Co-authored by Matt Sullivan.

It should come as no surprise that today’s media landscape is far different than it was in the not-so-distant past. Consider this, Pew’s State of the News Media 2016 highlighted the fact that newspapers employ 20,000 fewer professionals today than 20 years ago. At the same time, Americans’ consumption of news media is way up. Nielsen’s Total Audience Report: Q4 2016 found that news consumption per week across TV, radio and digital sources increased by 11.3 billion minutes in 2016 compared to 2015 – thus adding considerable demand-side pressure to already stretched newsrooms.

To take just one example, The Atlantic reports that the New York Times publishes about 230 pieces of content daily – a 35 percent increase from a decade ago. At the time of The Atlantic article, Times’ Executive Editor Dean Baquet said, “I’ve made it very clear the newsroom has to be somewhat smaller.” The point here is clear: Journalists must do more with less.

Journalists, stretched as they are, turn to outside subject-matter experts (SMEs) and third-party data and insights to substantiate – and at times, even generate – their stories. Here’s where companies can step up. By offering to have SMEs share the industry’s perspective on regulatory or budgetary trends, for example, companies can add needed breadth and context to reporting. And by providing journalists with newsmaker polls and online survey data, companies can help journalists cover topics with greater context.

Newsmaker polls and online surveys support media pitches, of course, and they also help to inform business strategy, segment audiences, launch products, and even test and refine media messages. At Padilla, we use polls and surveys to help articulate problems that our clients are trying to solve or issues that they want to understand better. We also use them to create greater awareness and credibility for organizations, and often to drive media coverage.

Creating polls and surveys is a cost-effective tactic that consistently works if you design the survey with the media’s interests in mind from the start. Consider how we’ve consistently used this tactic for one Fortune Global 500 client in the life insurance and retirement solutions space.

Case Study: Half of American Women Fear Losing It All

Despite enormous strides professionally and financially, nearly half of American women, even those earning six-figure salaries, fear losing it all. That startling revelation was just one of several news-making statistics that emerged from the “Women, Money and Power Study” conducted by Padilla’s life insurance and retirement solutions client. The study, originally launched in 2013 and refreshed in 2016, examined the relationship between women and money. Through traditional and digital promotion of the study, we strengthened our client’s position as a market expert on the subject.

Recognizing that journalists are inundated with “the latest study” every day, Padilla in conjunction with the client dissected the results of the massive study into key insights about the changing financial roles of women, and disseminated those insights in phased, multimedia releases. The team carefully targeted top-tier media – both traditional outlets and social sites – with the sequential news “nuggets,” each accompanied by engaging, easy-to-use graphics.

Through the integrated campaign, we helped our client exceed its objectives: 1) Generating awareness as a thought leader on women and finances by capturing coverage from more than 125 media outlets (garnering 200 media placements, including the front page of USA Today) and 2) Increasing our client’s Facebook and Twitter followers by 50 percent, and doubling the number of visitors to the study’s subsection of the company’s website.

As a result of these achievements, the organization’s external communications team was awarded project team of the year.


If you’re looking to build stronger media relationships and to increase the level of positive earned media your brand is receiving, consider offering journalists the third-party data and insights they need. Reach out to Matt Sullivan or Mike Nelson to get started.