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Our predictions for 2017: Research tools and editorial techniques

Gareth Lofthouse

In this three-part series, we bring you our 12 tips for upcoming trends and topics we think will define thought leadership over the next twelve months.

Earlier this week we shared our three trends to watch in thought leadership strategy. In this post, we’ll share our observations on emerging research tools and editorial techniques. With 78% of audiences agreeing that intelligent thought leadership builds trust in the brands behind it, we know just how important it is to get this part of the process right.

Research tools and editorial techniques

4. Brands will learn new tricks from structured journalism

Championed by mainstream media, including the Washington Post and the BBC, structured journalism constructs multidimensional stories that build relationships between people, places and events. By taking a modular approach, and linking multimedia and data, it allows readers to choose the insight and information most relevant to them. For brands looking to reach a range of audiences with tailored content, this is the digital-first future of long form.
– Sean Kearns, Managing Editor

 5. Snap polls: the agile tool that will help brands shape their campaigns

In-depth surveys are great when you’re looking for deep insight on a topic, but there are times when you need a faster and simpler way to gauge opinion. A snap poll can be a quick and cost-effective alternative to other types of research. For marketers, this provides another opportunity to take the pulse on fast-moving events or issues. At FT Longitude we use polls to test which topics resonate most with C-suite audiences, in order to give marketing directors insights that help them plan their campaigns. It’s a technique that has been underused in B2B, but we expect to see it more in 2017.
– Mike Cuell, Research Director

6. Business leaders will seek a more personal connection 

It says something for the power of podcasts that Lance Armstrong chose to use this most personal medium to re-enter public life. His series of interviews for The Forward show a very different side to his personality and have been widely praised. The portability, immediacy and consistency of podcasts make them ideal for consumer audiences. But now businesses are tuning in. With limited opportunity to convince potential clients of the value of their insight, podcasts can create instant, personal connections with listeners. By presenting interesting people with interesting things to say, brands can start to build a loyal following among those who are hardest to reach. In 2017, expect more businesses to take their expert interviews off the page and into the editing suite.
– Piers Tomlinson, Group Editor

 7. Data visualisation will come of age

Brands have been striving to make their thought leadership more interactive and visually appealing for the past few years – with some faring better than others. In 2017, however, content marketers will raise their game, and we’ll see more thought leadership that truly brings data to life. Much as publishing houses are increasingly turning to data journalists, so thought leadership brands will need data-storytelling experts at their disposal as they factor this into their thinking at the outset of the campaign.
– Joe Dalton, Group Editor

Check back early next week for our final installment where we’ll be sharing our five predictions for audience engagement.

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About the author: Gareth Lofthouse

Gareth manages FT Longitude’s growing commercial team as they continue to advise some of the biggest B2B companies in the world on their thought leadership strategy. He works with clients to design thought leadership that delivers maximum commercial impact, both in terms of building client relationships and improving brand visibility.

Before joining FT Longitude, he spent nine years as editorial director for EMEA at the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). Gareth was instrumental in building the EIU’s thought leadership and survey business, and he has overseen hundreds of custom projects for the Economist’s clients across a range of industries and subject areas. Before that, Gareth led an editorial and creative team for a PR and marketing agency. He has also held several senior editorial positions in business and technology publishing.

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Our predictions for 2017: 3 trends in thought leadership strategy

Our predictions for 2017: 5 tips for engaging the audience

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