One of the most important aspects of writing blogs actually isn’t the writing. It’s the preparation.
When you go to write a piece, you first want to become the world’s foremost expert on the topic.
Just kidding. Actually, the main thing is that you understand the topic so that you can talk from an authoritative perspective – and that means using ideas that are discussed and posed by key influencers.Understand the topic so that you can talk from an authoritative perspectiveClick To Tweet
Research – the Centerpiece of Powerful Content
Through Steady Demand and other companies, I have written from industries ranging from law to web hosting, from multidisciplinary pain management to interior design, from real estate to executive coaching, from e-commerce to nonprofit.
How? The real truth is that your best friend when you want to spread your brand message on the Internet is right in front of your eyes: It is the Internet itself.
Clearly, you should be able to find authoritative content on the Internet. Those resources – articles and blogs from those who came before you – have risen to the top of Google (or whatever search engine), in part, because they contain helpful information that is in many cases from a credible source.
6 tips to Research a Content Writing Piece
How do you sound like an expert? By going where the experts are. They are on the Internet, in the top results for your topic. Here are some specific tips for doing content research like a pro.
1. Look it up.
Take the title for your piece (which you have perhaps optimized via the CoSchedule Headline Analyzer) and copy-paste it directly into the Google search bar.
2. Throw out competitive sources.
Now, this may sound simple, but it’s actually the most important part from a business perspective. You want to research ideas, but you never want to do that at the expense of promoting your competition.
3. Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.
Really, what did the baby do to you? What are you, a monster? Only a monster would toss aside an article on Forbes that just happens to be written by a guy who works for a competitor in your industry. Summarize them and quote them. You don’t necessarily want to link them (there’s a real gray area here), but it can’t hurt to mention thoughts from others in your industry – even if they’re cited to “[name of individual] in Forbes.”
4. Research the research.
You want your content to have real value? Then get away from the surface. Drill down. Keep in mind that you aren’t just looking for things to make your point – after all, you aren’t making a point by referencing bogus data other than that you conduct sloppy research.
Internet Fact: “The brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than the time it takes for the brain to decode text.” – HubSpot
Real Fact: “Yet all over the internet, this pseudofact is asserted as a truth, ‘research says 60,000 times faster’ said enough times makes it– truthy?.” – CogDogBlog
My point here is that it won’t make your business look more impressive to repeat nonsense information just because it surprises people, advances the thesis of your piece, and/or sells something – in this case, video content.
5. Truth is stranger than fiction.
What if, instead of repeating any unfounded data that is floating around, you instead found the truly compelling study that people should be discussing instead of the smoke and mirrors?
After all, the 60,000 times thing may be concocted by a disgruntled 3M marketing intern (3M marketing material is often cited as the source), but that doesn’t mean the way our brains process visual information isn’t, well, amazingly fast – which is the point you’re trying to make, after all.
6. Stick to the point.
I don’t always think it’s a good idea to get to the point. I often write introductions that talk about meaningful, 10,000-foot information: industry growth statistics or general overview information on the topic.
However, once you get to the point, stay there. Don’t worry about expounding your own perspective. Yes, that can be useful. But, it can help you to stick to the point by following the train of thought of other experts, drawing from multiple sources.
Hopefully, those above ideas give you a better sense of how to smartly research your content. Beyond these tips, would you like help improving your blogs and social media?
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