Nadya Khoja

Original Research is Fundamental to Content Marketing

By: Nadya Khoja | February 24, 2016 | 
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Why New Research Is Fundamental To Your Content Marketing Strategy

By Nadya Khoja

A few weeks ago my team and I decided to plan our next content marketing piece we thought might be popular for Valentine’s Day.

About a year ago there was an article in the New York Times titled “No. 37: Big Wedding Or Small?” which presented a quiz comprised of 36 questions that apparently lead to love–or, at least, an accelerated feeling of intimacy between strangers.

The idea was that if you sat down with a perfect stranger and exchanged these 36 questions, you would have shared enough intimate information with them to create a feeling of closeness in just one conversation.

What better way to kick off Valentine’s day than by showcasing the possibility of two absolute strangers finding romance?

We wanted to incorporate this study into our content marketing somehow, but we couldn’t just repeat the exact study.

After all, it had already been done.

After some brainstorming we decided to position the piece in a modern light.

The original psychology experiment was conducted in 1997, after all, long before the phenomena of online dating.

What if we conducted the same study, but did so completely via text message?

So we invited 32 strangers into our office to see if two strangers could really fall in love via text message.

Here was what we learned:
Infographic

Infographic made with Venngage.

New Research is the Next Big Thing in Content Marketing

It’s no surprise content marketing is key if you want to attract new readers and users to your business.

The traditional forms of marketing and advertising no longer work in silos or alone.

Inbound marketing is the most effective method to use, if you want to build a following of people who will advocate for your brand.

But with so many people creating content everyone is searching for, it becomes very difficult to produce something that breaks through all the noise.

The solution is to create truly new and original content by conducting your own research.

Sure it takes a lot more work, but as a result you mark yourself as an expert in a particular niche.

So where do you begin?

Find a Question that Hasn’t Been Answered

In this day and age, finding a question that really hasn’t been answered is close to impossible.

Chances are the level of research you are conducting won’t be the equivalent to that of say, NASA.

What matters more is the angle you take when conducting research.

For instance, the example above is not a new study, just a new angle on an existing study.

Get Participants to Collect a Sample of Views

The next step when conducting new research is accumulating data.

This is often done so by finding participants who you can use to collect samples and information.

In our case, we reached out to a local Facebook community to see if anyone would be interested in finding a date for Valentine’s Day.

We also offered to feed them and cover their transportation costs, so there was more than one incentive for them to participate.

There was a lot of interest, and we were able to ensure every participant selected did not know their match before hand.

Plan How You Will Present Your Findings

Once you’ve acquired your data, you need to plan how to want to showcase it.

This can be an infographic, a video (Buzzfeed does a lot of these), an eBook, a series of charts, or simply a blog post.

Often a combination of all will result in more engagement and more social shares of your content.

Make it a Subject You Care About

If you’re not researching a topic you actually care about, chances are you will focus more on completing the research, and less so on producing quality content.

Original research takes a lot of time and effort, and by ensuring it’s a topic that matters to you, there’s less probability you will get bored.

Work with an Audience Who Cares

It’s not enough just to create new content without promotion.

When conducting outreach, try to contact people who have written about a similar topic in the past.

For example with this particular love study, I sought out blogs and magazines that have written about online dating and online romance in the past.

Not only does this ensure interest from the person reading your content, but if they share and repost it, it means that their readers and followers will likely find value in it as well.

Finally

At last, the best part about conducting new research is you will learn something new and create unique avenues for your content marketing.

If you’re the expert on a topic, you can produce a wide range of content on that subject before anyone else does, further increasing it’s possibility of both being linked to and read and shared.

If you haven’t conducted any original research just yet, it’s about time you got on the wagon.

image credit: shutterstock

About Nadya Khoja


Nadya Khoja is a Visual Content and Digital Marketing Specialist. She is part of the team at Venngage, an online infographic maker. Nadya has a B.A. with Specialized Honours in Devised Theatre and a Master's Degree in Digital Media with a focus on Audience Engagement and Immersive Experiences. When she has time, Nadya directs, produces and sound designs for experimental and interactive performances.

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7 Comments on "Original Research is Fundamental to Content Marketing"

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Paula Kiger
4 months 29 days ago

I am usually a bit skeptical about infographics but I have to say this one caught my eye (and brain) immediately! I honestly thought you were going to do an entire blog post via infographic. Very interesting!

Gini Dietrich
4 months 28 days ago

I’ll admit when I saw “infographic” in our editorial calendar, I almost turned it down, based on that alone. But then I saw the infographic and was pleasantly surprised!

Nadya Khoja
4 months 28 days ago

I must say the fact that you are both often not major fans of infographics, yet still liked this one is very flattering to both myself and my designers. I feel as though a lot of people get frustrated with infographics because they usually get repurposed with a small about of text that is bland and simply a summary of the image itself. I think infographics need to be used as a way to enhance an article rather than simply summarize it. Thanks for the kind words!

LTreu
4 months 28 days ago

I agree wholeheartedly with this… I have felt for years that the best way for people to create content with a hook that audience members can’t find elsewhere is to put the work into researching an unanswered question and presenting data people can’t find somewhere else. You can do a meta-analysis yourself, and win merely because you were willing to put more time into finding answers than other people, or you can go through a primary research exercise, too… Either way, it’s a great way to offer something actually unique!

Nadya Khoja
4 months 28 days ago

Agreed, and the added benefit is you will always learn something interesting in the process- who knows if you do enough original research on a particular subject you can go on to write a book about it and build you following even more 😛

LTreu
4 months 28 days ago

Great point! I think a lot of people look at research and go, “eww.” But if you find something you’re actually passionate about and you can actually find a compelling answer, it’s not bad!

Nadya Khoja
4 months 28 days ago

That’s true- personally if it weren’t for having to do so much research for my Master’s thesis I would shudder at the thought- but it’s not that bad, like you said. If you’re trying to position yourself as an expert in a field that is of no interest to you, chances are you’d be better off doing something else anyway!

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