In this Master Class, you'll learn...

  • Why survey-based research is your ticket to original, long-tail content marketing programs that only you can deliver
  • The essential elements of a successful research-based content marketing project
  • How to determine the best focus for your research so your resulting content hits all the right customer (and business) buttons
  • The best ways to ask survey questions that result in interesting stories that people will actually care about
  • How to interpret survey results to find meaningful insights that you can weave into your content, campaigns, or brand messaging
  • How to publish and get the most life from your finding so you can continue to fuel your content programs (and make the most of your investment) long after your research wraps

Your content needs to do a lot these days. From cementing brand authority and customer engagement to SEO and marketing automation (never mind impressing your higher-ups), it seems the content beast always needs feeding.

But with all these content pots cooking, it can be hard to come up with new ideas that help you stand out. You need more than just a hodgepodge of tiny wins—you need a unique concept that only you can deliver (and can make a big impact on your customers and industry alike).

Enter survey-based research. It's your ticket to truly valuable content your audience will crave—the cornerstone content you need to create cohesive, long-term campaigns that build brand authority and serve up awesome assets throughout the buying process.

Join MarketingProfs for Using Research for Content and Thought Leadership, a Master Class of 15 bite-sized lessons, as instructor Michele Linn walks you through her four-step process for conducting and publishing survey-based research for content marketing and thought leadership. It's a proven process perfected during her years leading research projects at Mantis Research and Content Marketing Institute. You'll walk away knowing not just the why, but the how—and what to do next.


Complete each of the following lessons to earn your certificate of completion.

  • Survey-Based Research for Thought Leadership

    Survey-Based Research for Thought Leadership

    Research can mean different things to people. This lesson provides examples of original survey-based research to help you achieve your goals and shares why this type of content is effective.

  • Research Mindset

    Research Mindset

    This is not your typical lesson about mindset; instead, it focuses on when you should (and should not) conduct research. It also offers an overview of the IDEA model so marketers can understand the flow of the following lessons and explore a sample timeline.

  • Getting Survey Responses

    Getting Survey Responses

    Learn the Pros and Cons of three basic ways you can get people to answer your survey: asking your audience, forming a partnership, and using a panel. When you understand the difference between B2B and B2C responses, you can decide the best path forward for your survey.

  • Finding the Best Angle for Your Research

    Finding the Best Angle for Your Research

    Once you decide to conduct research, you need to determine what you want to study in alignment with your brand. This lesson walks through the three core things every great research topic has in common so you present something new and bring meaning to your audience.

  • Brainstorming Your Initial Story

    Brainstorming Your Initial Story

    One easy-to-make mistake is to ask survey questions that result in boring insights. This lesson provides a general overview of making your research more meaningful and offers specific exercises like key dimensions, potential headlines, and inventory vs. story statistics.

  • How to Use Survey Questions to Tell a Story

    How to Use Survey Questions to Tell a Story

    The best research tells a story, and properly designed survey questions ensure that you tell a story that makes your data sing and increases your reputation.

  • Writing the First Draft of Your Survey

    Writing the First Draft of Your Survey

    This lesson focuses on drafting your initial survey questions using the typical survey outline to uncover the story you want to tell. You'll see a lot of examples of questions you can ask.

  • Refining Your Survey Questions

    Refining Your Survey Questions

    Once you draft your survey, it's time to refine it so the data is as clear and credible as possible. We'll explain why you need to remove jargon, look for words that can be interpreted in different ways, use write-in questions, plan for PSA, and test your survey.

  • Fielding Your Survey

    Fielding Your Survey

    This lesson shares some high-level ideas on how to program and launch your survey, including the importance of a soft launch. You’ll also learn the basics of cleaning your data.

  • Finding the Story in Your Data

    Finding the Story in Your Data

    It’s time to dig into the data! This lesson will walk you through the basic process of analyzing the initial data, how to revisit the big picture questions, consider the result segments and how to best present your data to your team.

  • Creating Your Launch Plan

    Creating Your Launch Plan

    It's time to get your research into the hands of your ideal audience. Understand the critical elements of a basic launch plan, including deciding if/what you want to gate from your findings, choosing a key page, and determining the next steps.

  • Telling a Story in Your Research Report

    Telling a Story in Your Research Report

    A well-structured research report enables you to tell a powerful and effective story. Learn all of the aspects you need to include in your report to tell a powerful story.

  • The 5 Rs of Repurposing Your Research

    The 5 Rs of Repurposing Your Research

    The true power of doing research is not just in the data that you collect but in all of the different ways you can repurpose that data to help your audience and grow your brand recognition and authority.

  • A Case Study: How to Repurpose Your Research

    A Case Study: How to Repurpose Your Research

    A deep dive into how one report was repurposed in multiple ways by MarketingProfs to educate as well as grow brand recognition.

  • Where to Go From Here

    Where to Go From Here

    You now understand how important doing your own research is, so now what? What you should do next to get started.

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These materials aren't required to officially complete this Master Class, but they can help you more deeply understand and better implement what you learn.

    Registration required to access supplementary resources
  • Using Research -- Download | Transcripts (zip)

  • Using Research -- Download | Workbook (pdf)

  • Using Research -- Replay | Jul 13 watch party (lessons 1-6)

  • Using Research -- Replay | Jul 20 watch party (lessons 7-10)

  • Using Research -- Replay | Jul 27 watch party (lessons 11-15)


Michele Linn

Michele Linn is the founder of Mantis Research, where she helps content and community managers conduct surveys to learn about their audience and publish compelling, original research findings. Before Mantis, Michele was head of editorial at Content Marketing Institute, where she led the company's editorial strategy, helped build the 200,000+ audience, and published hundreds of articles. She has been cited as a content marketing influencer and was named one of Folio's Top Women in Media (Corporate Visionary).

Program Advisor: Jeni Maijala

Jeni Maijala is an experienced instructional designer with over 10 years of experience. It's her goal to work effectively with subject matter experts to bring their visions and learning objectives to life in training and learning. Jeni also enjoys teaching undergraduate students and training leaders in the business world.

Jeni Maijala
Sean Adams
Instructional Designer: Sean Adams

MarketingProfs Instructional Designer Sean Adams is a certified life coach, Amazon bestselling author, international speaker, former college professor, and elite communicator committed to creating world-class experiences. He's trained over 10,000 people from the stage, in-person, and online, and is committed to developing and delivering simple-to-understand and instantly usable content.