This Is Why You Need To Do Original Research

Heather R. Huhman

Share this Post

A client of ours first came to us looking to maximize the media coverage of original research they had conducted. It’s a common problem, as according to a 2016 Ascend2 report, 46 percent of marketing influencers say research reports are the most effective content format, yet 62 percent find they are the most difficult to produce. This client was no different.

After analyzing the research data, we organized it into consumable bits of information to help determine which pieces would appeal to various media outlets, specific reporters, and their readers.

Alongside the client’s marketing team, we devised a comprehensive strategy to generate newsworthy stories based on the research that were applicable to current and potential customers, as well as the media. Using the survey results, we developed infographics and contributed bylined articles to earn valuable media coverage.

This strategy resulted in articles in nearly 30 media outlets, including, The Huffington Post, and TLNT, with established online audiences totaling 340 million. The articles received an estimated 207,000 views, 5,700 shares, and 39 links back to our client’s website, thus increasing brand awareness and solidifying them as thought leaders in their industry.

As studies and our own experience have proven, conducting original research is one of the most powerful marketing tools a company can use. Yet, many still don’t produce their own studies or reports.

Here are some of the many benefits to publishing and promoting original research:

Develop endless content

According to the aforementioned Ascend2 report, the other most effective types of content, after research reports, include blog posts (45%), videos or podcasts (40%), news articles (35%), infographics (31%), webinars (30%), and newsletters (29%).

Leverage the information from your research report to create additional content in those formats for maximum amplification of your message. The goal is to educate current and potential customers with content based on your original research.


For example, develop a press release sharing the research findings. In addition to the release, write an op-ed piece that shares a shocking opinion based on the study. You could also write a piece that ties the findings of your research to other timely news or industry trends to demonstrate why your research is important.

Additionally, compile lists or how-to guides derived from the findings of your research and your own expertise to establish yourself as a thought leader. From there, develop FAQs or Q&As using the research as foundation.

For a longer term option, build an email list of potential customers and nurture those leads with a newsletter. Keep your pipeline warm by using the newsletter to provide exclusives or early access to any original research you conduct.

There are endless possibilities for distributing your content. Tailor your strategy to the formats that best fit your target audience.

Earn more media coverage

Become a highly sought-after source for the media by giving journalists the opportunity to write about something no one has covered before.

A 2016 report from Wasabi Publicity found 49 percent of journalists seek out original research to use as sources. This is because publishing original research allows journalists to pull out the facts, rather than having to decipher a press release that may not be as straightforward or unbiased.

Additionally, the only thing more important to journalists is that the source be a recognized expert in their field (77 percent). Therefore, the best way to attract media attention again and again is to use original research, and the content you develop from it, as a method to become a thought leader within your industry.

Research is especially impactful if it’s considered timely and strongly influences a current trend. By regularly releasing original research reports and developing content based on that research, journalists will begin to see you as a recognized expert. It’s all about building credibility.

Increase brand awareness organically

Start by hosting the content on your website. The original source of the research report should always land on your domain. This can be in a company blog or in a news section of your website.

As the research is referenced and shared in other places, all of that content will point back to your site and your brand.

Content hosted on your own website will allow you to develop quality links, which will improve your site’s search engine optimization (SEO) and ultimately increase organic traffic to your website.

An easy way to get the word out about your research — and a method that you have complete control over — is by


sharing links to your research and subsequent content on social media. If you’re active in your industry’s social community, sharing your own research will earn social currency.

Share links directly to the research or publish the research in another form (such as the opinion pieces mentioned earlier) directly on social platforms like LinkedIn Published Posts and Facebook Notes — which in turn, link back to your website.

No matter where the content gets published, it all points back to your website. When all paths point back to the same place, your brand awareness and credibility benefit.

Improve brand credibility

Original research allows you to establish authority, credibility, and thought leadership on key topics within your industry. Not only does it impact your company’s reputation as a credible source for research and data, but also it can boost your personal brand as a subject matter expert.

Regularly producing new data and backing it with a mighty content marketing and media relations effort can set you apart from your competition. Draw on timely trends and your personal industry experience to explain how each new study impacts your current and potential customers.

With a combination of owned and earned content focused on the research, both media and clients will grow to recognize your authority in the industry, making your company a trusted brand that customers will gravitate toward.

Heather R. Huhman

Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for organizations with products that target job seekers and/or employers. She is also the author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships: The Truth About Getting from Classroom to Cubicle (2011), #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.