The holidays blow a blizzard of pitches into editors’ inboxes. These are usually on the same few topics: stress, entertaining, cooking and gifting. A great solution for super-saturated PR seasons is a newsworthy survey.

Not all surveys are created equal – far from it. We’ve spent years perfecting PR Polling, and as our early holiday gift to you, today we’re sharing a few of our Editorial Panel’s favorite tips for ensuring that you don’t end up on editors’ naughty lists.

  1. Don’t look for a headline in every stat.  When reviewing a survey, PR execs always ask, “what’s the headline?” but editors ask, “what’s the story?” When every stat is a headline, there will never be a feature story. Think beyond headlines, and about the keystone data points that you’ll need to build a complete pitch.
  2. Focus on the story first. Tell the story, then validate it with data.  Data is only as good as the story it tells. Here’s a great exercise – remove the data from your story, if it’s still interesting, then you’re onto something. The data is there is give you credibility, to differentiate your pitch, and to give editors an element they can include in their stories – it is not there as a substitute for the story itself.
  3. Zig when others zag. Meaning, think about what others are likely pitching, then do the opposite. This is always a good tactic, but it’s even more powerful during saturated calendar events such as the winter holidays. For example, most holiday PR surveys have stats showing that Americans don’t know what to buy for their loved ones.  These are typically used as the basis for holiday gift guides. Turn this on its head. What if instead, you pitched a survey showing that Americans believe that they don’t need help? You could then combine this with a stat showing that most people disliked last year’s gifts. Meaning, Americans need help, they just don’t know it.  That is a far more interesting idea.

Following these three tips is a great start, but there’s a lot more to creating an effective holiday survey. For more information, contact us for a consultation.

This is the third and final installment of our Christmas in July series. Previous posts include:

Preparing for Holiday PR

Pitch Tips To Get on an Editor’s “Nice List”