The market research industry is notoriously bad at PR. Researchers work with fascinating insights, tell great stories and help with interesting and high-profile campaigns, so why aren’t they shouting about it in the media? Read on for our top tips on how to be famous.
First, let’s think about why we need fame in MRX. The answer starts with data – if the industry is well-known, understood and trusted, people will be more likely to take part in studies and trust us with their data. There is a lot of evidence that if people know how their information is used and how valuable it is, they are happier to share it. Creating curiosity about MRX will also encourage people to join our profession. Storytelling is what we do – it is our job to understand and communicate so we must hone our skills in this area. And lastly it will help us grow our individual businesses through increased awareness and credibility. Fame will benefit us all.
But dealing with the media is a big challenge and not for the fainthearted. You need to know what you are doing. We recently spoke to several leading marketing and business journalists and have honed our advice. Here are our four top tips to help get impact in the media:
- Be original
“If you don’t find it attention-grabbing then why would it be of interest to your audience?” – Alex Brownsell, WARC
Your announcement isn’t newsworthy if it isn’t new! The news must be interesting to the wider public, your aim should be to inform, not only to promote your brand. For each press release you’re tempted to write, ask yourself ‘Will anyone outside my company care?’. If you are not excited by it no one else will be. Take the time to think about the impact of the content you have. And if you realise that it’s not media-friendly, then don’t try and land it on journalists’ desks or you’ll lose credibility.
- Be an expert
“Find your voice that is unique to you”- Robert Langkjaer-Bain, 5 Media, Lux, Significance, People Management
From the outset, you need to decide on your focus and messaging, and then stick to that. Social media channels, especially LinkedIn, are particularly useful for building your profile and thought-leadership. Establish yourself as an expert in one certain area, and share your points of view on the topic, making sure they’re up to date and reflective of what’s happening in the industry. Remember, journalists aren’t looking for someone who sounds just like the rest of the crowd – they want to feel your personality and hear your own voice. Speak freely, and have the confidence to have opinions and take a stand on matters.
- Be evidence-based
“It’s really important to understand about the sample size and how the research was conducted” – Katie McQuater, Research Live, Impact, The Drum
Luckily, we are in the business of evidence! You should and can demonstrate the significance, value and impact of your story, and if you don’t have evidence – create it. If you are not able to share the data because your client says no, then find a client who will do a pilot study with you and who is willing to talk about it. Or do your own study and share that data. When talking about your research, you also need to bear in mind that most journalists aren’t insights experts so you need to be clear about the sample size and the methodology. Don’t use complex jargon and include only the relevant information.
- Be busy
“Time-pressure can be the factor that means you choose one story over another” – Robert Langkjaer-Bain, 5 Media, Lux, Significance, People Management
Time pressure is constant, so it makes it even more imperative that your content is engaging and relevant. Journalists receive a large amount of press releases each day, so first consider whether your recipient will actually be interested in yours. When journalists are working on a story, they need the information by a set time, and timing is a factor which can determine which story makes the cut. Be proactive and very agile in your responses. If a journalist gives you a deadline, it is absolutely crucial that you stick to it.
Trust us, if you have some fascinating insights and stories, people are going to want to hear about it. But landing in the good books of the media requires some thought and preparation – our ‘four bees’ will help you on your way.