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How PR Surveys & Polls Create Earned Media in 2020


Earning media coverage is no easy task for a brand. It often takes a well-thought-out strategy, having a compelling story to tell or information to share, and a little bit of luck. Some of the best ad agencies in the world have the process down pat.

Reading up on the topic online offers plenty of tips for earning media through public relations. Examples such as newsjacking, donations to charitable causes and television spots are some of the most common strategies to get attention for your brand.

Here are a few statistics that point to the power of earned media for a brand.

  • According to Ragan’s PR Daily, 92% of consumers trust earned media over paid advertisements.
  • Sword and the Script stated traffic from earned media was 56% more likely to complete a goal, and these sessions lasted 33% longer.

However, perhaps the most effective way to earn media coverage, attention, and traffic to your brand’s website is through exclusive market research.

Commissioning a study through a PR survey company offers a lot of value for your brand. According to Ragan’s PR Daily, data and analytics get you noticed.

  • 39% of journalists were interested in collaborating on story angles involving exclusive research. It was 6% higher than breaking news.
  • Infographics (13%) and data visualization (11%) were two of the top four most requested formats for stories.

The process of creating your exclusive research for part of a PR strategy is a simple one.

The key is finding a trusted partner who works in the PR polling space with the expertise and experience in conducting market research studies. Firms that have experience in this arena can properly word questions with an end-game in mind.

What does this end-game entail? Wording questions in the survey which will gather headlines. Fact-is-fact. There is a strong possibility the journalists and news outlets will not feature every single data point from your exclusive research study. They will want the most prominent headlines that will draw readers.

Find a partner that can help manage this process end-to-end for you. It includes defining your objectives, drafting the questionnaire, managing the fieldwork, and creating a digestible report of the findings.

It is crucial to partner with a company that can offer a representative sample. The research study first needs to be reliable and accurate for the journalist. It also needs to be objective and unbiased.

Your partner will most likely have access to a national database of respondents for the survey. These respondents are on a research panel, and offer their feedback in exchange for incentives. Many of these partners can help provide appropriate sample sizes nationally, regionally, and locally as needed for your study.

Here are different ways you can repurpose the content to share online and earned paid media with a variety of outlets.

Press releases highlighting takeaways from the data

One of the most common ways to share the results of your survey is through press releases. If you have any relevant in-house contact lists of journalists or news sources, create a press release and share the data. You can also use PR Newswire or Business Wire services, which are paid sites that get the word out to critical sources on your behalf.

With these press releases, it is vital to find your one or two headlines of data. Don’t try to cover everything but instead focus on significant/shocking insights. It is what the writers want, and your job is to catch their attention and read more about your study in their sea of emails.

Downloadable whitepapers with report highlights on your website to capture leads

Whitepapers are a commonly leveraged deliverable in the B2B space. Let’s say you are a software company that sells to banks and credit unions. Your organization runs a study among bank and credit union marketers. You survey 400 professionals who work in marketing in the financial services industry to inquire about new technology trends and software purchases. You tally the results and present your study results as a downloadable four-page whitepaper on your website.

In the future, marketers in the financial services industry are likely to search for technology solutions and software to streamline or automate their marketing efforts. They come across a page on your website targeted with SEO that talks about new trends and helpful tips among 400 of their peers.

To read more, they enter their contact information to download the whitepaper. This contact now becomes a valuable and credible lead for your sales team to follow-up with that originated from an interest in the research findings and the study your organization conducted.

Infographics to share on social media

Perhaps the most appealing data visualization for a PR survey is the creation of an infographic. The infographic intends to capture key takeaways from your research in a graphically appealing way. These can be created using several online subscription tools, or through a basic template using PowerPoint. These become outstanding shares for visual learners who do not prefer reading long-form content about the findings or a press release.

Organic and paid social media snackables with bite-size statistics

Social shares are an excellent way to repurpose the findings and continue to milk the ROI of your study. We recommend splitting the critical results into 20 to 30 social tidbits that focus on a single statistic or finding. Then draft a little mini-creative or visual with that data and share it on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Not only can you share these organically, but you can also push these snackables on paid social media where you target a relevant audience. If you share a new statistic weekly through an ad campaign on social media, you can easily have 20 to 30 weeks’ worth of shareables of highly engaging content.

Even better, use your whitepaper/landing page as a call to action for these social ads to further drive home the ROI.

Blog posts recapping the market research results

The final example we offer is another excellent way to repurpose the findings. Rather than thinking of your study in aggregate, think about ways to slice the data and tell different narratives through a series of blogs.

If you conduct a study about gym behaviors, consider writing a separate blog post about differences in behaviors among each generation: Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, Boomers, etc. This maximizes usage and visibility of the results, rather than writing just a single post.

About the Author This was a guest post from George Kuhn. George is the Owner & President of Drive Research, a local market research company in Syracuse, NY. The firm recently partnered with ABC Creative on a New York State Travel and Tourism Study to understand the impact on consumer behavior with COVID-19.