The key to exceptional content creation is research. Yes, you read that correctly. And, yes, I know you’re already asking if I couldn’t come up with a more boring subject to write about.
The answer to that burning question is, of course I can. In fact, I bore myself to tears all the time. But I’ll say the same thing to you that I say to myself all the time… “too bad!”
To be perfectly honest, I find the thought of doing some research on a topic tedious and annoying and I put it off as long as possible. Then, when I’ve gotten all the information I need, I couldn’t be happier.
Why is that? It’s because, as much as I know about starting an online business and marketing, I’ve learned even more; there’s always something more to learn.
It’s information I can pass on to you in these articles and in my eCourses. The more I know, the more you know.
All of this is my way of stressing the importance of doing your research if you want to create exceptional content. You hear it all the time… “Content is king.” But that’s not entirely accurate.
Well-researched, exceptional content does reign supreme. Bad content, on the other hand, is just that; bad content, regardless of the format.
Whether someone is looking to buy something, is looking for specific information, or just wants to be entertained, good content will help them!
As an online marketer, your business will start with a good content strategy. And at the core of that strategy is the research.
If you have trouble coming up with article/blog post ideas, the Content Creation Formula is just what you need.
Why Good Research Matters
Good research matters for a number of reasons, not the least of which is to establish a solid reputation as an authority in your niche. With the overwhelming amount of information available on the Internet, it’s imperative that you stay ahead of the competition.
If you create an infographic, for example, and include statistical information that is erroneous and outdated, would you really expect anyone to take you seriously? Your readers are not only more demanding and more discerning, but they have lots of choices. They probably won’t give you or your website a second thought… ever.
How about you? How do you feel when you come across information you are seeking only to discover you wasted your time on drivel that contains factual errors, inconsistencies, or grammatical mistakes?
If you don’t like it very much, then it’s a good bet your readers won’t either. If you don’t want to be guilty of passing on bad information, it would behoove you to do your research carefully; then check it again.
It’s important to create content that you want to read and share. But you must also make sure it’s right for your audience. That’s why it’s important to research carefully before you create any type of content.
Don’t provide mediocre, lackluster, or poorly written content and expect your readers to say thank you. Additionally, consumers today are somewhat sophisticated and just won’t stand for the bland. Your final product must be well-researched and exceptional… period.
Research Your Market to Understand Your Audience
Anticipating exactly what kind of content your audience is most interested in is difficult to do without first conducting market research. As stated above, the key is to research potential content before you write it, and there are a few ways to accomplish that quickly and easily.
The first easy way is to evaluate social media, like Facebook or Twitter. Look for articles or other types of content that receive a high number of likes, retweets and shares. That’s a clear indication that the content being shared is in demand by your target audience.
Makes sense, right?
At the same time, you can also keep tabs on the type of content that has very few likes and shares. Try to determine why the content performed so poorly. With this analysis, you can then make decisions regarding your content creation strategy based on the formats proven to be successful.
Look for the differences between poorly received content and information that generated a positive response from your target audience. Quite often it is about the type of content itself.
Social media provides you with a clear and concise snapshot of content that is widely distributed and content that is stale… no retweets or limited sharing. This makes it easy for you to create content based on the formats proven to be successful.
This type of market research is how you determine what your prospective audience will find engaging. This is how you discover what kind of content truly reaches out to them and pulls them in.
Comments & Feedback
Another way to research what people are looking for is to explore the comments pertaining to an article on popular websites and blogs in your market. Of course, you want to include Facebook comments as well.
This type of direct feedback can be an absolute goldmine of information and ideas. The comments will help to shape the type of content you decide to create for your audience.
For example, a comment on an article might say something like:
“Great article, but you didn’t mention what qualifications one might need. Is a degree required, or would a certificate be enough to land a job in this field?”
This would tell you exactly what information you might want to include in your own article on the same subject. Now you would make sure you hit all the points a reader expects to see and be most interested in.
This is especially true if you see the same type of comments multiple times. Take note of how often a particular question is asked or comment made about something that is lacking. This will make it easier for you to craft compelling articles that answer burning questions in your market.
