We all know content is king. Continually adding fresh, relevant, and targeted content to a website creates endless benefits. From SEO to thought leadership to lead generation, content can open a lot of doors for your business. In fact, I challenge you to find an article written in the past few years which discusses SEO best practices without a mention of quality content creation.
What is the result of all of this? It creates a lot of stress and dependence on a company’s team and its agency to generate fresh content. It becomes writer’s block, and we’ve all dealt with it at some point. In the digital landscape, where pumping out content has become the norm, writer’s block has become a real problem. What to write about? Who to target? What topics haven’t we covered yet? Questions like these are just the beginning of a content creation brainstorming black hole. As a result, many companies and agencies have reached out to freelance writers and communities to seek a constant flow of innovative perspectives and fresh ideas.
One of the less utilized strategies in content marketing is the use of market research surveys as a foundation to generate custom, unique, and endless content. A custom market research study can generate piles of data and insights. Then, you can further feature and explain through content pieces. The findings from the market research theoretically write themselves, as all data has a good story to tell.
How does a market research project like this work?
The methodology offering the best turnaround time, cost-effectiveness, and highest quality data is an online survey. A variety of audiences can be used as the target for the survey, including your own in-house customer lists. Suppose you’d prefer to conduct a study across professionals in the industry. In that case, there are plenty of online panel companies (SSI, ResearchNow, and Toluna) that have millions of panel members ready and willing to provide feedback. In these cases, you “rent” their panel members to administer your survey and receive feedback.
It’s recommended you work with a market research company that can help you define objectives, toss out ideas, build a survey, program it and work directly with the online panel company to administer invitations. The panel companies offer up a wealth of respondents. However, they are typically weak in customer support and do not work as a consultant for survey design and reporting. A good market research consultant will design a proposal for you and work the cost of the panel rental into the overall project budget and bid for you. The same market research company receives the data back from the panel vendor and proceeds to analyze it. From there, the company puts together a series of deliverables to achieve your content objectives, creating a feeder of material your organization can use and repurpose over and over again.
Here are 5 typical content creation outputs which can be originated through a market research survey:
State of the Industry Reports
Perhaps the most noteworthy examples of research-driven content creation are available in the various state of industry reports. This can be seen with HubSpot’s State of Inbound report, CMI’s State of Content Marketing, Deloitte’s State of the State report, and others.
The idea here is to interview and survey a specific audience. Then, compile the findings into a report. Leverage that data for media awareness, lead generation, and other marketing initiatives. Done right, this approach can catapult your brand into the upper echelon of thought leaders in your particular industry.
Market Research Infographics
Infographics are a visually appealing and highly informative tool in market research. Some of the best market research companies can create eye-catching infographics which immediately grab the attention of the reader, leaving them wanting to dig deeper. Infographics feature the highlights and key takeaways from your market research study. You can create several iterations of these with the data depending on your objectives.
Clients often like the market research company to create a one-page narrative of the findings from the survey. This storytelling approach makes the statistics and data easier to digest for the reader because the author walks through the meaning of the results. This type of deliverable works extremely well for blogs, LinkedIn, newsletters, and hand-outs at your organization.
Interested in comparing your product or service to your competition? Why not conduct an online survey among industry peers and ask them to rate your company and several key competitors? Carry a strong enough brand equity. You’ll be able to make claims such as having the highest net-promoter score (NPS), highest customer satisfaction ratings, and even spotlight specific features where your product or service outshined the competition. Using a third-party market research firm to conduct the research validates these claims and ensures the results are reliable and credible for readers.
Social Sharing Nuggets
Data is the gift that keeps on giving in the social media landscape. Your market research consultant can work with you to create a list of hundreds of 140 characters or fewer social media nuggets to share regarding survey findings. This spans from specific data points (NPS, customer satisfaction, etc.), to blinded customer comments (“I love product XYZ because…), to information teasers (“A recent study with 400 B2B professionals concluded 2 factors were most important when choosing an IT vendor, what are the 2? Read more here.)
The goal is to draw readers in through a river of content and then have them continue down the path to consuming more information. For example, the user may notice a social share on Twitter linking to an infographic. The infographic links to a comparing card. After deciding Product-A is better than Product-B, the user then completes a form fill requesting a contact by your company. Running this strategy well will strengthen the path to lead generation, and it all starts with custom market research.
Final Thoughts on How to Improve Content Creation with Market Research
These market research content surveys are surprisingly affordable for an organization or content marketing agency. The only true variable cost comes with the online panel vendor as they determine how difficult your audience is to reach. Simple B2C or B2B surveys where the majority of survey respondents qualify for your study will result in a high incidence rate and lower costs. The entire market research package can be completed for you from start to finish. It includes 300+ survey completions, and the reporting deliverables are included for less than $10,000. The number of posts, social shares, and value gained from your market research study far exceeds this cost. But I’m biased because I can see first-hand how it works for many other clients already.
This guest blog post was written by George Kuhn, Owner and President of Drive Research, a market research company in Syracuse, NY, which works with companies and agencies in a variety of industries to produce content strategies based on data.
Shameless Plug: nDash and Drive Research have teamed up to help brands generate premium content via original, first-party research data. Learn more about this offering.