Every marketing strategy starts with great research. It could be marketing research you use to better understand the demand for your product or service. Maybe it’s customer research to nail down your target audience’s interests. Perhaps it’s competitive research to know who your main opposition on the market is.
The point is that research is pretty much at the core of everything we do as marketers. Since it’s likely you’ve already dedicated plenty of time to research in some facet, why wouldn’t you apply that same effort into building valuable content?
This is where original research comes into play. The premise is pretty simple: you’re essentially conducting your own research and creating content based on your findings. The real beauty of original research is the many different types of content it can spark. There are numerous blog posts and videos you can create to really push the hard work you’ve put into collecting your own data.
To get a better understanding of how original research can be beneficial to your business and your content marketing strategy, it’s important to examine some of the different types out there — which is exactly what we’re going to do.
Never underestimate the power of a good old fashioned survey. According to a recent survey (the irony, we know), survey-based research took the top spot as the type of original research marketers were using most with 58% saying they did in 2018.
Surveys are great way to extract information that might not be otherwise available to you without going directly to the people in your target audience. For example, if you run a content marketing software like us, maybe you want to run a survey asking businesses about their biggest pain points with their content marketing strategy.
The answers will not only give you more insight into your product or service, but it will also give you an opportunity to build new content to address those findings. If you found the top answer was that businesses were struggling to get customers to convert through their content, you could write a blog post that gives them actionable tips to help with that.
Whatever the case may be, you’re addressing a piece of information that your original research allows you to identify. Without it, you might have some general market insight into the matter, but you won’t have the tangible evidence to back up those hunches.
Look No Further Than Owned Data
Sometimes the best original research comes from a source you already own. This is known as “owned data” and it refers to all the data you collect through conducting your regular duties as a business. It sounds really simple because it is. This is data you’re already going to have if you’re simply keeping track of your normal business metrics such as sales and customer inquiries. You should have a pretty good handle on this type of data because you’ve probably already analyzed it for business purposes at some point in time.
Owned data can really be anything that your business has access to internally. For example, if you have a product or service selling particularly well and there’s a lot of customer momentum behind it — that could be a great source of content. Analyze the data and get an understanding of why your customers love this product or service and use that information to create a piece of content that highlights those points to other people who may be looking for a similar solution.
Another idea is analyzing where your customers are located as that can also be helpful in building content tailored to them. If you run a company in New York City but find that most of your customer base is actually located in London, not only are you discovering a new demographic for your business — you’re also helping your content marketing team build custom content for that geographical demographic.
The idea is that you want to use your data to churn out content that matters to your audience. Careful analysis of owned data can give you valuable insights into how people are engaging with your business and this can help you create content that matters to them.
Interview Industry Voices
One of the most creative and effective forms of original research is conducting interviews with trusted voices within your own industry.
There are a few different ways you can create content based on interviews of this nature. The most common that a lot of different B2B businesses utilize is creating expert advice pieces. For example, if you run a SaaS company and you’ve just interviewed an industry expert, take all the best highlights from that conversation to create a post that is framed to show “expert advice” or “tips for a success” regarding a particular topic. There are number of content formats you can use including a written post or, if you have the resources, create a video to put a face behind your interviewee and let them speak for themselves.
Of course, this isn’t the only way to create content based on interviews. You can also create a profile piece where you introduce your audience to your interviewee on a more personal level. This also works great for B2C businesses where customers might already know your interviewee and are interested in reading or watching a more informal chat with them. The goal here is to casually pick their brain about topics important to them and your audience while simultaneously offering an entertaining piece that isn’t bogged down in sheer information.
Spend more time putting together original research and less time stressing over your content marketing strategy with our industry-leading software that includes visual calendars, workflows, assets libraries, and analytics to help it run smoothly. Sign up for a free account today!