“Na’im, my client rejected my article again. He said it was too shallow. But I made sure my grammar was intact, and the article was engaging,” she said. I looked at the article and told her to apologize to the client for wasting his time. Listen. Perfect grammatical usage with engaging delivery and sound knowledge of SEO is not enough to deliver an article everyone wants to read. Those are ingredients to engage readers and rank the blog but not enough to provide the valuable content a reader needs. Hence, here is a guide on embarking on excellent content research.
It is not enough to go online, copy the articles in the five first websites on the topic, and rewrite. Content writing is more than this if you want to be among the most respected writers. Additionally, if you want your article to rank on Google, you need to approach content research differently. Otherwise, the article will pretty much sit there on your website except for a few clicks you get from friends on social media.
Strong content research, following an ideal process, will help you find out what people want to read and how best to put your thoughts together to make the writing process easier, among other benefits. Below is a list of techniques you must use for excellent content research.
For excellent content research, understand your target audience
The arguably most important part of an excellent content research process is understanding the target audience. Your content must speak to them, including their goals, desires, pain points, and frustrations. Understanding audience include
- Check what your competitors do: your competitor analysis will allow you to know what your competitors do and what should be improved, which you can pick and do better. From there, you will understand how they target the audience and what the audience wants.
- Audience feedback, engagements, and comments: Keep a tab on what your audience says about your products or services through online forms. Additionally, their engagements and comments on social media and blogs, and customer support spaces can help you understand them better.
- Buyer personas: you can create an avatar and answer the characteristics of the avatar to understand your audience. For instance, answering questions about the demography, interest, and pain of your avatar will ensure you know who your audience is. You can use HubSpot to understand the buyer personas.
Google search is not new to you. Apart from millions of results that Google will provide for your search phrase, here are additional features for using Google.
- Autocomplete predictions: this will bring high-value long-tail keywords around your search phrase. The benefit here is how it helps marketers understand the search volume around the search intent.
- Paid search ads: it is normal for many content writers to skip the ads your search query brought as many believe they lack the substance needed to write engaging content. However, the search query returning ads shows there is business intent in the keyword you search for.
- Leverage and compete with content on the front page: by reading through the top-ranking articles on your keyword, you will have an idea of what they are doing right and how you can beat them.
Head to Question DB, Answer The Pubic, and Buzzsumo.
These three tools will help you get additional insights on your search phrase, including getting new topics. They are freemium platforms that help you generate new topic ideas, top-shared content, and what is trendy. Buzzsumo, in particular, will help you discover the best content and how viral it will go across social media.
Quora, Reddit, and Nairaland should be your friends
These three platforms can help you get an insight into a topic you plan to write about. These fora are platforms dedicated to answering people’s questions. So if you are looking for different opinions about a topic, you should not sleep on these platforms. Quora, for instance, has over 400 000 topics right now, and it is hard not to find content that can fit into your articles. However, beware of using personal opinions as facts.
Use the infographics search engine
Many content marketers are unaware that there is a search engine specifically meant to find infographics – Infographiqs. Enter your topic title or keyword to see the numerous infographics you can cite and attach to your content.
Use Linkedin for excellent content research
Linkedin is a professional platform and an excellent research resource for marketers and content writers. Expert opinions and thought leadership articles abound on Linkedin. Simply sign up and use the content suggestion feature on the LinkedIn homepage to discover content worthy of your article.
Your competitor’s content is an excellent content research tool
You can discover a lot from the top-ranking articles for the keyword you are writing. You don’t need to copy their strategy; analyze the content to write something better. The content length, keywords placement, delivery voice, statistics, and facts are some benefits you can derive from your competitors. Copying your competitor’s content is frowned upon by Google, but you can rewrite it to make it unique.
Dig deeper – get sleuth
Sleuthing is different from research – you can research easily through Google search but sleuthing involves finding what is hidden. Many times, Google or other search engines will not bring the result you expect. Be calm; get deeper. As always said, Googling is a standalone skill. So, here is how to sleuth.
- Ask a simple query: let’s assume you want to find out if dexamethasone or streptozotocin is the better way to induce diabetes in rats and with a combination of which diet. It is normal to doubt if Google will return anything worthwhile. Still, ask Google simple questions Google directly. This is because you might think there is no comparative study, and finding it may save you time.
- Refine your question: If the expected answer is unavailable, it is time to ask the question by playing with words. You can go with something like
- Is dexamethasone better than streptozotocin for diabetes?
- Between dexamethasone and streptozotocin, which one induces diabetes faster?
- Is streptozotocin an alternative to dexamethasone in the induction of diabetes?
- What are the complications of dexamethasone and streptozotocin in the induction of diabetes?
Going this way will give you results that are closer to your answer than the initial simple search
- Ask questions about your search term: sometimes, you still find it challenging to come up with accurate information about the search terms. You don’t need to give up. Think of something related closer to your search term. Like
- The best methods to induce diabetes
- Which diabetes model has the slightest complications and mortality rates?
- Use keyword research tools: by viewing related keywords to your search term, you may find ways to reconstruct your sentence and get the best out of Google concerning the search phrase.
Get information from reputable sources
False information after publishing your content will reduce your credibility, while before publishing frustrates you as you try to correct them. Hence, it is pertinent to streamline your research to get a good view of the topic and assurance of disseminating the correct information. Here are ways to get quality information.
- Google advanced search: instead of searching your topic directly that may spring up much-falsified information, advanced search often brings data from trusted platforms mostly. You can search .edu, .gov., .org, and include PDF in your search intent to get scientific, government, and organizational studies and statistics about your topic.
- Ideas from recent news articles: if you are writing about breaking news or current event, news articles can give you deeper insight into the topic.
- Avoid sites that are laden with errors: if a site is laden with grammatical blunders and others, what is the assurance of getting quality information from them?
Get inspiration from dedicated sites
There are numerous websites to get ideas from, which can help you craft good content. These sights don’t directly indicate viral posts but checking them can help you get others’ opinions, find content sources, and share data.
- Visually houses a community where people create content. You will get numerous content you search for here.
- TredHunter has archived creative ideas for products, marketing campaigns, creative campaigns, and advertising. You will get a plethora of content ideas and information with broad searches.
- Niice is a mood board app that houses a searchable archive of beautiful design inspiration
- Pinterest is a tool to discover numerous outstanding pieces and pictures around your search on Google.
Excellent content research is not that difficult; analyzing keywords and competitors’’ sites is the beginning, followed by understanding how to use Google and dedicated websites. Click here to read more from us