Writing, pitching, confirming media briefings and client interactions are all crucial parts of the day to day life of PR professionals. However, one particular task that is incredibly important and will remain constant throughout a career in PR is research.
PR research is essential in the success of your efforts for clients. Whether it be researching awards, relevant tradeshows or finding a statistic to use in a contributed article – research is a fundamental piece in the PR world. Whatever it may be that you’re currently researching, it is an extensive process and requires a great deal of dedication to the best results.
When first starting to tackle PR research I have learned a few important lessons along the way:
1. Be proactive, not reactive
Being proactive deals with knowing what the client is going to ask. Coming to them with everything they may want to know… and a little extra! It alleviates going back and forth and having to search for an answer that you could’ve already found, answered and moved on from.
2. Know what you’re looking for
Make a list of what you need to find before attempting the research. It gives you a goal and helps narrow down the wide range of information that will be presented to you on websites and google searches.
3. Use Google Search to be more effective
Google search is a great tool and can assist in finding some excellent information. When searching include the word “related” in front of the site or domain and it will help in pulling up quicker and more accurate results. Another great trick is to put the word or sentence that you’re searching in quotation marks, providing an exact search to what you’re looking for. And for those of us that tend to get a little lost in researching, Google has a timer function that will help to keep you on track and conduct research in a timelier manner.
4. If it doesn’t jump out at you right away, keep looking
Not everything is going to be right there the moment you click on a page. Take the time to look around and click on links that may have that one hidden piece of information. That little extra time you spend searching can have a huge reward at the end.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
This is an important one. IT’S OKAY TO ASK FOR HELP! If you’ve searched and searched and can’t find what you’re looking for, asking for a fresh set of eyes to take a quick look could be exactly what you need to solve the problem.
PR research doesn’t have to be a hair pulling, teeth gritting experience. Research smarter, not harder and get the results you need in a timely and painless manner. Good luck!