Good content is the result of good research.
You cannot deny this fact.
Research is an essential step in the content writing process.
To be exact, the content writing process begins with effective content research. It is the first step any content writer takes before actually writing down content.
Why is effective content research important?
Research decides the quality of the content you write. As a content writer, you know how important it is to write high-quality articles. And the quality of the articles is directly proportional to the time and efforts put into research.
Let’s take an example
You are looking for a certain topic on Google. You find a lot of websites that have information related to the topic you are searching for.
You choose one among the bunch of websites to read information about the topic.
While reading the article you also determine the quality of the article. If you are not satisfied with the content of the article, will you open another article from the same website sometime else?
This is what happens when you put out poor quality content, you lose your reader.
You might have observed that not all articles you read are up to mark and provide relevant information.
Behind the scene reason for this is poor research.
Poor research is reflected in the quality of content. Hence, as a content writer, you must never take research lightly.
Conducting in-depth research is the first important aspect of content writing.
What should you research?
When it comes to doing effective research, you need to focus on three main areas. Those are content research, keyword research and audience research.
A good piece of content is one that is well researched. When you do extra research on the topic you are writing, it gives you in detail understanding of the topic. Research also adds to giving new insights into an existing topic.
When you combine topic understanding and new insights, you will be able to write content that will stand out. The quality of such a piece of content will be excellent.
Keywords are the words people use while searching a certain topic on google. These are the words that will act as the bridges between your content and the reader. Even if you write the best article and are not using proper keywords, your article will die on the internet. Keyword research is a part of digital marketing more than being a part of content writing.
Hence, you need to do effective research on keywords when you write content.
You must know whom you are writing for. Only when you know your target audience you will be able to communicate effectively with your audience. For example, you will not write similar content for a 10-year-old kid and a 40-year-old man. The style, tonality and language of your content depend highly on the target audience.
Hence, you need to do effective research on your target audience as well.
In this article, I will talk more about effective content research.
Research seems easy to the ones who have not actually done it. A lot of people do suggest just Google it and your research is done. But, it is not as simple as it seems.
As a content writer, you might have faced a lot of difficulties when it comes to doing research. Especially when you have to do research on the topics you are unaware of. Your mind blasts with questions like what to write, what to search etc.
If that has happened to you, after reading the following steps and implementing them, it will not happen again.
5 steps of doing effective content research
Always have a system and framework for the way you do things. When you have a framework, your work becomes easier and your brain is not confused about what to do next.
In a similar manner, these five steps are the framework of doing effective research.
Step 1: Brainstorm
Once you know the topic you have to write content on, instead of heading straight to Google brainstorm first. You can brainstorm by both taking a pen and paper or on your screen. I prefer using a mind map for better understanding.
First, write down all the ideas, pointers that cross your brain when you think of that topic. List them down.
Let us take an example for better understanding.
Let us assume I have to write a 3000-word article on the topic of digital media.
First I will make a list of all ideas and pointers that strike my brain when I think of digital media. I will also list down all the possible headings and subheading that comes to my mind. Have a look at the below screenshot.
On the right, I have listed all the digital media and on the left all the subheading I can write about by brainstorming.
Step 2: Google
After listing down all the ideas you can come up with, the next step would be searching the topic on Google. When you Google the particular topic you can find content ideas from three different sections of the search results page.
First, you can refer to the headlines of all the articles listed on Google for your topic.
Then you can refer people also ask a section of Google for further content ideas.
Lastly, you can glance over Google auto-suggest results for extra ideas.
Combine all the ideas and points you have got in the first two steps in the mind map and then proceed to the next step.
Step 3: Simplify
Once you have got all the ideas and points on one sheet or screen start simplifying them. If you find any complex points or ideas which are a combination of two or more ideas, break them down. Make sure one point contains only one idea.
When you have two or more ideas at one point it may take extra time to research on. Always keep things as simple as possible to get the most out of them.
Step 4: Rearrange
After simplifying all the points and ideas, the next step you need to carry out is rearranging. Rearrange all the points in the order you would be writing the content. Treat each point as a subheading and rearrange them accordingly. Rearrange them in the order of what-how-why. This will give a better flow to your content.
Step 5: Draft them into an outline
Once you rearrange the points the final set of points that you see on your paper or screen are nothing but the outline of your content. You then need to decide the word count of each section which will help you reach the target word count.
You can then search for each point on Google, read various articles on those topics and write amazing content.
Precautions you need to take for effective content research
All said and done, you need to follow certain precautions when you do content research.
Check the source
Do not research and read on sources that are of low quality. Not all websites on Google have good content. You need to check the source. Always look for reputed sites when it comes to research on technical topics.
Look for multiple sources
Do not rely on one single website for your content. Search on different websites and articles for the same content. Have a look at a minimum of three to five websites.
Avoid sites with mistakes
If you find spelling and grammatical errors on any article or website then do not consider them for your research.
There is a lot of content on Google you need to ask the right questions and look at the right websites to do effective content research.
If you are still confused about how to do effective content research I would recommend you to watch the recording of the live webinar I conducted on How to do effective content research as a beginner.
Hope you found this article useful. Do comment below and let me know your views.
Thank you for reading.