Research can be dreadful, especially when you’re not sure what you’re looking for. However, in the field of PR where building awareness comes hand in hand with credibility; we have to ensure that our information is accurate and credible. Even if the information put out is not always accurate, you should know the difference between fact and bluff (not that I’m encouraging you to bluff), but you should know the difference. For example, in People magazine you see rumors published daily about celebrities. Even though these stories aren’t necessarily true, I can almost guarantee that the people who made these claims knew that they weren’t. These stories gain our attention and bring in customers. Sanchez says that “…secondary data can help substantiate a claim made…” data makes our claims a lot more credible. So before you go crying wolf to gain attention, maybe do your research about what a wolf sounds like so that when people come back to you you aren’t “moo-ing”.
Research doesn’t always have to be boring. Doing the research to learn about a situation, how something came about, who’s involved, the goals, etc; provides the essential building blocks to developing an interesting, accurate, and relatable campaign. Learn the ins and outs, the pros and cons, to persuade someone or a group of people you need to know the argument from both sides and the best way to do that is do your research. Getting the first word in starting with a strong argument is very important. However whats even more important is the rebuttal, the offense is no good without a good defense behind it. Know your market, your client and choose your media PRFriend.
On the other side, you need to know not only your target market and audience, but you need to know your client! Don’t assume all the information your client gives you is accurate. Take their information with a grain of salt because it might be a bit biased. Doing your research to see what your client is about, to see how the public views them, and to develop your own personal opinion of them can help you build a connection between your client and the target market.
If it isn’t already clear research is critical to PR. At least if you want to be effective. Anyone can make a poster stand on the side of the street yelling at cars that drive by. However, if your client sells high end furniture, a guy in a costume spinning signs on the corner is probably not going to capture the attention of the correct target market. Strategy, how are you going to reach the correct target market? How are you going to back up your claims and make them credible? How can you make educated and informed decisions? The answer to all those questions is RESEARCH! Just a little bit of research can make a world of difference, especially in the world of PR.
According to Michael Turney you shouldn’t RACE, do your tasks/research with GRACE, and be an ACE. Each of these acronyms and a few more explain the process to successful research and campaign. In many of them the first step is some form of research, followed by action, communication, and evaluation. There are about a dozen acronyms but they generally come down to the same things. They all are step by step processes that help develop positive relationships and effective campaigns.
To be successful in PR, you have to walk that extra mile. Taking that extra hour to do a little more research rather than just skimming the first thing you see can that that campaign from being 20% effective to 60% effective. In todays society information is so easily available and our generation absorbs information so readily. We need to ensure that our information will be efficient, effective, and accurate. We have one chance to get our ideas and thoughts out there, sure you could publish a correction or a secondary campaign but at that point you somewhat lose your effectiveness. You have once chance to launch, big, strong, bold, and right. In other words, do your research, do right by yourself, by your client, and hopefully you’ll realize that those extra minutes of “misery” will in the long run cause you less strife and lead to greater success.
The importance of research in public relations – PR Friend. (2016). Retrieved September 14, 2016, from http://www.prfriend.com/research-in-public-relations/
Sanchez, C. (2013). 3 Reasons Why Research Is Crucial to Effective Public Relations. Weber Shandwick. Retrieved from http://www.webershandwickseattle.com/2013/09/3-reasons-why-research-is-crucial-to-effective-public-relations/
Turney, M., (2011), Acronyms for the Public Relations Process, Online Readings in Public Relations by Michael Turney, Retrieved from http://www.nku.edu/~turney/prclass/readings/process_acronyms.html