Can Data Lead Your PR Efforts? Survey Says: Yes, It Can!

data.v6Data is a valuable asset for your PR efforts. It can help you become a key resource for press, customers, investors, reporters, and analysts and ultimately gain status as a thought leader.

You can package data into reports, white papers, infographics, and press releases using either credible, unique proprietary or third-party research data from a study or survey.

In this post, we’ll discuss how you can use data to drive strategic PR campaigns such as the few recent examples below that generated significant media attention

If you want to use third-party research, here is a step-by-step guide:

Step one: Identify your topic

Determine your objectives and what data sets you’ll need to support those. Consider a timely hook, such as the summer travel season, back to school, and the holidays. Also ensure you avoid survey topics that are too closely aligned to what you’re selling. Otherwise, the media will see your survey as self-serving and choose not to cover it.

To be sure you have a fresh angle, before you get started, conduct an online search to confirm that no one else has done a similar survey in the last twelve months. Also, note that the most successful surveys unveil a new way of thinking about a business issue or an industry trend. For example, here is one that was particularly successful: Harris Interactive and Pontiflex discovered that 47% of mobile users said they were as likely to click on a mobile ad by mistake as they were on purpose. At the intersection of a heated debate about valid ad views in the mobile ad industry and the fact that we all know we have fat fingers, this one was a winner.

Step two: Determine the scope

Create a document that outlines your target audience, the ideal number of respondents, your objectives, your dream headlines, and the key data points that you believe will uncover a trend in your market.

Write a few survey questions that will help you gain high-level insights. Naturally, don’t mislead, trick, or confuse respondents. Good survey questions evoke the truth from respondents in an unbiased way: “are you satisfied with your current computer?” Bad survey questions lead people into answering in a specific way: “company x’s computer operating systems never get infected by viruses and therefore your company should only purchase company x’s computers. Do you agree?” A third-party research vendor will help you refine your questions so that they are unbiased and tailored to your unique goals and objectives.

In this step you must also: identify your target demographic, determine what social platforms they use, and figure out how to target your survey to those platforms. If you don’t have a researcher on staff to help you, a third-party vendor can help you with all the above. You’ll need to decide this before you ask vendors for pricing.

Step three: Determine costs and confirm your budget

What should you spend? That depends on the number of questions you want to ask, how difficult your target audience is to reach, and the number of respondents you’d like to receive. Market research for a public relations campaign requires a minimum of 250 respondents for reporters to deem your data statistically significant. If you have subsets (i.e. online shoppers versus mobile shoppers), you’ll need at least 250 respondents in each subset.

Surveys typically start around $5K and up. Research vendors can provide raw data or analyze data tables, or deliver a complete analysis and presentation with the results. Naturally, you’ll get what you pay for. If you have an experienced market researcher, an analyst, or someone great at number crunching in house, you can shave off some of the cost of the study and only pay for the raw data.

Step four: Find the best research party for your goals and budget

Next, start to search for companies that have expertise and notoriety in your field. Examples of credible research vendors include: Nielsen, Harris Interactive, Kantar Group, and Millward Brown. Identify potential partners and email them. Include the background information and your sample questions. Once they respond to your request, have a call with them to talk through the nuances of your study. Each company should respond with a price quote and their methodology in a proposal.

Step five: Field the survey and analyze the results

Surveys are typically in the field from two to six weeks. After you get the results, create a document with the top-line analysis and circulate it to your key executives for review before creating the assets (whitepaper, press release, or other content asset) to ensure everyone is on the same page with regards to messaging and positioning the survey results.

Step six: Develop and execute a PR campaign

Different ways to package your data include a white paper, infographic, press release and/or PowerPoint presentation. Position the survey findings in a way that the media will find interesting and not self-serving. Consider both a news push (exclusive or broad pre-briefing strategy), as well as a series of thought-leadership bylines that amplify the results of the survey.

If you are interested in a PR partner to help guide you through this process, please don’t hesitate to reach out.


2 Responses to Can Data Lead Your PR Efforts? Survey Says: Yes, It Can!

  1. website for business July 16, 2015 at 3:38 am #

    Awesome website and even better content! Will be back soon.

    • Melissa Sheridan July 16, 2015 at 10:18 am #


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