Surveys and statistics can lend a powerful punch to PR campaigns. When a PR pitch is supported with credible numbers and statistics, it is much more likely to get the attention of the media and be interesting to the public.
There are multiple ways so conduct surveys – phone, online, focus groups – but among the easiest is using an online survey company, such as SurveyMonkey, which enables you to create and deploy surveys quickly and easily.
How do you create a survey that will produce interesting content, and what do you then do with that content? Below are some tips for developing, deploying, analyzing and promoting surveys for PR campaigns.
- Pick a compelling and relevant topic – Don’t conduct a survey around a topic that no one cares about or that doesn’t align with your client’s goals. For your results to generate publicity successfully, you need to share information around a topic that will be of interest to your target audience. Along the same lines – don’t pick a topic that is so common that there are 100 other surveys on the same subject. The topic should be compelling and unique enough to make the findings newsworthy.
- Be statistically significant – When deploying your survey, make sure you collect responses from at least the minimum number of people required for valid results. Most online survey services have tools to help you determine what that representative sample of your audience is. Not only does this generate real scientific credence, but it also gives the immediate impression of legitimacy when you have a substantial sample size bolstering your statistics.
- Start backwards – Nothing is worse than investing effort and money in a survey only to realize you left out some key questions, or that the way in which the questions were worded failed to give you the information you wanted. When writing the survey, start by thinking through your ideal survey results first. What types of findings will support your campaign and be the most compelling? Think in pitch angles and headlines. Then write the survey with those headlines in mind.
- Keep it short – Organize your survey questions in a way that creates a narrative flow and helps you tell a story with the findings. Ask broader questions – e.g. questions on the industry or market trends – at the start and then narrow the topic to ask more specific questions that relate directly to the product or service you are promoting. In general, surveys should be no more than 25 questions. Take the survey yourself. If you need more than 5 minutes to complete it, cut it down.
- Ask, and then ask again – Consider asking the same “key” questions several times, in several different ways, to ensure that you get the data points that you are looking for around your main survey topic. This will provide you with multiple data points to support your campaign.
- Check your stats – Before you publicize your findings, double-check the numbers to confirm accuracy and ensure that the information has all been interpreted as intended. One wrong statistic can impact the credibility of the entire survey.
- Promote the findings in multiple formats – Announce the findings of the survey through a press release and through your social media channels. You can also create an executive summary to showcase the details and post it on your website. Use the findings throughout the year in media and marketing efforts, including pitches, social media, press releases and web copy.
- Get graphic – The media loves visual content that they can share with readers. Incorporate colorful graphics and charts into your executive summary to illustrate the findings in exciting ways. Create an infographic that summarizes key data points and tells a story. Make it easy to share via social media and watch your reach increase.
- Slice and dice – Parse your data in different ways to tailor your results for specific reporters and/or target markets. Create pitches, infographics and press releases on different key themes from your survey, or break down the stats by age, gender or geographic region to uncover additional insights.
- Time it right – Time the release of the findings with a key event, such as a conference or tradeshow, or a relevant awareness day to maximize the news value and increase visibility. You can also create a survey that you conduct annually to give a year-over-year update on key data points and track changes and trends within your industry.
There are many ways that surveys can be used in PR campaigns to educate target audiences and increase awareness for products and services. What are some ways you use surveys for PR?
By: Jennifer Moritz