A smart way to get your client in the news: surveys and studies

Nov 28, 2016
A smart way to get your client in the news: surveys and studies

On a pretty regular basis, there are stories in the media based on surveys and studies.

You might wonder where these come from and how they get in the media.

The press release or PR pitch based on a study or a survey are good ways for a PR client or company to use their intellectual know-how to showcase their expertise.

Many times, the kernel of the idea is just sitting there in plain view. Other times, entities like banks and colleges do routine reports based on their periodic research.

One of the main reasons these work is that they are of interest to the media and utltimately, to their readers and listeners. For a reporter, a survey is quick, easy and snappy story -- you get the survey, report the results and work up some reaction for the piece.

Examples include studies on yo-yo dieting, obesity, climate change, paper clips, branding, diversity, and even an anti-bribery law -- the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. 

(I am leaving the election poll survey story out of this piece for obvious reasons.)

These ideas can come seemingly out of nowhere sometimes.

For example, I was sitting in a client's office recently and we were talking about their know-how, and suddenly I said, "We need to do a survey piece. You have a lot of great market material that the media would love."

Another time, I was meeting with a client and he said he was putting together a study for a client of his. I asked if he could get clearance to do PR on the results of his work, he got approval, we did a press release and got a lot of media pickup and social media attention.

Want to generate PR through a survey of your own? Check out these tips.

1. Keep an eye out for trends with your clients and in the news

2. Work with the client to figure out what is the newsiest survey or study you can generate.

3. Figure out if some other expert is doing anything similar; if so, make yours different.

4. Figure out which press would be interested. Once you have the results, write them up and pitch them using all media and social channels.

5. Assuming you are successful, set a schedule for future surveys and PR surrounding them.

Surveys are great, but be sure to keep these things in mind:

  • One issue that can come up with these is when the client wants to give an exclusive on the survey to one publication. You need to make sure the client doesn’t go off the reservation and try an exclusive with more than one media outlet. They also have to understand that a major outlet can decide they want to run a piece – but it could end up being after the release date the client chose. Flexibility and smart PR are needed in dealing with these issues when pitching a survey piece.
  • Make sure you have not only a press release or a PR pitch ready, but also a copy of the full survey or study to offer the media. And check that the author of the study is around when the media calls. This is basic but always worth a reminder.

Have you found success pitching surveys? Share your experiences.

Andrew Blum, principal of AJB Communications, has directed PR for a range of clients and has been involved on both sides of the media aisle in some of the most media intensive crises of the past 25 years. ajbcomms@gmail.com or Twitter: @ajbcomms

About the author

Twitter feed of Andrew Blum of AJB Communications. Tweets on PR, media, assorted other topics. AJB Comms: PR, crisis PR, media training. ajbcomms@gmail.com

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