Top research tips to help you get better coverage

We all know, in PR, how rapidly the media landscape has changed over the past few years. Factors such as time-poor journalists, the rise of social media fuelling news stories, and an upsurge in citizen journalism, mean it is harder than ever to place PR stories in the traditional media. Yet consumer research is still seen by many in the industry as a failsafe way to get cut-through in national news media – no matter how busy it is.

Both journalists and the public love a good survey story – stats we can relate to that bring a story to life. However, it’s not always easy to run a successful news-generation project. With news editors receiving up to 300 survey stories every day, PR consumer research that seems too self-serving, niche or just plain dull won’t get picked up.

Here are five tips to help you develop a kick-ass research project which will deliver quality national news coverage for your PR campaign.

1. Think editorially

PR is all about creating editorially sound stories. Nothing should feel too branded. The aim is not just to convey a story or campaign that makes your brand look great, but also to create content that will engage and inform consumers, and therefore will be picked up by the press. Always think – why would an editor run this story?

2.  Find a good hook

Hooks are important, whether they link to trends, current news stories, or events. Be creative and think laterally – and if you can offer a research angle that is quirky, fun and counterintuitive, then all the better.

3. Identify an issue/problem that your brand/product solves

Think about what your brand offers to consumers, and work backwards. What problems are you solving with your product/event/initiative? Don’t be afraid of exploring those problems through your research. Rather than worrying that this will produce a negative story for the sake of media cut-through, see it as reinforcing your credentials and key messaging, and giving consumers a reason to buy into you. Plus the media will like this approach – ‘good’ news is hard to sell to the public.

4.  Add your brand messaging through your brand quote

Your news release needs to feel editorial and not like marketing material. The body of the release should outline the research findings, whilst your brand quote is where you plug the product, brand, event etc that the research is supporting. Similarly, be careful about including too much information about the brand in the notes to the editor. You don’t want to turn journalists off the story by making it seem too salesy.

5. Think of ways to bolster the research

Case studies, expert quotes, graphics and animations can all help further bring a story to life. Case studies add colour and are loved by the media, and expert quotes provide an independent voice that add credibility to the research. Visual representations of the data are great for social activation and some traditional media channels too.  

Written by Ellie Glason, associate director at agency GingerComms and Ginger Research

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