A questionnaire on a particular subject distributed to a target group. An example could be a survey on how employees perceive health and safety policy in their company.
The media wants data and facts. A survey/poll is a great tool to provide them with it.
Survey results can be used when putting together other campaign tools as press releases, interviews, brochures.
How could it be used?
If, for example, you are driving a campaign on the reduction of stress related illnesses at work, and you want to make this interesting to the media, you could develop a survey on this issue. You could ask your recipients questions such as 'What are the most stressful factors at work?".
You can evaluate the effects of your campaign by running a survey among your campaign partners or campaign audiences.
The results of a survey could also be used to promote your campaign.
A survey can be an expensive undertaking if you decide to contract the services of a polling company. An option to save money is to ‘lump’ your survey with another set of surveys targeting the same people. This is called an omnibus survey and generally restricts you to a maximum of five questions.
Many free tools are available online to help you generate and send a questionnaire to your contacts and network:
For smaller surveys you may prepare a survey on your own, using low cost or cost-free web applications - e.g. Google Survey or SurveyMonkey. Bear in mind that some of them have limitations when used for free. For example, Survey Monkey allows you to prepare only 10 questions.
For a more in-depth survey, enlist the support of a polling company. Choose one that has a good reputation, as their credibility will weigh on how media will view your survey.
Working with the project team or other stakeholders, determine your target audience and the format of the survey.
Develop good survey questions. It is best to leave this in the hands of professionals, as a survey that does not give you the kind of result you can communicate and that will support your campaign will not have been an effective use of time and resources.
Gather and analyse results.
Present the survey results in report that is adjusted to the media.
Produce a synopsis and a longer version.
Develop a press release with key news and findings.
Don’t waste time!
Communicate your survey results as quickly as possible.
The more recent the survey is, the more interesting it will be to the media.
Journalists are not interested in statistics collated years ago - unless of course you can provide them with updated figures by way of comparison.