How To Carry Out the Perfect PR Survey
Want to know how to carry out the perfect PR survey? In this post, we look at PR surveys from all angles including:
- Reasons to conduct public relations surveys
- How to perform a PR survey
- How survey results can be used in PR campaigns
- How to write public relations survey questions
- Examples of PR survey companies and services.
Why conduct public relations surveys?
So where do surveys fit into the public relations remit? Research is a key ingredient in successful PR campaigns, and surveys are a great way to gather information from your customers.
But before you start creating the perfect PR survey, it’s important to know why you’re doing it.
Companies use PR surveys for various reasons, including to:
Gauge brand perception
Conducting a survey to gauge public perception of your brand is a simple way for you to understand what people are saying about your business and what your target market likes and dislikes about your company.
You can use the responses to develop a strategy that builds on the positives and addresses the negatives.
Gather data to validate a product or service
Want some cold, hard facts to back up your claims about your new product or service? Surveys can get them for you.
Here’s a hypothetical example.
A fast-growing tech start-up is about to revolutionise remote working with the launch of a brand-new SaaS solution that’ll improve communication and boost productivity to new levels. Sounds exciting, doesn’t it?
To validate the effectiveness of the platform, the tech company hires a public relations professional to create and launch a survey aimed at senior management pros to find out what they see as the biggest issue with managing a remote team.
The results show that nine out of 10 managers find it difficult to delegate fairly because they don’t have an all-encompassing view of the team’s completed work and work still to do.
Armed with these findings, the PR team can focus the press release and marketing collateral on how the new product solves this problem.
For more on how market research can benefit a PR campaign, read: Market Research PR: How the Numbers Stack Up.
How to Perform a PR Survey
The process of conducting a successful public relations survey can be broken down into four stages:
Let’s look at each stage in more detail and break down the key processes.
The planning stage is where you lay the foundations for the rest of the campaign.
The first steps are to establish your aims and objectives. Determine the PR survey story you want to tell, the results you expect to see and how you’ll adapt if they don’t come back as anticipated.
Work out the questions you want to ask and who you’ll be asking.
You also need to think about the method of polling. What service will you use? There are plenty of online services that enable you to create and publish a survey easily and cheaply. We’ll talk more about some of the options later.
And remember – timing is everything. Plan the date, time, and amount of time your survey will be open for.
If you’re fully prepared and clear on the who, what, why, where, and when, the process will run smoothly and be worthwhile. If not, your efforts will be a waste of time.
Let’s deconstruct the development process, which consists of four stages.
- Questions and answers
If you planned properly, you’ll have your questions and answers written and ready to add to whichever survey platform you decide to use.
But there’s still time to make changes. Read over everything and ask yourself:
- Could the questions be phrased better?
- Have you missed any important ones?
- Are you getting the information you need?
Revisit and edit as necessary.
When it comes to the answers, make it easy for people. Opt for multiple-choice as it’s the best way to get succinct, easy-to-analyse, usable data.
There are a few options open to you in terms of multiple-choice questioning:
- Allow the participant to pick one answer from the available options
- Allow people to select more than one answer
- Ask respondents to rank each answer in order of importance (1 – highly important, 5 – not at all important).
Think about the order of the questions. Do they flow well? Are they grouped together correctly? You don’t want to confuse people with a haphazard line of questioning.
Another thing to consider is the design of the survey. It’s easy to think that looks don’t matter, but they do.
An eye-catching design is key to keeping people interested. If you disregard the importance of design, you’ll lose a high percentage of people before they’ve finished reading the first question.
For more on the value of visual content in PR, read: How to Use Video for Public Relations.
Now for the exciting part. Getting your painstakingly created survey out into the big wide world.
Once you hit publish, it’s time to start ‘selling’.
Add the survey to your website’s homepage, on your blog and social media. Get your employees to share it with their friends and acquaintances. Want more traction? Run some ads on Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn. The more eyes you get on your PR survey, the better.
Getting people to fill it out is a public relations task in itself. But it’s worth it for the data.
The results are in and it’s time to analyse and evaluate the findings.
- Were the results what you expected?
- Were there any surprises?
- Is there any instantly recognisable PR gold?
With the data collected, you can dig out the best bits and begin packaging the results for PR purposes.
