To make sure you don’t miss out, we’ve worked out why original research is so popular and created some tips to help you create your own. Check it out:
What is original research?
Original research is data created or gathered by your company.
It’s fast becoming a key part of content marketing. We’re not surprised, as it’s a really great way to engage your audience, educate them and establish your brand as a thought leader.
This type of content is particularly good for hub and spoke marketing. The original research acts as the hub, from which various other pieces of content can be created (these would be the spokes).
To create an effective original research piece, you’ll need to put in a lot of time and effort. However, the end result is well worth it! Here are just some of the benefits:
The benefits of using original research
Original research performs well. Fact.
According to Clutch, 18% of content marketers highlight research content and original data as their best-performing content. This is ahead of infographics (17%), product reviews (16%), blog posts (14%) and even videos (13%)!
We think this is because original research offers users a huge amount of value. It backs up claims you make and provides tangible insight into subjects that users are familiar with. As with any content, the more useful your audience finds it, the more effective it will be.
Original research content doesn’t just benefit your audience – it’s good for your brand too. It establishes you as an authority through the creation of substantial, meaty, informative pieces of content.
By getting the balance right between educational and practical insights, customers will quickly turn to you for answers. Having original research on your site improves your credibility, while boosting your trustworthiness and reputation at the same time – it really is a no-brainer!
In addition, it helps develop strong relationships with your customers because you’re offering something unique and valuable that sets you apart from competitors. You have information that they don’t, and this will bring visitors back time and again.
It’s also likely to increase the number of links to your site and social shares. Original research is a great tool for raising awareness, so why not try it today?
How to collect original data
Conducting original research can be tricky – especially if you haven’t done it before. So, we thought we’d help you out and guide you through the process. That way, you can get started quickly and reap those benefits in no time!
1. Determine what your objective is
Before you even think about what your research is trying to prove, consider the objective behind it.
Why do you need it? To increase engagement? Educate? Improve brand awareness, or conversion rates? You should decide this now as, without a definitive goal, the piece will lack direction and fall flat.
2. Find a question that hasn’t been answered
OK, so we’ll admit it – this might be a little tricky. The advent of the Internet means that most questions have now been answered … even if some a little less clearly than others!
So, what you need to do is find an interesting angle that hasn’t been used before. By looking at things from a fresh perspective you can breathe new life into a topic and create lively discussion among your followers.
Just make sure you and your brand are passionate about the subject, and that you know enough about it to create informative and engaging pieces.
3. Choose who your participants will be
Not everyone will be a suitable match for your original research.
For example, if you’re a dating agency trying to find out how apps help 18-25-year-olds meet, interviewing a couple who got married 25 years ago won’t be very helpful. They wouldn’t have used dating apps back then and are too old for the questions to be relevant.
Try to pick a group that will be interested in what you’re studying. It will be much easier to get them involved if they’re engaged.
Consider how you will communicate with your chosen demographic. You could use:
- Social media
- Word of mouth
- Face-to-face interviews
- Phone calls
- Your existing client base*
*This is a great idea, but make sure you don’t pester them as they may decide to opt for a different brand next time around!
4. Decide how you will collect your data
There are lots of ways for you to collect data for your original research.
Face-to-face interviews, simple social media polls or using analytics data are all effective. However, we think online surveys are (almost always) best.
They’re quick, simple, easy to navigate, and a great way to compile data.
All you have to do is ask the right questions to get the right answers. Here are some tips:
- Make sure questions don’t have too many variables
- Figure out which questions would require quantitative or qualitative data
- Use multiple-choice where possible
- Double-check your survey for leading questions.
5. Present your findings
Once you’ve gathered your data, you should think about how to present it.
Your original research should be displayed in a format that’s easy to understand, so use charts and graphs where possible. If you use qualitative data, present it in an engaging way (colourful text box, speech bubble etc).
Then think about which content types you’ll use to present the final version. You could create an infographic, white paper, blog, video or even an eBook. We think it’s best to use a mix of these and share them in different ways to engage with all your followers on multiple platforms.
Content promotion is key at this stage, as you’ve invested time and effort creating your original research. As many people as possible need to see it, to make sure the investment pays off!
So, that’s it. A crash course in why original research is so important and a few tips on how to pull it off. Why not start planning your original research project today?