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 research strategy. Here are 7 content research tips to improve your writing.
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.
Relevance: By understanding what your audience is interested in, you can create content that is relevant to them and more likely to hold their attention.
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.
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.
Resources to Improve Content Research Skills
Here are five resources that can help you improve your content research skills:
Online courses: Online courses are available that can teach you how to conduct effective content research, including courses on topics such as keyword research, market research, and data analysis.
Books: Go to the library or bookstore to get content research books, including general guides and specialized books on specific topics, such as keyword research or market research.
Industry publications: Staying up-to-date on industry trends and best practices can be an effective way to improve your content research skills. Consider subscribing to industry publications.
Conferences and workshops: Attending conferences and workshops on content research can help you learn from experts and network with other professionals in the field.
Practical experience: The best way to improve your content research skills is to get hands-on experience conducting research and analyzing data. Consider volunteering to help with research projects at your job or setting up your own research projects as a way to gain practical experience.
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
About the Author
Terkel creates community-driven content featuring expert insights. Sign up at terkel.io to answer questions and get published.