How Do You Research To Write a High Quality Article?

49 replies
What is your process?

Here is a tip that I found on the internet.

Step 1. Open 4 tabs on Google.com
Step 2. Type the keyword into Google on each Tab
Step 3. Tab 1 go to Blogs, Tab 2 go to videos, Tab 3 go to News Tab 4 stay at the main page.
Step 4. Take a look at the results for each, and click through, and skim through them, and watch a few videos to see what people are talking about.

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Once I do that, is when I get stuck. How do I choose the right points to write about? I don't seem to be a good skimmer, and end up having to read the whole article, to get any knowledge from it.

Do you guys copy and paste certain points, into a notepad to take notes? When I do this, I seem to find the whole article useful, and end up copying and pasting most of the article into a notepad.

You might be saying, you pretty taught us how to do the research. But I just want to know, how I can maximize my efforts, and write the highest quality articles.

Your process will give me a different perspective.

Thank you guys.

I truly love this forum, as it's filled with people who enjoy helping people.

-Paul
#article #high #quality #research #write
  • Profile picture of the author Joseph Robinson
    Banned
    Before even starting the research process for a piece of content, I make sure to know what message I intend for that piece to deliver. "Freelancing" it and just hoping to throw a story/message together by whatever pops up online makes for much lower quality articles in my opinion.

    Anyways, once you know what your overarching message for an article is going to be, research gets much easier and you go looking for evidence to back up what you want to say instead of random facts you can make stick.

    Also, a couple other research resources I like to utilize:

    Wikipedia-But not the article themselves. I always look to the source material on a given subject. Those articles and websites are goldmines of much more detailed information on a given topic.

    Book Stores/Libraries-With all of the readily available information that is online, it is weird to think that some things can still only be found in books. Utilizing offline resources has really helped me to write better, more well informed articles.

    Google is a great resource, but I try not to make it my only resource, you know?
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    • Profile picture of the author Ferma231
      I just open some tabs and google my KW and then i just read and try to understand everything, sometimes i take sentece and rewrite it with my words
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      • Profile picture of the author Shadowflux
        I agree with Joe. The first thing I do is try to come up with a message, theme or topic for the article. Sometimes I will receive specific topics from clients and sometimes they will be pretty vague. Let's say the topic is "New York City".

        I'll then choose a message, theme or topic for the article such as:

        "The quietest places in the city"

        This will help narrow down my research. I'll be looking for information that specifically relates to this topic. Once I have a few good points to cover, the article will basically write itself.

        There is more to writing a great article than this, of course, but it's always good to start with a clear idea of what information you're going to present.
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        • Profile picture of the author Freelancing10
          Originally Posted by Shadowflux View Post

          I agree with Joe. The first thing I do is try to come up with a message, theme or topic for the article. Sometimes I will receive specific topics from clients and sometimes they will be pretty vague. Let's say the topic is "New York City".

          I'll then choose a message, theme or topic for the article such as:

          "The quietest places in the city"

          This will help narrow down my research. I'll be looking for information that specifically relates to this topic. Once I have a few good points to cover, the article will basically write itself.

          There is more to writing a great article than this, of course, but it's always good to start with a clear idea of what information you're going to present.
          With these tips, one must use their own creativity before knowing anything about the subject right?

          So it's more than just going out and getting the facts.
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          • Profile picture of the author Shadowflux
            Originally Posted by Freelancing10 View Post

            With these tips, one must use their own creativity before knowing anything about the subject right?

            So it's more than just going out and getting the facts.

            Exactly. Writing is a creative endeavor. The facts are important, especially if the article focuses on certain facts such as "How to set up a fish tank" but the most important part is being creative, readable and entertaining.

            Come up with an idea that you want to write about and then find supporting information for your points.
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        • Profile picture of the author jwmann2
          I usually take something in the news and create my own article by summarizing it and then giving my own critique. It has been working well for me.
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    • Profile picture of the author Freelancing10
      Originally Posted by Joe Robinson View Post

      Before even starting the research process for a piece of content, I make sure to know what message I intend for that piece to deliver. "Freelancing" it and just hoping to throw a story/message together by whatever pops up online makes for much lower quality articles in my opinion.

      Anyways, once you know what your overarching message for an article is going to be, research gets much easier and you go looking for evidence to back up what you want to say instead of random facts you can make stick.

      Also, a couple other research resources I like to utilize:

      Wikipedia-But not the article itself. I always look to the source material on a given subject. Those articles and websites are goldmines of much more detailed information on a given topic.

      Book Stores/Libraries-With all of the readily available information that is online, it is weird to think that some things can still only be found in books. Utilizing offline resources has really helped me to write better, more well informed articles.

      Google is a great resource, but I try not to make it my only resource, you know?

      Very great tips.

      So before you research you already have an idea what you will be writing about? Of course, this can't be done all the time since you won't be familiar with all topics right?

      When you do find information, and key points that you want to use, do you rewrite them in your own words? Or do you just simply look at it, put it aside, and just start writing, since you already know enough about the topic?

      I will have to try out my local library, and book stores. Very good tips. Thanks for this.

      Do you just sit at the book stores grab a good book and take notes?

      Now that I think about, that is such powerful tips.

      Thanks a lot.
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    • Profile picture of the author Freelancing10
      Originally Posted by Joe Robinson View Post


      Wikipedia-But not the article themselves. I always look to the source material on a given subject. Those articles and websites are goldmines of much more detailed information on a given topic.

      Book Stores/Libraries-With all of the readily available information that is online, it is weird to think that some things can still only be found in books. Utilizing offline resources has really helped me to write better, more well informed articles.

