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