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How to make headlines with a great survey story

How to make headlines with a great survey story

Image Courtesy of Survey Human, flickr.com

Image Courtesy of Survey Human, flickr.com

Survey stories are a great way of ensuring a brand is at the forefront of the news agenda, but also – if the results are ground-breaking enough – setting the wider news debate. Furthermore, they are a really great tool for driving awareness and with the increase of quality digital media channels, it can help brands ‘go viral’, meaning audiences across the globe can now be reached.

For consumer brands, surveys work particularly well at elevating them as a leader in their industry, or moving them beyond their natural comfort zone, tapping into wider topics of both human and public interest.

An example of a survey story elevating a brand as a leader in their industry is one we did for HELLO! Fashion Monthly looking at British women’s biggest celebrity icons – have a look at one of the pieces of coverage here.

Brands today churn out a high proportion of surveys in the bid to get their figures noticed, however, the reality is very few of these grab the attention of journalists and most are ignored.

Take a look at some survey coverage we generated in the Independent for Purple Bricks Online Estate Agents that identifies the top life pressures people face around the country.

So how can you get your survey noticed? Below we have listed our top six PR tips for turning for a survey into a news story that will get your brand name out there.

Tip 1: Topic – Is the subject area of interest to the public? It is vital that the survey looks at a topic that will be of interest to many if not most readers. If the subject is niche, or too brand focused, it will not have the desired media traction you would hope for.

Tip 2: Results – Have the results been produced before? It’s important to keep ideas and results new and exciting. If a survey has been done before, there is no point in doing it again or ‘rehashing’ the idea to generate the same or similar results. Furthermore, will the results produced be ground-breaking, insightful or indeed useful to the reader? If not, then it’s time to re-think your idea. Newspapers like to feature surveys which will inform their readers of something original, unique, new and even novel.

Tip 3: Sample – Do you have valid and reflective respondents? More often than not, newspapers will need surveys to have a large number of respondents – often 1000 people or more. The larger the sample size, the more valid the results. Furthermore, samples need to be reflective of the population as this will allow newspapers to confidently report that, “X % of British people do…..” or “X % of UK Women are…” for example. Without a representative sample, a survey will lose its validity, and subsequently hinder the amount of coverage achieved.

Tip 4: Split – Can you break down your results? It’s important when producing a survey that you not only get a representative sample, but that you can also break down results by region, gender and age.  This will allow you to craft specific releases which engage with different audiences. Having the different splits will also enable brands to generate the best news angle, since each spit will produce different, and hopefully, interesting results.

Tip 5: Support – Would your survey have more weight to it if it had an ‘expert’ backing the results? In answer to this question, most likely yes! For the most part, successful surveys include or incorporate quotes from an expert in the field/area the survey is covering. Be that a dieting expert, behaviour psychologist or even a life coach – whatever ‘expert’ fits – backing up results is a big must. It’s also important that any quotes used add value and insight to the survey, and don’t just repeat what the results say.

Tip 6: The List – Can you create a top five or a top ten? Newspapers cherish the opportunity to visually showcase results. The simplest way of doing this is by producing a top five or top ten list – it’s simple for the reader to digest, but also visually engaging as it helps break up the editorial copy.