      Google is a great resource, but I try not to make it my only resource, you know?
      I tried Wikipedia. The dilemma I ran into is how to actually read the books that it references. There is tons of books, that I would loose too much money if I went and bought each and every book. In this case would you just go to the book store and skim through the book?

      Also there is lots of DVD's that it references, of interviews that took place. I tried to find them in Google, but many of them I could not find. Lots of these references just quote a part of the book, or interview, and are not entirely about the specific subject I am covering.

      I looked in my local library, and there was nothing about the subject.

      The wikepedia article seemed like the type of article I need to write to explain the subject I am targeting. Obviously I don't want to rewrite the Wikipedia article, as that would not be very original?


      My question is, how did the Wikipedia author get a hold of all these resources? Did he actually go out and buy each source of content?

      What would you recommend?
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      • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
        Banned
        I'm not "writing for customers", only for my own business, and my own business's requirements are different from "a typical customer's requirements", so I can't really add much to the helpful replies you've had above.

        I like to try to do as much research offline as I can, so I'm always trying to (a) give people information they haven't seen online before, and/or (b) challenge widespread, conventional beliefs in a provocative and entertaining way.

        Originally Posted by Freelancing10 View Post

        My question is, how did the Wikipedia author get a hold of all these resources? Did he actually go out and buy each source of content?
        Nooooo, surely not: I think a common answer, among regular Wiki contributors, is "university libraries" (which is also where I've had a lot of my own inspirations).
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      • Profile picture of the author Joseph Robinson
        Banned
        Originally Posted by Freelancing10 View Post

        I tried Wikipedia. The dilemma I ran into is how to actually read the books that it references. There is tons of books, that I would loose too much money if I went and bought each and every book. In this case would you just go to the book store and skim through the book?
        Exactly. You don't have to break the bank to write each article. If there is a way for you to get the information without having to switch to a solely ramen noodle diet, then go for it.

        Originally Posted by Freelancing10 View Post

        Also there is lots of DVD's that it references, of interviews that took place. I tried to find them in Google, but many of them I could not find. Lots of these references just quote a part of the book, or interview, and are not entirely about the specific subject I am covering.
        You have to make a judgement call on things like this. Do you think that the source material will add to your article? Or is it just going to be that one quote that was cited and nothing else? This holds true for all sources, not just DVD's

        As far as getting a hold of that info in a cost-friendly way: a Netflix subscription can be your best friend .

        Originally Posted by Freelancing10 View Post

        I looked in my local library, and there was nothing about the subject.
        As Alexa said, there is some amazing information to be had in your University library. Try there as well and that's on me for not clarifying it as a research source in the earlier post .

        Originally Posted by Freelancing10 View Post

        The wikepedia article seemed like the type of article I need to write to explain the subject I am targeting. Obviously I don't want to rewrite the Wikipedia article, as that would not be very original?
        Definitely not. We don't want you just rewriting anything.


        Originally Posted by Freelancing10 View Post

        My question is, how did the Wikipedia author get a hold of all these resources? Did he actually go out and buy each source of content?

        What would you recommend?
        The Wikipedia author used all of the same research methods that have been suggested to you. They may have bought the subject material, or just rented/checked out/skimmed in the bookstore. It depends really on their budget and what they needed to write a specific article.
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        • Profile picture of the author myob
          If you want your writing to stand above the crowds of "me too" types of articles, consider looking into offline trade/professional/scientific journals and specialty publications. Local university libraries are usually a goldmine of top resources.
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  • Profile picture of the author Freelancing10
    In fact, with the tips of going to bookstores, and libraries, I truly see how one can charge $50 per article.
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    • Profile picture of the author Joseph Robinson
      Banned
      Originally Posted by Freelancing10 View Post

      Very great tips.

      So before you research you already have an idea what you will be writing about? Of course, this can't be done all the time since you won't be familiar with all topics right?
      It's rare that I end up with a topic that I know little to nothing about, I think that is more luck than anything else though. Grow up in a house of 8 very different kids and you find yourself exposed to a lot of different interests .

      A great way to pick up a theme for your piece if you can't come up with one on your own? Talk to your client. They usually have a broad idea in mind of what they want that piece of content to accomplish, and you can derive a theme from that.

      Originally Posted by Freelancing10 View Post

      When you do find information, and key points that you want to use, do you rewrite them in your own words? Or do you just simply look at it, put it aside, and just start writing, since you already know enough about the topic?
      You're asking the right questions, and changing your mindset here will lead to you writing much better (see: higher paying) articles. Researched facts are meant only to strengthen my article, not be the foundation of it. Any Dick or Sally writer can look up a couple of facts and throw them back onto a page with a few words twisted around.

      Your articles need to be more than that. Make a point, have an argument. Your facts back up that argument, validate it, and prove that you know what you are talking about.

      Originally Posted by Freelancing10 View Post

      I will have to try out my local library, and book stores. Very good tips. Thanks for this.

      Do you just sit at the book stores grab a good book and take notes?

      Now that I think about, that is such powerful tips.

      Thanks a lot.
      It depends. A lot of times, yes I bring along a notebook, sit in the cafe (seems every book store in Central Florida comes with a Starbucks inside :rolleyes and start pulling out information I can use. If a book was especially helpful or interesting, then I'll buy it. I don't like to just freeload off of the bookstore .

      With libraries you can obviously check out books, so I do this rather than just sit in a stuffy old building all day. Florida libraries are not well taken care of in my opinion lol. Anyways, I'm always at my maximum in books that I can have out at a time. You should be too.

