14 ways to put top value into your editorial research

14 ways to put top value into your editorial research

September 1, 2012 Uncategorized 0

One of the most important values B2B can deliver to its readers and advertisers is high-quality editorial research.  High quality does not necessarily mean that you hire the most expensive research service to conduct a national study for you . . . although quality certainly is implied when you use outside agencies.  What high quality does mean is that you are addressing a topic of some importance, that you asked significant questions, that you obtained a decent response and that your conclusions were highly instructive to readers.

Editorial Solutions frequently focuses on editorial research during in-house workshops.  Here are 14 ideas usually addressed in detail at such sessions:

  1. Once you’ve established the focus of a major research project, seek input on the questionnaire from your readers.
  2. Follow the established principles of making a questionnaire easy to answer.
  3. Random sampling is for the birds.  Make sure your respondent selection process is precise.
  4. Be wary of questionnaire length.  When a questionnaire is especially complex, offer an incentive to encourage response.
  5. Establish a written data-gathering timetable and stick to it.
  6. Plan on conducting some personal interviews so you can confirm whether the tabulations you are seeing actually make sense.
  7. Beware of interpreting results based on straight averages.
  8. You don’t need a high return quantitatively if you can draw a high-quality response.
  9. When you write the story based on survey response, interpret rather than recite.
  10. Proofread your charts and insist on seeing a final color key.
  11. Don’t be guilty of publishing research that has no foundation.
  12. If your industry is hot on consumer research, go for it.  The exploitation value will be super!
  13. Variety is the spice of editorial research.  You can mix in-depth reports with single-page mini polls.
  14. Plan on running research results at least monthly in your magazine and on your website.