The truffle pig and humans have much in common. Especially when it comes to the noble tuber fungi: truffles.
Truffles are the most expensive mushrooms in the world. Because they are rare and tasty, they only grow underground under the roots of individual trees.
A truffle pig can still smell the scent of the truffle even if the mushroom lies half a meter deep below the earth’s surface.
Just like a truffle pig, in your content research, you should dig deep under the surface to create first-class content.
Why? We’ll clear that up soon.
First of all, let’s take a look at what you should pay attention to in terms of content research.
What is content research?
As the name suggests, content research is about researching content. So you consume a lot of content and collect the following things:
Just like a truffle pig deep in the water, you’re looking for anything you could need for your content. Anything that can be useful.
Why is content research so essential?
Because you can not create great content without it. I consume a lot of content, and that is the biggest mistake that keeps coming my way:
The content is just too thin.
He is not profound. Not well researched. He does not have a good foundation. You notice when you talk about content.
Only through in-depth and exhaustive research, you will find the great ideas that you can incorporate into your content and make it great.
That’s another significant advantage:
You have no writer’s block.
I honestly never had a writer’s block. I always research a lot and have more ideas than I can incorporate. This is a luxury issue you have to deal with! 😉
I’m also convinced that creativity is just research. Creativity is just connecting dots. And if you do not do any research, how do you want to connect the missing points?
But I do not mean that you should steal from others. You should be inspired. And then bring in your twist.
Also, you can check the accuracy of your statements in the research if you are not 100% sure. You also get a great theme feeling and know what is essential and where there are still gaps. Also, you will learn a lot about your topic and build up more and more expertise.
Good content research simply lays a solid foundation for your content. Point.
Step 1: Choose your focus keyword
You always start with a content idea. So you have a topic that you want to write about or talk about.
Since Google is the first address when it comes to research, you should first do a bit of keyword research. So think about how to put your topic in a keyword.
As you can see, not much is sought after. In general, everything from 100 searches makes sense. Some say only 1,000 or 10,000, but that depends on your industry.
I chose it anyway because it’s an important topic. I always write for humans, and then only for the search engine! 😉 I think that content marketing does not do enough solid research. So the post has to get out.
Step 2: Think about variations of your keyword
It’s incredible how Exact Match keywords still affect ranking today. For example, I found different contributions to “content research” and “content marketing research.”
Therefore, brainstorm in this step, the different variations of your keyword to find even more content. I found the following keywords:
- content research
- content marketing research
- how to do content research
- how to do content marketing research
- content marketing research
So. That was the easy part. Now comes the hard work.
Step 3: Scan 100 search results per keyword and filter out the trash
I always start my search globally. That’s why I always set the region to “United States” in the settings. Why? Because I want to get a global view. There are more clever minds globally who come up with a lot of clever ideas.
To enter a keyword. Scan the headings and the domain (which is a good indication of quality) of the search results. Open the pages in a new tab that you find fitting and interesting:
And that’s really what you do with your focus keyword for the full 100 search results. So for 10 pages of search results. If you’re blatant, you’re doing it for all of your keyword variations.
I find on page 10 of Google (where all the bodies are hidden), sometimes really nice diamonds. These are things that are not directly related to your topic but are always interesting.
Meanwhile, you find a lot of garbage. There is more and more content, yes. But 80% of it is not fresh. Scan the open pages and save the ones you want to consume. I copy dull the URLs in my text editor:
Just by scanning the headlines and subheadings and happening in podcast episodes and videos, you’ll get an excellent feel for your topic. By doing so, you learn what you have to accept, whatnot, and where there are still gaps. This should give you a lot of good ideas for the rough direction of your content.
Step 4: Check BuzzSumo
Google is cool and deserves to be the top address when it comes to research. But Google is still primarily based on links.
That’s why you should check BuzzSumo, which is based on shares. You’ll find mostly content that does not rank well but has been diligently shared by people and is therefore likely to be very exciting.
So enter your keyword and open the pages in a new tab that you find interesting:
If you are too niche, then it will not work so well. For my example, I could not find anything useful. But it is definitely always worth a visit!
Step 5: Check other sources
Most people who do content marketing research only via Google. If any.
But because everyone does, they all have the same ideas. But you should go the extra mile and also check out other sources.
I already mentioned BuzzSumo. Here are some other relevant sources that you should check out:
- Print books
- Print Magazine
Especially print books are exciting here. There is often essential and timeless knowledge in it. Since you change media here, you will often find unique ideas that can not be found anywhere else.
Step 6: Find the hook and think about a rough direction
After you have scanned everything and got a rough overview, you should find the right hook.
Make a little break and think about it:
How do you want to draw your reader, listener, or viewer into your content?
You do that with your headline and your introduction. During your content research, you’ve certainly had some good ideas for it and collected it.
For this post, I wanted to write a step-by-step guide on how to do content research. So I immediately thought of “content research: 5 steps to research content”. But while researching, I noticed that some content searches are strategic – as a search to find content ideas for the editorial plan. To differentiate myself, I opted for “content research: 5 steps to do research to create content”. So it’s about research for the creation.
For the introduction, I came up with the following ideas:
- “In the last few posts, we looked at the content strategy and the content plan . Now let’s take care of what comes next: content research.”
- “What do you think about when you think about content research? Only to keyword research? Not correct …”
- Somehow connect content research and truffle pigs.
- Make something from the quote from David Ogilvy.
- Something about a spy who knows more than anyone else.
I thought over several and then decided on the truffle pig metaphor. It is just so beautiful pictorial, brings it perfectly to the point, and remains in the memory.
Take a look further at this point and think in which direction you want to go. My path was very clear. In this case, I have sketched the individual steps. What could your content look like?
Step 7: Consume the content
Grab a cup of coffee or tea and consume all your collected content. Nice in peace.
Give yourself enough time.
Quietly 50% of the time, you’ve planned for content creation. 4 hours of content research are nothing special. For very broad or complex topics, I can do almost nothing for 3 days except research. 50 posts to read needs just his time.
As you read the lyrics, listen to podcast episodes, and watch the videos, you’ll get lots of great ideas. Write them down to you all. I mostly copy words from the text or sometimes whole sentences into my text editor.
Also, always keep your Buyer Persona in mind. What would you like? What does she need to know? What not?
Always remember the truffle pig – dig deep, to the core. Therefore consume also the sources of your sources. Go to the bottom of the matter.
Step 8: Take a big break
In the last step, you should do nothing. Just relax. Watch TV, go for a walk or sunbathe on the balcony. Do something else.
And, very important: Have a good feeling. I know that feels weird. But:
Even if it does not look like work, and it does not feel like it, it ‘s work.
You just have to let your subconscious take the helm. You need to give your brain enough time to process and structure all the information it has absorbed.
This makes the actual content creation much easier. You just have to learn to trust your subconscious mind.
Truffles are rare. Great ideas too.
Just as truffles are buried somewhere deep underground, so too are ideas hidden deep in content somewhere. That’s why you have to search for it like a truffle pig.
Yes, that’s hard work. But that is work that has to be done. Precisely because it’s so hard, so few do it. And that’s why it will set you apart from others.
Content research is about looking at the topic from many different perspectives and getting to the bottom of it. When I do research, I always try to dive as deep as I can. I’m always looking for the essence. Only when I have disassembled and reassembled something to the core, I can understand and teach it.
Research is important to create content that is closer to the truth.
And the truth is all that matters.