The customer voice has always been important, but with the growing influence of online reviews as a trusted resource for buyers, it matters more today than ever before. Surveys are a proven and cost-effective method of generating publicity based on that voice, yet many public relations professionals and marketers struggle with creating and maximizing coverage when doing survey work.
Survey-research consultancy Researchscape International, which helps organizations draft, field and provide statistically projectable newsmaker surveys, has crafted a list of 10 tips to improve the effectiveness of your survey projects.
The firm analyzed survey sample sizes for both B2C and B2B survey press releases. The findings suggest consumer surveys should have at least 1,000 respondents; and B2B surveys a sample size of at least 500. Many agencies have begun bundling their B2B surveys with B2C work using the B2C findings to hook a broader range of journalists.
1) Set a goal for your project
A goal focuses your efforts and saves time and money that might have gone to extraneous details. Sample long-term goals include building brand awareness, demonstrating thought leadership and developing content to support lead generation. Common short-term goals include providing support for a product launch, for entering a new geographic region or for promoting an event.
2) Write your dream headline
With your goals in mind, brainstorm the possible headlines or key findings you would love to see. Let your imagination go wild in envisioning the results that will best drive coverage.
3) Draft the survey questionnaire
Rein in that imagination now by drafting questions that are easy to understand and free from bias. Once done, make sure a professional market researcher reviews them for errors or biases and rewrites them, where necessary.
4) Determine your sample size
B2B and B2C surveys have their own DNA and different sample sizes should be considered for each. For example, in conducting an analysis of 3,106 newsmaker press releases issued between 2013 and 2023, Researchscape found a wide range of consumer survey sample sizes but 80 percent of them had at least 1,000 responses. For B2B surveys, the number of responses is typically lower due to the higher cost of reaching specialist audiences. In the same analysis, Researchscape found that 56 percent of B2B surveys had 500 or more respondents.
“Due to the higher cost of implementing B2B surveys, many agencies have begun bundling their B2B surveys with B2C work, using the B2C sample size to hook a broader range of journalists,” said Jeffrey Henning, chief research officer at Researchscape, in a news release. “For instance, a press release could state that, ‘we surveyed 1,000 consumers and 250 marketing professionals on their attitudes towards x and we compared and contrasted the findings.'”
5) Include information that journalists require
Credible survey releases and content marketing material should contain the information reporters are trained to ask for, including how many people were surveyed, from which countries, how they were interviewed and if and how the data were weighted.
6) Optimize your release for bloggers
Bloggers, in general, are even more pressed for time than journalists. Providing an infographic will enhance your chances of pick-up.
7) Consider optimizing your release for prospects too
For practitioners using surveys as lead generation tools, consider linking your release to a companion document (e-book, white paper, complete survey report) in order to capture reader contact information. According to the data, only 22 percent of survey releases were linked to a lead generation form from 2018 to 2020. This jumped to 30 percent in 2021 and 41 percent in 2023—indicating the growing importance of generating ROI from PR investments by directly developing leads.
8) Publish your release in a timely fashion
Survey data can grow stale quickly; it’s important to publish your release as quickly as possible. According to the findings, only 4 percent of survey releases were published within a week of closing the fielding of the survey while about a quarter (26 percent) were published within 30 days. The median length of time was 62 days.
9) Link to additional resources
You don’t need to over-inform by including everything from your survey results in your press release. Include the key findings without overhyping the results and make sure you are not missing the overall point. Then, make it easy for journalists and end-users to find more information by linking to external resources.
10) Adapt and reuse
Surveys are far more versatile than just supporting a press release. After you’ve pitched the survey, gotten coverage in the press, built brand awareness and generated leads, consider squeezing extra mileage from your content by using findings for social media, trade show literature and screen displays, creating a byline article, including results in a speech or presentation and including the findings online in the company website. Your ability to further leverage the findings is only limited by your creativity and resourcefulness—newsmaker surveys deliver great value for a relatively small investment.
For more tips and advice about building powerful surveys into your PR program, download the firm’s Best Practices for Newsmaker Surveys.