How surveys can help you create newsworthy content

By Sanna Forbes | 20 Jul 2021

It’s not news that you have to create newsworthy content in order to get media pickup.

So, how do you ensure that the content you’re creating is newsworthy? The answer often lies in data and insights: analysing the world around us helps us to predict how it might look in the future. This is something that a content strategist does in their day-to-day role.

However, the last 18 months have created a media landscape (and a world in general) that’s been somewhat challenging to predict. Content marketers have therefore had to use other strategies to ensure that their content is in line with what journalists are looking for.

Surveys have been one of the go-to options for marketers who want to create timely and relevant content. Amanda Milligan at Moz has put together a useful go-to guide of the things to think about when creating surveys. Here are some of the steps that you should take in order to create a newsworthy survey:

Look at the trends

There are multiple ways to find out what topics are trending. Conducting keyword research will help you find out what people are searching for. You can also analyse online communities and forums to see what sparks peoples’ interest.

There are also some useful tools out there that help you define the trends. For example, BuzzSumo looks at what types of content generate interest from both an engagement and a backlink perspective.

Find the edge that will generate interest

A survey will only be of interest to publications if it brings something new and surprising to the table. Have a think about what news you can generate from your survey. Perhaps you want to survey a niche group of people to find a new perspective? Or perhaps you want to compare views and opinions amongst different demographics to generate interesting new insights?

Write up your survey questions

A good starting point when conducting a survey for digital PR purposes is to think about what headlines you’re trying to go after. This will help to direct you on what questions to include. Be careful though, you want to ensure that the survey stays unbiased. You can’t force any headlines and ask questions in too much of a leading way.

Show the results

The last part in Amanda’s step-by-step guide is to decide on a suitable format for showcasing your results. The beauty of survey data is that it lends itself to visual data-storytelling. So, there’s plenty of formats to consider for visualising the findings: graphs, data cards, infographics, or a report.

Surveys are great for creating newsworthy content which can result in attention-grabbing headlines and important conversations. They are therefore worth including as part of your content strategy, especially if your objective is to acquire backlinks. Just keep in mind that you need to create trustworthy and unbiased surveys without trying to force any results or answers. Not only do you not want tactics like that associated with your brand, but journalists will also see through it.