At university we learned the importance of primary research vs secondary.
Primary research is anything that comes from the source. Secondary research is anything that’s come from someone else’s research about the source.
Secondary research makes content unreliable, and unimaginative. If I sourced all my content from Neil Patel’s blog, I’d just be a poor mans Neil Patel. Checking out the blogs of other people practising in your industry is not the best idea. Nor is getting content from news sources – many journalists get their data from online sources such as the ones listed below.
If you want to organise your content and research, I have created a free Trello board. I recommend duplicating it if you have many clients. I hope you find it useful.
Here’s the list!
Set up Google Alerts and get the very latest news containing your chosen key words and phrases to your inbox every day.
Set it up here.
Find out what is a hot topic in the world, and where.
You can see curated information such as which keywords are trending right now, and what the most popular searches were in different years.
Here’s what’s trending in the UK right now.
When considering creating content, using Google Trends can help you identify what to write about and which words to use.
On this search we can see that SEO (blue) had a boom of interest in 2017 but interest has dwindled off, where are interest about social media continues to grow.
Information that’s been published or created by the government is a great source for your content. It’s accurate, dated and you know it’s compliant with legislation. So if you’re writing complex how-to guides that have to be legally correct, this should be the first place you check. You can search all government publications via keyword. So it’s a super quick and easy way to find information (before you have to delve into reading the actual content.)
Find data published by the central government, local authorities and public bodies. Plenty of information about all sorts of topics like health, business and economy, the environment etc.
You can find anything in here from fire safety assessment checklists to how to buy cloud services on the digital market place.
These are basically official press releases for the queen, PM, NATO etc. You can find details about speeches, updates and alerts.
They have everything on here. Fire and rescue stats, cybersecurity breach stats, economic forecasts. The list goes on!
Other Gov.uk Domains for specific topics
(Just a few examples but you get the picture.)
The NHS have information about any health condition you can think of and plenty of content about how to lead a healthy lifestyle. And because it’s the NHS, it makes it a reliable source to cite in your content.
Information about the day to day tasks of each job, salary expectations and estimated working hours.
Plenty of info about nutrition, calories, food preparation, how to start a food business. Anything food!
Everything to do with pensions. Obviously!
Many guides and reports about cyber security and cyber crime.
Guides to anything planning permission. Loft conversions, conservatories, making applications – everything.
Road safety statistics, reports and information.
Event Managers and industry authorities
Every industry has an authority that is non-biased and provides useful reports. Official events are also useful places to find data as they are not aligned with any one business – they have to be an industry authority who is championing all businesses in that field.
A lot of the sites listed above have newsletters. Sign up to the newsletters of your official industry leaders. They will probably send you content at least weekly.
Create a survey on Survey Monkey and ask your audience directly which content they’d like to see more of.
Trade magazines and books
Trade magazines and books are good, authoritative places you can collect data and quotes and cite information from. It’s difficult to type up notes from books, and it’s not ideal if you want to read now and edit later. So you can use Evernote and photograph the text, which will then make is searchable in your Evernote folder.
If I’m working for a client I like to ask them what their favourite books and trade magazines are, so I can read them and get more insight about how they work and what kind of content they like the most.
Reddit is basically a forum and has extremely specific sub Reddits. There will probably be a sub reddit for your industry. What questions are people on there asking a lot? What kind of advice are they giving and what’s important to them?
Many charities publish a lot of statistics and reports about certain topics. They are an authoritative and neutral source.
Scientific papers and journals
Google Scholar can help you quickly find scientific research which you can write about.
If someone has posted something interesting that supports your argument or you’d like to discuss, you can embed this into your website. (You don’t have to screen shot and paste.)
To do this all you need to do is select the little arrow on the end of the Tweet, select “embed tweet” and then copy and paste the HTML code into your blog.
You could create a whole blog post by asking a question on Twitter and posting the replies on your blog, with some supporting comments by you.
Are you a reseller or partner with a certain vendor? If you have an expensive tool, or if you resell products the vendor may have a lot of content you can use such as information for blogs, e-books, videos and social media posts you can use.
If they don’t have these things, it’s worth registering your interest for them.
Attending conferences or live events where people with industry authority are speaking can be a good way to get quality content ideas and quotations. It can be time-consuming, but attending one large event could give you a lot of material to work with.
Awareness days, weeks and months.
Creating content around specific awareness events can make sure you’re creating content that has a buzz and will be picked up by relevant hashtags. It’s also a great way to get ideas. Some awareness events have free content, tweets and packs you can get. The best awareness calendar can be found here.
Your own brain
If you’re an expert in your field, a lot of your best content will come from your own thoughts and experiences. If you’re a professional content creator, then pick your clients brains for ideas whenever you can!
I hope you enjoyed this list, and please feel free to use my Trello content planner template. If you enjoyed please give me a share on social.
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Category: Blogging and Writing, Marketing Blog, Social Media