This case study proves that original content, though laborious, is met with better user response than curated content.
There is often much debate between whether you should create original content or curate a diversity of content.
Many content marketers have attempted to answer this question and reach the perfect solution at discovering the content curation and creation sweet spot.
Although content curation is the most practiced method of content production by marketers, according to a report by Curata with 32 percent of marketers sharing other people’s content daily and another 32 percent sharing weekly, there can be some excellent benefits to undertaking original research.
What Is Original Research?
Original research is not the same thing as content creation, however, there are some overlapping similarities. Content creation is typically defined as owning a particular topic or subject and providing unique insight into that area. Often experts in a specific field are known for their abilities at creating content effectively.
This post would be considered a piece of “created content,” since it is an article that provides a first-hand account on a given subject. Although there is some curated content within this article, it is first and foremost an original article.
Original research, on the other hand, is typically an in-depth analysis that expands from a hypothesis or an open-ended question. What this means is that the author or researcher would compile and analyze a series data points or queries, and based off of their findings, come to some form of conclusion which would then be shared with a userbase.
Many companies produce white papers and reports that are blocked behind an email gate, for instance. The reason for this is because original research is very time-consuming, and many companies are hesitant to share the information without acquiring any tangible leads. Occasionally, some organizations will engage in original research and post it openly.
The team at Venngage recently produced an article entitled “Why You Need To Stop Obsessing Over Comments On Hacker News”. This research piece assessed the comments for some of the most successful startups that were launched on Hacker News very early on, and whether those comments were positive, neutral or negative in nature. On average the sentiment of those comments was as follows:
Based off of this analysis, the researchers were able to discern how accurate the crowd on Hacker News is at predicting the success of a new company or product.
Is It Worth the Effort?
There is no doubt that original research takes a lot of time. In fact, the Hacker News piece in question took over a month to produce. The reason being that in order to ensure accuracy, a lot of the comments had to be categorized manually.
Although the data took a long time to acquire, the content itself is so unique in nature and geared towards such a specific audience, that it is hard to ignore reading and sharing it. Developers who are frequent commenters on Hacker News became intrigued by the new insight provided, and up and coming startups became curious as to whether or not they should, in fact, worry about the opinions of commenters on the feed.
Furthermore, the SEO benefits of being one of the first to touch on a particular subject can be extremely high. Often, if you are reporting on “matters that are important or interesting” to the Google Audience (ie. most of the population that has access to a computer and the internet) there is a good chance you can get ranked as a news related piece.
This is doubly beneficial because if your content gets tagged as a news piece, it has added credibility, meaning more people will likely cite and link back to your research. As a result, you get more SEO juice from more people linking back to your writing.
What Are the First Steps?
If you are planning on conducting some original research, the first thing you need to figure out is what your angle for your research will be, and who this research is most suitable for. The second part is finding a creative way to represent this research. In the case of the Hacker News piece, simply researching the range of comments, although interesting, is not hugely captivating.
What makes the research so engaging, is understanding whether those comments are in fact capable of predicting the future of a particular company’s success. What needs to be ensured is that the angle you end up choosing has to be creative.
Portraying a comparison that results in a useful or interesting outcome should be the goal. It’s a simple A + B = C formula. Does A, a new product or company plus B, the comments of developers and tech junkies on Hacker News, result in C, a successful or failed startup?
Although committing to undertaking original research can be very time-consuming, and for many, also very daunting, the benefits are ongoing. Because the research is yours, you become an expert on the topic. Your content has a greater chance of being referenced, and thus the potential for an SEO boost also increases.
Original research is not something you need to do all of the time. Choose a time that is not as busy for you and your team if you plan on taking on a project of this nature. This way you ensure that you are fully committed to the task, and that your heart is entirely in it.