Why research is PR’s secret sauce

Why research is PR’s secret sauce

We all know journalists are a skeptical bunch. They get dozens — if not lots of — of pitches from PR folks every single day promising a “nice story” that can “actually resonate together with your viewers,” although these leads hardly pan out. Why? Because our PR pitches typically miss that little additional one thing that signifies the information we’re sharing actually will resonate outdoors the 4 partitions of our group.
Doing client research is a good way so as to add that context, nevertheless it’s typically underutilized.
Working at an insights firm, I’ve had the chance to comply with how totally different organizations use research to tell their storytelling—and take a look at just a few totally different methods myself. Here, I’m sharing just a few methods which have stood out. All are comparatively straightforward to do, fast, cheap, and relevant to organizations of each measurement.
Strengthen an announcement
Announcements that embrace statistical proof factors are likely to land extra powerfully than ones that don’t. People carry a naturally cautious lens to press and advertising supplies, however consider that numbers are tougher to spin.
One instance I liked was from an organization known as Shipt. In November2020, untold numbers of Americans confronted the prospect of celebrating Thanksgiving alone for the primary time, unable to journey or see family. Many folks have been even uncomfortable with the thought of purchasing in a grocery retailer throughout a crowded time. Shipt partnered with Butterball for a turkey supply program straight to folks’s properties. And to make the announcement stand out (and enhance protection of it), they did research.
Shipt used a public opinion survey to learn how many individuals can be cooking Thanksgiving dinner for the primary time in gentle of the restricted entry to their common Thanksgiving vacation spot. The reply, because it turned out, was one in 4. The story bought numerous press and introduced extra consideration to this system, serving to make it an enormous pandemic success story.
Consumer research is additionally a great way to validate a market, particularly for startups or established firms which are exploring a brand new area. Even in circumstances the place the findings themselves are unsurprising, client research can nonetheless unearth nice quotes or related insights.
Make information when there is no information
Research can even stand by itself as an announcement — which is useful throughout a gradual information cycle or in a subject the place you wish to be a thought chief. Everyone has seen “state of the business” sort experiences. Companies of all sizes and ranges of success can use knowledge to impress a related dialog, in the event that they execute properly on it.
Travel firm The Vacationer not too long ago ran a fast survey about Independence Day journey plans that bought picked up by dozens of retailers like Forbes and Thrillist. They selected a subject that was well timed and attention-grabbing to their goal market and requested the precise inquiries to get a splash.
Research additionally presents a possibility to work extra collaboratively with journalists than you may sometimes. Sometimes, after we’re planning on doing research related to a author’s beat, we’ll ask in the event that they’d like so as to add any questions earlier than we subject it. This is a win-win. It is much less transactional than a standard pitching course of as a result of we’re providing a useful resource that may adapt to their wants and pursuits as a substitute of simply static messaging factors. The journalists get findings tailored for his or her beat and we get to be concerned of their protection.
Pitfalls to keep away from
Helpful as research will be, there are additionally just a few methods it may well go mistaken and find yourself ineffective. Being cautious of these potential challenges makes them simpler to keep away from.
Breaking belief with biased knowledge
Even should you don’t intend to mislead, biased knowledge will get your story rejected out of hand. Journalists are scientifically rigorous (as they should be) they usually’ll know if there’s a defective conclusion in your findings.
The errors we see essentially the most continuously are additionally the simplest to keep away from: having too small a pattern measurement, asking main questions, forcing respondents to decide on between a restricted set of choices with no “different” choice, or severely restricted decisions (which may pressure inaccurate solutions). Another widespread mistake is making surveys so lengthy (greater than 20 questions) or labor-intensive (requiring folks to write down in each reply somewhat than selecting from just a few choices) that they get fatigued and begin answering inaccurately simply to complete.
If your research clears these hurdles, you in all probability have a sound knowledge set to work with.
Telling folks what they already know
It goes with out saying, however research isn’t newsworthy if it’s already been finished. A fast Google search can let you know if somebody’s already revealed one thing related not too long ago. Asking about the identical subject isn’t often an issue should you take a unique angle, however some areas are positively extra closely explored than others.
Content advertising knowledgeable Andy Crestodina advises his readers, “Find the lacking stat. Look in your business for one thing that is continuously asserted, however hardly ever supported with proof.” That’s good recommendation for PR people, too — particularly should you may help journalists solidify a place about business tendencies.
Being reactive as a substitute of proactive with disaster triage
This one is much less a pitfall and extra a option to keep away from one. No one enjoys disaster comms, however realistically all of us must do it once in a while. It is extraordinarily nerve-racking when it’s a must to act rapidly and might’t afford to make a mistake.
If you’d like to make use of surveys to measure the general public response (both client research or buyer suggestions surveys), it’s best to have a system in place and able to go earlier than it’s ever wanted. Start with a baseline model survey so you know the way people really feel in regards to the group throughout regular occasions. That means getting ready a model monitoring survey template with thoughtfully worded, unbiased questions able to be tailor-made to the state of affairs. Then create your disaster monitoring playbook, together with an estimated pattern measurement and viewers goal, in addition to a plan for distributing your post-crisis survey (paid client panel, company, and so on.). It’s additionally useful to have a plan for a way you’ll leverage these insights upon getting them to match to your baseline.
So a lot of PR is about shifting rapidly and being effortlessly compelling, with out ever dropping a agency understanding of public beliefs and motivations. Data, used accurately, makes that a lot simpler.
Katie Miserany is chief of workers & VP of communications at Momentive.



You May Also Like

About the Author: Amanda