Original Research: The Best Way to Establish Brand Authority in Your Niche

Why should the world’s largest companies establish brand authority? After all, they’re at the pinnacle of their respective industries.

Three letters: AOL. If you were around in the Nineties, you know it was the Google of its day. It absolutely ruled online search, email, and news.

Now, it’s the laughingstock of the online world. As one friend put it when he saw the AOL email address of one of his crabby customers, many internet-savvy people consider it a “grandpa email address.”

Oh, how the mighty have fallen!

No brand authority, no respect. Even when you’re on top of the world, there’s always tomorrow’s Google nipping at your heels.

Which is why every company – especially industry kingpins – needs to build and maintain brand authority. One of the best ways to do that is with content that you support with original research. Let’s dive in to a few types of research endeavors that will keep your company on top.

Partner with Your Subject Matter Experts to Research Topics

Do Comparative Analyses

Your blog writing teams might not know the scientific reasons why your new gadget works so much better than your competitors’ device, but your engineers do. Involve them in your content planning sessions from the get-go, tasking them with doing a comparative study.

Then, task your writing teams to create a white paper that explains the study in easy-to-understand language. Don’t stop there. Use the information from the study in blog posts, videos, and podcasts that attract top-of-the-funnel prospects.

Study Answers to Your Customers’ Problems

Similarly, brainstorm with your sales teams to see what problems your prospects want to solve. Then, commission a scientific study that examines the best way to solve that problem.

Done right, your research can even attract the media’s attention, as Moz.com’s Amanda Milligan points out. When your study provides information that can help people solve problems, gain more knowledge, or do their work more efficiently, it becomes newsworthy.

Newsworthy topics that get media traction help to establish and extend your brand’s authority in your sector. Also, the media coverage introduces a wealth of prospects to your company and its products – and builds more trust in people who are already familiar with your work.

That’s not the end of the benefits. When trusted media sources link to your site, you build brand authority online. The more quality sites that link to your content, the higher your content will rank.

Research Issues That Face Your Industry to Establish Brand Authority

Every industry has its challenges. Task your teams to ferret them out.

Then, single out which of your subject matter experts can best do the research that can answer those challenges. Decide which challenge you’d like to tackle in your research.

Academic Papers Advance Knowledge in Your Industry

Then, ask your subject matter experts to conduct scientific research on the chosen topic. If your research is rigorous enough, it might even make the cut for publication in an academic journal.

Partner with professors and researchers from nearby universities to give your research the academic cachet most journals demand. But make sure that yours is a topic that solves a challenge unique enough to attract the attention of serious researchers.

White Papers Position You as a Thought Leader

White papers are an excellent way to convey the results of deep, academic-level research to a non-scientific audience – usually, your prospects’ C-suite. Even if your research doesn’t make it into an academic journal, it can pay off in spades if you use it to position your brand as a thought leader in your field.

Schedule a content collaboration session with your subject matter experts and your content teams. After the subject matter experts unpack all the information so that your content creators understand, they can translate all that heady jargon into words your target customers and industry insiders can understand.

The content itself is deep and well-researched. But the writing, although more formal than a blog post, for example, is easy to follow for an average corporate executive.

As Brody Dorland advises, white papers should never be sales pitches disguised as research. They need to present the solution to the problem the researchers studied in factual, third-person language.

One way that you can raise your white paper’s sales potential without sounding like a used-car salesman is to target specific segments of your market. Find out what keeps them up at night and use these problems as topics for long-form content.

Grab readers’ attention with a compelling introduction and ending. If you use an abstract, make it short, sweet, and to the point.

Even though a white paper is more formal than a blog post, there is no reason not to make your paper tell a story. In fact, putting the readers in the hero’s role as you show them how to conquer the challenge you present in the paper is one of the best ways to make them glued to the screen until the very end.

Include data in easily digestible forms, such as graphs, infographics, and tables. Visualization can help your readers better understand the information.

Additionally, visuals help break up the monotony of long-form content. And, since 65 percent of the population are visual learners, a majority of your readers will remember more of the information you provide when you present it in both words and pictures.

Ebooks Help Prospects Put Your Research to Work for Them

Publishing your research methods, procedure, and results provides data. But some of your prospects might not know the nuts and bolts of putting that information to work for them in their day-to-day work.

An ebook can provide them with a practical way to put your research to good use in their industry. Because it’s so helpful, people will likely share it, giving your content more authority in your field.

Simplify Your Research with a Content Platform

Conducting research at a level that establishes brand authority requires an extensive amount of content management, from choosing the topics to coordinating with researchers and technical writers to produce world-class content. But if you have a single place to coordinate everything with content automation, you can simplify most aspects of the required tasks.

DivvyHQ’s content marketing platform coordinates every aspect of the research, writing, publication, and analysis process, leaving you and your teams’ hands free to concentrate on the creative process itself. Make your life simpler. Start your 14-day free trial today!