Maximizing online survey research, ANRs, and more

What is the best way to increase search engine visibility for clients?

What is the best way to increase search engine visibility for clients?

Company and personal Web sites strive to be among the first to be found in Google, Yahoo, and other search engines, says Connie Connors of Connors Communications. "Search engine optimization [SEO] is a growing aspect of PR that boosts your site's visibility on search engines," she adds. "The way to accomplish this, in a nutshell, is to feature key terms in your Web pages and blog posts that sometimes lead to your site. But how do you know which words to feature?"

There are two ways, depending on budget, Connors notes. "For those who are willing to splurge, a search engine optimization campaign is well worth the money," she says. The SEO team analyzes and adjusts the words that lead to your site and considers other variables that influence search engine visibility. "If you are on a tight budget, however, you can download programs like HitTail, which analyzes the words that lead to your site and provides a clear list of words to use in blog headlines," Connors explains.

Online surveys

How can I maximize my research efforts for an online survey?

Not all online surveys are the same, says Catherine Reynolds Shores of Echo Research. "Whether you are using a research partner or doing the research yourself, there are ways to design more effective surveys," she adds.

Reynolds Shores recommends taking online surveys yourself before setting out to design one. "You'll realize that taking an online survey requires work on the part of the respondent," she says. "Simple instructions and a flow of questions that makes sense minimize consumer frustration."

The survey should begin with an introduction, letting consumers know its purpose and how long it will take, Reynolds Shores advises. Put screening questions next, so that from the outset, you are inviting only those who qualify. Use drop-down menus for complicated lists, like state of residence. Put only a few questions on a screen to keep interest and reduce fatigue.

Use design to engage your audience. Teens and tweens are more receptive to graphics than business audiences. "Use a progress bar at the bottom of each screen," Reynolds Shores notes. "Respondents want to know how much more they need to answer, and are more likely to stick with the survey if they know they are nearly done.

"I always test the final survey draft against the objectives of the study to make sure that the most important issues are being addressed," she adds. "Then I look to streamline [the survey] if it is too long."


What's the best way to determine the number of stations to pitch an ANR?

"To determine the optimum number of contacts for an ANR, look first at the demographics and geographics that make sense for your story," says Lynn Harris Medcalf of News Generation. "If you have a story about breast-feeding, you'll want to target a mostly female audience [through] adult contemporary, classic hits, and soft urban stations."

If your primary focus is a particular geographic area, you'll want to look at the number of stations available in that area to pitch and go after the biggest and best stations first.

If you have a general audience ANR, look at whether you want placements on top 25, top 50, or top 100 markets. For top 25, 100 contacts is typically ideal; for top 50, 150 contacts works best; and for top 100, 200 contacts or more is optimal.

Send your questions to Please contact Lisa LaMotta if you are interested in contributing to PR Toolbox or to suggest ideas for future columns.

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