Five ways PR agencies should be using research data

Ben GlanvilleHead of Data Services, UK & Growth Markets
May 11, 2018, 2:24 PM GMT+0

Good quality research can help PR agencies get more press coverage, win pitches, and help clients’ stories come to life.

Last year we conducted research among journalists and media professionals to find out what they look for in a press release.

The study found that almost three quarters (72%) believe that market research findings add power to a PR story — but with the caveat that the findings must come from a respected and reliable source.

Here are five ways that PR agencies can get the most out of the research they commission.

Create attention-grabbing stories
In an age when consumers have access to unlimited information and content, their attention needs to be won quickly. Whether through earned or owned media, PR professionals need to create stories and content which immediately resonates with their client’s target audience. To do this, it’s key to understand the target audience: who are they, what interests them, what drives them, what do they care about? Empowering PRs with audience data means they can cut through the noise and ultimately engage and influence the right people.

Get clients by understanding their needs better than your rivals do
When selecting an agency to manage their PR, clients want to know they’re investing their money with an agency that understands their target audience. In the same way audience data should be used to devise attention-grabbing stories and content on an ongoing basis, PRs should also use data to have informed conversations at the pitch stage. More often than not, the agency that wins the business is the agency that demonstrates the best understanding of how to engage the target audience, and how to successfully influence it.

Give your story credibility
When it comes to securing coverage through earned media, there needs to be a compelling reason for a journalist to pick up and run with the idea. In many cases, the data itself is the story, providing an effective hook that commands attention. But even in other cases, using data can support the relevance of a story, and provide a compelling reason for it to be published.

Back up your ideas
Clever use of data can help overcome client reservations, convincing them that your concept is sound. It can be done in a couple of ways. Concept testing is one method: you can take your idea to a robust sample of the client’s audience, and get real feedback on how it makes them feel. Another is to utilise what you already know about the client’s audience. If you have access to robust and granular data which profiles the target audience in-depth, you can prove that your idea is based on a concrete understanding of what makes them tick.

Prove your work's effectiveness
Once you've earned great coverage, or executed a successful owned media campaign, the challenge is proving that it’s had an impact on your target audience. It’s no longer enough to just show the client that their brand has been seen; they also expect to know that perceptions have shifted as a result – whether the aim has been to grow awareness, increase positive sentiment, or shift negative perceptions in a crisis. For PR activities which really are having a mass impact on the audience, this can be achieved with some forward-thinking. By using data to continuously keep tabs on the audiences’ brand perceptions around key times, it becomes simple to answer the ‘so what?’ question.

Get in touch to find out how YouGov data can help your PR agency, find out more about our fast-turnaround research, or learn more about how we can help with audience understanding and brand measurement.

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