Imagine pitching your very first campaign to your first client in the PR industry. You spent days and days on end perfecting the aesthetic for the presentation, only to bomb the campaign and lose your client due to the fact that you completely missed what the company was about. Though the campaign looked nice, you still looked like a fool because you didn’t do your research. In the world of Public Relations, researching for and about your clients is vital to the success of your career. Researching for a client or company can help with saving money, adapting in a consistently changing world, and gain insight as to what other competitors are up to. This thinking applies outside of the office as well. Doing your research on just about anything is important so people know you’re credible. Individuals you work with won’t find you credible if you don’t do your homework.
It’s our job not only as individuals in the PR field, but as people in society to continuously educate ourselves and those around us. When people get too comfortable and careless, they become ignorant and unaware as to what’s going on in today’s world. It’s important to ask questions, continue to be curious, and research what we’re so curious about to help move us forward in society. Some of the most inspiring people in my life have always told me, “Never stop being a student”. The world is constantly evolving, new things are discovered every day, and new problems are always arising. The way we move forward is to consistently stay educated and continue researching the things we care about. This applies in PR as well. Staying curious about different ways to create success for a client or company is going to help create brilliant and out-of-the-box ideas. It’s also going to help keep clients up to date with modern trends and ideology, and stay ahead of other competitors.
Applying Research to PR
The most important thing one can do for their client is understand their client’s company better than they can themselves. This is accomplished (clearly) through deep research. Client’s will come to you all the time with different problems and what they think is going wrong, but it is your job to dig deeper to see where the problem truly lies. Conducting a SWOT analysis is a great way to start breaking down the company into categories. Starting with strengths and weaknesses, analyze what the company is doing great at, and where they’re lacking. Look into their website, social media presence, reviews, articles written about them, and anything you can find on the company.
Types of Research for PR
Public Relations focuses predominantly on two types of research: primary and secondary research. When initially starting your research journey for a client, doing both primary and secondary research in a specific order is important based on what you’re trying to find. When focusing on primary research, it is primarily first-hand information and going straight to the source. Primary focuses on getting information from the customers and prospective customers through qualitative and quantitative research. Qualitative research is gathering your own information through focus groups, interviews, or visiting different competitor’s locations without too many statistics. Quantitative research is gaining information for statistics through surveys or questionnaires. This gives direct information as to how different customers are feeling, or where people stand as a whole with the company and/or competitors. Although it may be more expensive and time consuming to conduct primary research, it is worth it to gain information directly relating to your company or client.
Secondary research is already conducted, gathered, and published by others and acts as a secondary source of information for research. It can be something as complex as an academic journal, or as simple as a review written about your client or company. This includes government agency reports and studies, different reviews on your company or their competitors, articles, blogs, and anything in between. Secondary research is a lot easier to obtain and very broad as to what to consider a secondary source as. Secondary research is an easier option for small businesses and/or businesses with smaller budgets.
Getting to this point of the post is, in a sense, doing exactly what the post is all about. You just did your research on the importance of research. We are constantly educating ourselves even when we aren’t consciously looking to do it. Researching is vitally important to stay up to date in your career field and create success for a client or company. Keeping up with trends and ideas in such a fast-paced world can only be achieved by doing your homework. Not only is it important in the office, but in life as well. Always be curious, and never stop being a student.
Contributor, C. (2021, June 17). How is research important to strategic public relations plans? Small Business – Chron.com. Retrieved September 26, 2022, from https://smallbusiness.chron.com/research-important-strategic-public-relations-plans-15586.html
Wong, B. (2022, August 19). What is market research: How to do market research. Small Biz Ahead Blog– Small Business Owners | Accounting | Digital Currency. Retrieved September 28, 2022, from https://sba.thehartford.com/business-management/marketing/market-research/