Five tips for effective PR research

There are a whole number of reasons why the cliché ‘content is king’ is becoming truer by the day: constant tweaking of Google’s search engine algorithms being just one.Tips

Genuinely interesting content presented on a range of relevant platforms is what people, and search engines for that matter, are looking for.

Whether it’s business-to-business or business-to-consumer communications, chances are that your organisation doesn’t have an endless supply of great ‘news’ that backs up the way in which you’d like to position yourself as regularly as you might like. This is where research can help.

For many, the idea of ‘PR research’ conjures up ideas of the hackneyed ‘10m pets have psychological problems’ type surveys so loved by the likes of the Daily Mail (we kid you not – see here.) But there is much more to it than that.

Get it right, and research can be used to position your organisation as a true expert in your field or the go-to place for information. Get it wrong and you gift the media a story but fail to create a strong platform to build your brand proposition.

There are many different types of research that may help your business to meet its communications objectives, from simple surveys at a trade exhibition to full-on primary scientific research conducted in a lab. Pelican’s top five questions to ask when considering using research will help you to get your traditional and digital PR right. For more help answering these questions and applying them to your business contact our Manchester-based communications team on 01457 820807.

  1. What do you want to be known for?

Any research you conduct should back up what you are trying to say as a business through all of your communications work. Think carefully about what the results are likely to say before you commission any research.

  1. What do people care about?

Often the key to great communications is about balancing what you want to say with what people want to hear. A successful compromise of these things is often where success lies. It’s no different with research: try to come up with something that the people you’d like to influence will want to know more about.

  1. What do you want people to do?

Ideally, your piece of research should spur people to do something. For example, when we worked with Chalcroft Construction on a white paper earlier this year, we wanted people to come to the website to see how the company can help reduce costs and carbon emissions for the food industry. So we released a little information, but encouraged people to download the full report from the website.

  1. Who needs to say it?

Sometimes you want your own organisation to be the voice behind a piece of research. But there are instances where an independent voice makes your message more believable. That’s when we will turn to research or academic institutions to conduct research, or to a polling company to conduct independent surveys.

  1. How can we use it?

Long gone are the days when research results would only be used for media relations work or in your customer newsletter. Digital communications tools now allow us to cast a much broader net. Think about how to use any research in as many ways as possible to reach the right audience. Can you use your e-mail newsletters, Linked-in or Twitter accounts? How can you best present your results on your own website or blog? Which other websites may be interested? Would presenting the results in an easy-to-read infographic help people? All questions which we can help to answer to make sure you get as much value as possible out of your research.

In this world where content is king, research continues to be a very useful communications tool. To find out how you can use it to best effect for your organisation, contact our award-winning team on 01457 820 807.

Pelican Communications are specialists in the environmentfood and drinkoutdoor and leisure and packaging sectors and offer a range of services such as media relations, brand management, event management and people developmentContact us for marketing and communications expertise.