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Henry Stimpson’s PR and Marketing Tips
Spring 2009

Research Beyond Google

Research can be invaluable in starting or advancing your PR program. At its simplest level, research can mean gathering up a reporter's or blogger's recent articles to see what he or she likes to write about.

But research can do a lot more. It can help you find out what others are saying about your organization and give you more in-depth information about key media. It can help you gather facts for a marketing campaign, whitepaper or bylined article.

It's easy to just Google whatever you're researching and stop there. Well, don't just Google! You're likely to miss invaluable information that isn't anywhere on the Web. Trust me—I was a research librarian before I went into PR and marketing many years ago.

Here are a few key research tools that can turn up lots of great information that Google can't.

Online databases—free from your public library. Let's say you want to see all magazine articles everything about "risk management." Your public library probably subscribes to the Gale/Infotrac databases. And, with your library card number, you shouldn't have to schlep to the library—it's all online. For instance, when I typed in "risk management," in the General BusinessFile database, up popped 10,000-plus references from publications worldwide—all with full text.

Subscription media-research tools. How can you find every trade publication that specializes in the autobody repair industry? Who's the legal beat reporter at the Chicago Sun? Who covers personal finance at MarketWatch.com? Which magazines will have focus issues on leadership this year?

You can find some, but not all, of this information on the Web—but it's often incomplete and very time-consuming to unearth. With subscription services like Cision and MyEdCals—to name just two among many—it's a snap. One advantage of hiring a PR consultant is that the PR consultant should already subscribe, so you don't have to pay the subscription cost. Also, a PR pro should know how to use these research tools, so you don't need to climb the learning curve.

copyright Stimpson Communications


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