Consumers Respond To PR Story-Placement Efforts

Public relations efforts to place stories in the media will drive most Americans to check out a company’s website. A survey of 1,014 U.S. adults by boutique PR firm Bospar found that 88 percent of respondents would click over to brands’ websites after seeing stories placed through PR activity.

Bospar’s study found that nearly one in five Americans (19 percent) said they only needed to see a story once before being driven to visit. And nearly a quarter (23 percent) said they needed to see the company in the news twice before visiting. By the time a company has appeared 10 times in news, 85 percent of Americans say they would visit the company’s website.

An overwhelming majority of Americans (92 percent) said seeing placed stories through PR activity would even drive them to purchase a product. One in five Americans said they would make a purchase on the second or third time they saw the company in the news. By the time a company has appeared 10 times in the news, 86 percent of Americans said they would buy it.

Americans ranked placed PR news stories (41 percent) as their No. 1 source to read before buying a consumer product. That was followed by Consumer Reports (40 percent), friends (40 percent), family (34 percent) and the manufacturer’s website (34 percent).

When asked what they look for when considering a product for their business, PR-placed articles ranked first with 34 percent of Americans, followed by: friends (23 percent); family (22 percent); analyst reports from the likes of Gartner, Forrester and IDC (21 percent); coworkers (18 percent); peer review sites like G7 or TrustRadius (15.2 percent); social media commentary (12 percent); press releases (12 percent); awards (11 percent); and whitepapers (nine percent).

“It may seem self-serving for a PR agency to publish a report that says ‘PR Works!’ but that doesn’t make it any less true,” says Curtis Sparrer, a principal at Bospar. “I think my favorite statistic of all was the distaste for whitepapers. Who has time to read those anyway?”

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