Many great campaigns are based on acquired data (external market research). When asking the right questions, you can collect some very interesting results that will turn into newsworthy stories and earn you or your clients some amazing high-quality coverage and links (a lot of links).

There is a lot depending on the first step – the questions. And sometimes we underestimate it. We shouldn’t ‘write’ questions, we should write headlines! What does that mean? We should write questions that we know with the right answers will turn into great titles for our stories.

Step 1. Research

Once you have an idea for your research, have a look at what has been written about this topic, what other research has been done – if any. Simple Google search is fine, but also have a look at what people are searching for around this topic. A great tool is Answer The Public.  Many media databases such as RoxHill or Cision offer articles and tweets search. You can put in your keyword, for example, doughnuts, and see which journalists recently wrote and tweeted about it.

Once you know what has been already talked about, write down questions that answer those things that have not been covered in the press, or answer something that is missing in existing studies.

Step 2. Write down what you want from your research, who you want to target (publications/readers/your or your client’s target audience)

Once you have those questions written, write answers that you want to get. Of course, you don’t know what answers you’ll get exactly and can’t manipulate the research’s outcome, but you should have an idea of what you want to achieve from your survey. I always write a few headlines that I want to get out of the poll.

Step 3. Run a little test

You can always invest a tiny bit of your budget and run a test. I use Google Consumer Survey (around £120) and ask one of my main questions and see what the results are like. I sometimes go for ‘open question’ meaning that I let people write their answers themselves, rather than pick an option written by me. Trust me, if you exclude the few mean/naughty answers you get some great insights into what people think about your topic and that gives you some great ideas for your other questions.

You can also use Reddit and ask about your topic, whether it’s something people are interested in, or it’s an issue they are dealing with at the moment.


If you need any help with ideas for your campaigns based on research, or with the questions, get in touch.