It’s hard to create great content–especially content that aligns with your marketing goals. Original research is probably the best content gold mine there is for technology marketers. After all, it’s unique (no one else can claim it, but they can quote you on it), it’s newsworthy, and it’s interesting. The abundance of themes you can pull out of original research beats any other content source.
However, you want to get a high return on your investment when it comes to original research and that means mining as many content nuggets from it as possible. Or, in other words, milk it for all it’s worth.
If you need to generate leads for your sales team, for instance, it’s easy to run a webinar or create an eBook from original research (here’s an example of an eBook I created for Comcast Business using original research).
But what do you do next? Marketers I’ve worked with often run out of ideas or just move on to the next item on their content calendar, which is unfortunate because they’re missing a golden opportunity to create some engaging, fresh content.
Steps in Mining the Content Nuggets from Original Research
1. Consider your content marketing objectives
Do you need to generate leads? Get media mentions? Drive thought leadership? Reposition products or services?
Different marketing strategies call for different types of content. The chart below is what I call the 14×9 grid: It gives you 14 content ideas for nine different marketing strategies.
As you can see, the content to create for a lead generation strategy is different than driving backlinks to your website. This is a handy reference when you’re stuck in trying to figure out how to move beyond an eBook or webinar.
Download the PDF copy and use it in your next marketing brainstorming meeting.
2. Designate a “cornerstone” piece of content
As you can see from the chart, eBooks and white papers apply to any marketing strategy. They’re great for lead generation, repositioning a product, or driving thought leadership.
I suggest using an eBook or white paper as the “cornerstone,” or the key piece of content for your marketing. Plan to create it first, before any other content in your marketing strategy. Why? Writing it first will allow you to clarify themes and pull in relevant research. You’ll have loads of images, such as charts and graphs, you can draw from to use in other content.
In other words, the cornerstone piece is your jumping-off point for creating other content. Believe me, it’s easier to start with a longer-form content piece and create other content from it than it is, to begin with an infographic, for example, and try to generate other pieces of content before you have your complete message worked out.
3. Brainstorm multiple themes from your original research
Original research tends to produce data with rich themes and storylines. There are likely multiple themes you can pull out from the research so don’t stop at the first one that comes to mind. Brainstorm with your team how you can chunk the main theme up into sub-themes.
For instance, if your original research focused on how businesses are adapting to the current challenging economic climate and you have data that illustrates how many employees are working from home, the number of in-person services that were moved online, and insights into the technology solutions that companies are using to achieve these new processes, then you have at least four different themes you can mine for content.
Let’s run through each of them:
- Theme #1: How businesses are adapting to the current economic climate
- Theme #2: Issues employees are experiencing while working from home
- Theme #3: Issues in moving services that were previously performed in-person online
- Theme #4: How successfully (or not) are companies using technologies to support these new processes?
The lesson here is don’t stop with one major theme or storyline from your research. Take the time to brainstorm other themes (they’re there – they just need to be unearthed). You’ll exponentially expand the amount of content you can create
4. Create a content marketing plan
Next, capture the themes and types of content you’ll create for each theme in a content marketing plan. Add dates when each piece will be released and promoted.
Include the cornerstone eBook or white paper as your key piece to promote and consult the 14×9 chart above to consider what other content you can easily create from it. Do articles make sense? Blog posts? Videos? Can you run a webinar? (In most cases, original research makes great source material for an interesting and engaging webinar.) Can you break the webinar down into videos? Create a Slideshare from the webinar slides and embed it in a blog post?
There are so many ways to fulfill your marketing strategies – it just takes some thought and creativity.
For instance, if you hold a webinar on each of the four example themes outlined above and create 8-9 different assets for each theme, you’ll easily have enough content to fill your pipeline for a year. Wouldn’t it be great to have all of that content thought out and ready to go rather than brainstorming the new content you’ll be creating each quarter?
Original Research = Lots of Unique Content
Mining the content nuggets from your original research doesn’t have to be difficult. If you consult the 14×9 chart, you’ll get ideas on content you can create to fulfill your marketing strategies. And if you pull multiple themes out of your research, you’ll have plenty of content to work with.
By the way…whenever you’re ready, here are some ways I can help you stand out the noisy tech market:
- Grab a copy of my report on original research, which includes all the details on how to use original research to capture prospects’ mindshare. Download it here.
You’ll learn why marketers are getting so much value out of their original research, the steps in conducting an original research study, and you’ll get my 9×14 content grid that gives you 14 content ideas to fulfill nine different marketing strategies. Get it here.
- Work directly with me to create an original research roadmap. There are a lot of details to running an original research study and creating content that gets results. I’ll work with you to create a roadmap plan that ensures you’ll get the biggest ROI from original research. Contact me, and I’ll get back to you with more details.