How to compete with industry giants when you’re a promising contender? Well, you have to make yourself visible, surrounded by good PR. It’s not that easy when we’re speaking about the very PR industry, though. Its job is to put others in the spotlight while staying in the shadows.
This was the first hard challenge for Viktoriia Stepanova when she stepped up to the role of Brand Manager for Prowly.
Read how she used Survicate to create an industry report widely commented on in the PR world.
Prowly is a comprehensive public relations automation solution designed for PR professionals. It helps companies of any size to manage their media relations efficiently by automating time-consuming tasks. Prowly offers a range of features, such as creating appealing press releases, organizing media contacts using a PR CRM, managing email pitches, maintaining journalist-friendly newsrooms, and monitoring media.
When Viktoriia Stepanova joined the Prowly team, she quickly discovered that Prowly should focus more on brand recognition.
“We were producing lots of blog posts, and they were performing well, but we didn’t produce any big study before. So it was our first attempt, and I just wanted to see how it would work and transform into numbers.”
That’s when she came up with the idea of an industry report. She knew this kind of study was quite popular among the competitors and wanted to chip in with Prowly’s unique insights.
“Big names dominate our industry, and competing with them is hard. They produce the studies on a quarterly basis, but they’re very basic. So I wanted to do something more interesting, more exciting.”
The report had to stand out from the multitude of competitors also publishing similar content. As Prowly identifies itself primarily as a software company, Viktoriia decided to explore this angle and create “The State of PR Technology 2022”.
“The State of PR was our first campaign. We also wanted to make it special, so it had a special end goal. And because we consider ourselves a technology company developing software, we decided to concentrate on that element: the state of PR technology. We really wanted to talk about the tools, the landscape, and the software PR managers used daily,”
Collecting industry insights with Survicate
Industry insights are on top of the must-haves for a good report. And the easiest way to get them was to conduct research in the PR community. To achieve this goal, Viktoriia needed a reliable, easy-to-use, and professionally-looking survey to share. Without reinventing the wheel, she decided to use Survicate, already present in the company’s toolset.
Moreover, as Survicate offers unlimited free users, she could just get to work without hassle.
The survey aimed to collect detailed insights from PR professionals, starting with some general questions about the industry and company size, going deeper into the toolset of the PR work, and the overall satisfaction with those tools.
Viktoriia’s needs were very specific, so she created her 12-question survey herself to get the desired information.
Spread the news
She decided to use a link survey and distribute it via different distribution channels. Starting with the low-hanging fruit—Prowly’s social media, she then moved to their own tool—the company’s database. Prowly is a media database where you can research journalists, media, and PR professionals. Among other options, you can research them by their titles or—for example—by previous topics they wrote about. That's how Viktoriia and her team researched and made outreach to receive feedback.
That’s not all, though.
As she wanted to reach the maximum number of professionals, she used PR communities, such as Slack channels and even the HARO request. HARO stands for "Help a Reporter Out." It’s a popular tool for journalists and media professionals to quickly and easily find sources for their stories. Definitely not an obvious choice for the report research, but as the survey offered additional visibility for the interviewees, it worked pretty well by giving them exposure in the report.
How did it go?
With just under 200 responses, Viktoriia was pretty happy with the response rate. And even more with insights they were able to gather.
“It was surprising to see many people don’t use any tools. Another interesting finding was that nearly half of the respondents were unsatisfied with the tools they used.”
That was a big aha moment for the company. Several big names control the market of PR tools, but apparently, the users are not fully happy with the solutions they offer, regardless of the countless features available. This led to the conclusion that they surpassed their download goal.
Prowly also learned about the routine of PR professionals—what their daily tasks, challenges, and burdens were. A feast for the Product Team but also an interesting read for the whole community. As the report was the Brand Marketing Team’s liability, its visibility and media coverage were top priorities. After it was published, Prowly’s social media numbers spiked, with a total of 10% Net Audience Growth across all platforms.
The team had their eyes set on a KPI target for the report download that seemed to be reasonable. It was a pleasant surprise when they surpassed their download goal by 30%, with a 12.62% conversion rate. Just for the record, the industry average is 7.6%, so Prowly’s result was almost 40% higher.
This success goes way beyond numbers, though. The biggest achievement was gaining recognition in the international PR environment.
“The study helped us to land pretty cool media coverage on PR Week, including an organic article. In the meanwhile, people on social media were sharing and discussing the study. Our brand awareness is not huge, but since we created some useful content, it helped us get many organic mentions,”
It’s good to reuse. Not only in the sustainable sense. Nowadays, when marketing budgets get thinner and thinner, a tool multiple teams can use in versatile ways is one holy grail.
Viktoriia made good use of what she already had at hand—Survicate, a survey software that she easily customized to her quite particular needs. And it worked like a charm. She easily created a survey that was visually appealing and looked professional.
Using the link survey was very effective because the Brand Marketing Team could spread it in multiple, often not obvious, channels, such as HARO request.
Survicate also helped analyze the results, showing the data organized and visualized.
The rest is just a good piece of report, organically acclaimed by the PR community, now awaiting this year’s edition.
Bonus info: surveying with Survicate is effortless for everyone. Check it out yourself (for free)!