Getting Small Business Press Coverage with Surveys

Ciara Byrne

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Getting people's attention for your small business has become more difficult nowadays. You can’t just purchase ad space on radio, TV, and social media and expect people to make purchases at your store immediately.

This is why you must create a more deliberate and highly targeted press coverage to help promote your business to the right people.

However, there’s another obstacle ahead: having a process that enables you to spread the word and reach out to your audience effectively.

Aside from developing a strategy from the ground up, you need to use tactics to flesh out your plan in great detail. And one of the tactics you must consider using is surveys.

This post teaches you how to maximize your press coverage and get people excited about your small business with the help of surveys.

You should be able to leverage surveys to generate insights from the gathered data, which you can then use for your press coverage campaign.

What is Press Coverage?

Press coverage refers to mentions of your business or brand in magazines, articles, round-ups, podcasts, and other forms of publication. It is one part of a balanced marketing campaign to boost your business. The idea here is to feature your brand to a broader audience to generate awareness of your business.

However, press coverage from publications doesn't happen that often.

In the case of most small businesses, you have to make it happen instead of waiting for it to take place organically.

Your business can do this by doing something extraordinary in the industry. At the very least, you need to create something interesting that publishers can run in print or on their website.

3 Steps to Use Surveys for Press Coverage

There are many ways to initiate press coverage and generate the awareness your business deserves (using PR software being one of them).

But below are ways surveys can help your business create content that publishers will want to publish on their websites.

#1 - Learn More About Your Target Audience

Your target audience is a wealth of information regarding your industry.

Their demographics and psychographics will help you uncover data and insights that you can use as leverage for your press coverage.

So, to extract this information, you must use surveys the right way.

Their responses will help shape the kind of press coverage you want to maximize awareness for your business.

And using surveys as part of your PR strategy can also jumpstart your SEO strategy, so it has multiple benefits.

Below are the exact ways you can use surveys to tap into your target audience:

What Are Their Pain Points?

As a business, it is essential for you to find out what ails your target audience. By finding out the problems and issues they face in their lives, you can better position your business as a solution to any one of those.

For instance, if you’re in the accommodation and food services industry, find out what they don’t like when ordering food online. At the same time, ask how they want food stores to deliver their orders to them.

Using your online form creator of choice, you can design a short survey that asks participants about their most significant pain points.

Make sure that the “painful” choices in your survey are things your business addresses. So, whichever option gets the most votes, you can prioritize the feature or USP in your business that provides a solution to that choice.

Also, leave a blank that people can answer freely about their major problems and concerns. Then, you can use this information to develop new features in your business that can solve these issues.

Finally, embed the survey on your site to get as many people to join and participate. You can also send an email blast about the survey to your subscribers.

Where Do They Spend Their Time Online?

While you can embed all your surveys on your site, keep in mind that not everyone knows your business exists. As a result, not everybody will get to join in your survey, let alone visit your website!

At the same time, you can’t reach out to your audience by guessing where they are.

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While Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram remain four of the most popular channels people hang out on, it doesn’t mean you can automatically assume your audience is there.

"[S]imply putting yourself in your customer’s shoes for a few minutes and imagining how they think and feel isn’t enough," says Neil Patel. "The only way to truly understand them is through deep, ongoing research."

And part of the research is by engaging with them via surveys.

But with the people who do know about your website, you can run another survey asking them where they hang out online. You can build a form on your site to handle this, or you can look for a plugin to make that easier.

List the top social media channels respondents can choose from in the survey. You can also include traditional channels like TV, newspapers, and radio to broaden the choices.

Finally, ask people about publication sites they visit online. List the most popular ones in your industry and leave a blank for participants to fill in websites not found in the survey.

This step is crucial once you start pitching your press coverage to publications.

To make things more interesting for your audience, use a marketing tool that allows you to create more dynamic content for gathering data from quizzes, assessments, and similar approaches.

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These make the process much more fun for respondents, resulting in potentially higher participation from your audience.

However, there are times when you already know where your audience hangs out, and in those cases you want to post surveys there to get fresh consumer data. For example, local restaurant customers frequently use Facebook, so that is an ideal venue for a restaurant owner to post their latest survey and ask interesting or provocative questions that would produce newsworthy answers.

What Do They Want to See from Your Business?

Another way to drum up interest in your business is knowing the kind of content they want to see from you.

By publishing the right content across all channels, you encourage more people to consume and share it with others. This is powerful at all stages of your business, but especially in the beginning. (For more on that, learn how the 5 stages of growth and time tracking can affect your company’s trajectory.)

When you create a survey to get new customers, you want to ask them what kind of content (blog posts, e-books, videos, etc.) they wish to see and which topics they want you to cover on your site.

Regarding the latter, you can generate insights from the pain points survey you launched earlier.

Your efforts here play into the goal of your press coverage, which is to boost awareness that will hopefully result in sales down the line.

