Take a Poll for Publicity

Tips from "The Publicity Hound" on how your own survey can make you and your company big news (and generate free publicity)!

One of the simplest ways to create national publicity--whether you're a publicly owned corporation, a non-profit or a one-man band--is to survey your customers or the public on an interesting topic related to what you do, then report the results to the media.

The 100 Percent Recycled Paperboard Alliance polled 200 supermarket general managers across the country last year and learned that supermarkets are having trouble with shoppers smuggling raw meat out of stores. The shoplifters are stashing the meat inside their pants. And hiding detergent between their legs. And trying on products like deodorant, hair gel and after-shave lotion, then putting used products back on the shelves without buying them.

The story caught the attention of the wire services and ran in newspapers and magazines all over the U.S.

Other clever surveys that have caught my eye:

--The Iams pet food company polled its customers a few years ago and asked a variety of questions about people's relationships with their pets. They learned, for example, that 63 percent of respondents sleep with their pets by their sides. Also, an overwhelming 91 percent of pet owners have said the words "I love you" to their pets. Rather than an expensive survey, the company simply polled 400 people who had called their customer service center for other reasons. Then they released the results just before Valentine's Day. Isn't that brilliant?

--The folks who make Just for Men Haircolor reported that their survey of 505 executives from Fortune 1000 companies showed that 33 percent believed that a man who colored his hair was "secure enough with himself to enhance his appearance in subtle ways."

--Etiquette expert Marjabelle Young Stewart of Illinois, the author of "Common Sense Etiquette," surveyed people and compiled a list of the "most mannerly cities" and the "least mannerly." I remember reading or hearing this story at least a half dozen times within two days when she released the results to the media last fall because my city, Milwaukee, was one of the most well-mannered. Ranking cities and states in your survey results is a clever way to snag nationwide publicity, because everybody will be curious about how well they fared.

Learn more in my Special Report #19: How to Use Polls and Surveys That Brand You as an Expert. Five pages of tips for only $7. Order at http://www.publicityhound.com/cgi/shoppingcart.cgi?reports.

Reprinted with permission from The Publicity Hound's Tips of the Week, a free weekly e-zine featuring tips, tricks and tools for free publicity. Sign up at http://www.PublicityHound.com and receive free by autoresponder the handy list "89 Reasons to Send a News Release."

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