Want to Stand Out From the Herd? Ditch Commodity Content for Proprietary Research



4. Dial into the right audience for genuine insights

Your survey responses should come from topical experts. Since it’s a representative sample, clean the data to weed out unqualified responses.

This might mean excluding responses from individuals outside your target demographic or refining your dataset to represent a balanced cross-section of your audience. Conducting audience research is a vital part of this process.

Nneka Otika, a freelance content marketer, started with audience research when creating the State of the Administrative Industry report for Office Otter:

“I looked at what had been covered research-wise in the industry and discovered that we only covered salaries,” says Otika. “So, I decided to go with a state of industry report, which gave room to look at topic areas that my audience was already having issues with, like company recognition and lack of training budgets.”

This level of research helps you dial in on who to survey — in this case, surveying administrative staff, not people management teams.

5. Avoid asking biased or double-barreled questions

Subjective questions lead participants in one direction, skewing the results. For instance, “Don’t you think our product is the best?” is a leading question.

Alternatively, asking a double-barreled question confuses respondents and leads to unclear responses, especially if it’s qualitative. For instance, “How satisfied are you with our product’s price and quality?” tries to answer two questions in one.

6. People love data, but you need to stitch it into a story

Raw data, while valuable, often comes across as sterile and disconnected. Use data storytelling to weave that data into a cohesive, engaging narrative that entices your audience.

Use data to tell a compelling story that captures attention, provides context, and leaves a lasting impact. It’s about balancing logic (data) and emotion (story) to drive the message home.

Katherine Boyarsky, co-founder and CMO at CXD Studio, a content marketing agency, recommends presenting key findings first and deep diving after:

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