      Originally Posted by Freelancing10 View Post

      In fact, with the tips of going to bookstores, and libraries, I truly see how one can charge $50 per article.
      Going the extra mile: the easiest way to start setting yourself apart in any professional space. How many $.01 writers do you think are going out of their way to get the facts for an article? Heck, many don't go past the third result in Google.

      Up your standards (and I can tell you are willing to) and you will start to improve quickly.
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      • Profile picture of the author Freelancing10
        Originally Posted by Joe Robinson View Post

        It's rare that I end up with a topic that I know little to nothing about, I think that is more luck than anything else though. Grow up in a house of 8 very different kids and you find yourself exposed to a lot of different interests .

        A great way to pick up a theme for your piece if you can't come up with one on your own? Talk to your client. They usually have a broad idea in mind of what they want that piece of content to accomplish, and you can derive a theme from that.



        You're asking the right questions, and changing your mindset here will lead to you writing much better (see: higher paying) articles. Researched facts are meant only to strengthen my article, not be the foundation of it. Any Dick or Sally writer can look up a couple of facts and throw them back onto a page with a few words twisted around.

        Your articles need to be more than that. Make a point, have an argument. Your facts back up that argument, validate it, and prove that you know what you are talking about.



        It depends. A lot of times, yes I bring along a notebook, sit in the cafe (seems every book store in Central Florida comes with a Starbucks inside :rolleyes and start pulling out information I can use. If a book was especially helpful or interesting, then I'll buy it. I don't like to just freeload off of the bookstore .

        With libraries you can obviously check out books, so I do this rather than just sit in a stuffy old building all day. Florida libraries are not well taken care of in my opinion lol. Anyways, I'm always at my maximum in books that I can have out at a time. You should be too.



        Going the extra mile: the easiest way to start setting yourself apart in any professional space. How many $.01 writers do you think are going out of their way to get the facts for an article? Heck, many don't go past the third result in Google.

        Up your standards (and I can tell you are willing to) and you will start to improve quickly.
        You are a goldmine Joe. In fact these tips are common sense. It is like I have forgotten what they made me do in high school when I had to write an essay for a grade. They would make me write the resource, so the teacher can make sure I am not just rewriting some unreliable article from the internet, with things that are not even facts.

        You could easily create a guide for people like me, and sell it for a great price. And I am very grateful that you take the time and respond to my questions.

        You are right about people not going past the third result. In fact, I plea guilty on this. Not because I am lazy, but because I know what the pay is. For $.01 a word, I am trying to write the article as fast as possible simply to not be overworked.

        Which is why people that pay $.01 an article don't last long in what ever they are pursuing like you have mentioned in many other of my threads.


        It's all coming to me now. Of course now, it's time to get to work, and build a valuable portfolio to attract those high paying clients.

        Any tips on that? Obviously I don't have any topics to write on right now since, I don't have any clients. Should I just pick a topic and write 5 high quality articles to add to my portfolio?

        What do you recommend for this?
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        • Profile picture of the author Joseph Robinson
          Banned
          Originally Posted by Freelancing10 View Post

          You are a goldmine Joe. In fact these tips are common sense. It is like I have forgotten what they made me do in high school when I had to write an essay for a grade. They would make me write the resource, so the teacher can make sure I am not just rewriting some unreliable article from the internet, with things that are not even facts.
          Who knew that they were actually preparing us for the real world ?

          Originally Posted by Freelancing10 View Post

          You could easily create a guide for people like me, and sell it for a great price. And I am very grateful that you take the time and respond to my questions.
          Never, lol. The IM niche is a lot of fun to talk about, not so much to sell to (at least for me). I'm quite alright trying to help right on here .


          Originally Posted by Freelancing10 View Post

          It's all coming to me now. Of course now, it's time to get to work, and build a valuable portfolio to attract those high paying clients.
          There ya go. As long as you don't need the money, I'd say stop taking those $.01 per word jobs and focus on your portfolio and improving your skills. Doing those low priced articles just keeps you chasing your tail, trying to fit the keyword "best locks Atlanta" into a 300 word article 5 times, and generally just very unhappy.

          Originally Posted by Freelancing10 View Post

          Any tips on that? Obviously I don't have any topics to write on right now since, I don't have any clients. Should I just pick a topic and write 5 high quality articles to add to my portfolio?

          What do you recommend for this?
          I didn't make my portfolio pertain to any one niche, because for contracted work I tend to end up all over the board. My portfolio instead is used to portray my different writing styles, show the depth of research I am willing to do, and prove that I can create content that other publishers would by dying to have on their own site.

          Just pick topics that you enjoy writing about, and go to town. My best sample articles? They cover a strategy for getting the most out of your day at Disney's Magic Kingdom, decorating your house for Christmas, and the New England Patriots roster strategy. They were fun to write, and therefore not at all tedious.

          Remember too that your portfolio is your one best chance to make a great impression. These pieces of content need to be perfect.
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  • Profile picture of the author YasirYar
    I do a lot of the pre-writing research from many of the sources you have described, but I make sure I make short notes in my own words about what the general idea of the research is. I know people who copy paste but I try to avoid that since it makes writing an original article much easier when you actually get down to writing.

    I begin writing soon after taking those short notes, constantly referring to them I have become pretty good at skimming through articles and finding relevant and useful information, so that's a big plus

    There is plenty of information available out there, whether on the web or in libraries, book shops or newspapers. It all comes down to how you manage your time and how quickly you are able to write great quality articles.

