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A COOL WAY TO RESEARCH CONTENT
by: Cary Christian


If you have your own website (which I sincerely hope you do by now) or market by submitting articles to other sites or ezines, do you ever experience despair while attempting to come up with a topic? Do you ever have problems getting enough information on a topic to put together a good article? Do you struggle with writing content for your website?

Placing good content on your site is a terrific way to increase targeted traffic and sales. In fact, I dealt with this issue in tonight's Small Business newsletter. If you're interested, you can read it at: http://www.peakconsultinginc.com/newsletters/sbnl_mar2903.htm

Writing articles for other ezines is also a terrific way to market your business. It's even better than a solo ad because you're providing information that is interesting, establishing yourself as an expert in your field, and you're getting links from another website because the ezine will usually be archived online. In fact, writing articles for submission to other ezines is really just as good as having your own ezine and it's a lot less work!

Can't write? I don't buy that! You write ads don't you? You've put up a site and wrote the content for it didn't you? Writing articles is different, of course, but not that different. If you practice, you can do it.

But getting back to the point of this article, researching the topic you want to write about can be brutal sometimes. In fact, just CHOOSING a topic can be brutal. What can you do to make this process easier?

Let's start with the basics. You should subscribe to as many good ezines in your area of interest as you can. You may not have time to read them all right away, but you should archive them for future reference. When you're stumped as far as picking a topic, you can browse through these articles for ideas. I'm not talking about copying any of the content, of course, but by looking at what everyone else is writing about, you'll find you start to develop questions in your mind that these articles aren't addressing. Or you may find that a particular article deals with a subject very briefly that you would like to explore in more depth. And remember, I'm talking about browsing for topics for the purpose of adding content to your website as well as for writing articles.

Start a running list of topics you come up with so that you will always have topics readily available when you need them. Categorize them by subject matter so that when you research an article, you can accumulate information for multiple articles as you come across interesting material.

As far as the research goes, you will turn to the search engines and start ferreting out information the old fashioned way. I don't need to tell you how to do that. But here is the cool way to research I mention in the title of this article:

"Pose the article topic as a question in an online forum you belong to."

Of course, the forum must be one that is related to, or deals with, the subject matter of your article. It should also be a forum that is active where people are very likely to respond to the issue you've raised. Pose the topic in a provocative way to create interest.

What follows will be a lot of posts that will give you very practical information on your topic and ideas you can follow up on using standard Internet research techniques. You'll get a good mixture of opinions, both pro and con, and probably a lot of URLs to resources that provide more information on the subject. You'll have a terrific head start on your research by using this technique. (You could even use this technique to research a new product you're thinking of creating)!

I found this technique by watching someone else do it on several occasions. I'd see the provocative topic, notice it was getting a lot of views, sometimes see it trigger some very major disagreements, and then . . . I get an ezine from this guy with a featured article developed from that forum thread! (The articles he develops in this manner are excellent, by the way. That's why I wanted to tell you about it. This technique really works).

If you don't belong to any forums, then by all means join some! They are a marvelous source of information that you should not ignore. They could become your best source of content and product development information.

Copyright (c) 2003

 


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