Six Tips for Using Free Research on Your Corporate Blog
It’s relatively easy for companies on the Fortune 500 to get material for their blogs. These large enterprises have access to beefy research departments, paid primary research and other tools that smaller companies simply can’t afford. But, this doesn’t mean you’re stuck writing “soft” blog posts that lack the punch of big stats and pretty charts.
To integrate data-driven blog posts into your editorial calendar, all you have to do is use the news. By working with the research of the major players and media outlets in your industry, you can add more texture to your blog without having to invest heavily.
Here are six ways to turn the public domain into your free “research department”:
1. Choose your sources wisely
Only use data from a credible source. If you reference surveys in major newspaper or blog articles, you’ll be in good shape. Be sure to look up the survey itself rather than just use what you see published, as there may be more information you’ll find interesting. Over at enter:marketingMarketingSherpa fairly regularly, which encourages the re-posting of its charts.
2. Understand your competitive landscape
You don’t want to use your blog to promote competitors — but do you really know who your competitors are? If you run a small accounting firm, for example, you’re probably not competing directly with the likes of PriceWaterhouseCoopers or Deloitte.
3. Make it relevant
If you’re using information that isn’t from a direct competitor, you’ll need to explain how it is relevant to your audience. This isn’t difficult if you’re using news or data from within your industry, but make sure you take the clear step to explain to the reader why the information is important or useful.
4. Apply your own thoughts
Interpret the information — don’t just report it. You add value to your readers by using the data as a foundation for communicating your thoughts and explaining how you can help people in your target market.
5. Watch for patterns
Major companies and research organizations publish some content in accordance with specific milestones, such as unemployment reports (for the Department of Labor), industry conferences or on a quarterly basis. Plan for these events, and leave room on your editorial calendar.
6. Don’t hide your sources
Always provide full credit. After all, a reader who sees you claiming someone else’s work as your own probably won’t want to engage you. I tend to source fairly aggressively. I include a link in the body of the post and also list my source at the bottom with a link.