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International Influencers Survey

Knowledge is power. Alas I tend to find that good surveys, as in those that cover a subject you find relevant, with recent figures, and that unveil interesting information, are few and far between. So with quite a few contacts having moved to different publications, made the leap from journalist to analyst, or simply now having a couple of years under their belts as bloggers, the A3 Communications team decided that a study of the way our clients’ targets like to work, was in order.

Over the past few weeks we have polled over 70 key influencers that we work with day in, day out. They are based throughout Europe and you will recognise the names, including Andrea Mauro, Antony Adshead, Chris Evans, Enrico Signoretti, Greg Ferro, Guy Hervier, Jessica Twentyman, Josh Krischer, Kriemhilde Klippstätter, Marco Broeken, Norbert Deuschle, and outlets such as 451 Research, Computer Business Review, Computer Weekly, Computerwoche, Freeform Dynamics, IDC, Informatique News, IT Pro, IT-Administrator, Ovum, Quocirca and Speicherguide. The list goes on.

The whitepaper with all the questions, answers and findings can be found here – but in this post I will provide a summary of the study.

1.    Press releases are still the type of information journalists are most interested in, with 91% of respondents putting them at the top of the list above case studies, comment pieces, datasheets and other materials.

2.    Bloggers are also interested in press releases, which top the list once more, but the margin between announcements and the other tools is narrower.

3.    Analysts paint a different picture, with customer information taking the top spot.

4.    When journalists are short of news (a rare occasion given that some of these influencers, staff writers in particular, can be sent over 100 news releases a day) they tend to search their inboxes for announcements they might have missed or overlooked. They might also pick up the phone and contact specific vendors. This should be all the motivation you need in order to ensure that your news distribution lists are always up to date and that you build strong relationships with your target press. Certainly stronger than the relationships it has with other vendors in your space you want to be sure that when a journalist is looking for news they dial your number rather than that of your competitors!

5.    Face to face is the preferred briefing format according to our survey. And it must be said that in Europe they still yield better results than phone/online meetings. Depending on the country in-person interviews are even more popular. In France for example, briefings over long lunches still take place regularly, whereas in the UK most in-person interviews are speedier affairs. If a face to face briefing is not convenient, online options such as WebEx and GoToMeeting are the second best format according to our poll.

6.    The success of an interview is of course not just dependent on where it takes place. Matching the spokesperson and the journalist/blogger/analyst is one of the most critical aspects of a briefing. Besides the obvious need for any spokesperson to be media trained and knowledgeable about the company messages and positioning, their specific roles make them more or less ideal to speak to certain targets. In our study, across the board the respondents put technical spokespeople at the top of the list, above corporate, marketing and sales.

7.    Germany and the UK are the countries where most targets publish product reviews – some are for editorial purposes, others appear on blogs. And of course analysts will only share their test results with the commissioning vendors.

8.    And last but certainly not least, the A3 Communications survey asked which social media channels are those most widely used for business purposes. Joint winners are linkedIn and Twitter, significantly in front of all other platforms. Worth noting is that although Xing is only used by a total of 22% once we remember that this channel is virtually only in use in German-speaking countries, 22% doesn’t seem that low anymore. What is also interesting is that YouTube only scored 19%: bearing in mind how much money is spent by b2b organisations every year on creating, sharing and promoting videos on this website, 19% appears like a rather disappointing response level.

There is a lot more data in the survey and the above is just a quick summary of the findings. To request the complete whitepaper please go here. And if you have any ideas for future polls please let us know!

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