Build a Better Survey 

Get step-by-step instructions so you can launch your survey with confidence 

You likely know survey-based research for content marketing can work extremely well. 

When you uncover net new (and relentlessly helpful) insights for your audience, they will know, like and trust your brand. 

And survey-based research can be win for your content team as well. When you plan your survey thoughtfully from the beginning, you have a cornerstone piece of content that you can repurpose into an endless stream of content. 

But, original research only works well if you ask the right survey questions.

This new program will teach you how to write a survey that you can use as a jumping off point for a seemingly endless stream of meaningful content. And it will walk you through the pitfalls to avoid so you can launch with confidence.

"Original research may take 10x the effort to create, but you'll likely
see 100x the results of a typical article."

- Andy Crestodina

Andy sums up the joy and pain of survey-based research: it works incredibly well, but it also takes a significant amount of time -- and there can be a lot of unknowns. 

You may be tempted to figure it out on your own or simply "write a few survey questions and see what happens," but, unfortunately, this often results in frustration. 

I can't tell you how many marketers I have talked with who told me a similar story: "We spent all of this time developing a survey and getting responses, but we didn't learn anything interesting." 

Others ask me how to fix a research project after they realized they didn't ask the right questions. (Spoiler alert: you can't.) 

Here's the thing: Asking the right survey questions is far more difficult than it seems. But it's also very doable if you have a process to follow.

Introducing Build a Better Survey


This new program from Mantis Research shows you exactly how to build a survey that is rooted in credible data, will offer loads of stories to tell and make a big impact for you and your audience.

Step-by-step roadmap 

Watch the short, on-demand video lessons that include specific exercises that walk you through the process I use for all of my clients.


Fill out workbook as you watch the videos.  By the end, you'll have a survey that you can confidently use to get story-worthy insights.


You'll also get access to templates and swipe files you can customize to save you time. 

Here are just some of the things you'll learn: 

  • How many people need to answer your survey if you want to be seen as credible
  • How to get people to answer your survey -- and how much it will cost (if anything)
  • How to find the right research topic 
  • The 5 types of questions you can ask that will result in interesting stories (not just stats)
  • The types of questions you should avoid asking 
  • The 8-step process to writing, programming and testing your survey 
  • How long your survey should be – and a simple idea to shorten your survey if needed
  • The one thing you need to keep your survey on track 
  • The questions you should ask at the beginning of your survey 
  • 6 types of survey questions to ask (to give you better data and more interesting stories
  • (Very) common survey mistakes – with solutions for each 
  • How to find the stories in your research findings

Here’s what people are saying about working with Mantis: 

Kim Gusta

Copywriter and Owner

Incredibly Knowledgeable

Michele’s original research training program was a godsend to me when I was working with a client on my first original research project. The training is thorough and a great resource with many helpful templates and documents that saved me time over creating them myself. Michele is extremely generous with her time and incredibly knowledgeable about how to structure survey questions, best practices, and more. I highly recommend the program – you’ll be glad  you  made the investment!

David Spinks

Author and VP

True Partner

Mantis has been an absolute pleasure to work with every step of the way. Michele has been a true partner and always makes it feel like we're on a team together. The quality of research that Mantis helps us put together has helped us have a huge impact on our industry and consistently levels up our brand equity. These research projects have also been one of our most successful lead generators.

Ronnie Higgins

VP of Content 

Valuable Insight

Eventbrite has partnered with Mantis on our annual trends report for the last 3 years and couldn't be more satisfied. Mantis doesn't just help you conduct original research, they apply their extensive marketing and branding know-how to ensure you're capturing valuable, actionable insight.

An inside look: Build a Better Survey

The course is based on the IDEA model, which is the 4-step process Mantis created and uses with all of our clients to help them publish credible, compelling research that gets results.


Module 1: Course Overview 

  • Welcome
  • What to expect from this course

Module 2: Getting survey responses 

  • How to determine how many survey responses you need
  • Your 3 options for getting survey responses
  • How to estimate how it will cost to get survey responses

Module 3: Brainstorming your research topic and stories 

  • How to find or validate the topic for your research
  • 4 ways to brainstorm your story
  • 6 ways to tell a story with survey questions

Module 4: Creating the first draft of your survey (with a focus on story) 

  • Basic process for reviewing/getting feedback on your survey
  • Draft your screening questions
  • Draft your demographic and firmographic questions
  • Draft your "story questions"
  • 5 types of survey questions to ask

Module 5: Refining your survey (with a focus on quality)

  • 8 ways you may be frustrating your survey taker
  • 5 wording mistakes that can impact the validity of your data
  • How to incorporate "quality check" questions
  • How to shorten your survey (even when everyone on your team does not agree)
  • Final survey checks

Module 6: Turing your survey data into stories 

  • 5 ways to find stories in your data

About Your Course Teacher, Michele Linn

Michele Linn is the founder of Mantis Research, a consultancy focused on helping marketers publish and amplify original research.

Not only does Michele work with clients directly, but she also teaches marketers and community managers how to conduct and publish survey-based research. She's the instructor of the MarketingProfs course, "Using Research for Content Marketing and Thought Leadership" and reguarly speaks at marketing conferences.

Before starting Mantis, Michele was head of editorial at Content Marketing Institute, where she led the company's strategic editorial direction, helped build their email list to 200,000 subscribers and wrote hundreds of articles.  One of her favorite projects (and the inspiration for Mantis) was working with the research team on their annual, leading content marketing research.

She is regularly cited as a content marketing influencer and was named one of Folio's Top Women in Media (Corporate Visionary).

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