Many of our clients are committed to creating and publicizing meaningful thought leadership content in the form of surveys, white papers, briefing papers, podcasts and webinars.

In fact, today it seems like there have never been more opportunities for content placement. The key, however, is to make sure the things that you’re creating are truly valuable. Content needs to be relevant, timely and to resonate with key audiences.

To develop this type of content, some of our clients are leveraging their inhouse team to research and write articles and papers, while others turn to us to research and ghostwrite these articles, blogs and white papers.  

When a client has unique data and insights to share, this process is often straightforward. We review the information, interview subject matter experts, conduct a review of other written works on the topic, develop the first draft and work with graphic artists to bring key points to life in the form of charts or graphs.

However, if a client lacks meaningful insights, wants to validate specific premises, or augment its data, we can also engage industry analysts, polling and market research companies, academic researchers, or others to conduct primary research.

Like so many things, the first step in the process is to be clear on your objectives for creating the content. Why do you want it? How might you and other stakeholders such as PR, sales, customer service and your executive management team use it? Why will this content matter to your business?

Once you’ve thought about the outcomes you’re looking for and know why they matter, it’s time to consider how you can contribute meaningful thought leadership and if you’ll need to take a research-based approach.

This is where things get exciting because there are so many options. For instance, recently, one of our clients was interested in Americans’ perceptions around property and casualty insurance and how they feel about the service they’re receiving. This was a perfect research challenge for Harris Poll and its omnibus survey.

Another one of our clients is interested in exploring a particular issue facing management teams of midsize and large enterprise companies. For this type of research, we are considering hiring Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, an independent commercial unit with HBR, which conducts research and analysis, packaging their work in the form of pulse surveys, white papers, briefing papers and research webinars.

Each of these works are supported by either quantitative surveys or qualitative research or some combination of the two and people can find them on HBR’s website. There are literally hundreds of these and other reports and white papers in Harvard’s research archive.

The point is, depending on what you want to do, myriad options exist with a variety of pros and cons, and costs. We can help you explore these and help you leverage the findings throughout your thought leadership campaigns.

For more insight into content development, please look at some of our additional blog posts, including:

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