How Research-Driven Organizations Become Thought Leaders

’8 ROI-Obsessed Marketers Share Their Favorite Metric’

Yes, I hate that headline, too.

But I clicked on the underlying content (from LinkedIn)— and the list turned out to fit beautifully with the needs of research-driven institutions.

If, that is, they’re read to move past mere research communications.

The list:

  • Retention/churn rates (3 mentions);
  • Conversations with prospects (2 mentions);
  • Conversion rate;
  • Lead gen;
  • Market share; and
  • Intent data.

(If you’re wondering what “intent data” is, go here. In the research-driven space, intent data might be tracking not just the number of downloads for your research reports, but figuring out who specifically is doing that — by gating the content and getting the downloader’s email. You’re still giving your content away for free that way, you know…)

Three things hit me:

One: These metrics are ridiculously basic.

No meme tracking. The dreaded word “influencer” appears only once in the article. I expected more social listening big-agency-dependent suggestions from these eight ROI-obsessed marketers. But this is meat and potatoes stuff that any org can track.

Two: Nowhere does the phrase “media hits” appear.

Maybe because media hits are the purview of PR, not marketing.

Maybe because media hits aren’t as valuable in B2B marketing as they are for fundraising.

Maybe because media hits are now so out of your control that, while they’re still worth going after, they’re not worth obsessing over as a strategic business metric.

Three: How relevant the list is to research-driven groups — if those groups make the shift from “communicating research” to content marketing.

That is: if they think about their research content strategically. Instead of as a factory line.

Think tanks, research institutes, science-rich NGOs and universities all want bigger audiences and more prospects. So they should prioritize lead gen.

They want to know who those prospects (for partnerships, collaboration, and fundraising) might be. So: gather intent data and start having conversations with prospects who are lurking, consuming your content.

And they want to grow and retain those prospects and audiences. So: maximize conversion rate, retention, conversations with prospects, and market share.

Content marketing fuels these strategic business endeavors.

And authority content — researcher thought leadership — fuels research-driven content marketing.

It helps your organization not only get attention for its research, but build brand for its differentiated expertise.

Which grows and retains your audience. Nurtures donor prospects and partnerships. And attracts and retains new talent.

Among other nice benefits.

Are these the benefits your organization is getting from its content?

Or is it instead “communicating research”?

In which case, you’re probably fine with promoting your new paper…amidst the 2.5 million other papers that will be published this year.

Probably.