Why create research reports?
Research reports can support advocacy, thought leadership, branding and marketing.
Whether its purpose is for market research, industry analysis, or academic papers, a well-crafted research report can be an influential tool for your organisation.
In an era of information overload, these documents can provide clear, useful and up-to-date information for the audience about a topic relevant to them. Ideally, in addition to the research, the report can weave in analysis, helping the audience to understand the how and why of a topic.
Working with some of Australia’s leading organisations, I’ve researched and drafted research reports covering topics such as corporate action on climate change, emerging requirements for directors, health disparities in regional areas of Australia, and localising a global cybersecurity survey of executives and directors.
Researching a corporate report
An effective research report uses a combination of existing sources and new content. It must be evidence-based, and use only reputable primary sources, such as national and international reports, industry reports or academic papers.
In addition, it is great to have surveys and interviews to provide insights and colour to the data. These can also be the basis of subsequent media releases and news coverage.
For example, a report about opportunities in Brisbane ahead of the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games benefits from insights from local leaders. For this report for RSM Australia, we interviewed internal subject matter experts and city champions including “Mao’s Last Dancer” Li Cunxin, businesswoman Lady Jane Edwards, The University of Queensland’s Andrew Flannery, Flight Centre Chair Gary Smith, and Springfield Land Corporation’s Narendran Sinnathamby. These interviews gave us new ideas as well as interesting anecdotes and real-life experiences to pepper throughout the report.
Clear writing and language for reports
Maintain a clear, concise, and professional writing style. Avoid jargon or technical language unless the report’s audience is familiar with it, and it is the only way to explain the topic.
Use proper grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure for clarity.
Visual aids such as charts, tables, quotes, graphs and breakouts can also make it easier on the reader.
Reporting for purpose
Effective report writing can help to position an organisation as a leader in its field, offering insights, information and credibility in the market.
Producing high-quality, relevant thought leadership content will increase a company’s visibility, especially when it is promoted through media and other external channels. This can lead to increased brand recognition, making the company top-of-mind for clients or government.
Thought leaders often have the opportunity to shape industry standards and policies through their advocacy. By being at the forefront of discussions and debates, a company can play a crucial role in shaping the direction of its industry.
Types of corporate research reports
A thought leadership report or a white paper is a comprehensive document that provides in-depth insights, analysis, and expert perspectives on a specific topic or industry. It is typically authored or ghost-written by a subject matter expert, or a company with extensive knowledge and experience in the field.
These types of documents can demonstrate expertise, establish credibility, and provide valuable information to a target audience. They can also be a useful tool as the basis for a news story in public relations.
Industry reports are used by businesses to explain their industry or sector, and highlight areas of need or interest. These reports delve into subjects such as trends and changes over time, consumer preferences and the future outlook. These are also important to be seen as a leader in the field and for future news stories.