    Good luck!
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    • Profile picture of the author kolled
      The first step is to decide what theme I'll write about based on the keywords I have. I am then able to search for information that is relevant to the theme.

      After searching and opening various sites, what I do is to read, understand and take notes as I go. Copy/pasting research material increases the likelihood of copying somebody's work into the article. (I keep a Notebook for writing down my research)

      Once I am satisfied with the notes, I get down to work and write the article. I've noted that if I step away for some time, things tend to get forgotten easily. The longer I stay away, the more the information I've collected gets disjointed.

      Note taking however is not necessary all the time since some topics are more familiar than others.
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  • Profile picture of the author oysheee
    I just open ezine article directory site and search there about the topics. I got massive informative posts there. Then i read 3-4 of the articles then i started writing my own article.
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    • Profile picture of the author Joseph Robinson
      Banned
      Originally Posted by oysheee View Post

      I just open ezine article directory site and search there about the topics. I got massive informative posts there. Then i read 3-4 of the articles then i started writing my own article.
      Let me just step in on this one real quick. Freelancing10 (and anyone else trying to get to the same level of writing as him), I personally feel you'd do best to stay away from EZA and other directories as a source of research.

      Why? It's simple really. Most (if not all) of those high paying clients that you are hoping to secure are article syndicators themselves. The last thing they are going to want is to have a piece of content that is already saying what another syndication piece is saying. There is no benefit to that.
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      • Profile picture of the author sandarr
        Originally Posted by Joe Robinson View Post

        Let me just step in on this one real quick. Freelancing10 (and anyone else trying to get to the same level of writing as him), I personally feel you'd do best to stay away from EZA and other directories as a source of research.

        Why? It's simple really. Most (if not all) of those high paying clients that you are hoping to secure are article syndicators themselves. The last thing they are going to want is to have a piece of content that is already saying what another syndication piece is saying. There is no benefit to that.
        I agree Joe, however if you know nothing about the topic, then it could help to read some articles there. Just to familiarize yourself, before beginning to research real information. If you are writing higher quality articles, yours should not look like many that are posted there.

        Feel the client out, determine what they want from the article, prior to deciding on specific research or a title. Depending on the topic, government sites and statistics can be helpful to make points in the article. Remember too, Google is not the only search engine and the library is your friend.
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        • Profile picture of the author Joseph Robinson
          Banned
          Originally Posted by sandarr View Post

          I agree Joe, however if you know nothing about the topic, then it could help to read some articles there. Just to familiarize yourself, before beginning to research real information. If you are writing higher quality articles, yours should not look like many that are posted there.
          In this, there can be a benefit of looking there. Having a distinct writing style and being willing to go further with your research usually eliminates any chance of pumping out "more of the same" though.
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  • Profile picture of the author rooze
    Come up with the title, which should set the tone for the entire article. Then come up with the index.
    The index will create the sub-categories and their sequence will also dictate the flow, which is important. Spend a few minutes organizing the sequence so that you're stepping people through the article in a logical format.
    Once I have the above, I'll type some objectives/notes within each of the index items. These will be brief notes to help me keep the research on point.

    Then I'll do my research by searching what's out there. On the web it's easy, I'll read and read different work and just catch a snippet of whatever interests me and paste it under the appropriate index item.
    Doing this I'll end up with an outline document that contains the subject, the sub-categories, a logical sequence/flow and some key data and/or points which will become the substance of the article once it's written.

    The next step is to rewrite everything and interject my own interpretations of the subject. You'll find that the copied texts, in most cases, serve merely to jog your memory. They'll help you recall specific information from multiple sources and shape what you're writing into something useful to the reader.

    You should only be using the copied texts as memory joggers. Occasionally I use them as prompts to go off and explore a certain topic in more detail, if the subject warrants more extensive research.
    Quite often I'll quote a specific source with a link and leave a text snippet intact. Then I'll write an alternative viewpoint or expand on what was written by another author. Of course in most cases you wouldn't do this if you were writing for other people, but for your own website you may find it useful to quote and link to reputable sources, often on Wikipedia.
    (Most of what I write is not contract work for other people, I'm not good enough for that. But I'd approach it in much the same way if I was writing for hire).

    I read your sample articles in another thread and what struck me was that you didn't seem to have any organization in mind as you wrote them. Each sentence and paragraph seemed to sit there autonomously from the rest, as if they were just random thoughts that popped into your head. You wrote them down then moved on to recording the next thing that popped into your head. You need to work on the craft of story telling. Creating an organized structure from the start will make for a better story and a more interesting read.

    Now you might be thinking how the heck can you do all of that and only charge $15 for it?
    You'll get more proficient at it the more you practice. Also, you should be expecting to lose money on your early work since you're starting out as a novice. You should be prepared to invest your own time into the growth of your trade and not expect it to be funded entirely by your clients.
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    • Profile picture of the author Freelancing10
      Originally Posted by rooze View Post

      Come up with the title, which should set the tone for the entire article. Then come up with the index.
      The index will create the sub-categories and their sequence will also dictate the flow, which is important. Spend a few minutes organizing the sequence so that you're stepping people through the article in a logical format.
      Once I have the above, I'll type some objectives/notes within each of the index items. These will be brief notes to help me keep the research on point.

      Then I'll do my research by searching what's out there. On the web it's easy, I'll read and read different work and just catch a snippet of whatever interests me and paste it under the appropriate index item.
      Doing this I'll end up with an outline document that contains the subject, the sub-categories, a logical sequence/flow and some key data and/or points which will become the substance of the article once it's written.

