Using Survey Stats to Capture Headlines

Kristin Patterson

Spring is upon us (at least according to the calendar) and undoubtedly you've seen real estate signs of all varieties popping up in your neighborhood. Prime real estate season is well underway, and like many industries, there is certainly a critical time period for generating news. As a standalone, key seasons or holidays aren't necessarily newsworthy. However, incorporated into a broader trend story – including your company or client–creates news!

One way to create an interesting and compelling news hook is to commission research (generally in the form of a survey) that furthers your client’s business objectives, positions them as thought leaders and, ultimately, helps to drive coverage. To introduce iGOfsbo, a new system for transacting real estate, the PAN team commissioned a survey to gauge consumer knowledge and attitudes toward FSBO transactions and realtors. Knowing that FSBOs only accounted for 10 percent of U.S. real estate transactions in 2012, a key part of the public relations program would rely on educating consumers and media on the benefits of FSBO transactions. Survey results would provide support and evidence to help address common myths and misconceptions in the industry at large, while positioning the client as a thought leader in the space.

When you consider the option of survey development to help support a particular brand program or campaign, work with your client to lay out the objectives. Beyond securing media coverage, ask your client if there is a broader competitive or market understanding component; consider if the survey can be replicated in years to come in order to provide a benchmark for company progress or to evaluate the success of your public relations program. Lastly, research a variety of survey options – ranging from the do-it-yourself to working with well-known research companies. Based on the survey’s objectives, you’ll need to consider its statistical significance, margin of error and reach. Data that can be stratified across demographics and geographies will provide you with additional news angles and market insights.

The results of our survey drove significant media coverage across consumer and business media outlets nationally and regionally, including CNN Money, Fox Business, MSN Real Estate and Yahoo! Finance as well as Boston Globe,, Lowell Sun and In total, the survey findings helped to generate more than 50 placements that generated more than 187 million media impressions over a two month period.

Have you ever commissioned a survey to capture headlines? Tweet me at @k_patterson!

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Topics: Industry Expertise, Customer Experience, Services

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