Original research and data are key to any great story—but obtaining that data doesn’t have to be as expensive or time-consuming as you may think.

More than two-thirds of consumer research now comes from omnibus surveys, or a method of quantitative marketing research that delivers fast, easy and relatively low-cost answers to a broad spectrum of questions. The best part? The media love omnibus research and, often, will include this type of data in articles. So, the next time you are pushing out a new product announcement, brainstorming ideas for new content or trying to place a hard-to-pitch story, consider gathering some quick data points as an inflection to bolster your story. With a typical audience size of 1,000 to 2,000 U.S. adults, the omnibus survey is the best and most effective way to deliver results.

There are three important factors to consider when deciding whether an omnibus survey makes sense for you:

  1. The number of questions you want to ask. Omnibus surveys are best for a small number of questions—ideally five to six, with a recommended minimum of three and a maximum of fifteen.
  2. Who you want to survey. Omnibus surveys are best if you want to get survey responses from a basic consumer audience nationwide or in a similar region. For example, consumers between 18 and 36 who live on the West Coast and have health insurance. Keep in mind the survey cannot be used for state-specific audiences.
  3. How much time you have available. Omnibus surveys are great for producing data in a pinch. Questions can be fielded, and data can be compiled in less than a week—and this includes a full analysis to help you pull out the key headlines that will matter most to the media.

The beauty of omnibus surveys is they’re fast, easy and relatively inexpensive. However, they’re not a fit for every company. If you’re looking to receive more robust data on technical topics that target a niche audience, then a comprehensive survey is the way to go. While more expensive and a bit more time-intensive (typically 6-8 weeks from questionnaire development to analysis), this survey includes upward of 25 questions and can be highly targeted to reach your most relevant audience, such as physicians affiliated with large health systems, or health plan executives at commercial health plans.

Whatever you choose, you can’t go wrong with research, particularly if it helps you better understand your target audience, land great media coverage and produce original content. In our book, it’s a win-win-win.