Competition for media attention is fierce. Reporters are bombarded with a flurry of emails on a daily (or really, minute-by-minute) basis, and it’s often difficult for brands to cut through the noise. While press releases are an important tool to share organizational accomplishments and help brands gain momentum in the media, few companies have newsworthy announcements to make on a regular basis. So what else can brands do to garner the attention of their top media outlets?
There is no magic formula for securing media coverage, but creating and sharing relevant content — like survey data — is one effective way to provide value to reporters and increase your chances of gaining media traction.
The Power of the Survey
Proprietary survey research provides your organization with exclusive info you can use to differentiate and establish your company as a thought leader and resource for reporters. Surveys are also a great way to include your brand’s voice in ongoing trending conversations.
Crafting an interesting survey that will resonate with your media targets and their audiences is often the most difficult part of the process. To increase the effectiveness of consumer survey insights in your media relations plan, consider these three strategies:
Drill Down Into Your Data
While it’s often the most provocative responses and biggest numbers that make the most compelling headlines, don’t stop there. Digging into the data could spark new story ideas and uncover insights that might interest specific reporters and media outlets or tell a more complete narrative, helping to extend the reach of your survey to new audiences.
For example, store lifecycle management software company and Tier One client Tango recently conducted a retail survey that set out to understand how shopping habits have changed after two years living through the pandemic. The survey uncovered that 89% of consumers want to have the options of shopping in-store and online, as well as pick-up and delivery. But by digging further into the demographic data of this survey question, Tango found that millennials were more likely to say that no alternative options would ever fully replace the physical store for them. This became a secondary storyline to leverage from the survey, as it illustrated a cultural shift among a key consumer demographic.
Spend some time with the data and pay attention to how responses differ across multiple variables, such as demographics or financials. These comparisons are the key to getting unique insights that might not be obvious on a first pass through the results.
T1 Tip: Be careful not to get too granular, as you still want your survey data to be statistically relevant. Stay away from too-small sample sizes and minimal percentage differences to avoid misrepresenting your results.
Add Insight with Expert Commentary
Quantitative data is made better with expert commentary that explains the “why” of the numbers. Once you have your survey results, talk to your subject matter experts who can offer their perspective on the data to gain understanding and context on the significance of the results and how they relate to the broader industry or topic.
Offering reporters an interview with an expert on the topic who can speak to the survey results or provide an overview of the data’s implications provides more value to reporters — and can help glean additional real estate for your brand and spokesperson in an article. Corporate performance management software provider and Tier One client Prophix conducted a survey on the “State of the Finance Function” which divulged insights from finance leaders across industries. Compelling statistics coupled with an interview with the company’s chief financial officer resulted in coverage in top-tier finance publications.
By using that additional perspective in your conversations with media, you’ll be able to paint a much clearer picture when explaining your research findings and offer more value to reporters.
Tie Survey Data to Trending Topics
One of the key elements of successful media relations is timeliness. Why should reporters be writing about your survey topic now?
When ransomware attacks were on the rise and making headlines in early 2022 — from attacks on gasoline suppliers to universities to financial institutions — Hitachi ID, a leading cybersecurity software provider, conducted a survey exploring how ransomware attackers were approaching employees. The survey revealed employees from nearly 50% of businesses had been approached to assist in ransomware attacks, with a promised payout in return. This staggering statistic captured the interest of the media and led to the opportunity of conducting a follow-up survey, and ultimately garnering additional brand awareness.
Tying your survey to a trending news topic creates an element of timeliness for reporters to cover your data now before the news cycle moves on. And if your survey has multiple elements to it, you can repurpose your results for different angles and extend its value.
The purpose of using surveys in media relations isn’t to manufacture news when business seems slow — it’s to share something with real value and insight to the media and position your brand as a thought leadership resource. Taking the time to uncover targeted insights, develop purposeful commentary, and connect your survey results to top-of-mind topics will help you take your data further — including to top tier media outlets.