Using rapid surveys for PR newsjacking

Posted on: 2013-05-23 in Resources   |   Tagged: pr case study

A case study demonstrating how CloudNine PR used newsjacking in the launch PR for new, rapid online survey company, Usurv. By Uday Radia (@Uday_CloudNine)

UdayThe PR challenge: Building credibility for an innovative market research startup

Usurv is a new company which uses the power of the web to deliver an innovative market research offering – a fast, cost effective way of conducting nationwide surveys for businesses (from major brands to small enterprises), marketers and PR people.

Instead of sending email questionnaires to paid panels of survey respondents (the approach used by most online market researchers), Usurv puts short surveys in front of millions of internet users who are online at any moment via a network of websites it partners with across the UK. Small surveys of as few as 50 people can be turned around in minutes, with polls of 1000 completed in less than two hours - at prices which are affordable to even the smallest businesses. Co-founded by an experienced market researcher, every survey is checked to ensure it complies with market research guidelines.

As Usurv is introducing a new way of conducting surveys, the main goal (and challenge) for PR is generating credibility for the company and its methodology so that businesses, marketers and PRs have the confidence to give it a try - as an alternative to the well known, established survey providers they have traditionally used.

The campaign: PR newsjacking using the breaking news agenda

A key part of CloudNine PR’s strategy for building credibility for Usurv revolved around getting the company’s survey data published by high profile national news sites.  After all, if potential B2B customers see Usurv data on the front page, they will be much more likely to trial it when they want new market research themselves.

The speed with which Usurv delivers results makes it the perfect tool for generating rapid insights to support PR newsjacking – the practice of targeting national and trade journalists who are looking for relevant additional insights and expert comment when researching and writing breaking news.

Underpinning this newsjacking approach was a campaign of introductory briefings and bespoke survey stories targeting the marketing, market research, business and tech media.    

Results: Coverage in over 50 national newspaper, small business, tech and marketing titles

CloudNine PR’s launch campaign, encompassing the newsjacking tactic, resulted in over 50 pieces of media coverage within three months, including articles in a range of high profile national news titles.  The key newsjacking opportunities included:

  • A nationwide Usurv poll was conducted (and completed) within hours of Apple launching the iPhone 5. With Usurv available outside of normal UK business hours it was possible to provide the first data available to gauge the immediate market reaction to the new phone, finding that nearly half of all existing iPhone users wanted to buy one - but only one in 20 owners of competing brand, Samsung, were tempted.  The resulting press release was pitched to key technology writers on UK national newspapers and the main technology trade media.  It was published on The Daily Telegraph and Guardian web sites and by leading tech startup blog, TechCrunch as well as dozens of tech and business sites.
  • To reach small business media, CloudNine PR developed a newsjacking Usurv poll which coincided with the launch of a state-backed small business bank. In the week of the announcement, the Usurv data revealed the UK population’s confidence that small businesses were going to be the key to bringing the country out of recession. The resulting press release was covered in a wide number of small business titles including Real Business,, London Loves Business, BusinessZone and Business Guardian Angel
  • On the morning The Sun published naked pictures of Prince Harry, a rapid Usurv newsjacking poll of 1000 people revealed that 63 per cent of Brits felt the paper was wrong to print the photos, considering them an infringement of privacy.  The survey was completed and pitched in a press release to key national and trade journalists by 11am resulting in stories in The Daily Telegraph and The New Statesman as well as media sites Press Gazette and
  • And on the morning after Boris Johnson’s inspiring speech at the Olympic Closing ceremony, a Usurv newsjacking poll revealed the electorate were so taken with the London Mayor, 7 out of 10 said they would prefer him to David Cameron as the next prime minister.  The resulting press release was covered by Huffington Post, and The Evening Standard.

The wider media relations programme which supported the newsjacking activities resulted in stories in marketing and research industry media including Marketing Week, eConsultancy, Research Live, MRWeb, The Holmes Report and The WallBlog

The visibility and credibility created by the PR meant Usurv has begun to be recognised by its target audiences, with surveys now being regularly conducted for small and large businesses, as well as PR, advertising and content marketing agencies. Many thousands of interviews have being conducted on behalf of clients.

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About this blog


The B2B PR Blog is a resource for both PR professionals and people working in B2B industries on how to devise and implement successful B2B PR campaigns. The blog is managed by B2B PR specialist Heather Baker, founder TopLine Comms, an inbound marketingB2B content marketing agency and proud HubSpot partner agency and takes contribution from anyone sensible in the industry with something intelligent to say.  Follow Heather on Twitter @TopLineFounder or contact the B2B PR Blog editorial team via email on [email protected].


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