The Researcher’s Guide To Successful Freelance Content Writing
The internet is filled with search engines that helps anyone find anything. If it is on the Internet, a search engine can find it, provided the searcher uses the correct keywords and is prepared to dig through pages of other, similar websites that use the same keywords.
Many websites incorporate their own search engines. Some are simple, but many, like LinkedIn’s learning search engine, are pretty sophisticated. Of the numerous search engines, (including locals) Google is perhaps the most sophisticated.
The successful freelance writer knows how to use search engines to find pertinent and true information about the topics they choose or are hired to cover. Google’s advanced search is one of the most comprehensive and thorough search engine devices on the planet. Knowing how to utilize the advanced Google search is a major plus for the content writer or anyone looking for specific information.
Recommended Reading: 5 Steps To More Accurate And Efficient Google Search
A Social Disease
You do not have to be sick in the head to know that social media holds the key to today’s most talked about topics. Social networks may not be the place to find perfect information on anything… but they are the best place to find out what is being said about any topic on the planet.
Knowing what social media, or the trillions of people that use them, think about any topic always makes for great material for the content writer. Even better however, is in knowing what people are not saying. That is why the good researcher knows what to look for, and recognize what is not there.
Read Also: 55 Interesting Social Media Infographics
New News Vs Old News
The most interesting articles, posts, and copy are those that go the extra mile when it comes to any given topic. New content writers know enough to look up the latest information about their subject and write about it but it is usually the practiced writer that looks up older posts and outdated news along with it.
This allows the writer to pose more interesting material, show contrasting ideas and growth, and use quotes both old and new to indicate change in subject, and popular opinion shifts.
As an example, the Empire State Building was completed in 1931 and was at that time the tallest building on the planet. While this is interesting, it is even more compelling to learn that the Chrysler Building; completed a year earlier, was the tallest building (for 1 year) and it was not believed a building could go any higher. The pyramid shape of the Empire State Building, the first to use it, is how this was accomplished.
Without looking at older posts on the matter, a researcher would not find this in articles about the Empire State Building. It shows not only a shift in beliefs less than a year apart, it also tells the reader how it was accomplished.
Quibbling in Quotes
You may fool all the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all the time; but you can’t fool all of the people all the time. [Sic] This quote, attributed to Abraham Lincoln. or P.T. Barnum, depending upon where you find the information, also applies to freelance content writing.
It is the perfect example of solid research and why it is so important to do so with every post you write. Among others, you provide these three services.
1. Find a direct quote, not someone’s paraphrasing of it. This is what the [sic] indicates.
2. Show the varying beliefs of to whom it is attributed. Many feel P.T. Barnum said it about his world famous sideshows when someone said they were faked. His "freaks of nature" were real people. The original quote, however, is not found in copies of Abraham Lincoln’s Prohibitionists speech; rather, witnesses were found (early 1900’s of a speech in 1880s) that heard the president say it during the speech.
3. Gives the reader food for thought.
The "Times Three" Rule of Research
Another glaring example of why in-depth research is so vital to content writing is that people can verify, and many will verify, what you say in an article or post. For this reason, many seasoned writers use the "Times Three" rule of research.
Simply put, find 3 trusted sources that verify the same content as fact, fiction, or fancy. If you still have the information wrong, you have those sources to point to as your well. Most people will not dig that deep to prove you wrong, especially when you present a link to your strongest source.
Never use Wikipedia as a source of verified information.
The Secret to Wikipedia use for Content Writing
Wikipedia is a true American source as it is "of the people, by the people, and for the people." This means that anyone can write a Wikipedia article. The information is not that deeply researched in many of them and the standards for writing one (or rewriting) is not hard to reach.
There is a secret, however, that many writers know to be very useful. At the bottom of most Wiki articles are links to resources that are extremely useful as a starting point in research.
Read Also: Wikipedia: Redefining Research [Infographic]
The Bottom Line in Research
The old writing rule that applies to research is still viable. Always look for and present the who, what, where, when, why, and how, and you will always find interesting and informative things to say about any given topic.
When you combine this with old and new information comparison, true direct quotes, popular topics with content not yet touched on in social media, and provide your sources, you have a winning post or article that is well-researched and provides value for the reader.
Read Also: How To Get News And Ideas For Blogging
Author: Scott Kuttner
Scott Kuttner believes that you don’t need to have a college degree to write. He teaches readers how to write, blog, apply SEO and meet new employers online. He is married to the love of his life, JoDee.