What is Original Research in Content Marketing?

Content marketing is a buzzword circulating the industry for years now.

This is likely because “content” is a broad term that identifies a number of different types of deliverables within the marketing sector.

Blogs, whitepapers, e-books, infographics, and many other resource-type materials all makeup what it means to create content with the purpose of creating a data-driven marketing strategy.

Above all else, there is one type of powerhouse, knowledge-based resource for content that is extremely undervalued. Original research.

Original research is the king of content marketing. In this blog post, our content marketing research company will answer the following questions:

  • What is original research?
  • What is the process of using original research?
  • What is the value of original research for content?
  • Why is it important to use a third party for conducting original research?
  • What is a real-world example of conducting original research for content marketing?

original research in content marketing

What is original research?

Original research is the process of using the feedback and data collected from surveys, interviews, or other methodologies for content purposes.

By conducting original research with a third-party market research company, your organization is considered the primary source.

Original research allows you to dissect and create content in every way imaginable:

  • Each survey question can be turned into a blog post.
  • Businesses can host a webinar summarizing shocking data from the research.
  • Organizations can create a thorough whitepaper with the information broken down in the provided appendix.

The possibilities are endless.

What is the value of original research in content?

Original research comes in all shapes and sizes. Mostly, marketers repurpose a research report crafted by a market research company after they’ve completed a study.

But -- most businesses do not utilize original research. My guess is that it takes time and resources to write, field, and analyze a content survey. If this is what's holding you back, I recommend partnering with a content marketing research company like Drive Research to carry the weight of the project.

Is it worth it? Absolutely!

According to Mantis Research, 94% of marketers agree original research elevates their brand's authority in the industry. Additionally, 88% of those who have published research plan to conduct additional research in the next 12 months. 

When asked how these companies would rate the success of original research, only 3% reported it did not meet their expectations.

Marketers are seeing many benefits from original research including:

  • Social shares
  • Mentions from media and news outlets
  • Backlinks to their websites
  • Leads
  • Improved search rankings
  • Email and blog subscribers
  • Guest speaking opportunities 

What is the process for conducting original research?

Businesses of all sizes choose to conduct market research for various reasons.

Whether it be to explore customer feedback, gain insight into competitors, or survey their own employees, market research proves to be a powerful driver for organizational change.

If nothing else, the findings and data from market research will enhance an organization’s content marketing strategy by fueling new ideas for blogs, infographics, social shares, whitepapers, webinars, and more.

How exactly does this work? Here is an example.

An advertising firm is hoping to grow its client base in the legal sector.

They are constantly losing RFPs to other agencies that predominantly work with law firms. In order to stand out, the advertising firm partners with a content marketing research company.

Conduct an online survey
The content marketing research company conducts an online survey to collect feedback from those who are currently customers of a law firm, as well as the general public.

Receive a market research report
After fieldwork is administered, the content marketing research firm delivers a top-tier report with an executive summary and an appendix broken down question-by-question, including respondent’s answers broken down by key demographics (age, gender, tenure).

Repurpose the findings for content marketing
The advertising agency is able to repurpose the research report into a whitepaper highlighting key findings from the online survey.

The whitepaper covers top sources of awareness, perception levels, reasons for choosing a law firm, likelihood to switch to a new law firm, and more. Keep in mind these findings were answered by current legal clients, past clients of a law firm, and people who have never used a law firm before.

Promote the content offer
The advertising agency promotes this whitepaper on their website, in email campaigns, and in paid social media advertisements.

Grow brand awareness as a thought leader in any industry
With original research, the advertising agency is now viewed as a thought leader in the legal sector, regardless of what little experience they have working with law firms. By conducting original research, the agency knows exactly how best to advertise for a law firm because they relied on the most powerful resource: customer feedback.

Why is it important to use a third party for original research?

As already stated, most businesses do not use original research because they lack the proper resources and time to do so.

The answer to this is partnering with a third-party content marketing research company. A content marketing research company, like Drive Research, will execute any type of study in its entirety.

Most importantly, we will deliver a top-notch original research report including:

  • An executive summary of major themes
  • Recommendations and action items for the next steps
  • An infographic for use in marketing strategies
  • An appendix outlining each question with responses broken down by key demographics

Aside from carrying the brunt of the work, it is also important to use a third party for original research for the findings to be deemed honorable.

If conducting a study in-house, readers are wary to trust the results. It is less believable to claim, “Research shows 8 out 10 households choose our cleaning supplies,” if the research was conducted by the cleaning supply company.

By partnering with a third-party market research company, your original research has 100% validity and 0% bias. Now that’s a statistic every business should get behind.

For more information, watch our video and learn how a third party can improve your content strategy.

A real-world example of conducting original research

Using online surveys for content can lead to exciting results! The results are typically used to create white papers, blogs, social media posts, infographics, and more. 

Check out our recently completed, 8 question online survey used to drive content deliverables.

About the Content Survey

The goal of the survey was to craft a few questions regarding a specific industry as well as a few demographic questions.

The results would be used to interpret the results and shed light on the findings through content marketing.

  • Length of the survey: The survey took an average of 2 minutes to complete and included 8 questions. 
  • The number of responses: The survey received 400 responses. 
  • Dates of fieldwork: Fieldwork for the survey began on April 9 and lasted until April 13, 2021.
  • Target audience: Fieldwork was conducted with adult residents of the United States. Quotas were created to ensure the mix of respondents was Census representative.

With a probabilistic sample, a total of 400 responses at the 95% confidence level offers a 5% margin of error.

If the survey were conducted with another random pool of 400 respondents, the results would yield within +5% or -5% of the stated totals in the reports. 

About the Results

The results were sent over via email and included details about the background and methodology of the study, included question-by-question breakdowns of the survey results, and featured highlights of key findings from the survey results.  

The question-by-question breakdowns are viewed through a website and are interactive.

By hovering over data in a chart, it will provide more detail. Also, users can export the results into several different formats (i.e., PDF, PowerPoint, Excel, and Word).

Learn more about how to use content marketing to improve your inbound lead strategy.

Example Content Marketing Survey Questions

Here’s an inside look at a few example content marketing survey questions!

  • How do you currently use [insert product]? Select all that apply.
  • How often do you use [insert product]? Select one.
  • Approximately how old is your current [insert product]? Select one.
  • What are your biggest pain points when using [insert product]? Select all that apply.
  • What are your preferences when using [insert product]? Select all that apply.
  • What materials does your current [insert product] contain? Select all that apply.
  • Which of the following age groups best describes you? Select one.
  • Which of the following do you most identify with? Select one. (Several gender options listed.)

Conduct Original Research with Our Team

Drive Research is a national market research company. Our team has the knowledge and tools to design a robust content marketing research study, should it be the right fit for your business.

Reach out through any of the four ways below.

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at [email protected]
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040

emily carroll about the author

Emily Carroll

A SUNY Cortland graduate, Emily has taken her passion for social and content marketing to Drive Research as the Marketing Manager. She has earned certificates for both Google Analytics and Google AdWords.

Learn more about Emily, here.

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