Clinically proven. Research-backed. Safe and effective.
They aren’t just catchy claims or labels on a bottle. In all likelihood, your company was founded on these statements as deeply-held principles. Maybe your organization was even built from the ground up by a passionate pioneer with an advanced degree or two.
And yet, those who hold spending power – the health care providers, the healthy-minded folks comparing your product with the next,the decision-makers at large – are all silently whispering the same thing:
Show me the data.
Readers. They’re hungry for proof.
Does your organization staff its own in-house research and testing facility, regularly publishing clinical studies? If yes, then your readers will be looking for salient data points from those studies in your blogs, newsletters, white papers and other content.
If not, you’ll want to cite reputable sources that publish evidence-based, fact-checked, peer-reviewed material. The quality assurance equivalent to your products, these sources can be found on government sites, scientific journals, scholarly articles and databases publishing clinical data.
[As always, consult with current FDA law, and in particular "Section 5" literature.]
To drive the point home: readers of your blog or newsletter aren’t reading for pleasure, but for a purpose: to fill a gap in knowledge. So when you add a healthy dose of research and attribution to your content, you're making their decision that much easier.
To that end, here are five research-based resources you can use to build brand trust:
With 165,000+ articles from authors in more than 190 countries, the Public Library of Science (PLOS) is an excellent open-access resource for peer-reviewed reporting of scientific studies from all disciplines. With a wealth of information on health and wellness, PLOS features a section dedicated to complementary medicine, and those in the fit-tech space will appreciate articles like “Adherent Use of Digital Health Trackers Is Associated with Weight Loss.”
Boasting over 11+ million researchers and 100+ million publications, ResearchGate has a mission to connect the world of science and make research open to all.
Imagine posing a question, as one user did: “What are the epigenetic consequences of maternal folic acid supplementation?” and receiving an extensive list of recommended resources. Or connecting with a researcher in Brazil whose article adds relevance and credibility to the primary ingredients in your brand’s latest product.
Search results include three tabs for publications, authors and questions related to your topic.
Whereas a search on Google will bring up a slew of websites based on keywords and SEO rankings, Google Scholar searches for peer-reviewed, evidence-based, scientific articles.
Quality results from Elsevier, Wiley, nature.com and others will turn up useful material such as this one: “Current concepts and prospects of herbal nutraceutical” from the The Journal of Advanced Pharmaceutical Technology & Research, which outlines the benefits of nutriceuticals over pharmaceuticals. Remember to hit on the basics with thoughtful answers to those common questions, too.
And, why not take a proactive approach?
The US Food and Drug Administration lists consumer updates on its Dietary Supplements page. Empowering readers to make informed decisions can only be good for your brand.
Take for example, the article “Some Imported Dietary Supplements and Nonprescription Drug Products May Harm You” and use it to educate and reassure buyers about your brand’s own stringent guidelines. Both consumer and direct-to-practitioner audiences can benefit from content that raises awareness around themes of safety.
Finally, an oldie but goodie, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) offers a number of online properties including:
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH): the Federal Government's lead agency that both funds and conducts research for complementary and integrative medicine, procedures, and practices.
The Office of Dietary Supplements (NIH ODS): providing general fact sheets on individual vitamins, minerals and other dietary supplements including a section on Botanical Dietary Supplements
PubMed: Comprising more than 26 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books, with a Dietary Supplement Subset where searches are limited to dietary supplement-related citations.
And the NIH Publications List, a searchable database that breaks down publication type by consumer, health professional, fact sheet, booklet and more.
Keep Planting Those Seeds
Citing reputable sources – not just in content marketing but via social channels – can build trust in your brand and nurture customers over the long term.
I hope these five sources serve as a useful addition to your list of research-based resources to include in your content marketing program.