Study your competitors’ content. Focus on the comments it receives and the level of distribution it gets through sharing on social media. In that way you will get a better understanding about the type of content that will appeal to your audience.
Additional Benefits of Conducting Research
Well, you now know why you need to conduct research prior to creating your content. But that’s just part of the story. Sure, you create better content, content that your audience will devour.
But what else does it do for you? Let’s briefly explore a few benefits that will surely help you as you grow your business.
Research Helps You Become a True Expert
Only by conducting in-depth research will you truly become an expert. When someone tells you that you only need to copy and paste some piece of content and you’ll be seen as an expert is blowing smoke.
Doing your research and learning the topic well will not only help you be seen as an expert; it will help you actually become an expert. You will most certainly gain confidence as you gain knowledge about the topic you are creating content around.
As you can see doing proper research is a win-win situation. You become a true expert, and you help others as a result!
Research Makes You Focus
Understanding your audience is your first step. When you know exactly what your potential customers are really seeking, you can then address those very specific needs.
By focusing with laser-targeted intensity and really drilling down to just what your market is looking for, you remove a lot of clutter and instantly make your research easier.
For example, if you decide you want to write about Internet marketing and begin your research, it will quickly turn into a nightmare. Internet marketing is a huge topic that includes all the methods of marketing online.
You’ll be researching for the next 10 years if you don’t narrow your focus to one particular aspect of marketing.
These are examples of specific topics you can focus on:
1. Top 10 Tools for Creating Videos
2. What Makes a Good Blog Post?
3. How to Build a List of Loyal Buyers
4. How to Create Share-Worthy Content
Like I said, Internet marketing a huge topic and you need to narrow your focus. Once you make the decision on what topic you want to cover, then your research becomes easier and manageable.
Research Makes You Faster
An additional benefit of narrowing your focus during the research stage of content creation is speed. As is the case in many instances, the easier a task becomes, the faster it can be accomplished.
Since you are spending less time researching a massive marketplace, you become an authority in a smaller niche much more rapidly, giving you more time to actually work on product development.
Tools to Organize Your Research
You might wonder why a section on organizing your research is necessary. The answer is simple. Once you delve deeper into creating your content, you’re going to find that you come up with ideas and new research sources quicker than you can keep up with them! This is why it’s crucial to stay organized.
If you can efficiently research and organize your information, you can establish and maintain a position as an authority figure in your marketplace. And the wonderful technologies available to the online marketer today make organizing your research simple, speedy and available anywhere there is an Internet connection.
Many of the popular applications that marketers use to stay organized online offer true mobile access from virtually any location, for your smartphone, mobile PC or tablet, or the nearest desktop computer.
Here are a few you could look at to see if they will help you.
Download page: https://evernote.com/evernote/
Evernote is a great tool for organizing your research. You set up projects and clip your research to each project accordingly. Imagine a virtual filing cabinet that you can access any time day or night.
Free downloads are offered for both Mac and PC, and multiple mobile operating systems like Android and iOS. You can then download data, information and media into your Evernote account from any device with an Internet connection.
Download page: http://www.instapaper.com/
Instapaper is another free application which allows you to turn web content, including blog posts, e-mails, articles and videos, into a text-based reading experience. This application requires no download. It allows you to simply save content that you see throughout your busy day for access later.
You just click a button in your browser on your PC, or choose “send to Instapaper” on your mobile device or smartphone. A big part of the popularity here is the extremely simple and uncluttered user interface.
Download page: https://www.onenote.com/download
If you have Microsoft Office, then look no further. OneNote is an excellent tool for managing your research. Not only that but you can write/edit your articles right into the tool.
Of course, there are more tools available. Just do a Google search for organization or productivity apps and you’ll find many more, both free and paid solutions. The key is finding a tool that works for you. And, yes, it will take time to get used to using a tool and establishing a system, but once you get over that hurdle you’ll save hours!
Whew! Well, since you’ve gotten this far I guess it wasn’t so bad. At least you know more about the importance of solid research and how it will help your credibility and increase your own wealth of knowledge.
Becoming an authority in your niche, learning to focus on what your readers really want, performing your research and content creation more quickly; these are attributes and skills that will benefit your overall business for many years.