Creating interesting content and pitching writers is one way to build high-quality links, which will help you get media coverage.
However, you need to make your content newsworthy in order to succeed.
In order for a story to be newsworthy, it should be either brand new or relevant to the time right now.
Even though most brands are not licensed news sources and have no capability to cover breaking news, they still have opportunities to engage in important, newsworthy conversations — surveys are an excellent opportunity for this.
In this blog, we’d like to show you how to use surveys to get writers’ interest and ultimately earn their trust.
Step 1: Spotting the trends
Trends are incredibly broad stuff because they last for hours, days, months, or even years. The shorter they are, the most difficult it will be to contribute.
It’s best to ignore Google Trends, Twitter trends, and other rapidly changing interests for the purpose of building links, since creating a survey could take several days, and it’s not guaranteed the topic will still be popular after you’ve completed it.
As a result, I prefer looking for trends that last for several months, as they provide an opportunity to explore new angles and perspectives without rushing against time.
Here are some ways to identify these types of trends:
- Keyword research: It’s safe to assume these topics have been trending for a while if they’re having a high volume; they usually use historical data to determine their volume estimations.
- Exploding Topics: To contribute to the conversation, you should keep track of industry-related topics so you can get ideas. This site aims to help people identify trends before they peak.
- BuzzSumo: Use the Content Analyzer to find stories that have received the most engagement, but don’t just look at the ones that have got the most engagement; check for a pattern in the first couple of pages of the results. Perhaps there is an underlying trend.
- Join communities: Make sure to pay attention to which topics are being discussed where your audience is connecting with others. Is there a Facebook group, a Slack or Discord channel, a Twitter chat, etc. where these discussions are occurring?
- Publisher stories: What topics do your target publications publish about? How do those stories match up?
Step 2: Look at new perspectives
People often use their own experience to understand topics that aren’t cut-and-dry (which are sometimes the most interesting topics).
As a result, some perspectives aren’t fully represented in the conversation, so a survey can be very helpful.
Ask yourself these questions to identify hidden perspectives you can tap into:
- Would most people find this topic interesting? Would they fear/unwillingly share their views publicly?
- How did the conversation go over some of the points made?
- Are all groups being represented here?
It is important at this point to have a solid idea of 1) who should be surveyed and 2) how to question them in order to gain new insights.
Step 3: Drafting the survey
I won’t provide a step-by-step guide on how to build surveys, but I will provide some tips on how to get the most valuable information out of your survey while minimizing bias.
Identify potential questions first. Each question should be framed in terms of the end results you hope to achieve (which will obviously impact the data).
The key is to avoid biasing the survey by including your hypotheses.
When you don’t form questions correctly, they can be significantly more subjective. Here are a few examples:
- If you ask a biased question, such as “How annoying do you find this?” rather than asking “Is this acceptable or unacceptable?”, you may be creating less biased answers.
- Make sure to provide all possible options. If you force someone to select one answer, you may be forcing them to choose something they’re not really interested in. Include both “Other” and “None” as well as “Not applicable.”
- If you ask someone a question that triggers social desirability bias, they will answer your question in a way that makes them appear nice. For example, they might not want to admit how many drinks they have per week if they are heavy drinkers.
Finally, ensure your demographic questions include everyone (and then break down the results by demographic). Doing so may uncover things you didn’t know before, such as millennials worrying about things older generations don’t, or women who worry more about employment. have a different opinion than men on an issue. This is a good way to illustrate the opinion of groups that may not be well represented in a conversation.
The fact that there were differences based on the generation and political affiliation was an important insight we would have missed otherwise.
Step 4: Promoting the results
We build our report around these insights, then we pitch everything to writers. When doing surveys, we analyze all of the data and then create reports like the ones described in this article. The data will be shown in straightforward graphs; we’ll then write an accompanying write-up around the data.
Think about what you could glean from the results now because you have the final data. Now you have the results, what information stands out to you? How do you plan to act on it?
If you are writing your pitch email, keep this in mind and mention key interesting facts and figures. It is better not to leave any writers wondering why they should care.
How does your survey complement an article already published about the trend you are describing? Perhaps you can even reference a time when a reporter or publication covered that trend differently.
Surveys give you a way to access a wide range of public opinion. When reading content, be aware of what you’re wondering about. Can you confirm or debunk your assumptions? How can you add more context and value to a topic by tapping into other people’s perspectives?
You can demonstrate you care about a topic and are willing to put in the effort to make a difference by sharing survey results — this will enliven and deepen the conversation. You can build links and brand authority simultaneously with content creation and earned media if you use earned media to get it out there.