How to turn the results into valuable content
Content is king. But what types of content can be created as a result of your survey?
The answer is many. Here are a few ways you can leverage your survey for public relations purposes.
1. Press releases
A press release is the obvious choice for sharing your survey results.
Take the juiciest stat and use it as part of your headline. Use the responses throughout the release to substantiate your claims. Journalists love a stat.
Then, pull together a summary of the most fascinating findings and use them to create a killer press release that will engage the reporters and their audience alike.
Interested in learning how to land coverage for your press release? Read: How to Get Local Media Coverage.
Here’s a couple of interesting blogging facts courtesy of OptinMonster.
Companies that blog:
- Get 97% more links to their websites.
- Experience twice as much email traffic as businesses who don’t.
- Blogging is good for business, and (all being well) your survey results will make for valuable reading.
You can either repurpose the press release you sent out and adapt it for a blog that summarises the results of your survey. Or you can create multiple posts and provide a more detailed analysis.
A blog post per question? That’ll keep you swimming in valuable content for months.
However you decide to split it, blog posts are a valuable commodity. If they’re well written, they can help you establish your business as an authority in your industry and be a source of valuable information.
This will keep visitors revisiting your site. And a blog is great fodder for SEO.
For more on PR and SEO read: How PR and SEO Work Together to Build Your Brand.
If you really want to establish yourself as an industry authority, write a whitepaper.
It’s an article that goes in-depth on a specific subject. They offer a solution to a particular problem that plagues your target audience.
Whitepapers are more detailed than blog posts and take longer to create, but they’re worth the time spent. The end result is a comprehensive piece of research that’s persuasive, authoritative and educational.
Once written, add a downloadable version to your website that people can have in return for an email address.
That’s yet another piece of content created from one single survey.
Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of content possibilities. You can also use your survey results to create social media content, infographics, newsletter content and website copy.
How to Write PR Survey Questions
So far, we’ve looked at why surveys are good for public relations and discussed the various stages and steps required to perform the perfect PR survey.
So how do you write the perfect public relations survey questions?
PR survey questions: The dos and don’ts
1. DO keep questions clear and concise
If you want straightforward answers, ask straightforward questions. Avoid complex phrasing and keep vocabulary simple. A confused individual may provide inaccurate responses or throw in the towel altogether.
2. DON’T use industry jargon
Not everybody that participates in your PR survey questionnaire is an industry insider. If you include loads of technical speak into the mix, you’re going to put people off and miss out on valuable responses.
3. DO provide a ‘I don’t want to answer’ option
In an ideal world, each participant would answer every question. But we don’t live in an ideal world. There may be some questions that some people don’t want to answer. So, give them the opportunity to decline and move on to the next.
4. DON’T ask leading questions
Avoid leading questions that push participants to answer in a specific way.
As an example: ‘How many times a week do you use our product?’
This forces a response that may not accurately reflect the habits of the responder. It may be that they don’t use your services at all. Avoid bias by rephrasing the question, or by adding the option such as ‘never’.
PR survey services
As mentioned earlier, we’re going to finish by highlighting some of the online tools you can use to create your PR survey questionnaire.
It seems like Google has an answer to every possible content need.
Google Forms are 100% free and packed full of great features, such as the ability to add your brand colours, banner, and logo.
If you want a good-looking custom PR survey, but don’t want to fork out money for it, Google Forms is the one for you.
Offering both free and premium options, SurveyMonkey is one of the most popular survey tools.
The platform offers multiple templates for you to modify or use as is. One drawback is the free version limits you to ten questions per survey. If you want more, you’ll have to pay for the privilege.
Do you have a WordPress website? If so, Crowdsignal is a good option for you.
It’s built by the same people behind the world’s most popular website CMS (Content Management System), so it integrates seamlessly.
The free version enables you to create an unlimited number of surveys with unlimited questions.
But bear in mind that, if you are aiming to receive over 2,500 responses you’ll need to subscribe to a paid plan.
There are also plenty of alternatives to those mentioned here. Just Google ‘best online survey creators’ and you’ll find a solution that suits your purposes.
From planning and delivery, to launch and publication of your results: We’ve covered all there is to know about how to perform the perfect PR survey.