The Consumer PR Survey is (Almost) Dead

Media relations

The Associated Press recently added a new section on polls and surveys. The guidance is focused on political polling and explains in a blog post, “The new chapter, available immediately to AP Stylebook Online subscribers, leads with longstanding guidance that the mere existence of a poll is not enough to make news.”

While the new chapter is focused on political polling – PR practitioners should keep this guidance in mind when considering consumer surveys for media relations outreach.

You know the one. Seeking media attention, a company commissions research through a telephone or Internet firm to poll 1,000+ Americans and then releases it publicly. We’ve done them before, and with much success. But it’s 2018 and the media landscape has changed.

It’s tougher than ever to gain coverage for a consumer PR survey.

Here are a couple reasons we frown on them:

  • If a journalist does decide to cover the poll, the tie back to your company is minimal at best. From drafting and fielding questions, to organizing press materials and pitching, the surveys are expensive and time consuming, and the resulting media stories only include a brief mention to the brand.
  • Most media organizations have partnerships with survey companies to commission their own research. Why would they need to rely on your company’s research?

Am I telling organizations to stop releasing surveys all together? No way. Be realistic with whether your survey is newsworthy and shape a plan to use it in other ways. There are a lot of opportunities to leverage the data – from blog posts and social media content to white papers – just make sure you’re releasing it on multiple channels.

And, if you’re going to commission research, make sure it’s something that would make your organization smarter. Is it something that would help your sales team succeed or your nonprofit support more people? If not, it might be time to reevaluate the investment you’re about to make.

Cameron McPherson

Cameron builds strategic communication campaigns that increase awareness and build public support. His familiarity with Virginia’s local markets helps clients navigate and understand complex and emerging issues. He frequently assists new companies, restaurants and other organizations launch in the Richmond market through public relations tactics.

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