Here’s a question we hear often: “What kind of research do you do beyond just Google?” How much research is required for a blog post? The answer can vary greatly depending on what kind of blog we’re talking about.
But in most cases, Googling up for a tidbit of information does not qualify as legitimate research. Looking for information about how many people filled out mortgage applications in 2018? Sure, you can probably Google that stat and report it on your blog post.
But no one will read your blog to merely discover information they could have Googled for themselves. So what will set your blog apart?
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Research Is About Creating New Value
When you set out on a research journey, what are you really doing? Merely searching for information is not enough. Proper research methodologies are built upon creating new value through information.
The world is full of information. And as a blogger or business-person doing research, you take on a hybrid role: curator, academic, writer, thinker churning through all that information.
But where to begin?
Set down a clear goal with regard to what you’re hoping to discover or uncover with your blog posts.
Some blogs are personal or purely opinion. Depending on your audience, having a nuanced opinion can be a winning strategy. And no deeper information is expected on your part. But for business or science-based blogs, readers expect to learn something surprising and interesting. This means your research must be guided. You’ll need to form a series of research questions you’d hope to answer.
But how are these questions formulated? Read widely. See what questions have already been answered. Freewrite. Keep a journal of ideas nearby to jot down your thoughts. Participate. Keep up with other blogs in your area of expertise. It’s possible your unique angle and experience may fill in knowledge gaps left open by others.
Create a Blog For References
Keeping track of ground you’ve covered can be difficult without some sort of management system. One approach to solve this issue is to create a reference blog associated with your research. This can help with:
- Data gathering
- Rank ordering
You can use this reference blog as a research journal with links, quotes, and citations, or you can use it as a dumping ground for raw facts and statistics.
No matter how you choose to use it, having a ready source for reference will surely come in handy later.
All of our hosting plans allow you to create multiple sites for different purposes. You can even use .htaccess rules to inhibit access to those sites. This means you can keep your references sheltered from search engine results or the public in general.
Why should you hide your research? Unless you’re highly organized, your initial research may be unstructured and not fit to be read as standalone material.
Sourcing quality information can be a difficult task. If you want your readers to trust you, you have a responsibility to do your due diligence.
Research materials have primary sources and secondary sources. For example, if you’re writing a blog post about a historical figure, then personal letters would be a primary source and the writings of a historian would be secondary.
Finding a balance between primary and secondary sources will help you ultimately get at the truth.
Thankfully, secondary sources, if they are to be trusted, will have gone through an internal peer review process. For example, if you have a science blog, you will want to only cite papers that have been published in reputable scientific journals.
Reveal The Purpose Behind Your Research
Your research needs to create new value. Otherwise, what’s the point?
It’s easy to create a blog and put up anything you want. But if you want returning traffic, you’ll want to make sure you’re offering something substantial to your readers.
Otherwise, they can easily turn around and find a better blog. So what is the purpose of your research?
- Provide evidence-based solutions?
- Educate about options?
- Introduce new insights?
- Create engaging stories?
- Collect interesting facts?
- Inspire out-of-box thinking?
- Delight with data?
These are all legitimate research goals. In order to be a leader in any of these areas requires extensive, guided research. So have your purpose clearly locked in before you get started.
If you can manage to conduct your research in this fashion, you’ll notice that the content itself will improve, and, as a bonus, you will discover new topics worthy of further exploration.
Don’t Get Discouraged If Instant Results Are Lacking
Crafting higher quality content is a slow sculpture. You may not see results instantly. But you need to start aiming, even if your target is off at first. You will eventually get a clearer vision of your best outcomes.