How many times a day are you disappointed by a click-bait article? We all know that most of these articles fail to deliver any kind of real information, so why do we click anyway?
As humans, we take great pleasure in discovering new things. We crave new knowledge. Scientists have even proposed that learning is the way of the brain “getting its fix.”
So along with all of your New Year’s resolutions to finally lose weight and save more money, resolve to give your readers what they really want and commit to creating well-researched content. Here are three ways to achieve this goal.
Position Yourself as an Expert
You likely spend 40 hours a week, 160 hours a month, and nearly 2000 hours a year at your job. With that much experience, you likely know a thing or two about your industry. In some instances, you can use this knowledge and experience as research for your article.
By this, I don’t mean that you should fill your word count by touting your own accolades or claiming any sort of exceptional wisdom. Instead, use specific experiences to highlight or give evidence towards the points your making.
This could take many forms. Maybe you’ve had an experience with a client that taught you an important lesson about the work you do—that’s valuable information an audience may want to know. Tyler wrote one of our blog’s most popular articles in that very format. Alternatively, you could share what you’ve learned from trial and error, outlining what’s worked and what hasn’t for a specific task.
Of course this usually only works when you’re writing about something related to your industry, but it can be a powerful approach when used in the right context.
Go Beyond the First Page of Google
We all want to rank on the first page of Google search results. But when you’re researching, this might not be the best place to look for your sources. Sure, the sites listed will be relevant, but they aren’t likely to give you any in-depth information.
Instead, do the bulk of your research outside of where everyone else is looking. Look for primary sources that are relevant to your topic. If you’re writing a blog post on a new piece of legislation, go read the official documents and cite them in your article. If you’re writing an article on the health benefits of exercise, look for peer-reviewed scientific studies. Sure it may be dry, but it will allow you to write with much more authority.
Where can you find these types of sources? For more academic or scientific topics, Google Scholar is a great resource for academic journals, books, court opinions, dissertations, and more. You could even use Google Scholar to find experts to interview for your article.
In addition to Google Scholar, government databases offer a wealth of facts and information on a huge variety of topics. For example, data.gov has reports on everything from farmer’s markets geographic data to expenditures on children by families.
This list of 122 Data Sources is a great place to get started.
“He Says, She Says”
Adding to an existing conversation is one of the best ways to write compelling content while driving new readers to your site. Make it a point to become well-read within your niche. Not only will you become aware of current conversations, but you’ll also be prepared to chime in.
To start, find the virtual water cooler for your industry, whether it’s a more general platform like Twitter or Reddit, or a more specific forum such as Inbound. After a little observation, you’ll be prepared to address popular talking points in your own writing. Outline the conversation to your readers, explain your point of view, and share with your community.
Another place to join in the conversation? The comment sections! While many websites have notoriously awful (and off-topic) comment sections, some have thoughtful participants and civil dialogue. If you see something that makes you think, reply with your own comment. Or, better yet, write your own blog post in response.
Producing well-researched content in the 2015 will boost your readership, improve search rankings, and develop trust in your brand.