As strategic communication professionals, one of our most crucial obligations is exceeding client expectations. Fostering two-way communication and creating a dialogue allows us to better understand their values and beliefs that contribute to strategizing and researching campaigns. After all, our end goal is to generate impactful and measurable results.
Public Relations Tactics contributor, Ivan Ristic, mentions, “Research, in its most ubiquitous PR use, is a tried-and-true tactic that can provide unique, substantiated content.” In order to effectively ensure client partnerships are constantly part of media conversations, a component of creative and extensive research should factor into the campaign method.
Collecting accurate research provides an immeasurable amount of value to the work we do. With this data we can create newsworthy material with compelling headlines that position clients in front of the right media.
So you might ask, how do we tap clients into the national conversation without knowing what that conversation is? It’s the power of storytelling. It’s the stories that give meaning to the complex information we want our audience to remember. The reader is more likely to remember a descriptive story rather than data and numbers. Everything we put in front of them needs to be relevant to their interests, allowing them to identify and engage emotionally. To create a compelling story, think visually, be creative and take the reader on a journey they won’t forget.
After reading Ristics’s recent article, The Survey Says: How to Conduct Headline-Making Research for Your Clients, I thought a few points he mentioned would be beneficial when researching and crafting brand stories.
- Recognize objectives and audiences. First, understand the client’s brand- who are they trying to influence and where can you reach this target audience? Determine your client’s competition. It’s crucial to match the tone of research with the brand’s message.
- Work backwards. What end goals do you have in mind? What story do you want to communicate through the research findings? This will help craft the right survey questions. Think of an ideal headline that reflects your brand’s values – you’re looking to capture the interest of the media. However, ensure the headline you want does not previously exists. If it does, how can you alter it to add something new and interesting?
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Research is becoming more predominant in the foundation of storytelling and having a reliable, reputable third-party firm validate findings will confirm research statistics. Working with a third-party analyst will provide you with the best supporting data to present to the media. Which leads us to pitching process….
- Pitch it. The final step, adapting results into newsworthy commentary. Combine supporting material, such as press releases, media kits, and mini-reports that you want to share with targeted media. Just as Ristic mentions, “The story is not that you did research; it’s what your client’s research reveals.” Provide the media with significant, interesting insight that will increase the chance of your client becoming a topic of conversation.
Research has become one of the greatest tools in marketing for media outreach content. We are storytellers and, through successful research and surveys, we can create compelling stories that help achieve the overall campaign strategy in hopes of securing a client placement in the media. Has your organization found success in using this method? If not, what did you do differently? We’d love to hear your insights or any additional pointers for conducting headline-making research.