Researching for any blog, web content or social media content takes extra time and effort to root through search engines and find credible sources and data that back your claims. But it’s an extra step that will greatly improve the quality of your content. Research is a commitment to quality over quantity because both your audience and search engines favor the former over the latter. Research is incredibly important to developing quality content because it lends credibility to your content and your brand.
It’s pretty easy to tell the difference between a blog that’s well-researched and one that’s full of B.S. By including statistics, quotes, and links to credible sources in your content, you’re showing your audience that you took the time to track down the best and most accurate information for them before wrapping it all up in a neat and entertaining piece of content. For all of this hard work, your audience will trust you and turn to you as an expert in your given field.
How to Research Like a Pro
Start With an Internet Search
Fortunately, in this decade, we are lucky; we don’t have to head to a library or records office to gather the information we need to create great content. We have the internet! A search engine is the perfect place to start your research, getting a feel for the information available. Depending on your topic (mainly how broad or specific it is) your query may bring up an overwhelming amount of information, or very little. Try switching up the language you use in your search to see if you can better target the results you’re looking for. You may even add the name of a known expert source to your search to get straight to the most credible source.
Find Credible Sources
With so much information swirling around on the internet at this point, finding proven, factual sources can be difficult. Most search engines’ algorithms will favor pages that have been read and trusted by many, so some of the top results that pop up are likely good places to start.
“Credible” can be considered subjective, so it’s important to put yourself in your target audience’s shoes when selecting sources to include. What would your audience find mostcredible? Which sources are considered experts or thought leaders in the industry you’re targeting? For example, if your audience consists of doctors and nurses, citing an article from People Magazine about a new, emerging disease isn’t going to cut it because the magazine isn’t an authority in the medical world. However, directly citing a medical journal or a PDF of the study would be the way to go.
Timeliness is also an important part of credibility. If you link to another blog or study that was published 5 years ago, it’s likely to be seen as less relevant.
Government websites (they generally end in .gov) are often good bets, as well as long-established and respected news sources such as the Associated Press or the New York Times. When you’re looking for niche, industry-specific information, do your research to find out who are the trusted thought leaders in that field, and then look to them for facts or quotes that can bolster your content.
Conduct Interviews When Possible
Want to really strengthen your content? Go directly to a strong source. Interviews with real people can be incredibly valuable to your content, especially when writing a blog, press release, or putting together a video. Again, this is about finding authoritative sources to interview that will make your content more convincing.
Strong quotes can come from current customers as a testimonial, from people within your organization, industry partners, or anyone who is an expert in the particular field you’re covering. Say you’re developing a video for your new line of single-origin coffee beans. Ideal sources for featured interviews might include an owner/farmer of the coffee plantation where the beans are grown, a leader in your company who can describe the process from beginning to end, and a barista who brews your coffee in her shop.
These accounts and insights from interviewees will also give you more, credible information to work with in your content, even if it’s not directly quoted.
Cite and Link to Your Sources
Perhaps the most important step in incorporating research into your content is citing your sources. This not only helps you prevent any copyright or plagiarism issues, but it also allows you to give credit where credit is due and shows your willingness to be transparent in the research you conducted. Not to mention, you’ll be sharing with your audience other trusted sources where they can go to find out more information about a topic. These useful referrals will be greatly appreciated by those reading your content.
Now, you may have learned to cite sources while writing academic papers in school (APA, Chicago or MLA style guidelines might come to mind). But citing sources in web writing is a bit different. Common practice for written content like blogs is to include the name of the person or organization that published the content, along with a hyperlink to the original source. For example, say I wanted to highlight the CDC’s latest count of COVID-19 cases in the United States. It would look something like this:
As of March 18, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control reported a total of 29,431,658 COVID-19 cases in the United States.
Pretty simple, huh? Just make sure to add the date of publication if it’s applicable.
Research helps you build credibility and trust, and that’s why research is the key to great content. At PRIME, we place quality over quantity when it comes to the content we produce for our partners. Looking for a digital marketing partner to help you create high-quality content? Connect with us!
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