How to Publish Your PR Research
A few weeks ago, The Patient, a peer-reviewed medical journal, published an article based on findings from two surveys conducted by Versta Research. This follows on the heels of a poster presentation last June at the annual meetings of the American Diabetes Association (ADA), and another one just prior to that at meetings sponsored by the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP).
When it comes to surveys for PR, these are accomplishments that make us proud. An infographic in USA Today is nice, and who doesn’t like seeing their research cited in The New York Times? But publishing in academic journals is the gold standard for research, and it reminds us that even research for PR doesn’t need to be silly stuff.
With the right approach, your news-driven surveys for PR exposure can be substantial enough to be published in scientific journals, giving you distribution and credibility that only the best can achieve. What is that “right approach” that can help you get your PR research published? Here are three critical components:
1. Make it real. Forget about silly surveys designed for quick media flashes. They’re cheap and forgettable, and credible publishing outlets will not consider them. Publishable research explores people’s real experiences and highlights issues that readers care deeply about. As a bonus, the media will appreciate this as well.
2. Make it rigorous. Beyond the art of a great PR survey, there is science as well. The science must be “baked in” so that the research withstands peer review and academic scrutiny. Survey design, field work, and analysis must use rigorous methods, which means paying careful attention to things like sampling protocols, screening, weighting, and statistical procedures.
3. Make it happen. Publishing in peer-reviewed journals is not easy, as those who live in academic worlds know. It takes a huge commitment of time and expertise. So most of our clients budget for it separately, and they bring on additional teams of writers who specialize in publishing. Success requires a focused and sustained effort that goes far beyond an initial pitch of findings to the media.
At Versta Research we focus broadly on strategic market research and public opinion polling, but our academic background helps us bridge the worlds of consumer media and professional research publications. Feel free to send us note or give us a call if that’s what you need for your next PR survey.