“Let there be Content!”

Anyone who’s responsible for a blog, social networking site or a newsletter knows that content is king. But trying to come up with fresh, relevant content can be really challenging. It would be great if we could pull a Harry Potter and just wave a magic wand, but so far we can’t… or can we?

Keeping it Fresh

Fresh content is important. You want people to keep coming back for more, and while online surveys may not pull a rabbit out of a hat, they can definitely come to the rescue here. As a content creation tool, surveys provide something that’s truly fresh and unique for your audience. Sound like magic? Read on.

People Like Me

People like to know what their peers are thinking. There’s a kind of comfort in learning that your peers would also like to see that new game with a different feature or wish they could be more environmentally friendly. We all love to hear what “people like us” are thinking, and in the world of consumer research that can simply mean a survey of people from a particular market. If your focus is people who enjoy hiking, you might ask “What’s your favorite place to hike?” or “When you’re hiking, what do you typically have in your backpack?” This kind of data can be a community building catalyst.

The same concept can be applied to B2B markets. Let’s say I’ve surveyed IT managers about what they’re spending on network security. Such a survey would be interesting to fellow IT managers so they can go to their managers to say, “Look, I really need budget for this initiative, and here’s some survey data that shows that other IT organizations like ours are also spending real money on this type of initiative.” It helps them make their case in an objective way.

Content For Demand Generation

One of the famous case studies here is Dockers, the well known purveyor of casual clothing for men. In the late ‘90’s the parent company commissioned some surveys looking at attitudes and behaviors related to work dress. They wanted to prove that people were interested in a more casual style. The results revealed that workers feel more productive when they’re comfortable, and believe that casual dress policies improve office moral.

Is this a blatantly biased take away? Researchers can rightly raise their eyebrows about such self-serving research, but it was from a well-known, reputable research firm and it got great press coverage—always great benefit.

A Little Bit of Magic Can Be Captivating

Rather than revealing everything from your online survey at once, learn to ration your data. You could impress your audience with a big paper full of charts and graphs, but instead think about releasing your results a little at a time. Once a week, create an attractive graphic based on a key finding, or maybe design an infographic, but don’t overwhelm them with too much data at once. Remember that the goal here is to create content that keeps them coming back, something that the reader can digest, relate to and remember. From just one survey you might craft half-a-dozen sound bites or more, and almost as easily as waving a magic wand.

A few examples of infographics designed from survey data gathered via AYTM’s online survey panel for inspiration:

Branding And How It Works In The Social Media Age

Are You Addicted to Angry Birds?

The Brands We Drive

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kathryn Korostoff
Kathryn Korostoff taught market research best practices at Ask Your Target Market, and is the president of Research Rockstar, delivering market research training and support services. She can be reached at KKorostoff AT ResearchRockstar DOT com.