4 Ways PR Agencies Can Utilise Omnibus Surveys to Gain Media Coverage
Cutting through the clatter to secure coverage and attention for a story can be more challenging than ever in today’s crowded and competitive playing field. While there are countless additional choices for placement popping up every day, there are also competing voices vying for the attention of target audiences. Operating at the limits of their resources and ingenuity, PR agencies need readily available and rapidly accessible access to information that can be instrumental in creating compelling stories and generating valuable coverage. Sometimes a more cost-effective, ad-hoc alternative to creating and deploying an extensive market research study is needed, especially when operating under tight deadlines and budgets. This is where the flexible, affordable, and fast option of participating in an Omnibus survey comes into play.
As a syndicated research solution, such as Plant a Question, an Omnibus study shares the costs of sampling and screening between agencies and clients to provide quick results at relatively lower cost without sacrificing quality. Several well-known market research firms, developers, and companies that undertake panel management routinely deploy Omnibus surveys, using detailed information collected on each individual to target each one to the right audience within a large sample of the general population to deliver representative results. Usually shorter in length, which makes them faster to implement, Omnibus surveys combine standard classification questions, which ensure the group represents the desired population as whole, with proprietary questions sponsored by participating clients. Each client owns their questions and their responses, and the corresponding results are confidential. With these syndicated surveys running on consistent and frequent schedules, sometimes even daily depending on the company, between 500 to several thousands of representative responses can be delivered within hours to a few days.
The convenience and swiftness of using Omnibus surveys can help PR agencies operating strictly within constraints of time and budget to get quick answers to questions that can help them:
- Generate ideas: When looking for the seeds of a popular story, a PR professional in a pinch can turn to a quick Omnibus study to find inspiration, polling the public to highlight trends, discover hot topics of interest, gauge opinion on a variety of issues, and identify opportunities to raise awareness of lesser-known subjects. This can be used for short-term story development or long-term editorial planning to capitalise on trends in pubic interest over the year ahead.
- Inform stories: Supporting an interesting story with solid facts and verified details makes the piece as a whole more compelling and attractive to journalists and readers alike. By conducting focused research into the specific area to be covered by the article, a PR professional can make sure the piece has the factual foundation it needs to gain traction.
- Target media: Omnibus surveys can be helpful in quickly finding the perfect outlet for a timely story. By conducting research on the media consumption habits of the target audience, PR professionals can discover which types could be the most beneficial format to achieve the greatest reach. For example, if the target audience is equestrians of a certain age and the story is about the dangers of a new tranquilizer, research can be conducted that might suggest the audience in question relies on the radio for breaking news, underlining this option as the best way to present the story. This extends to pinpointing specific outlets by asking direct questions of the target audience regarding their preferences.
- Sharpen pitches: Presenting a journalist with hard facts as to why a certain story would succeed within their publication can provide strong incentive for placement. PR professionals could create questions testing a particular story with a demographic similar to the target publication’s readership to determine potential reactions and response, and use positive results to bolster their proposal.
Agencies we have seen using surveys effectively include Finn Partners and Shift Communications.