Surveys and other original research can be a prime source of data and inspiration for marketing content, fueling a wide range of formats and presentation types as you repurpose the same information in ways that are customized to different buyer personas, different levels of the sales funnel, and different content distribution channels.
Don’t ever let survey data be allowed to gather dust in the corner after a single use. Instead, maximize marketing surveys for content.
Here are 10 different content formats you can create to maximize the ROI of a single survey.
1. Primary report
This is the obvious result from many surveys: one big report full of data and analysis. This is the kind of content your hard-core audience can really sink their teeth into, and it has great potential for being shared (or at least cited) in writings from others in the industry, provided you promote it well. From a marketing standpoint, think about HubSpot’s annual State of Inbound Report (find it on our website here) or the other surveys and studies that are frequently cited in infographics and blog posts throughout the web.
This report is a great start. But there is so much more potential.
2. Press release
For the PR pros on your content team, a press release is another obvious way to use the data from a survey and to promote the primary report mentioned above. Those with close relationships with industry journalists may want to even make direct contacts to offer more in-depth results or interviews that go beyond a simple press release.
3. Contributed articles
Another page from the shared marketing/PR playbook is to highlight survey findings in contributed bylined articles to industry media, both print and digital, that provide opportunities for increased exposure for company executives and establish your company as a thought leader. Contributed articles can also play a role in driving increased traffic and lead generation on your own website. (Here’s a client success story about using bylined articles.)
A single survey should yield data that lends itself to multiple articles, each addressing either a separate topic or tailored to address a specific audience based on the readers of each publication.
(Find more on using contributed articles in our ebook: How to Get Your CEO Published.)
4. Targeted marketing papers
If your marketing strategy is focused on inbound marketing—using content to attract visitors to your website where you offer downloadable assets gated behind landing pages to capture leads—you will want to create more than one downloadable asset from your survey results.
The primary report is one, but not everyone is looking for an exhaustive detailing of all the results of your survey. With surveys showing that most readers, including B2B decision makers, feel overwhelmed by the amount of content out there and are looking for quick, to-the-point content that answers their questions, it just makes sense to break that primary report down into a series of focused marketing papers.
Keep these papers to a manageable size by focusing on a single story or topic in each one and using strong visuals to make them easy to read.
5. Blog posts
Just as you break down that single primary report into smaller, more focused marketing papers, you can use the same principal to turn each of topics covered the marketing papers into multiple blog posts (which then include calls-to-action that link to the landing pages for the related marketing paper, in order to generate leads).
You can write the blog posts focused on those topics in a variety of ways and still lean on the data from the survey. If your survey data show a strong need for your readers/customers to understand a certain process, use that need and the related data as a lead into writing a how-to post about that process. Or write a list-based blog post with solutions addressing the top 5 challenges identified by your survey respondents related to your company or solutions. (Get templates for writing how-to blog posts, list-based posts, and three other blog formats when you download our Business Blogging Tool Kit.)
Blog posts are a perfect place to dig deeper into the data and bring in additional context by interviewing company executives or highlighting customer success stories that relate to the results of your research.
6. Single-stat infographics
Think of each individual statistic in your results as an opportunity to create a graphic image. Visual representations of the data are often easier for readers to understand, catch attention on social media, and can be used to enhance all other content. Don’t limit your options to traditional pie charts and bar graphs—when you work with a great graphic artist, they should be able to guide your content in ways that are both visually pleasing and add to the understanding and impact of the content.
And in some cases, those individual graphics can be leveraged into the kinds of exposure that a larger piece, or a text-only press release, would never achieve, such as this USA Today placement for West, a JONES client with a long success story of turning research into compelling content. (Download a case study here to learn how.)
7. Long-form infographics
While many of the infographics you create will be quick reads, meant to relay a single finding quickly and effectively, don’t overlook the power of visual content to tell complete stories. Infographics are liked and shared on social media three times more than other types of content.
Work with your designers to craft infographics optimized for blogs and social media, including Pinterest, and easily viewable on mobile devices.
8. Animated videos
Videos also generate strong engagement on social media and in blog posts. Animated videos, with the focus on visuals rather than audio (since many people watch social media videos without sound), can be a powerful way of relaying your message and sharing your data with additional audiences.
As with any other content, your video should tell a story, be shareable and findable, and address problems your audience is struggling with.
Learn more about developing videos:
9. Targeted emails
Much of the content you create from your marketing surveys will be intended to reach new visitors, but don’t overlook the value of reaching out to your established list of contacts to offer them an inside look at the results of your research.
This could include creating targeted emails to share small segments of the results with those contacts whose customer persona is directly impacted. For example, send a summary of your findings involving cash flow challenges to company CFOs, while drafting a separate letter focused on research about logistics and facilities to your contacts who are COOs.
10. Social media updates
Quick statistics and insights are custom made for the limited character counts, limited lifespan and limited attention span of social media. Use your results to craft engaging social media posts that complement the rest of your content strategy.
Of course, you should also use social media to promote the rest of your content, sharing blog posts, linking to videos, promoting downloadable offers and sharing successfully placed contributed articles to further build brand awareness and momentum of the content strategy fueled by your surveys.
See more on how to turn a single survey into 100+ pieces of marketing content (not counting social media) by downloading our guide: Maximizing Marketing Surveys.