Tom Webster is the VP of Strategy and Marketing at Edison Research. The company provides custom marketing research to clients, but is best known for providing US election exit poll data to major news outlets. This is a prime example where data becomes content, as the news organizations use the Edison data to tell their stories.
Data has flooded the content marketing world with the ease of online surveys and the ubiquity of infographics. Good content marketers will analyze the data correctly and provide value to their readers. Data without insight is just numbers. If content marketers want to provide decision support with their data, they must be trusted by their readers and customers.
One thing Tom and the team at Edison do is look for the “spicy meatball” within data. “You can’t just do research for research’s sake. You also have to think through what would surprise people to the positive. What, if true, would challenge conventional wisdom?”
Tom sees a renewed interest in thought leadership content that has some legs to it. “A lot of the content that we are being hired to help produce is designed to be real, flagship, pillar content and not, ‘Oh, I need a blog post.'”
The right content is important to marketers’ success. You need to always ask yourself, “Is this content that I am proud of?” I really like how Tom characterizes how we should think about content. Content needs to challenge, entertain, or come from genuine expertise. If you can hit at least one of those three every time, your content is going to resonate with your audience.
And finally, Tom advises content creators to determine what they want to be good at and to find something similar in the market. Focus on creating the best quality version of it, because you can't create more content than today's content leaders. Try to be known for something and be the master of that thing.
Watch the visual notetaking experience by Stephanie Crowley at Chrysalis Studios: