Before you dive in and start writing your blog post, it's essential to conduct some kind of research. Even if you think you know your topic like the back of your hand, there are still some pieces that you might be missing. Research also helps you to find credible statistics, information, and points that help to bolster your point of view.
In addition, crediting credible sources in your blog posts can help with your SEO. Google knows and recognizes outbound links to popular websites. If you're linking to websites that the search engines understand to be high-quality, credible resources, it's going to in turn make your website seem more credible and rank higher in search results.
Win-win, right? You get quality information to help you write your article, and when you link to these sources, you're helping to position your blog as an expert. In order to really wow your audience with your research and quality sources, here are our top 3 research tips.
1. Take diligent notes.
Before you start writing, you should create an outline with all of your main points and ideas. While doing your research, take notes and create bullets under the pertinent subheading. Use a software like Evernote or Google Docs to pull quotes, tidbits, and stats off the internet, making sure that you source each one properly.
When taking notes, be sure to include down from your research, be sure to include these essential items so you know where all of your information is coming from:
- Blog post title
- Link to article
- Information you want to source in your blog post (paragraph, quote, statistic, image, etc.)
This way, you'll keep all of your research organized and you won't be in danger of any copyright infringement when you accidentally quote an article without sourcing it because you couldn't remember where you found the information.
2. Read articles similar to the one you're writing.
There are a few reasons for doing this. For one, it helps to validate your idea by seeing that there is content similar to yours out there. Does it mean that your topic is trash simply because other blogs and writers have already covered it?
No, not even a little bit. Pretty much any topic, any news story, any question you could have about something has already been written about multiple times. And this is a good thing. It helps to bolster your idea, it offers different points of conversation around the same idea, and it proves that your website is legit when you're covering the same topics as much larger blogs and websites.
Where do you find these articles?
Try checking out your competitors' websites and blogs to see if they've written on this topic before. When you do so, look at what you can do to improve your content. Include better sources, write more quality content, make your blog post longer so that you include more valuable information than your competitors.
Popular sites in your niche
These are going to be the best sites to find sources from. These types of websites spend hours doing their research, have direct links to studies and other quality information, and are your best bet for finding the most accurate information available.
If you find a popular blog in your niche with a blog post similar to the one you're writing, dive deep into it to check out all of their outbound links, sources, and information.
Social media conversations
Search for keywords and hashtags on the most popular social media sites to see if you can find user-generated conversations about your topic. Embedding tweets or taking screenshots of social media posts can help to support your idea and bring in even more points of view.
3. Find content extras to include in your blog post.
There are so many different types of content out there. So much more than a regular blog post or website article. So when you're doing your research, look for all of the different types of content you can use to support your argument.
Each of these types of content are readily available on the web, so long as you properly source them. Include a backlink to the source of the content in your blog post so that readers can easily find it.
By using each of these research methods effectively, taking diligent notes, and bolstering your argument with content extras, you're sure to wow your audience with your sources and research.
To learn more, check out our white paper, "What is a Digital Content Strategy? And Why It's So Important."