involved in PR: primary research, which can be focus groups, phone interviews, online surveys; and secondary research, which includes market and industry research, news tracking, competitive analysis, media and analyst audits, and media/social media analysis and more. Each of these tools can provide PR professionals with important information to inform your overall business and communications strategies.

At Zer0 to 5ive, we start every client engagement with research, because we believe that the best marketing and public relations programs are well informed.

Here are some of the ways that research can help improve your PR practice:

The New Client Pitch – Know your client, its competitors, its market, who covers them, and where they have been covered. All of this information and knowledge is based on research that should be conducted prior to any client pitch meeting. While secondary research is a must, primary research can also be very valuable. For example – when pitching a new client, conducting a consumer survey or interviewing target customers can add an additional level of insight and win points with a perspective client.

The PR Plan – When you are building the PR plan, research helps you strategize and set realistic goals, and will help ensure that your messaging is relevant and compelling. Making recommendations based on research – why you chose a specific target audience, how you came up with the tagline, why you are targeting a certain tradeshow for launch – will enable you to answer the client question: “Why are you recommending this strategy?” By conducting the appropriate amount of research, you will be able to support your recommendations with confidence.

The Media Pitch – Both the pitch and the media targets should be well researched. Who are you targeting? What type of stories do they write? How do they like to communicate? And when writing the pitch research can make it more compelling. What’s trending in the industry? Can you use metrics or statistics in your pitch to make it more relevant? Client-sponsored primary research, from online surveys or focus groups, for example, is also great fodder for media. You can package this research in an infographic or press release to help promote your client.

These are just some of the many ways that research helps to support the work we do here at Zer0 to 5ive. How do you use research in your PR program?

Post by Jennifer Moritz, Prinicpal

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