Turn One Research into Dozens of Awesome Articles!
Alright, full disclosure time: I love doing content research. For some people, it is the most tedious, boring, long and agonizing part of writing for the web. But to me, it’s the quiet fireplace time with my cup of coffee that will get me busy for the next week or so of writing, creating, etc.
I try and get as much as I can from a single session of research. That means taking, say, one evening of gathering facts, data, media, reports, quotes, dates, etc., then turning it into multiple completely different pieces I can post on several different platforms.
Not only does that mean being able to write more than one blog post out of that research session, but also expanding your reach to other powerful blogs (through contributing) and lots of alternative social media platforms (like Linkedin long-form content, Slideshare, Medium, etc): All with completely original* articles.
*”Original” means NOT the same content but in different words. It means completely new angles and forms.
Not everyone does things this way. But they should be! It saves time, energy, improves productivity, and helps you to reach users that you otherwise might not have thanks to their specific method of learning.
Someone who doesn’t like to read lengthy blog posts, for example, might really like infographics. A user who doesn’t like reading so much might enjoy listening to a podcast in the background while they work, or commute, or go for a run.
You have so many options available to you, all based on the same research you would have to do anyway.
Tips For Better Google Research
I am going to assume that your primary search tool is going to be Google (because you are a normal human being living in the age of the Internet).
You should know how to use Google efficiently, though, and how to find specific information. After all, even specific details in a Google search can be bring millions of results. Here is how to narrow things down.
- Use quotes when you do a search. This will force Google to return the exact phrase. You can also search for multiple grouping by using closed quotation marks on each set. For example, if I was looking for the Beach Boys song ‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice’ by lyrics, I could try [“Wouldn’t it be nice” AND “Hold each other close”] Google would then know I want both of these in my result, as they are typed in the search box.
- Use the ‘-‘ sign to keep certain results out. One of the most frustrating things when doing a search is having a lot of unrelated results (or results related to the same topic or news). Use the minus sign in front of part of the keyword to keep them from popping up. For example, say you want to look up the history of mints (stay with me), and don’t want Mint to come up as a result. You could do something like [mint -financial] or [mint -site:mint.com].
- Use the ‘+’ sign. This works in a similar way as the tip above, but it specifies what has to be included.
Other Places To Find Data
- Statistics and research data sources
- Business Case Studies
- Harvard Business Review
- Riley Guide
- Business Research Links
- Google Scholar
- Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)
One Idea into Multiple Articles: Tactics and Tools
While still at the research stage, make sure to record and capture all different angles, related tools and concepts you come across. I usually start multiple article drafts and drop those raw URL with some related thoughts there.
The trick to making multiple blog posts is not to focus on the topic you had originally intended to use it for. Instead, think of all of the other neighboring topics and different angles that information could be related to.
I use Cyfe dashboard to record and consolidate my research results and ideas. You can create an unlimited number of dashboards there and each dashboard is broken down in widgets which gives you an opportunity to get a bird’s eye of your research takeaways. You can also set up one widget for the actual to-do list to start taking action!
Let me give you one of the most recent examples just to give you an idea:
So, I decided to write an article on visual marketing and in the process of my research I’ve discovered various angles. So I wrote three different article:
- 20 Sites to Diversify Your Visual Marketing
- How to Simplify & Scale Your Visual Marketing Strategy for More Efficiency
- 5 Ideas to Make an Extra Profit from Your Visuals
Each of these articles got shares, comments and traffic! Three times more exposure for me as a blogger than with one article!
If you lack original angles, consider using MyBlogU (Disclaimer: I am the co-founder). It’s a free content crowd-sourcing community: Just create a project and users will send you their thoughts. Here’s how I used MyBlogU to productively brainstorm and write more articles.
This tool can also suggest lots of more angles you wouldn’t have thought of:
One Idea into Multiple Content Formats: Tactics and Tools
Infographics are another great way to recycle this data, and it can be broken down into multiple ones by separating that information into different categories.
Some of my favorite infographics tools:
Venngage specializes in summarizing data via charts, diagrams, etc. I think it’s a must to use for sites that operate with lots of numbers to explain and visualize complicated and overwhelming data. Sitegeek is a great example of that accomplished masterfully.
Infographics are actually easier to create than many would think. My favorite type of an infographic is a cheatsheet, simply summarizing and organizing a huge amount of information. These types of visuals can be given away for lead generation or even printed out as a separate product. You don’t even have to handle the printing: Here’s a simple and affordable solution I’ve seen work well many times!
Not everyone is a podcaster. But you can quite easily make one talking alone or having a discussion, on the information you have found. You can even just create a podcast version of you reading the blog posts you wrote, if you like:
The idea is to attract users who prefer to listen, than to read.
We’ve been discussing podcasts over at #VCBuzz Twitter chat and our guest Deborah Anderson described the steps in much detail. She has shared everything: Tools, tips, budgets as well as how to combine podcasting with creating videos.
A video works in a similar way to a podcast, but with a visual element. Not much has to be said about this tactic, but make sure you are utilizing multiple hosting platforms, and not just YouTube.
Also, think about embedding that video into other, related blog posts about the topic in the future.
My favorite video creation tools are (I am on Mac):
- Screenflow for making and editing screencasts
- iMovie for easy video editing
- Animoto for putting together fun video mashups using previous videos or visual quotes
- Shakr for putting together quick and beautiful promo videos
Create Slideshare Presentations
I am an unabashed Slideshare junkie, and I am always amazed at how many people have not yet jumped feet first into this unique way of providing content. Take some of those facts and create succinct, visually appealing slides. Then post it on Slideshare, embed it in posts, and share it on social media.
An hour of research and provide enough information for dozens of Slideshares. You could make an entire series of them!
I have listed my favorite tools for creating Slideshare presentations here.
There are more ways to re-package your content or research. First Site Guide lists various types of content formats you can create using your initial research including more time-consuming ones like an eBook or a whitepaper:
Let Your Research Give You More That Just Data
Research is important, which is why you should be making the very most of it. This is my personal tactic for getting more information, from a wider array of sources, then creating multiple pieces of content out of it.
Have some of your own tips? Let us know in the comments!
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