4 Effective Ways to Use Surveys in Your PR Strategy

October 20, 2021

Surveys have long been an effective tool for securing media coverage and building a thought leadership platform for your brand. According to Cision’s 2021 Global State of the Media Report, 68 percent of journalists are seeking original research. Data gleaned through branded surveys can be a vital resource that builds media interest in your organization and its story.

Your exclusive insights based on this type of research provide interesting angles for reporters to pursue and help position you as a compelling go-to source for future coverage. It’s a win-win for both you and the reporter.

How are surveys used in public relations? Below we outline four ways to leverage proprietary survey data to garner media attention for your brand.

1. Identify the Information Gaps

The most successful publicity surveys uncover unexpected and often contrarian data about a topic or industry that will grab the interest of a journalist and ultimately their readers or viewers, while challenging long-held beliefs. When developing or commissioning your research, try to identify subject areas that haven’t been previously covered and which might lend themselves to differentiated viewpoints.

For example, Sherman designed a public relations survey for Core Spaces, a student housing developer client, on “how the pandemic had impacted their learning, studying, families’ employment and income, mental health and more.” The results were then targeted to university administrations and local-market publications, garnering nearly 40 stories.

2. Create Trustworthy Results

When considering how to use data in a successful PR strategy, the accuracy of your survey and data reporting will be an important part of the reporter’s vetting process. Journalists want to provide trustworthy content and need to feel confident about their sources of information. Whether you decide to dive in with a detailed survey or ask a single question, you’ll want the research to be objective and unbiased. Sample enough respondents to make your survey results statistically significant and partner with a credible research firm to enhance the study’s credibility.

3. Show Impact with Assets

How you package the findings makes all the difference in how much coverage the survey could potentially receive. Make your survey more enticing by bringing key findings to life through interesting visuals that tell a story. From creating a report that can be shared in its entirety, to an infographic with visual data points, it’s important to think through the context of the topic and audience you’re trying to reach.

Compelling infographics or embedded video will help busy reporters quickly gauge a story’s merit and relevancy to their audience. Visual cues are valuable assets for journalists to use to augment their larger story via sharing on social media. Take clues from the industry: check out how the Wall Street Journal highlights survey results of their own or how The New York Times displays graphics within articles.

4. Add Value and Build Relationships

The final step in ensuring your survey is part of an effective public relations strategy is getting it in front of the right reporter or editor. If the survey is more niche in nature, consider offering an exclusive to a specific journalist or media outlet that would directly hit your target audience. This tactic combines personalization and original research into one pitch, which could be just the thing your top coverage publication is looking for.

If you follow our PR guide to surveys, you’ll have assets ready to include in your pitch, reliable data and insights to position your organization or brand as a thought leader…making it compelling enough for a reporter to “yes.”

Learn more about what makes a successful PR strategy and how Wilks Communications Group can help your business grow by emailing us at


This website uses cookies, including third-party cookies, which allow WCG to obtain information about your visit to the website. Please click here to learn more about the cookies used on this website. By continuing to use this website, you consent to the use of cookies.