Let’s start by defining exactly what “peer review” is. It’s a process that ensures that all research is double checked, validated and the reasoning is accurate and free of any logical fallacies. If that’s a bit complicated for you, let’s just say that it sifts through your content and removes all the fluff and leaves strong, valid and accurate content. Corporate date in general (surveys, white papers, etc.) are only offered to the public after a biased review. How relevant or useful is that? And more importantly, why is that the case? Peer-review is a very time-intensive process which many companies think they can do without. There are only a few companies willing to go through the process, because they still feel it’s not worth it to them.
Hopefully, by reading the reasons below you will also be convinced that companies should always invest in peer reviews.
Reason #1: A peer review ensures that content is more reliable and credible
Taking you through a basic journey of the peer review, once a team of researchers have finished a paper (survey, white paper, etc.), it’s submitted to a journal or the like and then falls into the hands of a few other (2-3) peer experts who have the job of critiquing it. If it’s an academic journal, it goes through something called a “double blind process” whereby the reviewers and author will not be disclosed to each other. This is meant to make the review as objective and rigorous as possible. So many times reviewers who are given pieces by “important writers” or “important companies” feel weighed down with the burden and can’t take full comfort doing what they do best.
While the end product will certainly be better than the first submission, the process is a long and tedious one that needs a lot of effort, focus and attention to detail. But in the end you have an un-biased piece that adds far more credibility to content than a piece that is obviously written by a company trying to make more sales. You want to convince readers that what you’re offering benefits them. Facts and truth convinces, a one-sided argument doesn’t.
Reason #2: It ensures your content is more authentic
Obviosuly, companies decide to perform research in areas releated to their niche or industry; after all, it makes sense to give info in your niche, building trust as an expert voice in said industry. However, there’s a very small (almost invisible) line between self-promotion and offering authentically helpful content that readers find valuable and can benefit potential customers in some way. A company can’t just know about a niche; it has to offer concrete evidence to the info it claims so it can be validated by others.
Reason #3: Have a conscience. Ethics and Accuracy in Content
It’s always easy to find two sides of an argument. It’s always easy to make certain omissions from facts to suit your side of the argument. And that’s the difference between content published without a peer review and content published after a peer review.
A reviewer’s responsibility during the peer review process is to omit good information that isn’t backed up by enough science, and publish possible unfavorable results when it is backed up by data. This is offering both sides of the argument. This is showing your readers the full picture. This is, essentially, what they expect and what you should offer. Being straightforward and clear, even if it is not all positive information, doesn’t reflect badly on your company; it makes you appear like a trustworthy source.
Be transparent. Be direct. So many companies come across self-promotional these days, so it’s up to you to try and change how people view your company through a professional peer-review of your content to unsure you are not coming across biased, fake and unbelievable.