      The next step is to rewrite everything and interject my own interpretations of the subject. You'll find that the copied texts, in most cases, serve merely to jog your memory. They'll help you recall specific information from multiple sources and shape what you're writing into something useful to the reader.

      You should only be using the copied texts as memory joggers. Occasionally I use them as prompts to go off and explore a certain topic in more detail, if the subject warrants more extensive research.
      Quite often I'll quote a specific source with a link and leave a text snippet intact. Then I'll write an alternative viewpoint or expand on what was written by another author. Of course in most cases you wouldn't do this if you were writing for other people, but for your own website you may find it useful to quote and link to reputable sources, often on Wikipedia.
      (Most of what I write is not contract work for other people, I'm not good enough for that. But I'd approach it in much the same way if I was writing for hire).

      I read your sample articles in another thread and what struck me was that you didn't seem to have any organization in mind as you wrote them. Each sentence and paragraph seemed to sit there autonomously from the rest, as if they were just random thoughts that popped into your head. You wrote them down then moved on to recording the next thing that popped into your head. You need to work on the craft of story telling. Creating an organized structure from the start will make for a better story and a more interesting read.

      Now you might be thinking how the heck can you do all of that and only charge $15 for it?
      You'll get more proficient at it the more you practice. Also, you should be expecting to lose money on your early work since you're starting out as a novice. You should be prepared to invest your own time into the growth of your trade and not expect it to be funded entirely by your clients.
      Very great tips as well. If you return to the thread where I posted those articles you will see I reveal why those articles came out so poorly in the first place.

      In fact I was using a synonym finder program, to make it faster on me, because I was trying to write as fast as I could simply to get paid, and not be overworked.

      In fact, I am very surprised that those articles even got accepted on textbroker.com. But goes to show you, that people paying $.01 per word can careless, which is bad for their business.

      At first I thought maybe they weren't too bad. But after reading a the comments people left about them, I realized I wasn't going to get very far doing it that way.
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      • Profile picture of the author deejones
        Originally Posted by Freelancing10 View Post

        In fact I was using a synonym finder program, to make it faster on me, because I was trying to write as fast as I could simply to get paid, and not be overworked.
        Using a synonym finder would make the writing any faster or easier. In fact, stopping every few seconds to find another way to say something would slow things down.

        If you use the program to find bigger, "smarter" words, you really don't have to. Using big words isn't going to impress your readers. They just want clear writing with a nice flow.


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        • Profile picture of the author cashp0wer
          You should have a basic understanding of how you want to write the article before you start doing research on it. Think about the direction you want to go and what you want to tell people that read it.
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          • Profile picture of the author angela99
            Paul, there are two kinds of research:

            * Primary;

            * Secondary.


            To write a top quality article, for which you'll be paid more than $1 a WORD, you need to do PRIMARY research.

            You can do research on primary and secondary sources to learn what they entail, but in a nutshell, for the purposes of writing quality articles, look at it this way.

            Primary research is you going out and getting what you need. You can interview people, and visit locations.

            Secondary research is everything you and other posters have mentioned: using Google to find others' stuff, going to the library etc. While these are valuable materials, no one will pay you a dollar a word without you doing some digging of your own. Bear in mind that what you find in Google is not just secondary research -- most is rehashes of hashes.

            Let's see how this works in practice.

            An editor has asked you to write a quality article on dog training (ho hum, I know :-), but dog training is the standard example.)

            This offer didn't come out of the blue. The editor knows you, because you've offered several article proposals already.

            24 hours ago, you offered this editor a unique article: a touching human interest story on a companion dog at a nursing home. Your slant (point of view) is treasure from trash: a dog which was hours away from being put down was rescued, and now has rescued three people in the home. The dog (via his training, by a young and photogenic trainer) has made a huge difference in pain management and quality of life for the home's residents, especially the three you'll interview.

            You sent the editor your sources, the names of interviewees, and some photos which you snapped on your phone -- cute dog!, and the editor has given you the go-ahead. You have a contract.

            An aside re photos: if you're writing a quality article, photos are always a bonus. Snap some pics on your phone. If you're writing for a magazine, the mag may send a photographer. If you're taking the photos, you GET PAID FOR THE PHOTOS as well as for the article. The photos are intellectual property, and you get paid for them. Make sure you get a photo release from your subjects.

            Now it's time to write your article.

            You go ahead and interview everyone and you write your article and submit it, with all the details of who you interviewed, when you did it, etc.

            You've used primary sources in your article. (Your interviews.)

            Your process was:

            1. Get an idea of something you want to write about. Think about your topic.

            2. Research the topic to find primary sources: people you can interview.

            3. Get a slant -- a point of view for your article (yours was "treasure from trash" -- a throwaway dog makes a difference.)

            3. Sell the article. You made a contact, and offered ideas until your "treasure" article hit a nerve, and you were commissioned to write it.

            4. You researched and wrote the article.

            If you want to write quality articles, you'll need to do quality research. You'll have to go out, and DO stuff. :-)

            Hope this helps.

            Cheers

            Angela
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            • Profile picture of the author danr62
              Originally Posted by angela99 View Post

              Paul, there are two kinds of research:

              * Primary;

              * Secondary.


              To write a top quality article, for which you'll be paid more than $1 a WORD, you need to do PRIMARY research.

              You can do research on primary and secondary sources to learn what they entail, but in a nutshell, for the purposes of writing quality articles, look at it this way.

              Primary research is you going out and getting what you need. You can interview people, and visit locations.

