A survey can be a great PR tool.
If it's done right, your survey will command PR media attention and communicate a compelling message to your customer base.
But business leaders and PR professionals who are skilled at using surveys understand that they need to be integrated into a larger PR approach. In many cases, surveys are used as bait to pull journalists and consumers deeper into your company's PR content.
At the very least, it's important to understand how surveys work and how you can build them into a broader PR mix. Here's what you need to know.
- Developing survey topics. The effectiveness of a survey is largely determined by topic selection. In certain instances, a survey can be used to highlight a little-known feature of your business or products. But it's much more common to use surveys as a tool to reinforce your brand's primary PR themes. If the survey doesn't add anything to your overall PR plan it's probably a waste of time.
- How much is too much? There's definitely a fine line between just enough and too many surveys. As a business leader, you need to be aware of the possibility that too many surveys can contribute to customer disengagement. As a rule of thumb, a few surveys a year are fine. If you find yourself inviting your customers to participate in a survey every few weeks you've definitely crossed the line.
- Survey scheduling. When you conduct a survey is just as important as what you include in it. You can't throw together a survey and expect to have the results in just a few days. Successful surveys require planning and enough time to solicit participation from an adequate number of respondents. Create a survey calendar with specific deadlines for design, implementation, and analysis.
- Reporting. The payoff of a great survey happens through the reporting. It would be a shame to settle for reporting mechanisms that are bland or ineffective after you have invested in the creation an engaging survey. Consider utilizing graphic designs to showcase your survey results. Also, you'll need to incorporate the results into a descriptive, one-sentence theme that can be used to attract media attention through press releases, PR pitches, and other common publicity devices.