I get it, the idea of research can be overwhelming. Most people think it's a time-sucking, energy-draining process.
But guess what?
I'm here to tell you it doesn't have to be that way. It's possible to create a seamless process that transforms the way you interact with information on the web, making your research efforts collaborative and well-organized.
There are straightforward ways to simplify the entire journey.
So, let's dive in.
A strategic approach to gathering information
When it comes to research, we often find ourselves juggling information across different platforms: Word documents, Google Docs, Notion, or the trusty Notepad. (And even worse is having 20 open tabs.)
This scattered approach leads to stress, misunderstandings within the team, and, let's face it, a lot of wasted time.
To break free from this loop, you should structure your research process simply and practically.
Determine what isn't working and fix it
Consider where you might be going wrong and identify your major pain points. This will help you figure out what unnecessarily consumes most of your time and what you can do to improve it.
Take a look at your current process to pinpoint areas where you need to streamline and operationalize.
Identify the most efficient way to collect research insights
Once you've identified where you're making mistakes – likely in how you collect your insights and store information – it's essential to establish a process that the entire team follows. This ensures that all information is in one place.
When choosing a tool, make sure it allows real-time collaboration, is easy to use, and can seamlessly integrated with the rest of your process.
• Real-time communication with external and internal collaborators
• Searchable system
• Exporting research findings
Plan and prioritize research
Just like any team, it's crucial to understand the current tasks, their timelines, and what comes next. This information isn't only important for yourself but for your teams as well.
Develop a research roadmap that outlines all ongoing and upcoming projects. This roadmap aids in grasping the direction of your time, evaluating whether you can take on another small project, and balancing evaluative and generative research.
Additionally, by crafting a backlog, swiftly fill new, essential projects in case timelines shift at the last minute.
Identify and develop your topic
Now, it's time to figure out what you want to explore. Once you've got that sorted, try turning it into a question.
For example, if you're curious about the latest content marketing trends in SaaS, ask yourself:
"What have been the 3 top trends in content marketing in the SaaS industry in the past year?"
Here we've included:
- a time frame for which you're doing the research (past year)
- a quantifier to help you prioritize the findings (the top 3 trends)
- a topic boundary to help keep the research focused on getting the right information (in the SaaS industry)
When you turn your topic into a highly specific question, you are more likely to find the main ideas and keywords you need for your research.
Research information in advance
Before you get deep into your research, start with a quick search to see if there's enough information for your needs.
- Search engines can help you find your keywords
- Check out recently published research on relevant topics
- Look for relevant PDFs
- Take a look at industry reports
This gives you a sense of what's out there before you dive in.
Learn more in our e-book Research Secrets: The 1st step in building a successful content strategy
Take a deep dive into the research
Now that you have a clear idea about where your research is headed, it's time to dig into your topic.
Explore it deeply since you've already checked out what information is available. If you're not sure where to start, online research is a good start.
Evaluate your sources
Getting accurate insights requires checking and double-checking information.
When you verify and validate the data, it's like making sure it's legit and trustworthy. This way, you can feel more confident that the conclusions you reach are right on target.
Collaborate around stuff you find online
Working together with your team during research is essential. It helps make your insights more accurate and brings in different viewpoints. Teamwork helps everyone understand the findings better, improves the quality of research, and makes the whole process more creative and efficient.
Plus, it's a great way to share knowledge with each other.
So, there you have it - a stress-free approach to simplify your online research.
By streamlining your process, identifying pain points, and choosing the right tools for collaboration, you can make the journey way smoother. Plan your tasks, ask the right questions, and dig deep into your topic.
And hey, don't forget the power of teamwork! Collaborating with your team not only makes your insights more accurate but also adds different perspectives to the mix.