How to Avoid Forcing Stories on the Media: Leverage Research to Generate Real News
Author: Curtis Sparrer
March 03, 2021
PR-generated news often has little value to the media. Every day, reporters are deluged with repetitive pitches and irrelevant press releases that simply aren’t news. What’s worse is the fact that PR pros often try to force fact-free stories on journalists.
When it comes to making a story credible, reporters need hard data – otherwise the pitch or release will simply be deleted.
This is because the most well-received stories are based on objective data and facts. And it is precisely why Bospar recommends its clients engage in a minimum of one research-driven project per quarter. We’ve found that surveys help us showcase our clients’ solutions by illustrating value in the context of business or consumer pain points, while also framing how a client’s product or service maps to current trends and issues.
For example, Bospar recently fielded a survey for an enterprise software training firm, focusing on the utility of the company’s solution and simultaneously using the questions to “ladder up” and inquire about the HR and C-suite aspects of onboarding and training. The survey was designed to generate numbers and data that mapped to larger business and social trends, as well as creation of viral headlines written to capture the attention of the national business press. Our data-driven headlines included:
- “’Training As Usual’ Is DOA,’ per New Research Study”
- “Employee Onboarding Simply Sucks, Say 2,000 Americans”
- “Employers Versus Employees: New Onboarding and Training Research Says Views Differ”
Our snappy pitch headlines – delivered to appropriately targeted journalists – received attention and gained media traction. Our fact-based and timely solicitation meant that key journalists gave us the opportunity to present our client’s solution, without our having to force the issue by overselling our client.
Research-Based Campaigns: Additional Benefits
Research-based campaigns also support and enhance thought leadership efforts, illustrating that our clients are driving industry scholarship – while enabling effective and engaging thought leadership content. Survey-based initiatives can also help increase overall PR volume via more articles and mentions; we’ve found that surveys average between 10 to 30 placements each month.
Related articles are also more in-depth. Data-driven pitches have more news value, and their timeliness, impact and proximity help reporters suggest coverage to editors more easily. Reporters can then dig deep and write more meaningful articles that include presentation of products and services, building awareness and potential sales.
Research projects also have a lengthy shelf life. Our research has been cited in the media months and even years after publication, and the resulting benefit in link building can enhance search engine optimization (SEO). Surveys can also be leveraged across other marketing efforts, as the data can be reused for sales collateral, presentations and online content. Survey projects can also deliver meaningful ROI through publicity and lead generation.
The price of entry for an effective, well-designed survey fielded by a respected firm starts at a few thousand dollars, and that investment can achieve substantial payback. For example, one IT-focused survey fielded by Bospar drove more than 1,800 stories, resulting in numerous sales leads for our client. The value derived far exceeded the company’s initial investment.
Far easier than trying to force a story on the press, data-driven campaigns enable PR pros to deliver real benefits to all parties. And in PR, that’s what we call a win-win!