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We did get our article idea, but we still have a lot more work to do, we need to move on and now work on research. It is very important to research the right way, because that will be the key to your success. People come to your blog because of your content and you need to make sure you’ll offer the highest quality, find new tools, resources – something your reader wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else. But how do you provide and achieve such quality?
The answer is good research – if you use internet tools, search engines, social media and forums in the right way, you’ll easily be able to find unique content for your blog posts. While research may seem to be a simple task, it’s not always enough to just use Google or rely on your experiences. I don’t think you need to always do deep research, but it’s good to be aware what’s being written elsewhere, so you can expand your opinion. You need to find that golden ratio – if you’re inspired too much and you may copy others, don’t do any research at all and you’ll end up providing your readers with incomplete information.
I bet you’ve heard about Quora already, but why did I include it here in regards to doing research? Well, because Quora is a bit different from most Q&A sites you’ll find because of the quality of the answers. Somehow Quora drives famous and very smart people to the site, together with these people you’ll find great answers and useful links to further information. I like to compare Quora with Twitter, like social media with great link shares and opinions, but much more comprehensive and helpful up to date answers.
Here is introduction video for Quora:
Socially generated content through Twitter, forums and Facebook is the fastest growing source for fresh information on the internet. You need to make use of it, use its power to get benefits.
Social graphs have started replacing PageRank as the new “sign” for identifying relevant content for consumers, impacting how consumers are exposed to, communicate, and consume web content.
Topsy displays realtime results for related terms and articles, trending topics, identifies experts (influencers) for any queried term and shows you trackback pages for everything in its index, displaying what everyone is saying about that query. And, Topsy syndicates your results so you can insert relevant realtime content into your pages and ads to improve the consumer experience and increase monetization rates.
You can filter your results in different time spans – hourly, daily, weekly, monthly and more, very useful if you need fresh content.
Social Mention is a social media search and analysis platform that aggregates user-generated content from across the universe into a single stream of information. It allows you to easily track and measure what people are saying about you, your company, a new product, or any topic across the web’s social media landscape in real-time. Social Mention monitors 100+ social media properties directly including: Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, YouTube, Digg, Google etc.
SocialMention was my favorite selection, because again you can sort your results, you can also measure how relevant your results are. You can get a lot from SocialMention.
Great intro video explaining how to use SocialMention and make use of its full power:
If you’re not registered to all the biggest forums in your niche, there is no way you could know what’s happening there! Forums are mostly invisible to search engines and it’s hard to find them there, but forums aren’t dead and a lot of communication is still happening there. You should make use of this information while you’re doing research, but how? Make use of these forum search engines to get access to this invisible web!
BoardReader was developed to address the shortcomings of current search engine technology to accurately find and display information contained on the Web’s forums and message boards.
Message boards are part of the internet known as the ‘Invisible Web’ and pose many problems to traditional search engine spiders. The dynamic content is usually very deep and hard to search, but BoardReader seems to good job finding these hidden conversations on the Web.
Omgili finds consumer opinions, debates, discussions, personal experiences, answers and solutions. Most questions and technical problems have already been answered and solved – find the answers through Omgili. Omgili is a crawler based, vertical search engine that scans millions of online discussions worldwide in over 100,000 boards, forums and other discussion based resources. Omgili knows to analyze and differentiate between discussion entities such as topic, title, replies and discussion date.
Of the forum search engines this is my favorite one with the most relevant and informative results. But I gave two selections for you to pick from – test both and choose which one you like the best.
Learn how to use Omgili with help of this video:
Because it’s all about choice, SimilarSites.com helps you find alternatives. Don’t scroll through countless search results – SimilarSites makes finding content related to your current search absolutely effortless. Simply enter a web address and instantly you will receive high quality results – based on content examination rather than popularity.
While there are a lot of websites with their aim to find similar content, but I found just this one to do a good enough job besides Google. SimilarSites also has Chrome and Firefox extensions for even better and easier browsing in SimilarWeb.
Delicious used to be much more powerful and useful a few years ago, but it still can be helpful in your research process. I use it whenever I have a source to which I cannot figure out the right keywords to use related content. In that case I just save the website I have to Delicious and check tag recommendations. Usually these recommendations are very useful for further browsing. Use these keywords to do some research in Delicious and Google. Delicious search can be useful too, but don’t rely on it so much, people don’t use it as widely as they did before, with so many bookmarking tools like Evernote, ZooTools, Instapaper, Delicious has lost its huge popularity. Download Delicious browser tools to easily get access to its bookmarking options.
Every day, HARO brings nearly 30,000 reporters and bloggers, over 100,000 news sources and thousands of small businesses together to tell their stories, promote their brands and sell their products and services.
Since its inception, Two Cats and a Cup of Coffee under its mark HARO has published more than 75,000 journalist queries, has facilitated nearly 7,500,000 media pitches, and has marketed and promoted close to 1,500 brands to the media, small businesses and consumers. HARO is entirely free to sources and reporters, and unlike a majority of social media services, is independently owned and funded and has been profitable since day one. In addition, HARO serves as a vital social networking resource for sources, reporters and advertisers who use the service.
YouTube Direct allows you to embed the upload functionality of YouTube directly into your own site, enabling your organization to request, review, and re-broadcast user-submitted videos with ease. News organizations can ask for citizen reporting; nonprofits can call-out for support videos around social campaigns; businesses can ask users to submit promotional videos about your brand. With YouTube Direct, the opportunities to connect directly with the YouTube community are endless.
CrunchBase is the free database of technology companies, people, and investors that anyone can edit. Here, you can learn and edit everything about companies like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, MySpace and Tagged, products like Droid and Google Wave, and people like Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs. If you have one company you want to do research about, then here you also can find related ones. Useful site to know about.
Ok, this is the most useful tip I probably can give you. Google is the best search engine ever created, you just need to know a few advanced browsing tips to improve your results. One I mentioned already using Google and Delicious search – you need to know and use the right keywords. Also if you’re searching for new articles, new tools use a time reference with it – I usually add “2011″ year to make sure I get only the newest results. Not always the highest ranked Google’s results are really the best ones, time constraint can filter some of these results.
However if you have one link, resource use Google’s related search. You will find VERY relevant links,websites, resources with this simple tag. This simple tag reminded me how useful it is to know some basic and little advanced Google’s search tips, learn them here.
Some more search tips by Matt Cutts, software engineer on Google:
If you are really serious about writing, read this article How Journalists are Using Social Media for Real Results. You’ll be able to learn hot ot obtain real-life results, where the author interviewed several successful journalists, who used YouTube, social networks like Facebook or Twitter to get out information quickly. Fantastic and inspiring success stories and case studies.
I tried to keep this article short focused – you don’t need to over research everything! Do just enough to find what’s available, find your inspiration- without copying others and you’ll benefit from it!
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Dainis Graveris is 23 years old blogger and designer, founder of 1stWebDesigner, now more silently managing everything behind the scenes. He usually hangs out in Twitter tweeting design related links and chatting with people. If you have any questions or feedback that's the best place to start! Cheers!
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