Copywriting Research--The Rick Duris Method

11 replies
Recently, three copywriters have asked me how I do research. Now that's a real coincidence.

Research is one of my favorite things and all three were blown away by what I'm going to share with you today. Everything I share with you today is free to use.

Currently, I have a copywriting project on autism.

With this particular research, I use Google. But not the standard Google. Google calls it Advanced Search, I call it "Google accelerated."

Here's how it works:

1. The first thing I do is go over to the Google Settings page and I click OFF instant search. Using instant search, in this case, will actually slow the research process down we're doing.

2. Next thing I do in Settings is set the number of entries to 100. This allows me to view 100 websites in Google at one time, instead of 10. (It's the equivalent of seeing the first 10 pages of Google SERPs.)

3. Then I check the "Open each selected result in a new browser window" box. Because I don't want to replace my search results with a new page I click on every time.

4. Now I head over to the search box and I enter:

site:facebook.com “autism” "1000..10000 People Like This"

Then I hit search.

What does this search string do for me?

In this case, I'm searching FaceBook specifically for all fan pages on autism where between 1000 and 10,000 people have liked the page.

Pretty cool, uh? Try it for yourself.

This allows me to put my finger on the pulse of what's happening right now with autism inside FaceBook. I'm getting the raw data. I want to see what people are saying, along with the words and phrases they use to describe their situation.

This method gives me FAR MORE accurate information than just using standard Google. Because as we all know Google SERPS can be manipulated.

Not only is this type of research information more relevant, it's more TIMELY. Like almost newsworthy.

Today, relevant and timely information are keys to writing high-converting copy. Your copy will resonate more. Much more than swiping winning ads, even on the same subject.

(I'm NOT telling you to burn your swipe files, because they can ALWAYS be a source of inspiration and structure.)

This kind of research can be done with all sorts of social media websites too, once you understand the URL footprint of the site you want to research.

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For instance, you can go to YouTube and do the same thing, but in a different way. This next search will get us all of the top autism channels on YouTube, 100 at a crack.

site:youtube.com/user “autism”

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5. Lastly, I'm going to give you one more tip as it relates to these searches.

To do this next trick, go ahead and download SEOQuake at seoquake.com (It's free, but they should really charge for it.)

This nifty little tool modifies Google's search pages on-the-fly, showing us all sorts of SEO attributes of the page.

The one attribute that's personally interesting related to research is the PageRank. This tool not only shows you the PageRank, but you can also SORT the SERPS by it.

That means I can see how relevant Google thinks the page is. The higher the PageRank, the more relevant Google thinks the page is.

This research combined is quite valuable. Because while it's a dream to be able to click on all 100 pages, the reality is you're looking for what other people think is most relevant and PageRank tells you this.

You can do this type of research on any website. As long as you know the footprint/format of the URL.

Once you use Google's advanced search function on your copywriting project, you'll have a keener insight into your market and ideal customer.

- Rick Duris

PS: Thanks to the three copywriters who inspired this post.
#copywriting #duris #method #researchthe #rick
  • Profile picture of the author abugah
    What about past promotions?
    Do you go back 20 years like David Ogilvy?
    Do you interview people as part of the research?
    How many competitor's sales materials do you look at?
    How many hours do you clock on a new subject before you feel confident about the research?
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    • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
      1. What about past promotions?

      This is going to come off as a bit contrarian, but I try NOT to look at previous pieces.

      For straight copywriting, (not conversion optimization) I've been trained to look at everything but the old pieces.

      Partners will deliberately NOT show me prior work done because they want something fresh/different. They do not want past promotions bleeding into my subconscious.

      Now there are exceptions, when it makes perfect sense, but generally I'll just take a quick peek and put it all aside. But only for curiousity sake. I can't help myself.

      Again, I have been trained NOT to look.

      2. Do you go back 20 years like David Ogilvy?

      Not really. Sometimes. Finding a twenty-year old entrepreneurial company is rare. That's my target market--ambitious entrepreneurs and companies.

      3. Do you interview people as part of the research?


      Absolutely. It's my favorite thing to do. I'll spend hours and hours on the phone.


      4. How many competitor's sales materials do you look at?

      As many as I can. I'm looking for the flaw in their execution, where I can differentiate the Client's product. Or I'm looking for what they're doing right that I can adapt.

      5. How many hours do you clock on a new subject before you feel confident about the research?

      It depends on the market. If it's one I haven't worked in before, like autism, it could take a bit. With stuff I'm familiar with, I can start writing immediately.

