How Surveys Start the “Now” Conversation

Cherian: “With a survey project, you provide fresh insights into ‘the news’ for the press, industry influencers and general members of the public. You craft questions that will lead to key messaging opportunities.”

(This is the first of a two-part blog on the impact and value of survey content for clients. If you like this blog, please share it. Thanks!)

As a PR professional, you’re constantly tasked to get your clients “into the news,” to raise awareness about their products/solutions and position their executives as thought leaders. That’s how they differentiate themselves among competitors as leading subject-matter experts.

At W2 Communications, we’ve established an enviable track record of doing just that for our technology clients. Sometimes, it’s a matter of getting our client experts out in front of trends. At other times, we encourage them to pose valid but contrarian perspectives to lend a unique voice to an ongoing discussion. Then, there’s always the potential to take advantage of this emerging reality of PR/communications: In addition to commenting about the news, get your clients to make news.

How so? By helping them conceptualize and execute a strong survey report – a sure way for clients to start what we call the “now” conversation.

With a survey content marketing project, you and the client provide fresh insights into “the news” for the press, industry influencers and general members of the public. You decide what topics to cover. You challenge the creative energies within your team to ensure that the end result is compelling, substantive and – as an essential ingredient of the “now” conversation – topical.

At our high tech PR firm, we’ve had much success with surveys for a number of clients. In many cases, we’re there at the very beginning stages, coming up with survey topic points and an overriding hypothesis, and then developing the questions. In other cases, we have clients that are highly skilled at assembling this on their own. In this situation, we provide guidance on the results that will be most compelling and then take on the role of media outreach after the results are in.

In either case, the survey certainly positions our client squarely in the middle of key IT issues – not only as a company with a pulse on the problem, but as a key provider of proven solutions.

That’s only if, of course, the survey is a success. To strive toward that, we start off by attempting to come up with a compelling hypothesis. This is when it pays to cultivate in-depth relationships with clients and media members, as we do here at our agency. By the time we’re ready to plan a survey, we’ve had enough thoughtful conversations and conducted enough industry research to pinpoint what the top, driving issues are. This enhances our ability to present numerous topic questions that shed greater insights into what IT professionals are discussing.

When we send out the questions and review results, it’s exciting to read and assess the perspectives of survey respondents on our hypothesis. It helps clarify and frame what they’re thinking, which will benefit future communications/PR projects that we oversee here. Then, it’s our job to report survey results clearly and accurately in well-executed content marketing.

In Part II of this blog, I’ll let you know about other survey best practices that I’ve discovered along the way. And if you’re curious about the value that a well-conceived survey report can generate for your organization – as well as the many other total-package, fully integrated PR/communications services we deliver here – please do get in touch.


 Joyson Cherian is an account director at W2 Communications.