Does research still have a place within content creation?

Guy Washer, managing partner of Sapio Research, shares his top tips to ensure that your market research delivers successful results.

Over the years organisations have undertaken a vast amount of research to use within their content creation strategies and thought leadership pieces. Some of it works spectacularly, but, sadly a lot of it fails to live up to expectations and with the volume of content needed in today’s digital marketing world, the struggle is not getting any easier.

So does research really still have a place within content creation plans and how can organisations get the most from it?

Guy Washer, managing partner at Sapio Research shares his top tips to ensure your research actually delivers the successful results you desire.

1. Expectations matter – Be focused and realistic about what’s achievable. Media coverage opportunities are difficult to achieve without the right content. So it’s good to manage expectations around coverage levels and see research as one part of an overall PR and content strategy.

2. Be original – The need for creativity and originality is absolutely critical. Research into self-serving topics or issues that are dull or have been covered before just won’t work. Take the time to think creatively and stress test the idea, the importance of which has led us to develop a methodology to help with the creative process and invest time in helping organisations to be original.

3. Develop themes or hypothesis – Rather than going straight to the questionnaire design, spend time brainstorming the themes or hypothesis you want the research to investigate and validate. These initial ideas will provide a critical structure for analysis and dissemination and really help to ensure the initiative is well thought out.

4. Think laterally and be topical – Instead of focusing exclusively on the product or service proposition think about what’s happening in the sector, the economy or even socially. There’s always going to be a natural level of interest in “hot” topics, so think about how you can leverage what’s trending.

5. Cut your cloth – Research doesn’t need to be expensive. Online panels (as long as you know which ones to use and how to use them) mean you can execute research really cost effectively with consumers or business decision makers. You genuinely don’t need to interview “C” level executives to understand what organisations are planning or doing. Senior executives are hard to reach and don’t forget they share their strategies and thoughts with managers, so deep, original insight from them is just as valuable.

6. Cross reference – There’s a huge amount of information out there that you can use to add depth to your findings, so think about using other metrics to bring a new dimension to the story.

7. Multi purpose the findings – As noted earlier, getting coverage in the media should be an objective of research led content, but it shouldn’t be the only objective. Original research can be used for: White Papers, Roundtables, Sales collateral, Web site content, Webinars, blogs etc. Multi purpose what you do to ensure value and satisfaction form all of your stakeholders.

Further reading on content creation

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the and titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the

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