Power Users Guide to Article Research – Starting Point

For a long time, Alpha Efficiency content was created with no formal prior research on the topic. All of the information I’ve used to deliver have been my scattered ideas compiled in one place, based on what I was previously reading or writing, or my personal epiphanies.

In my mission to deliver only the premium content, I’ve decided to constantly conduct article research. And somewhere along the lines, I’ve asked myself how am I going to do that research. I’ve been procrastinating on days for an end, but I did not have a clear vision on how to go about it.

And when there is a lack of clarity, we tend to procrastinate and put things under the rug. Forget about them indefinitely. But my Trusted System took care of my idea and didn’t allow it to slip away. Hence I’ve included is a part of my daily routine, and I’ve been skipping creation of that habit, daily. Until today.

Article research was always one of those things that I’ve thought are good to do, but as I matured a little bit as a blogger, I am considering it a must do (if you are blogging professionally).

Why should you always do article research?

When you have more information at your disposal, you have a clearer picture of what you are writing and talking about. Higher quality content for your website means higher traffic, higher share-ability, and higher user experience. This distinguishes your website as a website of high quality, search engines also pick that up, and in return, more people will be linking to you.

When I conduct article research my articles tend to be longer and of higher quality. This article was supposed to be just an article, but turns out I’ll be writing the whole series on 3 step process that I’ve included here. Because when I map it out, I’ll be able to follow it consistently.

Great inspiration for this segment of the article came from Beth Hyden from Copyblogger media, in one of her articles where she talks exactly about content research
in a two blog posts series. Aside from my series, I believe this is also going to be an awesome read.

Beginning Point of Article Research

First thing I’ll do, is that I will start a new note in Evernote, and name it by the article that I am working on. It’s going to stay handy in my inbox, so I can always relate to it for later reference, or adding up ideas and links from other places.

Before you Google anything…

Now before you go out there, and try researching what’s there on the web, try to check through your inventory. Chances are you’ve already found something awesome and saved it for later reference.

You may have already written something great in your Dropbox or perhaps it’s hiding in your Pocket or Instapaper.

You might be surprised by the things you already have in your database, and those might spark your inspiration because they are closely related to the things you’re currently working on.

Number #1 Website for starting your research

Besides the mainstream search engines, you can include one that includes them all. Meet Mr. DuckDuckGo!

DuckDuckGo – Young search engine that doesn’t track your data (will write an article on how I use it in depth) and lets you BANG search results from other websites.

DuckDuckGo is an essential part of the Collect Phase in the process and helps me speed things up, in just a matter of a couple of clicks. All about it in the next article of this series.

The process

Lately, I’ve been creating all sorts of processes for my blogging activities. They all started small, but when I’ve put down my social media process, I’ve come to a conclusion that they can get really convoluted and fuzzy. So I’ve decided to create a simple version of article research template, that I will use as a guideline for future articles.

The process will help you not to get lost, and not to waste too much time on any of the individual steps of article research. In order not to overcomplicate things, we need to keep them simple. So the process of article research will consist of three things:

  1. Collect phase – where you go out there, scour and plunder the web for useful information and pile it up in your reference materials depository. Usually, you can do this in 15–20 minutes. I will assume that you will know to recognize the quality content from the garbage that we find out there. I don’t want you to read it, just collect it
  2. Organize phase – While you were stashing all the goodies, there is surely some garbage that ended up there. Weed out the garbage, and focus on the gems. Incorporate links into your articles. Linking to others, especially bloggers, might increase the chances of creating a meaningful relationship with another blogger. Steal some ideas, read carefully what you’ve collected, that way you won’t suffer from lack of inspiration. This phase should range anywhere from 20 minutes, up to 90 minutes of reading and incubate the idea.
  3. Writing, linking, integrating and connecting – As you go through, you might want to go out there and thank the people you’ve included in your new work.

Steal my Article Research To-Do List

  1. Make an article note in Evernote, and collect everything into it.
  2. Check your Evernote, Pocket, Instapaper or other items stored locally or within your own knowledge database
  3. Learn to use DuckDuckGo as your main article research point and learn to use BANG
  4. Stay tuned for the following Article research series, to develop, tune-up and refine your article research process.