Guests of SHC

Research – how to make it build your profile

Guests of SHC

Research – how to make it build your profile

According to many reports on the internet, 90% of online content will be AI generated by 2026. However, the need to develop compelling stories and news angles that capture the attention of the media, and your target audience won’t diminish.

Recently, I ran an interesting experiment with ChatGPT (the general-purpose chatbot that creates AI-generated content and that’s currently taking the world by storm) asking it to quote ‘5 reliable, verified data sources’ from my own website to answer a topic I gave it. It sounded very convincing, its grammar was better than mine, but the links it produced were fake. So, as powerful as AI can be, we’ll never lose the importance of obtaining reliable, citable insights to maintain a trustworthy, positive brand reputation.

Doing your own research with a trusted research partner is a tried and tested tactic used by many PR agencies to raise awareness of a certain business topic or a specific industry issue, and it’s likely to increase. However, before you invest in research, it’s important to consider how to get the most out the results of your investment, making sure it works really hard for you. Good market research can actually contribute so much more to your marketing objectives than an attention-grabbing headline.

Research results can be used at the core of an integrated PR and marketing campaign, to not only generate media attention, but to also create some compelling content that can help drive brand visibility and demand generation. Research can actually be used to shape the core premise and theme of the campaign, especially in ‘top of funnel’ awareness and trust building scenarios. Also, if your business is going through a fallow news period, a programme based on your market research has the potential to fuel your content pipeline for months, to help your SEO and generate a host of other assets to support your marketing and PR objectives.

Behind any piece of hard-working research is a great idea – a hot topic or pertinent issue such as subtitles, that will resonate with your target audience. It might sound obvious, but there’s little point paying for a survey to be carried out if the subject matter doesn’t really interest your target audience.

Having decided on your topic, you’ll need to think about the topics, news headlines and types of content you’d like to achieve from the market research, i.e. work backwards. From here, you can then carefully craft your questions to ensure the survey generates the results you need to create the types of content you want to support your campaign.

A wealth of potential content assets

Once you have your survey results, and have investigated your different story angles, there’s a wealth of potential content assets you can create using the data to support an integrated PR and marketing campaign:

A report or guide – Consider distilling the survey findings into a full report or guide. It can then be used as a marketing collateral, downloadable and gated on your website so that site visitors’ data can be collected.

An infographic – Bring things to life by displaying your survey data in the form of an infographic. Personification can be a great way of showing stats and appealing to a range of our senses.

Blogs – Use stats to develop blog content. Focusing on each survey angle allows you to go into more depth, explaining why the survey conclusions have been reached and how your organisation can help with the issue.

Thought leadership – The survey results offer the perfect opportunity for a business to take ownership of an issue, offering new and fresh insight into topics your target audience probably didn’t even realise they were interested in.

Events – The research findings could be used to shape or secure an industry event speaking opportunity for key members of staff, or as the basis for your own customer event or webinar.

Debate – Don’t shy away from a good conversation. You can create a whole second set of content by bringing industry experts together to discuss issues and reflect up research findings.

Video – Another way to share your message – consider producing an animated story to set the scene and use the survey results to support it. It can even be done with qualitive research results. Here’s an example of a video our client created to showcase the results of their work, where we interviewed the respondents, and they used stats from another prover.

Media relations – Journalists love a good statistic and no matter which sector you’re in, with robust enough base numbers, there’s always the opportunity to pitch your survey findings to your target media.

There is an array of content options for making your survey results work hard for you and the above list of assets can be used to support your content marketing, SEO and PR objectives. And the survey results don’t stop giving there – consider how your sales team could use the data. Do the survey results reveal something that might be of interest to your existing or potential customers? Could they be used to show insight into a business trend and be included as part of a sales presentation?


Jane Hales is a Co-founder of Sapio Research – an award-winning, international full-service market research consultancy. 

We are passionate about providing high quality, precise, cost-effective and efficient solutions for your research needs. We know you need to develop storylines and decisions with confidence. 

Sapio can help you in all areas of quantitative and qualitative research, and welcome complex, challenging briefs. We can help to formulate the approach, to create the scope and design the process. 

We will propose whatever approach works best, and youcan rely on us to tell you what we really believe, rather than what we think you might want to hear. We do this through ABC: Audience understanding, Brand research and content generation & thought leadership research. 

Whether agency, brand, charity or consultancy, you will find them friendly, forthright, flexible and fast.