As content marketing grows in popularity, there’s no denying its impact on company sales, sentiment, and reputation. According to SkilledUp, 88 percent of decision makers credit content marketing with driving sales, 83 percent with customer referrals, and 75 percent with customer loyalty.
Your content marketing can serve as a well-oiled engagement machine that drives actions, but it must be relevant, valuable, and credible. One of the easiest ways to do this is by using third-party research or supporting data. Incorporating these different types of data will help strengthen your content:
You can be persuasive in your writing, but having evidence to back up your claims is vital. Without providing research, you run the risk of coming across as ignorant or incorrectly assuming.
To avoid that, it’s critical to collect and incorporate research into each piece of your content. Here are a few tips to get you started:
In this article about the daily habits of successful people, making time to read is second only to waking up early. Both Steve Jobs and Bill Gates have been known to spend three to four hours each day reading.
It’s a habit I’ve also adopted. I read first thing in the morning to feed my mind and put me in the know. I even take it a step further and highlight and save any interesting pieces of information to add to my collection. While some pieces may not be worthy of sharing on social media or spark a writing frenzy, storing them in a repository saves me time when I do need to recall them.
When it comes to collecting research, efficiency is key. Employees spend 9.3 hours a week, on average, researching and gathering data. That’s more than an entire day every week that employees are searching for information instead of applying it.
Think about it: You’re reading every day, making mental notes, copying and pasting relevant bits into spreadsheets or Google Docs, and sending emails to colleagues with links to interesting articles, but there are easier and more productive ways to do these things.
Taking the time to find a tool that works for you can dramatically reduce time spent researching and empower you to not only be more efficient, but also more effective at writing and inspiring new ideas.
For example, a marketing agency that my team at SORC’D works with had a face-to-face meeting with a prospect and learned at the last minute that the prospect’s CEO would be in attendance. What a great opportunity! The only problem was that the CEO wasn’t sold on the ROI of the proposed services.
In less than an hour, the agency crafted a proposal with relevant and compelling stats and figures from eight different sources to combat the CEO’s concerns. The information wasn’t frantically pulled from last-minute research. It was efficiently pulled from a repository of interesting pieces of data — such as news articles, social media posts, blog posts, and whitepapers — that the client had come across in her daily reading.
Once you’ve collected and stored your research, it’s important to effectively incorporate it into your content. Here are some simple ways to include your research while remaining compelling:
Do you remember when your high school speech teacher suggested opening your presentation with a story or quote? The same idea can apply to writing content today. If you’ve found information that you think your audience will immediately find useful or interesting, open with it.
State the problem you’re seeking to address with your content. Perhaps you read that 62 percent of workers feel their work suffers because they can’t sort through the information they need quickly enough, and you have a solution. Use the research you’ve gathered to present the problem and your solution in a logical way that your readers will understand and trust because you’ve supported your claims.
Including outside information in your content can make just about anything stronger. Whitepapers, articles, press releases, blog posts, presentations — all content can be strengthened when you sprinkle reputable research and information throughout it. My personal rule is to include at least one supporting source for each new idea or concept I present.
By integrating research collection into your daily reading and organizing the information in a way that works for you, you can build a repository of invaluable data to draw from to support and enhance your content. Incorporating relevant, valuable, and credible data into your content marketing will boost the impact it has on sales, sentiment, and reputation.