While browsing some blog articles from authority sites I asked – where do they get their stuff? They write a lot. I’m sure they have their “oasis” of info somewhere.
So here I came up with my own list. It’s better if you can add some more here.
News – internet, technology, SEO
Getting up to date with the “latest” can give you a better opportunity of making the most noise. The only drawback is that you need to publish as early and as unique as possible. If it’s news, or about an update, then gather all the available data (usually incomplete) and publish. If you miss some points in your article after it is published, you can have a follow-up article.
The tech section of NYTimes.com, CNN.com, and other news agencies can be a good starting point. Some of these sites have limits with the number of articles that you can access per month. So bookmark the interesting articles to save them for future reference. For tech and internet news, you can check CNET.com, techcrunch.com, technorati.com, and others.
If you are exploring on a new topic outside SEO, there are lots of niche sites.
The first thing I do when looking for an inspiration is to check the authority sites. I usually start with SEOmoz.org and searchengineland.com. Check their blog articles. Then read all the comments. Sometimes these can provide lots of insights that the author had missed.
One reminder though, be critical with the author’s ideas. Not everything that they say is true.
Pdfs – stats, surveys, reports
Several companies provide projections and reports. These are usually released at the end or every quarter of the year. Forrester is one good example of these research firms. Some companies also release their own reports and projections.
These pdf reports give you the feeling that the data are more credible. Always check the date when the data was gathered and when the report was published.
Most of blog articles are written with informal tone but it doesn’t mean that scholarly journals should be avoided. They usually provide us with empirical data which are absent in some blog articles.
When you use these data, your claims or opinions will appear more credible as compared to someone writing based on opinion and intuitions alone.
Google Scholar is a good starting point here. Also, there are a lot of free academic journals that are available in pdf format.
Analytic tools, experiments
There are lots of tools to choose from. We have opensiteexplorer.org, Google Analytics, Alexa, Pagerank checker, etc. These are useful for articles about analysis and comparisons of different sites, including your site.
Do some experiments using these tools. Usually, these “simple tests” provide big help to others. These provide insights that the other sources of info miss.
Numbers and stats
Some sites provide great numbers – comscore.com, royal.pingdom.com, internetworldstats.com, www.marketingcharts.com, and many more. These sites are good for comparative analysis.
You can also use these figures in creating infographics.
Before or while writing about a topic, I try to post a thread regarding that particular topic. The “community” is really helpful when it comes to getting some tips on what to do, and on how to start. Some useful links are also provided in the comments.
It’s good to be active is some forum sites like forums.digitalpoint.com and warriorforum.com.
Social media sites
Ask the knowledgeable people in your social networking circle. Get opinions from them, and comment on their posts. Follow and subscribe to the authority figures. They usually provide useful links. You also got the chance to ask some relevant questions to them.
Tutorials, or update videos from Google can greatly increase your understanding of a specific issue without reading that much. You can also check SEOmoz.org’s Whiteboard Friday. Or just simply visit Youtube and search for the videos that you think can help you.
According to visual.ly, infographics present complex information quickly and clearly, more engaging than plain articles, and present trends and patterns. These can readily provide us with info on just about anything.
If all else fails, Google it.
But depending too much on Google presents some limitations in the data that you input to your article. We usually only visit the sites that are on the first page of the results. Some of the more informative and credible ones are buried in the lower ranked pages. So explore the other results page.
You still decide
Get as much data as possible, and filter them out. Always double check the data. Cross reference them. The accuracy of the figures that you include in the article matters a lot to your readers.
And some more. Provide your own take about a topic. Don’t just echo what the others say. It’s hard to convince someone unless you think that your opinion is logical and valid. It’s always up to you.
Ric is one of the web content writers of AgentsofValue.com, a pioneer in providing outsourcing services to customers from over 20 countries around the world. You can hire a web content writer from us to market your online business.