An effective but not often enough used way to raise your profile and enhance your industry stature in your niche is to publish insightful and valuable content. One of the best ways to do that is with a white paper based on a survey that you conduct. This can help you garner more visibility, and likely even free media coverage. You can easily establish yourself as a thought leader by publishing the results of an industry survey in a white paper.

Online surveys have become a more affordable alternative to using market research firms. Anyone can conduct an online survey with tools such as Survey Monkey. You can use these opinions and insights and turn them into a formatted white paper.

White papers are a way to create insightful content that delivers actual value, which must be informative and well-researched – the resulting data from your survey can help you accomplish that. A white paper is not an ad for your business, rather it is an opportunity to create content showcasing your expertise and insight that will help your readers. In return, they may buy from you later. First give them something of value such as survey results with useful tips and information.

The results of your survey will be full of useful information that can be turned into many different forms of content – as long as you ask the right questions and you don’t make the survey too long. The accompanying white paper will enable you to share in-depth insights about the chosen topic and showcase the survey results, along with highlights from respondents and interesting statistics gleaned from the survey.

A white paper can be used for one or more of the following purposes:

  • Generating leads by requiring someone provide their email address in order to access the content.
  • Building trust by solving a problem or offering useful information on a particular topic.
  • Increasing revenue by using data-driven content to influence buying behavior.

When thinking of a topic for your survey and resulting white paper, consider the following:

  • What questions do your clients often ask you about a specific aspect of your business?
  • Where are the opportunities in your field? What brings in the most revenue?
  • Are there aspects of your industry with little content or information on it available online?
  • What insights do you think would be of value to share with your industry?
  • Is there a specific aspect of your industry that you would be best suited on which you could analyze and share your findings?

Check out other content that’s already published on your topic, which may help you uncover insights as well as content gaps, which you can address in your white paper , which should include subheadings to break up the content and helps with information retention and research purposes.

In addition to asking multiple choice questions in your survey, also leave room for respondents to fill in their own answers, or qualitative data. This type of data is helpful because it enables you to ask survey respondents directly what’s most important to them and for them to answer those questions in their own words. In some of the surveys I’ve conducted, the most eye-opening and interesting insights came from these open-ended responses.

The survey results can also be repurposed into blog posts, long-form articles, a webinar series, multiple social media posts, an infographic and more.

It’s important to remember to ensure you survey enough respondents so the results are credible. You can do this by promoting the survey on social media and sending out several emails to encourage participation. You may also want to offer incentives for taking the survey such as a Starbucks gift card.

Another idea to increase survey participation is to partner with a prominent trade association or other organization in your industry to promote the survey and white paper and also to gain access to their mailing list and build credibility for the survey.

By creating your own research and publicizing the results as a white paper, you are in essence becoming the trusted news source on the pulse of your industry, which will enhance your brand and give you more visibility.

White papers are great tools for generating credibility. Just ensure that it provides enough value so that you create natural and subtle interest in your services.

Creating thought leadership like this where you are the resource is a great investment in your brand and business and can be repurposed into many different content types over a long period of time. It’s well worth the time and effort!

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