There’s a reason you can’t help but take those quizzes in lifestyle magazines, like “Which Celebrity Are You” and “What’s Your Love Language.” We love to measure ourselves up to people, find connections with others, and test our knowledge on a given subject.

Guess what we love even more? We’re dazzled when someone wants to know our opinions.

Drive Outreach and SEO With Customized Surveys

The golden combination between these two perfectly human traits can be summed up into one word: Survey.

Think about it. We live our lives around surveys. From Gallup Polls to the aforementioned lifestyle quizzes, we want to know what others think and we want to share our own opinions.

But what do those things have to do with content marketing?

Try an Alternative to Lengthy Roundups

Try a different form of outreach.

In his weekly Whiteboard Friday talk, marketing guru Rand Fishkin makes an excellent case against roundups. He points out that they’re overdone, nearly useless in terms of SEO juice, and difficult to get through.

His number-one alternative suggestion: surveys. Instead of asking a few dozen thought leaders about their opinions on one specific subject, create a series of simple questions.

This strategy offers two primary benefits:

  • Offer more actionable, useful content for the reader.
  • Publish fresh information using graphs and other visual representatives of the data.

According to Fishkin, surveys offer superior link-building potential compared to lengthy roundups, and you still get the outreach benefit for networking while creating more compelling, easy-to-digest content.

Other benefits could include earned (but free) media coverage, excellent lead generation potential, and reusable content. In fact, you could craft one blog post for every answer on your survey, breaking down the document into granular parts.

Writing for the Content Marketing Institute, content strategist Colleen Jones asserts that surveys offer the three R’s: reach, reputation, and results. Although she talks about using surveys for internal data, you can easily translate her approach to an external article.

Tell a Story

Use surveys as content marketing fodder for your blog and other web properties.

Compelling content isn’t just about data points and charts. According to Aaron Taube of Contently, the best surveys for content marketing help support a narrative.

For instance, let’s say you’re asking survey respondents about their house cleaning habits to support the blog for your house cleaning service. You could weave a narrative around the chores of housekeeping and the amount of time your average consumer spends carrying around a dust rag.

As long as the data supports your conclusion, you could leverage that data to suggest hiring a maid service, arguing that the time you save by hiring a professional to clean your home combined with the improved performance of a professional could justify the cost.

You might not know the narrative before you send out your surveys. It’s a good idea to develop a working hypothesis, but don’t marry yourself to that idea. Instead, let the data speak for itself. What does it tell you about your customers and the public at large?

Tips for Generating Good Survey Results

Some data is more relevant and insightful than others.

Collecting data for content based on survey questions doesn’t have to prove difficult, but you don’t want to take a relaxed approach. You’ll generate better content — and more link-worthy copy — if you follow these tips for creating a brilliant survey:

  • Ask one question at a time for maximum accuracy.
  • Use yes/no questions to save time.
  • Avoid asking respondents to rank long lists of qualities from one to ten.
  • Offer an incentive to convince respondents to give the survey their full attention.
  • Try to tie the survey results into a newsworthy story.
  • Frame the survey results in the context of your brand, values, and core beliefs.

Additionally, remember that your hypothesis might change once you get the survey results. Perhaps you thought one thing, but your respondents reveal something else entirely.

Don’t make the result fit your original hypothesis. Instead, change direction and let your content fit the data.

We love using hard data to create compelling content. If you’re interested in taking advantage of this type of content, we’re here to help you craft the perfect content marketing campaign. Get a free trial to find out what Media Shower’s ideators, writers, and editors can do for your business.