How Research Reports Can Boost Your Content Marketing

Many businesses generate valuable data as part of their everyday operations. For example, an email marketing firm may know the average open rates for different types of emails or what types of subject lines tend to perform best. These data points are helpful when it comes to achieving business goals, but they may also be valuable from a marketing standpoint. There is a lot of value in sharing the data with potential customers.

In this post, we will look at how businesses can leverage the data that they already generate to develop compelling research reports that can be used to boost marketing efforts.

Research is High Value, Low Cost

Most businesses generate a significant amount of data from their customers. While sharing specific customer data is often out of the question, except perhaps in case studies, you can probably use anonymized data that represents an average of all customers. These data points can be collected in various ways, depending on your business, but odds are that you’re already collecting the most valuable insights in one form or another.

This data has a high value to potential customers since it can be mined to produce valuable insights. For example, a potential customer for our email marketing firm might want to know how to improve their open rates by optimizing the subject lines. By publishing open rates for various subject lines, you are providing them with highly valuable and data-supported insights that address a critical problem for their business.

The data also has a high value to other content marketers. Many writers look for statistics to back claims, and these statistics come from research reports. For example, a writer covering an email marketing topic may want to know average open rates and if they have been declining over time. In fact, we conduct this kind of research before writing content for our clients and often look to research reports for insights.

You can put together this research in a few simple steps:

  • Plan – Take an inventory of the data that you generate and determine what might prove valuable to customers. This could include data that you’re already providing to individual customers that you could take an average of for industry-wide insights.
  • Collect – Collect the data points in a standardized format, such as a CSV (comma separated values) spreadsheet. This way, you can easily crunch the numbers and generate compelling visualizations with the data.
  • Analyze – Analyze the data points using Microsoft Excel, Python, R, or other platforms and languages to glean insights. If you don’t have this expertise, you can often outsource the work to contractors – just make sure you anonymize the data.
  • Curate – Translate the data points into key insights or statistics that you can mention in a report or article. These should be high-level data points that have a lot of meaning to potential customers. You can also create visualizations for this data.
  • Create – Create a PDF research report and landing page to offer the research to potential customers. You can also base your other content marketing efforts around the report, or outsource this process to a company like ours.

Capturing Leads with Content Upgrades

Research reports are a great addition to existing content marketing campaigns. After developing a single research report, you have enough content for several blog posts discussing various subtopics contained within it. You can also create a landing page and PDF version of the research report and run advertising campaigns against the page to generate leads. These research reports tend to have better conversion rates than more generic offers.

The email marketing firm we mentioned above could write articles like:

  • What keywords perform best in subject lines?
  • These subject lines were the top performers
  • How to write a compelling subject line
  • Are your email open rates up to par?

The research report can also be used as a compelling content upgrade for this content. After all, a reader that is enticed by a few statistics on a topic is likely to be interested in downloading the entire research report to get even more context. The email marketing firm in our previous example might write a blog post stating industry-wide open rates, which naturally leads to curiosity about how to improve open rates and opens the door to the research report.

How to Promote Research Reports

Most search engines judge websites by their number of backlinks from authority websites. For example, if the New York Times links back to you using a given keyword, then you’re likely to rank well for that keyword on a broader level. Search engines want you to provide high quality content that visitors want to read, and research reports epitomize that type of content since they provide a lot of value to both readers and other publishers.

After developing a research report, you may want to consider reaching out to writers on popular authority websites to see if they’re interested in receiving a copy. A great way to go about this process is to offer an “advanced copy” of the report. The ultimate goal is to get the writer to mention the research report in the content that they write and link back to your website, which can lead to a better search engine rank for your website and content.

You may also want to build a landing page to advertise the research report and issue a press release for each new iteration of it. For example, the email marketing firm mentioned above might issue a quarterly email marketing report showing trends in open rates, click-through rates, and other metrics. Press releases go out to journalists writing about these topics and can result in more mentions in articles and backlinks.

The Bottom Line

Research reports are a great way to create compelling content with data that you’re already producing on a regular basis. By collecting, anonymizing, and curating the data, you can come up with unique insights for both potential customers and publishers. The result is both a greater amount of inbound leads and potentially better ranking on search engines.

If you would like help developing your content marketing strategy, contact us today for a free 30 minute consultation to learn about how we can help.