Can you guess how much online content you consume on average? Just take a look at your recent browsing history. It’s actually quite telling. In 2018, the average American adult spent over 11 hours per day listening to, watching, reading, or interacting with some form of media, all ranging from video to online articles to white papers to eBooks to blogs—you name it. [i]
Need to get up to speed with all things marketing? Click below!Welcome to the Digital Age, where everyone has a voice and a platform to express their views. It’s actually quite remarkable I think. There is an astounding amount of content out there, and simply put—we’ve got options.
Compared to the days of having to sift through outdated encyclopedias or being placed on a waiting list at the local library for that one book in high demand, I’d say we’ve come a really long way. Unfortunately, there’s always a catch, and in this case, a Catch 22. After all, quantity does not always reflect quality. Nowadays everyone claims to be an expert or influencer of some sort, and it’s no wonder we’ve all grown a bit skeptical. With so much information at our disposal, the need to somehow validate and establish credibility in our sources is only natural.
This growing skepticism in online content has evolved into what is now known as a “crisis of trust,” wherein consumers are turning to social media for the majority of their information, but lack trust in the information they find there.[ii] As businesses, we have a corporate responsibility to our stakeholders, so how should we response do this crisis? Meaning, how do we demonstrate to our target audiences that we are the true thought leaders of our respective industries and regain their trust? Well, for starters we can vow to lead with integrity by developing content based upon factual information, which would be nothing short of impossible in the absence of our trusted friend and ally, RESEARCH.
Aside from the grueling research papers of our pasts, we actually rely on research a lot more than we think. In fact, some of us (especially me) might even enjoy it. Just think about some of your daily routines and habits. We rarely make decisions without it.
Considering trying a new restaurant in your neighborhood? What do you do? RESEARCH.
Booking accommodations for an upcoming vacation? RESEARCH.
In the market for a new car? You guessed it—RESEARCH.
Truth be told, research is a way of life, especially in the realm of content strategy. So in this blog, we’ll explore just how critical it is to the development of high-quality content. While doing so, we’ll also uncover a few ways to amplify your content strategy using research to become a trusted source of information for your target audience.
Research Your Audience
Ever subjected yourself to a speed dating experience? It’s a pretty interesting concept, one I’m sure has led to a lifetime of happiness for many, but when it comes to getting to know your target audience, speed dating is not the answer.
To build a long-lasting relationship with your audience, you’re going to have to invest a lot more of your time, and a great deal of this time will be spent on research. If it’s beginning to feel a lot like déjà vu for some, it’s probably because we’ve been here before in a previous blog. Now it’s time for some reinforcement because in all honesty, an in-depth target market analysis the most critical research you will ever perform.
Powerful content begins with an intimate knowledge and understanding of your audience. Through intensive research and investigation, you’ll become privy to key information like the latest industry trends, any growing concerns or pain points for your audience, what platforms or technologies they are using, and even what kinds of content they are most receptive to.
In other words, what is your audience’s love language? An in-depth target market analysis will answer this question for you and lay the foundation for a highly engaging content strategy.
Click below to download our research guide!
Establish a Circle of Trust
With a clear understanding of your audience’s love language, supported by solid research, you can now begin developing meaningful content. But to fully captivate your audience, you’ll need to establish a circle of trust and invite them in.
Trustworthy content is typically identified by five characteristics:[iii]
- Accuracy-Can the information be verified by other sources?
- Authority-Is the author qualified to write about the topic?
- Objectivity-Is the intent of the content clear? Is it fact or opinion?
- Currency-Does the content reflect the most recent or updated information? Is it timely?
- Comprehensiveness-What depth of information is being provided?
By ensuring your content conveys these five characteristics, you’ll gain the trust of your audience and build long-term loyalty well into the future.
Unlock the Power of Persuasion with Statistics
Persuasion can be pretty challenging, and sometimes the only true way to support your argument is through hard evidence. Sometimes it’s necessary to see the numbers, and when good storytelling is combined with statistical evidence, it becomes that much more effective and compelling.
When conducting your research, you should aim to gather a good mix of both qualitative and quantitative data. Qualitative data may include interviews, focus groups, observations, and case studies, etc., while quantitative data is expressed numerically (e.g. surveys, polls, or questionnaires). Because quantitative data is measurable and concrete, it has a tendency to resonate with audiences. Quantitative data is unambiguous and leaves little room for speculation, and since we’re currently in the midst of a “crisis of trust,” statistical evidence is essentially a secret weapon in content strategy. To put it bluntly, audiences need to know what’s real, which is why statistical evidence can be so persuasive. Try not to over do it though. You don’t want to overwhelm your audience with too much data. Content that strikes a balance between purposeful storytelling and statistical evidence will engage your audience without bombarding them with numbers.
There’s no question that research is important. Statements backed by supporting evidence possess power, and content that is developed based upon comprehensive research not only captivates audiences, it keeps them there.
Interested in unleashing the power of your content strategy? Give us a call today!
[i]The Nielsen Total Audience Report: Q1 2018.”Nielsen Media, 31 July 2018.
[ii] Crosby, Lawrence A., and John P. Vidmar. “Marketing News.”Can Marketers Repair Social Media’s Crisis of Trust? Apr. 2018, pp. 20–22.
[iii]Wisniewski, Jeff. “Onlinesearcher.net.”A Matter of Trust: A Webmaster Perspective, 2017.
CATMEDIA is an award-winning Inc. 500 company based in Atlanta, Georgia. Founded in 1997, the company specializes in advertising, creative services, media production, program management, training, and human resource management. As a Women Owned Small Business (WOSB), CATMEDIA provides world-class customer service and innovative solutions to government and commercial clients. Current CATMEDIA clients include Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).