If your research technique relies on an ambiguous definition of “read a lot,” you need to level up your game.
The ambiguous read-a-lot approach envelops you in suffocating pressure. Your brain cells fail to write more than a few sentences, and you enter the rabbit hole of over-research.
Here is how to research for a blog post without going down the rabbit hole of ambiguity.
How to research for content writing:
Content within context is king. And research helps you create contextual content that generates revenue, retains customers, ROI, and more.
Let’s be honest; primary research is the easiest part. For example, if you’re writing a blog for a SaaS platform, you can access how-to guides, surveys, statistical data, and the company’s official documents.
The most haunting part is the secondary research process. Detecting fake statistics, data, and information is not a piece of cake.
Master the art of internet surfing
Everyone loves the internet. Always there. Non-discriminatory. Educational. There is always more to be discovered. But the “Art of Internet surfing” is a different ball game. Its scope is larger than Google-fu and Wikipedia’s encyclopedia.
1. If not Wikipedia, then what?
Wikipedia discourages its users from using it in academic or research settings. After all, the giant online encyclopedia is a user-generated knowledge platform.
Here are some resources you can use instead to kick-start your research:
If you are an experienced writer, you might already have a subscription to most of the names listed here. But a cluttered email box makes the task look bigger. You need a search hack that makes research for a blog post easier, relevant and specific.
2. Google Alerts
For writers, research is not a one-time thing. Thanks to advice from Belle Beth Cooper, I discovered this fun blog topic research hack. If you wish to make it a habit, try using Google Alerts.
Moreover, it makes finding new research data, statistics and quotes more manageable.
Google allows you to create alerts as per your preference. Moreover, it allows you to set the frequency of notifications. You can edit, update and delete the google alerts whenever you like.
Anyone can post online these days. How will you establish the credentials of your sources? Positioning your work with reference to other scholars does give you credibility. But is that scholar credible in its entirety? If you list down the sources mindlessly, you risk your credibility as a writer. You have to cross-examine the sources you have narrowed down to use in your writing. Be extra sure to make your research findings accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
4. Content Analysis
Google tells you what it wants; be observant. Righteous content analysis helps draft a data-driven content piece. It is a two-step process.
Step 1: Optimize the content for your readers
Start by looking at your competitors. The key is to find missing gaps. Cover everything the top results cover and add more examples, context, takeaways, and visual elements.
Step 2: Optimize the content for the search engines
There is more than one way to optimize your content for search engines.
- Maintain Keyword density
- Use evergreen URL
- Optimize the images
- Short title tags
You can use different blog topic research tools, including Ahrefs, Semrush, Yoast, and Google Keyword Planner to optimize your content for search engines.
In B2B, you can not write about a product by looking at it. Don’t force concepts down people’s throats. Instead, help them solve problems. Quit pretending to be an expert and follow the drill!
1. Talk to customers/target audience
Creating content for the target audience? Talk to them often. For example, “How do you feel about Z? How often do you use Z? Why did you choose Z over B? Make the most out of your audience research tools via:
You must consider the user’s experience and how the product’s value proposition matters to your customers. Find three customers who are using the product, interested in it or fit the criteria of the target customer. Send out surveys.
One of the popular survey tools is Google forms. It is easy to set up, and you can easily compile all the results.
One of the best practices to know what your audience is saying about your product is to go through popular social media Channels. The abyss where your audience hangs out and gives unfiltered + brutally honest feedback.
Many businesses join forum conversations across different digital platforms such as Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, etc. helps you reach out to diverse demographics.
2. Talk to the sales team
Your sales rep is the wild card entry in your research process. Depending upon the communication medium, ensure to soak in all the valuable knowledge nuggets. You can record the conversation, take screenshots, record voice notes or make quick summaries Of the priceless first-hand information, including the customer’s persona, triggers, pain points, needs, etc.
Whether the content is for top or bottom-of-the-funnel, a thorough research process helps refine content ability.
To quote @annhandley,
“Writing is NOT the foundation of good writing. It’s thinking and research.”
If your research skills are Tinker’s Dam, it reflects on your writing. No wonder Aristotle compared 158 constitutions before drafting Athen’s constitution.
We get it; research for a blog post can be addicting and frustrating. You are not Aristotle, but the silver lining is you can undoubtedly research better than him.
If you’re looking to produce content for your business that attracts customers and drives conversions, reach out to us, Contensify.