I last night had the opportunity to attend a session for IABC Victoria (disclaimer: I currently sit on the board as Member Communications Chair) covering research trends and tools for communicators.
Featuring a presentation from Newspoll’s Lachlan Drummond, the evening provided a lot of thought provoking ideas – particularly concerning the role of research for communicators and marketers as the barriers to publishing decrease and the expectation that organisations will produce and share original content increases.
After the session, Lachlan was kind enough to share a few minutes of his time with me to discuss the three primary trends he’s seeing in research for communicators, and the ongoing role of research in content marketing efforts (audio and video below).
AUDIO: Lachlan Drummond discusses research trends and tools for communicators:
VIDEO: Lachlan discusses trends with IABC Victoria Vice-President Monika Lancucki prior to his session:
From Lachlan’s discussion, the three big trends for communicators and research in the current environment are:
1 – The rise of DIY research tools and platforms (think Survey Monkey and other tools)
2- The increase of organisations and brands using and generating research to facilitate press releases and content
3- The use of storytelling and narrative structure to communicate research
The major take-outs from these trends and points for communicators to consider?
There is a science and art behind research
While the proliferation of new and cheap tools is decreasing the barriers of entry for DIY research, remember that these have their limitations, and due consideration needs to be given to key areas such as scales and code frames. More than that, consider including qualitative research to inform subsequent quantitative research.
Research is a key component of content marketing and communication efforts
As new media and technology (can we even call it ‘new media’ any more?) allows organisations to produce, publish and share original material, organisations are harnessing the power of research to drive home competitive advantage, news angles and exposure. Don’t forget the power of research as a weapon in your communication and marketing arsenal.
Storytelling applies to numbers and research too
Yes, you read correctly. As our attention spans get shorter and shorter in a world of increasing data, content and noise, communicators are starting to hone their skills of applying narrative structure to interweave quantitative and qualitative research in attention-grabbing stories. In his presentation, Lachlan cited Gustav Freytag’s narrative structure of exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and resolution. It’s a skill and a challenge for communicators to apply this structure to research and command attention. Will your content be able to do this?
What do you think? Is your organisation using research regularly to facilitate content for communication and marketing purposes? Do you outsource your research efforts? Do you have an in-house team to coordinate research? How do they work with stakeholders internally and externally?
I’d love to know your thoughts.