Turning numbers into news: our secrets for crafting stories out of surveys
Perspectives > Blog Post

Turning numbers into news: our secrets for crafting stories out of surveys

August 29, 2013

Rachel Bonsignore

With a constantly changing media landscape, coverage is hard to come by, making the job of today’s PR professionals harder than ever. And when you don’t have anything new to report, need to break into a new arena, or want to establish a stronger voice for your brand, a compelling piece of research can inject life into your PR program. For many, surveys can be scary. It’s hard to see how endless pages of data tables can evolve into a story that makes reporters return your calls. We take the work out of research for you, and some of our most successful studies have generated millions of media impressions and thought-provoking headlines:

With a constantly changing media landscape, coverage is hard to come by, making the job of today’s PR professionals harder than ever.  And when you don’t have anything new to report, need to break into a new arena, or want to establish a stronger voice for your brand, a compelling piece of research can inject life into your PR program.

For many, surveys can be scary.  It’s hard to see how endless pages of data tables can evolve into a story that makes reporters return your calls.   We take the work out of research for you, and some of our most successful studies have generated millions of media impressions and thought-provoking headlines:

“Almost two in three Americans spend more time with their computers than their significant others.”

“More than twice as many parents have taught their children how to do laundry than balance a checkbook.”

“One in four women would rather have a perfect body than a million dollars.”

Still, research isn’t as easy as writing some questions and adding the numbers to your press release.  As we’ve learned from the efforts of other companies, surveys have the ability to generate groundbreaking marketing campaignsmountains of media backlash, and everything in between.  It requires strategy and creativity to produce something that sparks conversation and establishes thought leadership for your brand.  Here are a few tips for making your study shine:

  • Set your targets.  Develop a short list of “dream” outlets for your outreach.
  • Identify your audience.  Ensure a balance between your target customer and the readership or viewership of your target media outlets.  And make sure that the final sample isn’t a mouthful to report!
  • Work backwards.  Start with your ideal headlines or outcomes, and then brainstorm the most interesting ways to get there.
  • Keep things honest.  Avoid questions that ask specifically about your brand, give away the survey’s purpose, or force respondents to provide the exact answers you want.
  • Push the envelope.  Don’t be afraid to get provocative with creative comparison questions – within your brand’s comfort zone, of course.  Stay topical and involve pop culture touchstones when you can.
  • Look ahead.  Reserve a portion of your survey to track public opinion, with questions designed to be repeated over time for trend measurement.
  • Think outside of the box.  Consider creative research methodologies to test a hypothesis or prove your point in a unique way.
  • Maximize your reach.  Don’t just use the data for media outreach.  Your findings can also be tailored to build buzz online, secure speaking opportunities, boost marketing and sales materials, inspire articles for publication, and much more.
  • Learn the lingo.  Before you begin your outreach, make sure you know the answers to the methodological questions you’ll be asked.

Want to read more of our story?  Check out some of Kelton’s surveys in the news and more background on our communications research methods.

Rachel Bonsignore

Director, Communications and Media Practice

As Director in Kelton's Communications and Media Practice, Rachel is instrumental in all aspects of the engagement process, from creating and building relationships to conducting research and...

Up Next