Short-Term Research Skills
Short-term research skills are their own beast. Some forms of research are conducted over a period of years and years, but copywriters rarely have that luxury.
What does it take to conduct effective research on a quick turnaround?
1. Narrow It Down
Information overload can paralyse you - rein it in
Whenever possible, narrow things down, both in terms of topic and angle
Maintain a consistent awareness of when you're on/off topic - it's easy for research to tip into procrastination if you don't monitor yourself
Outline, plan ahead
Be highly specific
Target your research
2. Focus on Memorable Details
When you begin to conduct your research, what stands out to you?
What you sound most enthused about is what your audience will remember
Choose concrete details to ground your writing - statistics, case files, personal stories
Create and emphasise succinct and powerful one liners
Choose the details that matter, lose the ones that don't - if you pack an article too full of facts, you put yourself in danger of losing your audience
3. Look For the Right Experts
The internet is saturated with self-proclaimed "experts"
Make sure that you're streamlining the research process by turning to the right sources from the word GO
Assess: What credentials does the source have? What evidence does the source present? How can I fact-check these claims?
Be sure that you understand the material correctly - misuse of academic language/misinterpretation of academic meaning will damage a copywriter's credentials
4. Don't be Afraid of Personal Touch
Nobody can know everything about a given topic after three days
Personal touch can fill potential knowledge gaps
Rather than focusing on what you don't know, focus on what it is that only you can bring to the article
How much wiggle room is there in the brief you've been given? Is there space for the anecdotal? For translatable experiences?
Find an angle, tell a story
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