              Secondary research is everything you and other posters have mentioned: using Google to find others' stuff, going to the library etc. While these are valuable materials, no one will pay you a dollar a word without you doing some digging of your own. Bear in mind that what you find in Google is not just secondary research -- most is rehashes of hashes.

              Let's see how this works in practice.

              An editor has asked you to write a quality article on dog training (ho hum, I know :-), but dog training is the standard example.)

              This offer didn't come out of the blue. The editor knows you, because you've offered several article proposals already.

              24 hours ago, you offered this editor a unique article: a touching human interest story on a companion dog at a nursing home. Your slant (point of view) is treasure from trash: a dog which was hours away from being put down was rescued, and now has rescued three people in the home. The dog (via his training, by a young and photogenic trainer) has made a huge difference in pain management and quality of life for the home's residents, especially the three you'll interview.

              You sent the editor your sources, the names of interviewees, and some photos which you snapped on your phone -- cute dog!, and the editor has given you the go-ahead. You have a contract.

              An aside re photos: if you're writing a quality article, photos are always a bonus. Snap some pics on your phone. If you're writing for a magazine, the mag may send a photographer. If you're taking the photos, you GET PAID FOR THE PHOTOS as well as for the article. The photos are intellectual property, and you get paid for them. Make sure you get a photo release from your subjects.

              Now it's time to write your article.

              You go ahead and interview everyone and you write your article and submit it, with all the details of who you interviewed, when you did it, etc.

              You've used primary sources in your article. (Your interviews.)

              Your process was:

              1. Get an idea of something you want to write about. Think about your topic.

              2. Research the topic to find primary sources: people you can interview.

              3. Get a slant -- a point of view for your article (yours was "treasure from trash" -- a throwaway dog makes a difference.)

              3. Sell the article. You made a contact, and offered ideas until your "treasure" article hit a nerve, and you were commissioned to write it.

              4. You researched and wrote the article.

              If you want to write quality articles, you'll need to do quality research. You'll have to go out, and DO stuff. :-)

              Hope this helps.

              Cheers

              Angela
              This post is very helpful, thanks. I would like to ask if it is OK to use your client as a source for an article?

              For instance, if I were hired by a dentist to write an article about the effects of smoking on your teeth and gums, for an example, would it be reasonable to ask the client a few questions about it and quote him/her? Or should I find a different expert to ask these questions?

              Or for this topic maybe it would be better to find a smoker who's teeth have been damaged by the habit and interview them instead?

              Or would it be sufficient to rely on secondary research for this type of thing?
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              • Profile picture of the author angela99
                Originally Posted by danr62 View Post

                This post is very helpful, thanks. I would like to ask if it is OK to use your client as a source for an article?

                For instance, if I were hired by a dentist to write an article about the effects of smoking on your teeth and gums, for an example, would it be reasonable to ask the client a few questions about it and quote him/her? Or should I find a different expert to ask these questions?

                Or for this topic maybe it would be better to find a smoker who's teeth have been damaged by the habit and interview them instead?

                Or would it be sufficient to rely on secondary research for this type of thing?
                Daniel, primary research is always better, if you have the time. And if you want to write a quality article, you need to take the time. :-)

                Re the dentist. OF COURSE you would ask him. He's the client, so he's a primary source. You wouldn't ask him the basics. Look that up on Google, there's no point in wasting his time on stuff you can look up.

                You would however ask him questions in order to get quote-worthy material. He might tell you about a couple of smokers whose teeth had loosened, or fell out, or whatever.

                Quote him directly if he says something good. Indeed, you can ENSURE that he says something good. :-)

                Let's say you have an outrageous idea. Put it to him this way: "Would you say that smoking is a great way to lose teeth?" (Whatever -- something outrageous.) If he says "yes" you have have your quote, and possibly a great article title.

                BTW, make sure you record all your interviews; it's a way to cover yourself.

                In your example, you're unlikely to get a client of the dentist whose teeth have been damaged to talk to you, on the record. This is too embarrassing for most people to talk about. You could however get someone who's had cosmetic dentistry after smoking damaged their teeth, and talk to them.

                Interviewing people for primary research doesn't take that long. It's better to invest the time, than to write a bunch of so-so rehash articles.

                Also, you'll find that once you start interviewing people, you get more ideas for articles, and for books too.

                Never begrudge the time you spend on primary research. It's always well spent.

                Cheers

                Angela
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  • Profile picture of the author John Z
    Try PLR some have good content
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  • Profile picture of the author Brooke Milt
    Before reading anything I try to write out what I want to convey to the reader, am I looking to entertain, inform, warn, etc. From there I research my keyword through google search, reading other articles and sometimes even contacting someone who may be an "expert" in the niche and write out a rough draft based around it. Polish, perfect and complete.
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  • Profile picture of the author Onora Oz
    I also make sure that I know what topic I'm going to write about, and what the main idea of my article is. I also have several niche keywords noted, and my key topics listed.

    Then I go check a few sources to see what other people are writing and talking about my topic: Blogs, news outlets, forums, videos, social media, ezines.

    Then I go check with expert sources: Books, magazines, .gov and .edu publications. About government and educational sources, their websites have lots of well-researched publications. But their writing style is mostly too tiring, too technical for everyday people. You can rewrite them. They're public domain anyways.

    I also use PLR for my research.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rose Anderson
    Joe has given you some great tips. I visit the library and bookstores on a regular basis to do research for articles. It helps to have other information sources beside the internet.

