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Effective PR research: Top five tips


By: Emma Dent, Account Director There are a huge number of reasons the cliché ‘content is king’ still rings true. The constant tweaking of Google’s algorithms is just one. 


People – and search engines – are looking for genuinely interesting content that holds the reader's attention and is deliciously shareable.


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 how you’d like to position yourself. This is where effective PR research can help. 


For many, the idea of ‘PR research’ conjures up the click-bait-style ’Survey reveals where people spend the most time on the loo in the UK’-type pieces so loved by the likes of the Daily Mail (we kid you not – see an example from the Mail here). But there is much more to it than that.


Get it right, and PR 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.


Different types of PR research can help your business meet its communications objectives, from simple surveys at a trade exhibition to full-on primary scientific research conducted in a lab. Jargon’s top five questions to ask when considering using research will help you to get your messaging right. 


1. What do you want to be known for?

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


2. What do people care about?

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


3. What do you want people to do?

Ideally, your piece of research should spur people to do something. For example, when we worked with the British Frozen Food Federation on the launch of www.frozenfoodrevolution.co.uk, we wanted people to visit the website to glean more information about the benefits of frozen food and, once there, enter a competition that provided us with a data capture point. We researched shopper habits, which showed that two out of five families were buying more frozen food compared to a year ago. The resulting media coverage from the survey results referenced the client's website and drove traffic.


4. Who needs to say it?

Sometimes you want your own organisation to be the voice behind a piece of PR 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 PR research, or to a polling company to conduct independent surveys.


5. How can we use our PR research?

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 you can use your PR research to reach the right audience. Can you create infographics or animations to engage with followers across your social media accounts? How can you best present your results on your own website or blog? Can the findings be used in corporate sales decks or outbound marketing activities? We can help to answer these questions to make sure you get as much value as possible out of your research.


In a world where content is king, PR research continues to be a powerful communication tool. To find out how you can use it to best effect for your organisation, contact our award-winning team on contact@thejargongroup.com.



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