An overview of commissioning research for B2B PR.
Let’s face it, journalists love statistics almost as much as I love Klaus. While stats might not sit on their chests in the morning purring and rubbing their little noses in their faces, they do make their jobs easier to do. Take today’s papers. A trawl through Google News reveals a host of stats-based stories making headlines. For example:
So how do you go about creating stats-led stories that will make your B2B business irresistible to any journalist? Well, good stats-based stories are:
Based on valid data. That means a decent sample size - 100 is fine for a homogenous population, such as doctors or CIOs. But if you’re trying to extrapolate more widely, such as to the voting public, your sample (according to my opinion only) really should be in the 1,000+ vicinity.
Independent. The data should be verified by someone who knows what they’re doing (a statistician or an analyst or a research house). Journalists can be suspicious little weasels, and they’re not easily convinced by stats that highlight the life-saving benefits of your product if you’re not willing to be open about how you reached these share-price-boosting conclusions.
Topical. Try tying your research into something that journalists will be writing about anyway. Look at ‘days’ (such as International Talk Like a Pirate Day), events (such as the Olympics), anniversaries (such as James Bond’s 50th today) or hot government issues (such as a spending review).
Owned by you. I once had a prospective client ask me to get him a page in the Daily Mail on how the gold price has increased over the last 30 years. While gold has done extremely well, this total twat (he turned out to be a racist and a conspiracy theorist obsessed with protecting his wife from being kidnapped by the Syrian mafia) couldn’t fathom why the Daily Mail would be under no obligation to attribute the story to him. The lesson is: you need to own the data if you want to be associated with the story. That means, your data need to either come from within your organisation (note the points on validity and independent analysis above) or be commissioned by you.
If the data owned by your organisation are nothing more than sales figures, then you might want to investigate commissioning research. There are a number of dedicated research services you can use in the UK, and we’ve even reviewed them for you. These people should be willing and able to help you design your survey questions. Here are my tips on designing research campaigns:
The B2B PR Blog is a resource for both PR professionals and people working in B2B industries on how to devise and implement successful B2B PR campaigns. The blog is managed by B2B PR specialist Heather Baker, founder of TopLine Comms, an inbound marketing, B2B content marketing agency and proud HubSpot partner agency and takes contribution from anyone sensible in the industry with something intelligent to say. Follow Heather on Twitter @TopLineFounder or contact the B2B PR Blog editorial team via email on [email protected].
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