If you are a writer, you know the importance of understanding the topic of each project you undertake. If you are a copywriter, you are more likely to tackle assignments in areas where you are not familiar; especially if you freelance. When it comes to learning your subject matter, an effective research process is everything.
Poor research produces inaccurate information which will not help your readers, your client or your authority as a source. If you plan to invest in yourself to become a better copywriter, good research habits should be at the top of your list.
The internet has spoiled many of us in to thinking “Google it” is the only thing we need to know about research. Although technology software is an excellent source for information on just about any subject, without a good researching plan, you will lack efficiency in producing your work in a timely fashion.
Writers who plan their research well will be able to find information through technology to produce accurate and compelling copy. Here are some research practices to implement to become a better copywriter:
Implement a Good Plan
When confronting a topic you know little about, take time to learn its basics. From here you can form a good outline which will streamline your research. Sub-headers in your copy will allow you to organize your text into smaller projects which you can research individually. This piecemeal approach will make you faster and more accurate.
Don’t Overuse Google
Although Google is a great friend to every writer, to be accurate, we should use the many tools at our disposal. Take advantage of some awesome software available to you free, with options to upgrade. These include BuzzSumo, HubSpot, and CMI.
When using Google, remember they have the best algorithms in the business which puts good content first. One of the criteria for their high ranking is accuracy and authority, so stay with the searches on top on their list. Another good idea for research is to use industry-specific websites, newspaper articles, and content marketing research.
Fact-Check Your Information
You should fact-check your information before using it in your content. In the age of fake news and unreliable sources, make sure what you write is accurate. Use the old journalistic approach and confirm it from two quality sources. Taking the time to verify your data before submission is better than using the wrong information and harming your reputation or that of your client.
Formulate a Good Note-Taking Process
Okay, we’ve developed a good system to find accurate information useful for your work in progress. Now you must have a system in place to capture and save it. In the end, it will come down to the tools you feel most comfortable with.
Evernote is a popular choice for online research creating a stellar system of folders and tags to keep your notes in order. Some writers use Google+ Circle but don’t invite friends. It is a great forum to share websites and notes. With no friends on the platform, you would be sharing them with yourself.
Other writers are old-fashioned and revert to the always reliable notebook and pen.
Don’t limit your research for when you have a current work in progress. With today’s electronic world and the number of books available, you can research whether you’re working on a project or not. If you have a niche or want to write for a specific industry, take some time each day to read about the subject.
Ideas come from a plethora of sources, including topical books, social media, news reports, and books of fiction. You may come across an idea you can pitch to your client or company. Always be on the lookout for an idea, valuable information, or what’s trending.
By taking the necessary time to develop habits which make your writing accurate, you are protecting your reputation as a writer. You will also gain trust with your clients and readers. Make sure you go the extra mile, so what you write – is right!
Perhaps you have some ideas about research. Or may you know of some online tools you could recommend. Feel free to contribute in the comment section.