      - Rick Duris

      PS: It may help to know, I do several kinds of research:

      1. Keyword Research
      2. Competitive Research
      3. Product Research
      4. Company Research
      5. Market/Niche Research
      6. I Build My "Perfect Customer" I'm Targeting
      7. Subject Matter Research

      It's not a sequential step-wise process. I kinda do it all at the same time.
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      • Profile picture of the author abugah
        Rick,

        Thank you for your insights. It good to know that you prefer ambitious entrepreneurs and companies.


        Originally Posted by RickDuris View Post

        1. What about past promotions?

        This is going to come off as a bit contrarian, but I try NOT to look at previous pieces.

        For straight copywriting, (not conversion optimization) I've been trained to look at everything but the old pieces.

        Partners will deliberately NOT show me prior work done because they want something fresh/different. They do not want past promotions bleeding into my subconscious.

        Now there are exceptions, when it makes perfect sense, but generally I'll just take a quick peek and put it all aside. But only for curiousity sake. I can't help myself.

        Again, I have been trained NOT to look.

        2. Do you go back 20 years like David Ogilvy?

        Not really. Sometimes. Finding a twenty-year old entrepreneurial company is rare. That's my target market--ambitious entrepreneurs and companies.

        3. Do you interview people as part of the research?


        Absolutely. It's my favorite thing to do. I'll spend hours and hours on the phone.


        4. How many competitor's sales materials do you look at?

        As many as I can. I'm looking for the flaw in their execution, where I can differentiate the Client's product. Or I'm looking for what they're doing right that I can adapt.

        5. How many hours do you clock on a new subject before you feel confident about the research?

        It depends on the market. If it's one I haven't worked in before, like autism, it could take a bit. With stuff I'm familiar with, I can start writing immediately.

        - Rick Duris

        PS: It may help to know, I do several kinds of research:

        1. Keyword Research
        2. Competitive Research
        3. Product Research
        4. Company Research
        5. Market/Niche Research
        6. I Build My "Perfect Customer" I'm Targeting
        7. Subject Matter Research

        It's not a sequential step-wise process. I kinda do it all at the same time.
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  • Profile picture of the author joona
    Thanks for the Facebook trick. Never really thought about that as a way to do research.

    To understand my target market better, I have of course checked what I can find from FB using their own search but I think the method you highlighted above cuts the time a lot.
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  • Profile picture of the author John Galt
    Great share Rick. I didn't know you could search for a range of numbers like that... you just opened up a bunch of ideas for me.
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    • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
      Originally Posted by John Galt View Post

      Great share Rick. I didn't know you could search for a range of numbers like that... you just opened up a bunch of ideas for me.
      Try this John, for fun:

      "google search tricks" filetype:pdf

      That'll get you all the pdfs on Google search tricks.

      Lots to be learned.

      This will give you lots of things to think about and test.

      - Rick Duris

      PS: Compile all those pdfs together and slap together a WSO.

      But the real "secret sauce" is how to apply it to copywriting. I just gave you one or two examples.
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  • Profile picture of the author Spock1
    Wow, that's pretty notable but I have no application for such a volume of data.
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    Article Marketing on Steroids
    The end of long winded articles & minimum word quotas..Focus on what matters & promote your business with Facts!
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  • Profile picture of the author Andrew Gould
    To take it up a notch, you can use Google Alerts to create feeds for all your search terms.

    You can then access the feeds through Google Reader (you can also set up search feeds directly in Reader to monitor blogs, twitter, eBay, etc.), giving you a real-time look at what's happening in your market.

    And this means you can come back to the market in a few months or so and see exactly what's been going on.
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    Andrew Gould

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  • Profile picture of the author CoffeeWithRyan
    I have a tendency to check up Google News on related terms on the niche and find out what kind of technical terms, what kind of news and media styles these people are normally into. For example, sports related niches normally news which " speak" in a certain manner to their audience. Or I get into twitter and follow a bunch of these leading people, to see how they interact with their crowd and what rouses their emotions.

    I like to visit places like Amazon for competitor products and see the "People Who Bought This Also Bought This..." label. That's to see if I can leverage from their similar interests and dig up some gold.

    Yahoo Answers and Question databases like Ask, Quora also provide common questions that most people in the niche ask about.

    I then search them with Google, since there's really no reason to go to each individual site and search.

    - Ryan
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    • Profile picture of the author JakeDaly
      I'ma bookmark dis muh f*cka.

      Thank you, Rick!
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  • Profile picture of the author lorryyap
    Seeing this in 2016 but still amazing. Thank you.
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