    I also second what Rooze said about having your titles in place before you start writing. If I'm going to write five articles on a topic I always write five titles first. This assures that each one covers a different angle and the articles aren't repetitive. I may change the title later, if I think of a better one, but it helps to know in advance exactly what you want to cover in each article. As I research, I can then jot down notes under each title. This way I only do research once for the five articles instead of researching for each article separately.

    Rose
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  • Profile picture of the author Paul Hancox
    It depends on how much I'm being paid.

    I'm charging at least $50 for my presell articles, but then I'll...

    (1) Go through my client's product, drawing out the essential teachings, tips, techniques and so on.

    (2) Figure out the right balance of information I can give away, without giving away the farm - and at the same time, enticing readers to want more (i.e. buy the product).

    (3) Build my client into a perceived EXPERT in their niche, by making sure I'm giving out genuinely expert information that also harmonizes with what my client teaches.

    (4) Make sure the article presells in subtle ways, so that the reader is moved closer to the point of buying, without directly pitching the product.

    There's no way I'm putting in that effort for $5 an article
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    • Profile picture of the author Tina Golden
      Originally Posted by Onora Oz View Post

      Then I go check with expert sources: Books, magazines, .gov and .edu publications. About government and educational sources, their websites have lots of well-researched publications. But their writing style is mostly too tiring, too technical for everyday people. You can rewrite them. They're public domain anyways.
      Be careful. Not all .gov sources are public domain and most .edu are definitely not. Make certain the material really is public domain before using it but I wouldn't recommend rewriting it for a client. I know I would be an unhappy customer to learn that my writer simply rewrote other material as that isn't what I'm paying for.
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  • Profile picture of the author tile
    what do you mean by "Step 1. Open 4 tabs on Google.com"?
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  • Profile picture of the author Randall Magwood
    I do no research. I just write from the top of my head, and i still get alot of article views. I'm more on "writing for humans" instead of writing for search engines.
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    • Profile picture of the author Joseph Robinson
      Banned
      Originally Posted by Randall Magwood View Post

      I do no research. I just write from the top of my head, and i still get alot of article views. I'm more on "writing for humans" instead of writing for search engines.
      OK, I usually ignore Randall and his drive by postings; but to prevent any poor newbie from thinking that this makes sense I'm interjecting.

      The whole point of research is that you are doing it for the benefit of your human readers. How that can be confused is beyond me; but if this poster can have the misconception, then it is possible others can too.

      Don't be one of those posters.
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    • Profile picture of the author TiffLee
      [DELETED]
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      • Profile picture of the author Joseph Robinson
        Banned
        Originally Posted by TiffLee View Post

        ... so doing research in order to produce high-quality material automatically means that one is writing for search engines?

        I hope not all of your 1,571 posts in less than four months are as poor as that one.
        He's not coming back lol. Take a look though, it's the same thing :rolleyes:.
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  • Profile picture of the author HeySal
    I do a site: .edu, keywords or phrase search.

    I don't like to get info from just general websites - I want to see what those accredited in the field have to say. For some things I also will check out .gov sites - but I find their info is usually edited to fit whatever their agenda of the day is and not always the most correct. Sometimes .org sites are okay as well, but I really check those out carefully.

    Once I have some pages of info, I open the tabs, shut down the Internet and read the pages - taking notes on wordpad. If I need more info I will start up the net again and check out whatever URLS ended up in my notes or do some further search. Shut down my connection again and read through the added pages. Then I start organizing the writing. Then I take a break to let everything congeal and either get back online or just continue writing.

    Shutting down your connection while working after you get the info really helps boost concentration. You aren't tempted to keep flipping back and forth to check email or go to irrelevant sites like here or facebook.
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    Sal
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    • Profile picture of the author Raindance
      Originally Posted by HeySal View Post

      Shutting down your connection while working after you get the info really helps boost concentration. You aren't tempted to keep flipping back and forth to check email or go to irrelevant sites like here or facebook.
      I hear ya', Sal. I do the same thing, and find it really helpful.

      Coming to the main question, research depends on the topic. When the topic is too technical and I can't contribute anything from my own, I head to libraries or try to get hold of professionals both online and offline. You don't need me to tell you how to find professionals online. There's a humans directory on the internet called Facebook that comes handy in the process.

      Next, I check up the news sites to find if the topic attracted media attention anytime in the recent past.

      Lastly, I just google the keyword, and go through what the regular sites say about it.

      Ultimately, I am left with plenty of information; considerable enough to give me a strong grip of the topic and the ability to form it all into a useful article, all by myself.

      I start writing, and I write till I drop. That takes up some 30 minutes. Then the editing starts which takes the most time - mostly hours, at times even days. At the end of it all, the piece steps out from being a draft when I'm totally convinced with it and stands as an article. In the next few minutes, it's in the inbox of the client (gift-wrapped too).
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  • Profile picture of the author JeanneLynn
    I like to use a pencil and paper (a large legal pad) during the research phase. I also like to research under a warm blanket while I watch television. LOL, I don't know why this helps, but it does. I can't think if it's quiet.

    I look up topics on my touchpad or netbook and jot down interesting things about the subjects. I make sure that I write things down in a very general outline form so I don't accidentally paraphrase someone else's work. By the time I'm ready to write the article from my notes, I usually have 2-3 pieces of paper with scribbles of information everywhere (even the top and margins). This works well for writing college papers or internet articles. I go back to my desk and organize an article from my scribbles.

