If you’re not familiar with investigative-style content, that’s OK. You’ll now know, I promise. Although it’s often confused with investigative journalism, investigative content can also fall under the category of marketing. That’s because even though it’s a journalistic genre, investigative content is usually content that doesn’t appear in traditional media and often consists of creative and visual storytelling.
When it comes to content marketing, it can be difficult to stay on top of the trends. What worked last year might not work now. So, how do you keep your content fresh and up-to-date? If you’re looking for a new way to engage with your audience and see new results from that engagement, then investigative-style content is just the thing.
Investigative journalism is an art form in which reporters dig deep into a subject matter and uncover information that nobody else could. Let’s dig into how you can use this art to your advantage and see some great examples of Investigative-Style Content.
What is investigative-style content?
An investigation doesn’t necessarily mean hard-hitting, breaking-news journalism. It also can include research reports, research articles, and other informational pieces about specific topics. Investigative-style content aims to get your audience to think critically about a particular topic or niche. This type of content should help your audience make educated decisions about a specific topic.
Investigative content takes various forms, but one type that you’ll see more often is data journalism. Data journalism includes in-depth reports about different areas of interest such as technology, politics, and sports. Data reporting, especially when it’s paired with a compelling visual presentation, is a great way to capture and engage your audience.
Why should you create investigative-style content?
It’s all about the engagement that’s most important in engaging audiences in meaningful engagement. Traditional forms of content marketing (such as SEO, content marketing, and social media) will always yield results as long as your SEO, content marketing, and social media efforts are relevant. You’re willing to invest the time into your brand and its products and services.
However, investigative journalism is about more than just your product or service. It’s about the news that affects your brand and the issues you want to raise awareness about precisely.
By leveraging the investigative approach to content marketing, you can create engaging content that your audience will want to share and talk about right away. It is one of the reasons that investigatory-style content is often more exciting and compelling than regular posts.
How to create investigative-style content
The interesting thing about investigative journalism is that it allows you to talk to people and provide solutions. So, this type of content is perfect for businesses that want to provide ways for their customers to get the information they need. But, it’s also great for businesses that have something they want to learn more about specifically.
Finding the right format and content isn’t enough. How do you capture the audience’s attention for the long haul? First, find the right angle in the story. Learn the players, find the best person to interview, and discover how the characters are connected. Even if you’re in the middle of a huge story, find a person who could benefit from your audience’s attention, and use them to shape your story.
What are some great examples of investigative-style content?
Investigative-style content is a type of content that digs deep into a topic and tries to explain it so that the readers can relate easily. There are many great examples of investigative-style content out there; here are a few of them:
- An article by Wired on how your internet browser is giving away your secrets. This article discusses how browsers create “fingerprints” for websites you visit and use them as tracking tools to offer you personalized ads.
- The New York Times has a section called “The Upshot” that publishes short, interesting articles on various topics every day. They describe their approach as “a blend of statistical analysis, deep reporting, and storytelling.”
- The Washington Post has a “Fact Checker” section that publishes short articles on various topics every day. The section describes its approach as “combining the rigor of fact-checking with a human touch.”
- CNN has a section called “In-Depth” that publishes long articles on various topics every day. They describe their approach as “a blend of fact-checking and analysis, with a human touch.”
- The Wall Street Journal has a section called “Journalism in the Public Interest” that publishes short articles on various topics every day. The section describes its approach as “a mix of journalism, analysis, and outreach.”
All these are excellent examples of how you can apply the principles and techniques of investigative-style content.
Why is this kind of content so effective?
The reason is that it engages the audience’s curiosity because they want to find out what happened, why something happened, and how you found out about it. It also helps create a sense of involvement between the subject matter expert (SME) and the audience.
If you think about it, the SME is telling a story that’s similar to what we all do when we tell stories around a campfire or over dinner with friends and family. The difference is, in this case, your audience is paying attention to you and your story.
The best way I’ve found to create investigative-style content is by asking questions that are designed to get the audience involved in the process of finding out what happened, why it happened, and how you discovered it.
Here are some questions that you can ask:
What happened? Why did it happen? How did you find out about this? What was the situation’s outcome, and what steps were taken to solve it or prevent it from happening again?
You can also include a section at the end of your story explaining what you learned from this experience and how it’s affected your business.
Investigative-style content can be used for many purposes. Some publishers choose to use it as a means of advertising and promoting their brand.
Others use it to showcase their investigative journalism. Or to bring in a new audience for their products. Your own marketing can benefit from investigative-style content.
By using social media hashtags and features, you can reach people looking for investigative-style content.