Finally, if some of the survey responses are particularly interesting, you might want to invite the respondent to meet with you virtually to ask them more questions. You can do this efficiently by inviting each of them to use your website’s online appointment booking system to find a time for a conversation that’s convenient for both of you.

#2 - Develop and Launch Your Press Release

Let’s be real here: your business is not prominent enough for publishers to run a press coverage campaign about it.

Unless you have a groundbreaking company that people are talking about, journalists and publications won’t come crawling to you for an interview or a press release.

Therefore, you need something that will help separate your business from the rest.

With the research you’ve gathered from your surveys, you can use the survey results to compile statistics for your industry. In particular, write a press release sharing the biggest pain point people have with your industry.

Compile the data from your surveys and share your insights from the findings. This makes your press release even more helpful for readers and attractive to publishers. (If you’d like to see an outstanding example of data from a survey being used for attention, look at Dialpad’s research in its Video Conferencing Report, which is shared on their website but also written to use as a press release.

Below are other best practices for writing a press release for your awareness campaign:

  • Decide on a lead - In your survey, expect to arrive at multiple interesting findings that may be worthy of mention in your press release. But you must always run with the best and most compelling data as the press release's main point.
  • Include the data in your headline - Numbers and figures make an impression on people, encouraging them to click on the news piece to learn more about it.
  • Talk about your research methodology - Journalists and readers want to know you didn’t come up with numbers out of thin air, so be ready to share the actual results of your surveys to support your claims and insights. For maximum credibility, work with someone on your team (or your agency’s team) with experience and a university degree in data science. This assures your survey is created correctly (i.e., won’t have accidental errors that skew the numbers) and has scientific credibility behind your findings. In other words, your news will be more believable than what others may claim or publish.

    If you have difficulty finding enough people to take your surveys, you can rely on companies that find audiences for you. The best survey apps for this purpose incentivize people to respond to your questions, and part of the fee you pay them supports those incentives.
  • Use tools - Make your press release read as professionally as possible using a grammar checker, plagiarism checker, etc. They also help you write your press release faster and more efficiently.
  • Fill in the details - "To get a journalist’s attention today, your news release should include multimedia, contact information, company background, and should be relevant to what they cover," according to Pilar Portela at Business Wire.

If none of the surveys you ran produced your desired results, you could launch another survey campaign. This time, you leverage the information provided by your audience to refine your questions and determine an angle you want to tackle for your press coverage.

To increase survey responses, you should also share the survey on the social media channels that most of your audience frequents.

#3 - Reach Out to Publications

Once you have your press release, it’s time to pitch it to publications.

You can start by sending emails to publications that your audience visits the most in your survey.

The fact that your audience visits these sites likely means that others who fit your buyer persona do so too.

So, getting your press release published here could help attract people interested in the solutions you offer to learn more about your business.

Next, verify if these sites accept press releases at all.

Browse the sites to see if they have terms for PR submissions. Publication sites usually have a contact page where you can reach out to them with your pitch.

If not, use an email finder tool to uncover and verify the email addresses of people working for the site.

The beauty of the latter approach is that it allows you to get in touch directly with the site owner or publisher.

Also, cold emails allow you to be persistent. And, as the saying goes, persistence pays off.

“A sales pitch on Twitter or Facebook has the potential to be seen by thousands of people, but anyone who isn’t checking their timeline right then will likely miss it,” says Rimma Sytnik at CXL. “An email waits on the recipient.”

Concerning the response rate to your cold email outreach, be reasonable with your expectations.

Just because you sent an email doesn’t mean they’ll reply to it immediately, if at all. The publishers are probably busy and have more important matters to attend to.

To ensure that your pitch doesn’t fall on deaf ears, you must send a follow-up email to your initial one.

Nonetheless, expect a 10% response rate (even less if you’re targeting sites with a national or global audience) from your efforts at best. So, to get at least one reply from your email initiative, send emails to at least ten publications. Of course, the more sites you can send to, the better.

Bonus tip: to help increase the response rate from publications, you can make the press release exclusive to their site.

This way, only they can publish your press release and drive more eyeballs to their website.

This approach could stifle your chances of getting greater press coverage about your small business. So, consider this as a last-ditch effort to get your press release published if all else fails.

Summary

  • Press coverage refers to encouraging publications to feature your business on their site or magazine. To entice publishers to feature your business and build awareness of it, you must provide content they can’t refuse to publish using surveys.
  • Tap into your target audience and run surveys asking them different questions for each campaign. This allows you to collect data that you can use to come up with angles and ideas for your content.
  • Develop your content idea using survey results and write a press release for it.
  • Pitch your press release and findings to publications related to your industry.

Conclusion

Using surveys as part of your PR strategy helps you create valuable content that publishers will want on their sites. In addition, by leveraging the data gathered from surveys, you can increase your visibility and attract the right people to your business.

Have you tried surveys to spearhead your press coverage efforts? What were the results? Share your findings by commenting below!

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