By ETMG Social Media Team
Good research can make the difference between a quickly dismissed, “junk food” blog and one that your readers bring up in conversation and forward to their colleagues. Sure, research takes time – but it also lends authority and credibility to what you write, thus increasing its value.
These research tips can help improve your blog posts:
1. Use credible sources.
The most eloquently written blog is meaningless unless your reader trusts your information. For a recent blog, 10 Tips For Eco-Friendly Trade Shows and Events, I interviewed the head of ETMG’s trade shows and events team along with our giveaway distributor; both are trusted authorities with many years of experience.
2. Credit your sources.
Always attribute quotes and passages to their sources and include where quotes are published. Citations can be attributed with the quote. For example, “ETMG President Michael Grodin was quoted in The New York Times as saying…” In the case of longer passages, documents, interviews or video, use footnotes and links at the end of the post. (See “Chicago-Style Citation Quick Guide” below.)
3. Question your secondary sources.
While Wikipedia has become the go-to site for quick reference results, it is an open platform that anyone can amend. Therefore, Wikipedia articles may contain inaccurate or biased information. If you must use Wikipedia or similar sites, check references to external sources, and then review those for context and accuracy.
4. Sharpen your online search skills.
As ubiquitous as Google has become, few people use it to its full potential. Once you figure out the premise of your blog, focus your searches on the key words in your topic. Recently we posted a blog, 5 Things You Should Be Doing With Quora. Instead of searching the more general phase, ‘what is Quora’, our blogger searched, ‘how to use Quora in social media marketing’ and ‘engaging customers with Quora’. A more focused search will produce resources that bring depth and relevance to your blogs. (See “Google: Operators and more search help” below.)
5. Not everything is online.
As easy as it is to fire up Google and search key phrases, online research is not the only or even the best source for primary information. You’ll find many offline experts worthy of an interview and plenty of books and reference information at your local library. Use them!
Remember, your audience wants more than clever writing – they need real information they can trust. When readers of your blog know you’ve done your homework, they’ll keep coming back for more.
For more information: