Of course, many of these blogs flop or are quickly abandoned. Successful blogs, on the other hand, contain some common elements that make them reader friendly and very popular.
One of these is that they feature credible, well-researched information.
So how do you incorporate authoritative research into your blog posts without losing reader interest? Here are some tips.
How to Do Article Research
Don’t reference old news
The internet is a hotbed of information. These days, you can type any question you like into a search engine and an answer is instantly available. Given the connectedness of social media and writing opportunities available to absolutely anyone, you need to find a way of standing out. This is especially true if you are starting a business and are blogging for professional opportunities.
Any area you venture into will have already been flooded with writers that have come before you. So what can you offer that’s different?
Firstly, you need to avoid ‘old news’.
Bloggers should keep their eyes and ears open to evolving trends, the latest technology and up-to-date findings.
As a rule of thumb, try not to source outdated, tired articles as research material. For example, if you’re writing a blog post for a cutting edge science magazine, the last thing you want to do is reference figures from 10 years ago. To refine your results, use the current year as part of your keyword search. You can also try Google Scholar which is very efficient in finding fascinating little nuggets of information.
Furthermore, ensure that your research hasn’t been disproven since it was written. For example, if you were to write a piece on motivational language in the workplace, you might be tempted to cite the popular 2009 study by John Bargh of Yale University that connects better cognition with exposure to certain ‘power words’. But if you do your homework properly you’ll know this study was challenged and disproved in 2013 and therefore is probably best left out of your blog post.
There are hundreds of examples like this, so make sure you’re always on your toes.
Assume your audience is smart
A common mistake made by bloggers is to dumb down their readers. To keep your audience engaged, assume they at least possess a small amount of common sense. There’s no need to write three dull paragraphs that spoonfeed your readers endless amounts of the obvious. Keep the content fresh, smart and edgy.
For example, if you’re a food blogger, you may be tempted to talk about which common cooking ingredients are fattening or unhealthy. But we all know that eating a stick of celery is healthier than devouring an entire sponge cake, so don’t insult your readers’ intelligence by regurgitating common knowledge. Instead, talk about the science behind our bodies, and the psychology of eating. From this, you can craft a unique, interesting blog post that says something different from the other blogs in that category.
Create a list of authoritative sources
Whatever your niche, there’s a list of authoritative sources out there for you to collect. For example, business blogs benefit from referencing The Harvard Business Review or well-respected magazines like Forbes. Think about the main players in your category, and make a list of their websites. Then, use their on-site search engine to seek out interesting facts, figures or articles.
Have a think about whether any of your sources have a bias. This is especially true when citing news outlets. For example, a political blog will always require an angle, but make sure your sources are as objective as possible and not distorting facts and figures at their end to satisfy their own agenda.
Keep numbers in mind
Figures back up your claim and add unparalleled levels of plausibility to your piece.
There are tons of places you can look to find authoritative figures, depending on your topic.
Some examples are:
- US Dept of Labor Statistics (great for anyone looking for stats on employment or salary trends)
- Legal Information Institute (a good source for factual data on laws, crime statistics or policy info)
- Stats.org (an online resource for writers who want to ensure statistical accuracy on any topic)
- US Census (a resource for stats on finance, demographics, employment, housing, trade, family and population)
Remember, a fact without a number attached may look unprofessional or untrustworthy. Get into a good habit of adding in figures where-ever possible. For example, instead of writing, “Blogging is a really strong marketing strategy and is being used more than ever before”, try changing this to “Blogging is such a successful marketing strategy that 60% of marketers are prioritizing blogging over the next year”.
Do you see the difference between those two statements?
Top Tip: If your stats source happens to be another blog or a newspaper article, locate the original source (if possible) by clicking on their hyperlink or searching for a source list at the bottom of the page. Then you can link directly to the original source rather than to another blog.
Blogging has evolved into something extraordinarily useful for individuals and businesses. No matter what your niche is, you’ll be able to back up your claims and opinions with authoritative facts. All it takes is a bit of digging as well as determination to move away from tired, used up data with an aim to seek out fresh, interesting and meaningful information.
This post was written by Matthew Murray, Managing Director of Notable, a business solutions firm based in Singapore. Notable helps B2B companies incorporate in Singapore and matches them with clients looking for their services.