    I like your new avatar! Very nice! Your old avatar scared me.
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  • Profile picture of the author Tenzho
    Here's my own way:

    First I get myself a topic to write about. For example, my boss wants to write about social media marketing. Then I take out a piece of paper or my notebook, write the topic on the middle. Then I start thinking question about it, like:

    -What is social media marketing?
    -How do you market your business using social media?
    -What are some examples of social media?
    -Who uses social media marketing?
    -If I am a Internet Marketer, how will social media help me?
    -If I am a small business owner, how will social media help me?
    -How social media can help to connect customers and business owners?
    and so on...
    These question is connected to the main topic using lines.

    Once I list down all the questions I can possibly think of, then I start doing research to find the answers to all the questions. Each answer is connected to their own respective question.

    Now I have all the information to write my own article without rehashing, spin, or copy, other writer's article.

    By the way, you can read "Quantum Writer", a book by Bobbi Deporter which I really like. But the version i read is it Malay.
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    • Profile picture of the author oMaverick
      I have written many articles on Iwriter.com my username is owriter. I have taken the Sean Souza Article Writing course and it is superb.

      The way I research my requester's topic is I do a Google search. Then if I want to specifically find an angle to write about that topic then I search that term.

      For example: African mango. If this is a general topic, then there are tons of articles and sites about this weight loss product.

      But, if the angle is how it helps stimulate weight loss, then I do a search for "The reason African mango helps weight loss" or "African mango scientific research" something along that kind of investigation.

      Basically, what I am saying is you have to pick an angle. Don't overwhelm yourself by looking at all these videos and such. You would be wasting your time on the topic because you didn't pick the angle first.

      You need an outline. Don't just start writing until you have made an outline.

      So first, pick your type: How-to article, Story article, or is it a Report article.

      Then pick your topic.

      Then pick your angle. One or two angles maximum in your article. You don't want to overwhelm your audience.

      One angle meaning the benefits, or the flaws, or the ways, or how to increase, or how to decrease, etc.
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  • Profile picture of the author sundown16
    I find when I take an article to notepad and try to rework it, and taking a different angle I end up completely rewriting it from scratch
    it's takes work.. but I find that I have to be in that "writing zone" to be effective
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Originally Posted by Joe Robinson View Post

      With libraries you can obviously check out books, so I do this rather than just sit in a stuffy old building all day. Florida libraries are not well taken care of in my opinion lol. Anyways, I'm always at my maximum in books that I can have out at a time. You should be too.
      Most libraries have subscriptions to very expensive databases, like Nexus/Lexus, that you can access using your library card.

      There is also the Inter-Library Loan program, which you can use to check out almost any book you could imagine. Sometimes there is a small fee for this service (my local library charges $3).

      Originally Posted by oysheee View Post

      I just open ezine article directory site and search there about the topics. I got massive informative posts there. Then i read 3-4 of the articles then i started writing my own article.
      Using EZA for research is tough enough if you have some clue about your topic. Using it to gain base familiarity can be hazardous. This applies to any article directory. Way too many "expert authors" are factually challenged.

      Originally Posted by sandarr View Post

      I agree Joe, however if you know nothing about the topic, then it could help to read some articles there. Just to familiarize yourself, before beginning to research real information. If you are writing higher quality articles, yours should not look like many that are posted there.
      There's more to it than that. Most of the articles I see in directories are so generic as to be useless, filled with factual errors, or both.
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      • Profile picture of the author Green Moon
        Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

        Using EZA for research is tough enough if you have some clue about your topic. Using it to gain base familiarity can be hazardous. This applies to any article directory. Way too many "expert authors" are factually challenged.


        There's more to it than that. Most of the articles I see in directories are so generic as to be useless, filled with factual errors, or both.
        This is exactly what I have found looking at areas like medical, dental, legal and accounting. Although there are exceptions, most of the "expert" authors are not experts at all. They are taking bits and pieces of a topic that they don't really understand and throwing it all together. Although there may be an occasional article written by a true expert in his field, you have no way of knowing which are which, so basing your research on those articles is simply rolling the dice.

        To a somewhat lesser extent, the same is true of Wikipedia. Many of the contributors are high school and college students who may be experts on episodes of the Simpsons but not on legal topics or medical procedures. Many of them will not hesitate to "correct" a contribution by a lawyer or doctor based on their own interpretation of something they read somewhere else, even though they have no training to put it into perspective. While many of the articles do get it right, I can tell you from firsthand experience that some of the legal and accounting articles are so poorly done that they should be scrapped entirely.

        Even though it takes time, you should always try to use a primarily source. If you must use a secondary source, which is frequently the case, make sure you are reading one that is written by someone with credentials that give credibility to the author's work.
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  • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
    Originally Posted by Freelancing10 View Post

    How do I choose the right points to write about?
    If you can't make a decision, it's because you need more information.

    Go get more information, then throw away all the obviously-wrong choices.

    If you can't get more information, all potential choices are equally good and you should choose arbitrarily.
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  • Profile picture of the author jzgirl
    Joe Robinson said, "A great way to pick up a theme for your piece if you can't come up with one on your own? Talk to your client. They usually have a broad idea in mind of what they want that piece of content to accomplish, and you can derive a theme from that."

    As an aspiring ghostwriter/PLR producer, this is something I was wondering about...but I thought the same thing. To me, it makes more sense to go back to the client and ask them to narrow it down. That way, you don't have to give them something they're going to reject.

    And to put in that extra time researching (even if you're totally familiar with the subject, I would think you'd want to just do a little basic research, just in case) for something the client is unhappy with, seems like a waste of my own time. :-)

    Nancy
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  • Profile picture of the author Victoralexon
    You mentioned videos, but have you tried YouTube? There is a lot of great information to be found on there.
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