Want more media attention? Give them something to talk about.

Want more media attention? Give them something to talk about.

In the era of fake news, many media outlets are hungry for research on relevant opinions and trends that relate to current issues.  Yet most companies have no idea how to take advantage of this.

In today’s overcrowded PR landscape, small businesses are always on the lookout for ways to stand apart from their competitors. Polls, surveys and studies are some of the most powerful, cost-effective ways to promote brand awareness for your business.

By creating and conducting a legitimate survey. One that relates to your business, book, product or cause, you can establish yourself as a thought leader in your field and likely grab some media attention.

But to get the media to sit up and take notice, you need to do something more than just ask a few random questions. To make your survey something a busy editor will want to pick up and publish, follow these guidelines:

Use a combination of questions.

Don’t get caught up in the idea that you can only gain coverage by asking quirky questions. While a few creative questions may serve as attention grabbers, they should be balanced with credible ones, which compel an editor to cover a story.

For example: When online discount travel service Travelzoo.com sponsored a survey, they asked people more creative questions, such as “Would you be willing to stand on a cross-country flight in order to save 50 percent off the cost of the airline ticket?” They also asked more traditional market research questions, such as “Do you expect to be traveling more or less than last year for the upcoming Fourth of July holiday?”

Avoid obvious commercials and self-promotion.

Your survey should be focused on the data you have gathered, not your company. Instead, make your release about the bigger picture of the survey and the story behind it.

The idea is that by being the sponsor of a great story–not the star–you will achieve media coverage and visibility with your target market.

Show, don’t tell.

As more businesses use surveys as part of their branding and marketing strategy, they are turning to do-it-yourself tools to accommodate their needs. But whether you create the survey yourself or hire a professional firm to do so on your behalf, to be credible, it needs to be conducted in a scientific manner.

To emphasize to the media that the survey your company has sponsored is based in proper research protocols, you should include:

  • Name of the research vendor
  • Margin of error
  • Dates the study was conducted
  • Sample size used
  • Methods used in conducting the survey

Remember, the press and media are constantly on the lookout for relevant and timely surveys that they can “hook” a story around. Provide them with a well-crafted, properly researched and interestingly reported study or survey, and your company could find itself swimming in ink.

This article originally appeared on Inc.com. 

Karen is founder of Sterling Marketing Group, a branding & marketing strategy firm where she works with clients on building stronger personal, team and business brands. She is the best-selling author of nine books, which have sold more than 400,000 copies. Her latest is The Brand Mapping Strategy: Design, Build and Accelerate Your Brand. Karen writes regularly for Inc.com, Forbes.com, Entreprenuer.com and others. Karen has been interviewed by The Today Show, CNN, Fox News and Oprah. She has spoken for Harvard, Yale, and Tedx among others. Her clients have included Twitter, LinkedIn, Apple, American Express, and Google.

Karen is a professional Elite Level speaker at www.speakerstardom.com.