Roving Report: Research Tools and Tips

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If you’re a beginning or C-level writer, how would you like to adopt one new strategy and move up to being a B-level writer? Even better, what if that one new strategy helps you become an A-level writer?

Better research will do that for you, according to Heather Robson.

Heather is the Managing Editor for Wealthy Web Writer and a 12-year freelancing veteran. She writes lots of e-letters for many different clients, and she describes herself as a “researching fanatic.” When you’re good at research, Heather explained, it makes you good at going out and finding new topics, then finding out everything that makes interesting articles readers will love.

Recently, Heather spoke with Wealthy Web Writers and shared tools and tips for improving our research and writing. You can review the entire webinar HERE.

Six Good Reasons to Improve Your Research

  1. Accuracy
  2. Interest
  3. Ideas
  4. Opportunities
  5. Stress (less of it)
  6. Productivity

#1. Accuracy

Nothing tanks your credibility with readers and clients faster than inaccurate information. Whether you’re writing editorial or sales copy, good research improves your accuracy.

If an error makes it into your final copy, you’re signaling to the world that you’re not an expert. Since readers (and clients) love to criticize, do good research and don’t give them that ammunition.

As an example, Heather pointed to a well-known and often-referenced study on goal setting. Known as the Harvard Study or sometimes the Yale Study, it “proves” that 10 years after college graduation, people who set goals earn 10 times more than their non-goal-setting peers.

I ran across references to this study myself in early 1982. The only problem is, it’s an urban legend. There’s absolutely no record that such a study was ever conducted at Harvard or at Yale.

As a Wealthy Web Writer editor, Heather sees lots of articles on goal setting. When she reads a submission that cites this “study,” she sends it back for further research. If you’re the writer of a poorly-researched piece, you could be ruining your credibility with your client.

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Susanna Perkins

Susanna was dragged back, kicking and screaming, into freelancing after losing her job in the banking meltdown in March, '09. One 3-month stint in an appalling temp job persuaded her to get serious about establishing herself as web writer. In March, 2012, she moved to a small town in Panama with her husband and three small dogs. After enjoying the writer's life in the culture of "buenas" and "mañana" for 2-1/2 years, she's returned to the US. At least for now.

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