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Effective Research – Things to Think About Before You Write Your Blog Post

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    Over-researching is undoubtedly one of the biggest pitfalls when it comes to writing blog posts. Most marketing professionals and writers often research more than is necessary – cutting into valuable time and money. Half the time it happens, you won’t even notice you’re doing it either and before you realise hours have passed.

    When you consume oodles of information online, blogs, articles and various types of content it’s very easy to just get lost. Throughout all this scanning and browsing most tend to end up with the one result – more ideas than you need and the original intention of the article is far from gone. So how do you research – effectively?

    A recent article on Search Engine Journal nails it on the head. The article identifies the problem with research and provides a simple solution to ensure you’re not getting lost in the oodles of information. It’s referred to as “The Big 3”and analyses the top three Google search engine results for your related keywords or topic theme. From this, you’re provided with the following information:

    1. Whether your blog post idea has been done before: Is it a super popular niche that’s exploding with closely related content or is Google struggling to find anything for it?
    2. Whether your blog post idea has been done well: Just because a topic has been covered over again, it doesn’t mean it’s been done successfully.
    3. Whether your blog post idea has been done thoroughly: Is there enough detail in the points? What fresh information can you bring to the table?

    By refining your research process to this simplified approach, you eliminate the risk of over-researching and can potentially gain a new insight into future blog topic ideas to add to your content calendar. Here a few essential things to think about before you write your next blog post.

    1. Keep Your Research Time Limited – Quality over Quantity

    Based on “The Big 3” theory covered in the SEJ article, the research time for your chosen blog topic should be fairly short. For most instances, an hour of research should be more than sufficient – providing you’ve done it effectively! After this, you should allow 30 minutes to brainstorm sub heading ideas, collect your thoughts and structure the blog post.

    From an interview perspective, it should only take 20-30 minutes to conduct a successful one if you have the right questions. Researching your subject online before you conduct the interview though is vital.

    The problem with most ‘bad’ research is you won’t even use half of what you found. That, in itself, is painstaking news! Thus, quality over quantity (time) is imperative.

    2. Get Creative with Searches

    The most common way to search for your blog post idea is through common search – namely, Google. It’s quick, easy and definitely effective. But it doesn’t mean you have to stop there. After you have started your key research with “The Big 3” theory discussed in the SEJ article, use search specific resources to broaden your results.

    Google Trends and Google Public Data are both free services that provide a creative way to search for information. Google Trends focuses on what search activity is currently trending worldwide and can be useful as a starting point for a blog topic idea too. Here, you’ll have access to charts, maps, statistics and other cool tools. Google Public Data is ideal for statistic research and provides a large selection of public-interest databases to explore and back up your initial research.

    3. Understand the Research, and learn to interpret it

    For most, the problem with researching for blog posts lies in the research itself as mentioned above. Over-researching is all too common and even I can admit I can be guilty of this. The idea behind “The Big 3” theory is able to strip this back and limit the time you need to take, into something that’s much more effective. All this great research means nothing though if you’re not able to understand or interpret it successfully.

    There is nothing more frustrating from a reader’s perspective than being bombarded with a promising title and complicated data that just isn’t in your language. From a writer’s perspective, you may be all too familiar with the industry you’re writing about an easily assume your reader ‘gets it’. Simply put – don’t assume.

    The information you find needs to be explained simply and translated into ‘human’ language. Blog posts loaded with jargon and dry numbers doesn’t resonate with everyone so you need to be able to provide an insight into the research that’s easily digestible. If you can’t warp your head around the research, chances are, you won’t be able to explain it to your reader.

    Takeaway Result

    Effective research provides interesting content. It cuts back on time, costs and creative energy to help you produce something that is refreshing and informative.

    • Follow “The Big 3” analysis to narrow your search down and increase research quality.
    • Don’t be afraid to get creative and broaden your search options.
    • Gain adequate insight into the topic so you understand it enough to interpret it in a way readers can resonate with.

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