On my last blog post, I went over the idea that public relations builds environments and helps organizations move towards their goals. But what good is building an environment if you don’t know what kind of environment the company needs? And what good is helping an organization if you don’t know what their goals are? This is where research comes into play. After all, “at the core of all effective public relations is research” (Kent and Saffer, 2014, para. 5).
So, here are 7 reasons why research is key in public relations:
1. Research creates feedback.
What company doesn’t need feedback on how they’re doing? I don’t know about you, but I’m constantly being bombarded by companies that want to know if I can take a short survey. Companies constantly need feedback to see if they can improve in any areas. In the same way, research allows a company to look at the feedback around them. This way they can make improvements and keep the company on track toward their goals.
2. Research helps find the core message that needs to be conveyed.
If I’ve learned one thing as an Ad and PR major so far, it’s that you need to have the right message delivered to the right audience at the right time. So, what is the right message for your company? Research can help with that! Research allows you to find out what message aligns with the company’s values and which message creates positive feedback.
3. Research lets you know more about your client.
You wouldn’t go into an interview without researching the company, so why wouldn’t you research the client you are about to help? It’s simple. Research equals access to more information about your client and how you can help them.
4. Research helps you find your target audience.
Once again, you need the right message delivered to the right audience at the right time. And research allows you to figure out which audience will respond best to the message you are trying to convey. And while we’re still on the topic of target audience…
5. Research helps you analyze the preferences of your target audience.
Finding your target audience is one thing. Figuring out what they prefer is another. Research is key in figuring out your target audience’s lifestyle, how they think, how they respond to certain messages, and many more. In addition, research can help you predict how your audience may react to certain pieces of information (Brunner, 2014, p. 420). Finding your target audience’s preferences can mean finding a way to win them over.
6. Research gets you facts.
You may assume one method will work to get an organization to its goals, but what happens if you’re wrong? This is where research is needed. Research can get you the facts you need so that you can be sure you’re sending the right message to the right audience at the right time. In addition, if you need statistics for news releases, research can get you those facts.
7. Research analyzes what your competitors are doing.
“Gaining even the smallest edge on your business competitors can mean the difference between failure and success” (Shepherd, 2014, para. 1). Do I need to say more? Research helps you stay ahead of the competition and can give you new ideas on how to get your message to the right audience.
Research is key in public relations. Use it effectively and wisely.
Brunner, B. R. (2003). The importance of research to public relations. Review of Communication, 3(4), 419-423. Retrieved from cohost.com.ezproxy.gvsu.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=9a6388ac-1c6f-44c1-a0c3-c53290c497a4%40sessionmgr4009&vid=1&hid=4109from http://web.a.ebs
Kent, M. L., & Saffer, A. J. (2014). A delphi study of the future of new technology research in public relations. Public Relations Review, 40(3), 568-576. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0363811114000368
Shepherd, R. (2014, Jan 23). The importance of researching your business competitors. Business 2 Community. Retrieved from http://www.business2community.com/strategy/importance-researching-business-competitors-0752149#TXjid7Hod41mHHq8.97