PR Fish Bowl

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Tuesday Tips: Savvy Surveys that Work for your Client

The nationally projectable consumer survey has long been a very popular tool in the PR arsenal. Polls on hot topics packaged effectively make easy work for time-starved media and are a great way to connect your client to the topical and timely. Win-win, right?

Not so fast – there are surveys that succeed and surveys that sink. Here are five tips to make your client surveys soar every time.

Pick at least one provocative question – It is not enough to think newsworthy. Not enough to think how a topic relates best to your client. The savvy survey has to include at least one provocative question that you can picture has a headline. For example, we conducted a survey recently on behalf of a client seeking opinions on 9/11 commemoration. The “grabber” question was “should 9/11 be declared a national holiday?” This one question became the story for USA Today.

Learn to speak in survey language – Often times the slant of a particular question helps or (or does not help) support a desired outcome. Often, you can control the release of that information with simple language choices. For example, if 28% of respondents answer a question a certain way, the stat can be either – “…nearly one in three” or “…only 28% .”

Let the pros do the heavy lifting – Assuming you have engaged a professional survey provider such as Toluna – take advantage of the full array of services they provide. For example, engage the company to vet all of your potential questions and edit to perfection in order to elicit the most spot-on responses. Once your data is in, a quality survey company will go over it painstakingly with you to make sure you understand all the statistical nuances. They will even help edit wording in a press release to make sure it reflects as accurately as possible.

Slice and dice the data for different audiences– Look hard at the different media that could use your survey info – from bloggers to TV news to trade pubs and reporters in various consumer categories. You may end up with a few different leading stats and different headlines, but the extra work can result in extra placements for your client

Release your data with infographics – Nothing will make your statistics more user-friendly and understandable than one or two detailed charts and graphs. Take the most salient points and illustrate them so media can grasp handily and be more inclined to use.

Got any survey strategies of your own to impart? Share them here.

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