By Louise Findlay-Wilson, Creator of PrPro and owner of Energy PR

There was a terrific example of the PR power of research this week. R3, the Association of Business Recovery Professionals, conducted a study among 2,000 which showed the growing dependency of people on payday loans.
The story went everywhere; Radio4 Today Programme, Radio 1, The Independent, Mirror, BBC TV, regional radio, online media, blogs etc.

While its survey was particularly successful, R3 was not alone in deploying this PR tactic last week. In a seven day period consumer and specialist trade media carried masses of research based stories. Here’s a smattering that I spotted:

- Figures compiled by professional services firm Deloitte show fee income across the 100 largest UK law firms by revenue increased by 9.8% last year.

- Research by Manchester University scientists suggests nuclear power could help stop global warming’

- New research from Cancer Research UK shows that 40% of cancers in women and 45% in men could be prevented by a healthier lifestyle.

- A recent report from Get Safe Online states that more than half of the UK population (51%) have been victims of cybercrime in one form or another.

- Research carried out by online accountant Crunch shows that 82 per cent of the country's small firms are having a Christmas party this year, with only 18 per cent cancelling the festive bash.

- There appears to be a north-south divide in the UK when it comes to savings, new research from the Halifax has discovered.

While many of these are big brands there is nothing to stop a smaller company carrying out research. Don’t be afraid of it, or think you are too small to do it.

You can do topical polls — hosted on your website, or using social media platforms like LinkedIn. Alternatively you can run a more detailed, heavyweight study.

The trick is to be able to gather statistics which will position you as knowing something relevant about an issue/market/trend that your target audience (and therefore the media that serves them) will be interested in.

And before you ask, no, you can’t simply quote someone else’s stats. It isn’t the same and the media won’t need to mention you if the numbers are not your own!

Why Your Own Research Is a Great PR Tool

- It gives you news that you ‘own’ — the figures are yours, the news is yours

- Research suggests authority — it suggests you understand your market, your world, your customers...you operate at the heart of it, so much so that you’ve conducted the research into that world

- It can be published into a branded report — which people can download from your site — thus driving traffic.

- If your site allows it, you can data capture those site visitors too.

- The statistics can be used for news releases and as the basis of expert features

- They have longevity — a good piece of research can be fed into other PR activities for a year

- Research spreads the word — you will often find others quoting you and your numbers in their own PR!

- Research is versatile, depending on the research conducted, you could present the findings to key customers/ prospects at an event — thus deepening relationships

- If your research is b2b and to be conducted among the kind of businesses you’d like to be selling to, you could offer those who take part in your research a copy of the findings, thus enabling you to direct mail or even present back to them (a relationship forming opportunity)

So I guess the only question is ‘when are you going to do that research?

During the PrPro Masterclass we help companies come up with research ideas for their business and discuss in detail how to exploit it. To find out more about the Masterclass call the PrPro team on 01993 825916 or visit www.prpro.co.uk

Follow Louise Findlay-Wilson on Twitter @louisefw.

Louise has two businesses to help you get your PR motoring: For more training and tools so you can do your own PR visit www.prpro.co.uk If you are looking for a PR agency visit www.EnergyPR.co.uk

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