Want positive press? Unique, fascinating or funny polls have proven hook for press attention.
Polls are an often-overlooked method of generating buzz about a subject or a business. Journalists are always looking for quirky or surprising news tidbits, and a well-designed poll carried out by a professional research firm can provide them with exactly what they're looking for. If you watch the news at all, you will see that polls are frequently featured - and we're not just talking about election time. Polls about dating habits, internet surfing habits, spending trends, and on and on, are regularly featured on the news.
Why? Because people are fascinated by human behavior and want to see how their behavior compares to others. "Wow, the average person spends HOW much time on the internet every day? I barely spend half that much time surfing the net!"
But wait - how does this help your business? It helps because if YOU commission a poll that is interesting or quirky enough and also ties in with current news trends, the mainstream media may very well pick it up. And even if they don't, you can post it on your website and publicize it yourself through social media, and create your own buzz.
So if your business could use some publicity - and what business couldn't? - consider these different types of polls and how you could adapt one to your business. The best way to do it is to take the findings in the poll and then write it up in a press release and send it out to media outlets.
To Pulling Media Attention; Pair a Poll and a Press Release
1. A seasonal poll.
For instance, with Valentine's Day approaching, a business that sells gifts or chocolates could do a poll on how many people are planning on spending less money on Valentine's Day this year because of the economy - and could mention special sales that they are having, at the end of the press release. The same could be done for Christmas or other holidays.
2. A poll about pets.
Pets are a HUGE industry, and news outlets tend to pick up quirky stories about pets because everyone loves reading about them. A business that caters to pet owners could do a poll on how many hours a day people spend with their pets, or how much people spend on their pets on the holidays, or how much people spend at doggie grooming salosn every year.
3. Polls about romance and relationships.
Polls about internet dating are always popular; how many people today met their spouse online, as compared to ten years ago? How many dates does the average person on a dating site go on? When people do meet someone they chatted with online, what percentage find that the person lied about some aspect of their appearance - height, weight, age? All kinds of businesses could use these polls - wedding chapels, couples counselors, even photographers who specialize in portraits for people to use on internet dating sites.
4. Polls that are tied in to current news.
The economy is on everyone's mind right now, so polls that show how people are reacting to the economy can be very interesting. Are people spending more on renting movies because they can't afford the movie theater? Are more people buying used cars rather than new cars? Are they spending more on car maintenance rather than buying a new car? How much has the average family reduced their credit card spending?
5. Polls about social media and internet surfing habits.
Social media is very popular right now, and it's a subject of endless discussion. People want to know what types of people are on social media sites, and what profession they are in, and how much time they spend online, and why they are using social media, and what their favorite sites are. Businesses live and die by this kind of information; it tells them where to put their marketing dollars.
You can also uses polls to benefit your business by finding out what your customers think about your business. This isn't necessarily a poll that you need to publicize; but doing periodic polls of your customers can tell you what they like about your website, what they like about your products or services, what they would like to see you add to your product line or what they would like you to do differently...and not only that, when you poll your customers it lets them know that you care about their opinions enough to ask!
These are just a few ideas to get you thinking about how polls could benefit YOUR company. You can also consult with a professional polling company for ideas and suggestions about how their services might benefit you. And finally - start paying attention to how OTHER companies get featured in the news by using timely, interesting polls, and it's sure to spark a few ideas for YOUR company.
Margaret Ross is president and CEO of the Kamaron Institute, a leading business management consulting, marketing research, social media marketing communications, and development firm.
Market Research, Online Surveys
Margaret Ross on Twitter: http://twitter.com/kamaron_org