Leveraging industry surveys, benefits of online video, more

How can I best leverage industry surveys to support my client's PR goals?

How can I best leverage industry surveys to support my client's PR goals?

"Surveys are an excellent way of generating media visibility for a client," says Tonya Bacon, a director at Strategic Communications Group. Both reporters and their readers appreciate surveys because they help frame a discussion and provide a point of reference that validates, opposes, or generates a consensus viewpoint.

Surveys often attract a reporter's attention by offering a fresh take or new facts on an industry topic, she adds. They are also a useful tool to get a company's message into the news and in front of target audiences.

"From a PR perspective, the best surveys are short, easy to understand, and easy to explain," advises Bacon. "Work with researchers to develop a survey concept and questions likely to deliver the headlines your client would like to see."

Surveys can be conducted by phone, direct mail, or in person. "Each method has distinct advantages and challenges, depending on a client's goals and budget," explains Bacon. "Also, think about using the Internet to conduct your survey. It can provide quick feedback at minimal cost."

Online video

How can our company use YouTube/online video as a promotional tool?

"From a corporate perspective, the videos most likely to travel are ones built with baked-in human interest," says Josh Shabtai, senior new media specialist at Ketchum. For instance, providing your staff access to the necessary equipment, even something as simple as a $100 camera and some editing software, gives them a sense of pride in their work.

"This do-it-yourself ethic results in a greater sense of ownership over the project," he notes. "They have an added incentive for promoting the video among their coworkers. The same rule applies externally. Videos created by and for a built-in audience encourage evangelism."

 While posting these videos directly to YouTube is an easy, efficient way to disseminate your message, Shabtai notes that online video sharing through several new media venues creates greater and more consistent visibility.

"The mistake most companies make when thinking about video sharing networks like YouTube is that videos need to be watched through the network itself to be successful," he explains. "Most videos are actually watched through affiliate sites - personal blogs, social networking profiles, and so on."

Brand protection

How do I handle false information about my brand online?

"First, [don't only] listen [to] and monitor the blogs directly relevant to your brand," advises Pete Snyder, CEO/founder of New Media Strategies. "You should also have an early warning system that tracks health, environmental, social, and business sites that cover issues that you potentially impact."

Snyder stresses the importance of making sure you have a voice in the conversation, as the true story from a known personality will trounce false information 99% of the time.

"Even after the horse has left the barn, most blog editors are willing to issue factual corrections to inaccurate information," he explains. "Their credibility with their readers is as important as your perception with your customers."

Your lawyers shouldn't be your lead communicators, adds Snyder, as many blog editors will mock such efforts and post them as a badge of honor. Instead, the better way to go is to respectfully present your side of the story with citations in a conversational tone.


toolbox@prweek.com. Please contact Irene Chang if you are interested in contributing to PR Toolbox or to suggest ideas for future columns. Toolbox is available online at PRWeek.com.

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