Research should be the first step in establishing a foundation for any PR plan of action, whether that be writing press releases, liaising with the media or meeting with clients.
Research may not be what comes to mind straight away when thinking about the skills required to succeed in PR but it actually ranks as one of the most important, and here’s why…
Know your subject
Firstly, when it comes to writing press releases, research is paramount in ensuring that what is being written is as accurate as possible and as beneficial to journalists as it can be. Taking the time to really learn about your subject matter will enhance the press release with a level of detail that would not be achievable otherwise. New, interesting talking points can be found on any story and can even change the angle of the story entirely if your findings become more captivating that the original topic.
As an example from the world of property PR, you could be assigned a press release about construction work starting at a new housing development. Nothing unusual there, but some basic research could uncover that the site was previously used in the Second World War as an airfield, or that it previously had an important role in the community as a school or factory. Suddenly, the story has a whole new life and offers something different to the reader, all because you took the time to find out a little more.
Know your audience
Secondly, conducting the proper research can make life a lot easier when talking to journalists in your quest for media coverage. After researching your story you will have an in-depth knowledge that will shine through when trying to convince a journalist that your press release should be published. Remember, they receive a mountain of news stories to sift through every week, and if they don’t need to do the legwork to find those crucial details, yours will stand a better chance.
Journalists will appreciate you taking the time to research their audience, so you can tailor how you present individual stories and send them information that’s most relevant to them. This will make the story eligible to be placed onto their website, newspaper or magazine and will take you one step closer to gaining that all important piece of coverage.
Journalists grow to respect PRs who send them relevant content and this strengthens our relationships. You consequently create a system where they associate the work you send them with high quality, well researched stories, and so they are more likely to take notice of your pitch, creating a partnership that’s fruitful for both parties.
Immerse yourself in your client’s world
Lastly, but certainly not least, is how research affects your relationship with the clients. PR agencies rely on excellent client relationships. Liberty PR’s team lives by the mantra “Client first, always”.
Having key background research can significantly improve the rapport between a PR team and their clients. Showing that you have taken the time to gain knowledge of a client and their individual projects will make them feel valued. This demonstrates that you appreciate that their time is costly and that you’re there to make their lives easier.
Research enables you to keep up to speed on what’s happening in a client’s world, internally and across their industry. Gaining knowledge of your client’s current and past work, investigating current trends and monitoring changes in the client’s respective field will allow you to give sound advice, provide direction and come up with a strategy that is founded upon facts.
These are three ways in which spending time to research and gaining extra knowledge can make you, and the work you produce, more insightful and valuable. Thorough research will show your colleagues, journalists and clients that you are willing to go the extra mile to help achieve each of their goals.
Of course, research is essential but cannot stand alone. What you do with it counts. Always take ideas to your clients, be proactive and remember to listen and take feedback on board.
To find out more about Liberty PR’s client services, email email@example.com