Five common mistakes to avoid in content research

Posted by admin - March 18, 2015

From a simple survey containing 15 questions, a research project can create hundreds, if not thousands of different data points. However, in reality we end up using as little as five or six stats in the final content we create.

No research story is complete without the icing on the top. It is after all the tastiest part! This is the ‘hook’ and the facts which stand out for people. They are the bits people remember and share with friends and colleagues. Research, after all, should act as a solid base for discussion and conversation.

However, the five or six most interesting facts, although headline grabbing, only form a small part of the complete story. What happens if we want to go a little deeper? In order to build a structured story the research needs to ask a range of diverse, insightful and engaging set of questions.

Content research should be built on the premise of a clear understanding of the intended audience. This approach needs to take into account the current trends and ‘media agenda’ of the moment.  Research should utilise the wide range of available data to help build a more wholesome, relevant, and ultimately engaging story.

Building the ultimate content research is no easy task, but below are the top five common mistakes researchers need to avoid…

  • Not enough focus given to the research objectives: A clear objective gives the foundations for a solid hypothesis and research design.
  • Lack of narrative in the analysis: A narrative allows a common thread to run through the story. It should define a problem and focus on creating a solution.
  • Weak hypothesis: Often too many assumptions are made before the project starts. A strong hypothesis allows a clear structure in the story which should be reflected in the survey.
  • Surveys are often too short (or too long): A survey of up to 20 questions will give the research enough scope to address the objective of the research. Any longer and the respondents’ engagement will wane.
  • Lack of call to action: A clear and compelling call to action will make readers think and respond to the research. Without this, the impact of the research findings will be lost.

It can be quite an eye-opener to look back at previous research you may have conducted and to ask whether you got maximum value out of it, or whether it fell short because of one of these common issues.

If you had to do your research again, what would you do differently? We’re research specialists here at Loudhouse, and we’d love to talk to you and find out.