7 Content Research Tips for Improving Your Writing

The 2022 Workplace Learning Trends Report found that business writing is among the top five surging communication and teamwork skills compared from 2017 to 2021, with a percentage growth rate of 415%.

Good writing begins with great research. So, we asked content writers, marketing professionals, and business leaders for their best insights. 

It’s time to advance your content marketing strategy. Here are 7 content research tips to improve your writing.

What is Content Research?

Content research is the systematic exploration and analysis of information, data, and sources to gather insights essential for creating valuable and engaging content. It involves understanding audience needs, industry trends, and relevant information to craft compelling and informative content pieces.

In content marketing, research serves as the foundation for producing high-quality content that resonates with the target audience. It helps in identifying key topics, uncovering unique perspectives, and ensuring that the content is both relevant and authoritative. Conducting thorough content research allows content creators to tailor their messaging effectively and create content that stands out in a competitive landscape.

Why is Content Research Important?

Content research is important because it helps you understand your audience and create content that is relevant, useful, and valuable to them.

Here are some specific reasons why content research is important in content marketing:

Targeted messaging: Content research helps you understand the needs, interests, and pain points of your target audience. That way, you create content that speaks directly to them and addresses their specific concerns, using specific keyword ideas.

Relevance: By understanding what your audience is interested in, you can create high-quality content that is relevant to them and more likely to hold their attention. Plus, it’ll upgrade your content strategy and content research process, while making it easier for search engines to find your content pieces.

Authority: Content research helps you stay up-to-date on industry trends and best practices. You can position yourself as an authority in your field and build credibility with your audience. This is important part of content analysis with the content creation process as you improve your content marketing efforts.

Efficiency: By conducting content research upfront, you can save time and resources by creating content that is more likely to resonate with your audience and achieve your marketing goals. You’ll also be more efficient in selecting the types of content you publish, gaining valuable insights for your team.

Content Research Tips for Improving Your Writing

1. Discover What Your Competitors Overlooked

Before writing any piece of content, I do a quick Google search to see who else is talking about the content topic. I see what areas I can expand on and what aspects my competitors overlooked.

By expanding on pre-existing information and providing new takes on the content topic as well, I can ensure anyone who finds my content will leave with valuable information they can’t find elsewhere.

Marissa Pane, Online Marketing Strategist, Pane Marketing

2. Explore Different Sources

When you’re researching a topic, it can be easy to get bogged down in surface-level information. But if you want your content to truly stand out, you need to go beyond the basics. If you usually rely on Google searches and articles from well-known publications, try venturing into uncharted territory.

Check out some lesser-known websites, explore different databases, or even visit the library. By shaking things up, you might just find the perfect piece of information — or outside inspiration that may take your content to the next level.

Danielle Bedford, Head of Marketing, Coople

3. Leverage Reddit Tools for Insights

Whenever I’m writing content, I tend to analyze the relevant subreddits using tools such as SubReddit Stats or the Anvaka Github tool. These tools tell me what’s popular in the subreddits, which keywords are most frequently used, and the growth of the subreddit.

I’ve been able to reference unique data many times in my content by simply exploring what’s trending on Reddit.

– Luciano Viterale, Co-founder, Luciano Viterale Consulting

4. Set Up Google Alerts for Industry Trends

By staying up-to-date on what’s happening in your industry, you’ll be able to create content that is both topical and relevant to your audience. You can keep your finger on the pulse by setting up Google Alerts for key terms, subscribing to relevant RSS feeds, and following industry leaders on social media.

Thomas Curry, Content Management Specialist, Moving Feedback

Let’s take a brief break to learn how to research a blog post to create awesome content.

5. Survey Your Audience

Conduct surveys on different social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter. Or, wherever your target audience hangs out. For this deep survey, you can even use tools like PollDaddy. 

To make your surveys super-effective, make sure to set a clear goal on what information you want to extract from your target audience. Plus, ask them enough relevant questions to gather as much data as possible to make your research more credible. Later, you can use all of those insights in your content to craft an expert-level piece. 

Gerrid Smith, Chief Marketing Officer, Joy Organics

6. Find Expertise on YouTube

Since I write about many different niches, I rely a lot on insights from experts and it’s not always easy to get in touch with the people I would like to interview. 

So, to get real-world insights more quickly, I often watch videos and listen to podcast content (mostly on YouTube) where the speakers are either industry professionals, professors, or niche content creators. To make things easier, I use transcription tools, so that I can scan the text and take out the meaty bits that work for me.

Vishakha Somani, Assistant Marketing Manager, WFX

7. Align Your Research

Align your subject-matter research with your SEO research. Start by using keyword research to determine what questions your audience wants answered about your topic. 

Once you have figured out what these questions are, conduct subject-matter research to find the answers. This will allow you to create amazing content that draws the readers in, by actually being useful.

Amanda McCrea, Content Coordinator, Online Optimism

8-Step Content Research Plan

  1. Identify Content Objectives: Define clear objectives for the content piece. Determine the purpose, target audience, and desired outcomes of the content.
  2. Audience Analysis: Conduct in-depth audience research to understand their demographics, preferences, pain points, and interests. Use analytics tools, surveys, and social listening to gather insights.
  3. Topic Exploration: Brainstorm potential topics relevant to the audience and industry. Use keyword research tools to identify trending or high-traffic topics. Analyze competitor content to find gaps or areas for improvement.
  4. Source Diversification: Explore various sources beyond mainstream platforms. Venture into niche websites like PrimoStats, academic papers, industry forums, and podcasts to gather unique perspectives and information.
  5. Use Specialized Tools: Employ specialized tools like SubReddit Stats, Google Alerts, and transcription tools to extract valuable data and insights from diverse sources.
  6. Integrate SEO and Subject-Matter Research: Align SEO keyword research with subject-matter research. Use keyword analysis to understand audience queries and then delve deeper to provide comprehensive and informative content that addresses those queries.
  7. Survey and Feedback: Conduct surveys or gather feedback directly from the audience through social media platforms or tools. Use this data to validate findings and refine content direction.
  8. Continuous Improvement: Content research is an iterative process. Continuously evaluate the effectiveness of the content by analyzing performance metrics and audience engagement. Use the insights gained to refine future content strategies.

FAQs About Content Research

Q: How does content research differ from content creation?
A: Content research involves the systematic gathering and analysis of information, data, and sources to inform the content creation process. It focuses on understanding audience needs, identifying relevant topics, and gathering insights. Content creation, on the other hand, involves using the research findings to craft and develop the actual content pieces, such as articles, blog posts, videos, or infographics.

Q: What are the key elements to consider during content research?
A: Key elements of content research include audience analysis to understand demographics and preferences, exploring diverse sources to gather unique insights, aligning research with SEO strategies, and continuously refining research approaches based on audience feedback and performance metrics.

Q: How important is content research for SEO?
A: Content research plays a pivotal role in SEO by helping identify relevant keywords, topics, and audience queries. Understanding what users are searching for allows content creators to produce content that directly addresses those queries, improving the chances of higher search engine rankings and visibility.

Q: Is content research a one-time process?
A: No, content research is an ongoing process. Continuous research is necessary to stay updated on industry trends, evolving audience preferences, and new information. Regular research allows content creators to produce timely, relevant, and engaging content.

Q: Can content research methods be applied across different content formats?
A: Yes, content research methods can be adapted to suit various content formats such as articles, videos, podcasts, infographics, and social media posts. The principles of audience analysis, topic exploration, source diversification, and feedback gathering remain consistent regardless of the content format.

About the Author

Terkel creates community-driven content featuring expert insights. Sign up at terkel.io to answer questions and get published.