The importance of, and the reliance upon, good, old-fashioned research should never be underestimated. Whether we grew up using the Dewey Decimal system and Encyclopedia Britannica or more recently, rely on “Dr. Google” and “Wikipedia” – the simple fact is, research can support your thesis, or give your website credibility and it fosters the viability of your business. So whether you are creating a website, starting a new business, contributing to a magazine article or blog – make sure you do your research and always site your sources. It might sound kind of obvious but fewer and fewer people seem to be doing it these days.
In starting a new business venture research is critical. You are going to want to complete a market analysis, scout locations, survey your potential customer base and thoroughly investigate financing options. Each of these steps requires research and further, requires you to produce written documentation that you can present to potential backers, even if that backer is your spouse or mother in law. Reliance upon cold, hard facts with supporting documentation is what’s needed when considering investing in business so the research step is important. Ensuring the use of credible sources while on your fact finding mission is also paramount.
When it comes to websites, often this is the first place your customer finds you. Websites with lots of “jazz, pizzazz and razzmatazz” will only take you so far if the product or service you are selling is represented inaccurately. With websites, not only are you seeking accuracy in the description of your product or service, you also must ensure that whomever designs your site has also spent time researching SEO keywords for your industry, knows and understands the function of font and colour scheme to best attract the type of customer you seek and can provide you with information on where your website is likely to place in Google rankings. You better darn well hope they have also done their due diligence when it comes to logo design and other potentially proprietary information. I write website content for clients and a significant amount of my time should be spent on conducting research to ensure accuracy, avoid duplication and create content that both resonates and ranks.
If you are looking to drive traffic to your website and/or just have an interest in writing once again, whether blogging or submitting articles for publication, research to clarify content and guarantee accuracy is not just important but ethical too. From a legal standpoint you want to be sure your claims about products are defensible and true and if you are writing about a person, quoting facts is the only feasible option. Writing an article or blog that compares two types of services, (perhaps comparing Naturopathic and Western medicine for example) requires extensive due diligence on the part of the author and research, verifying the accuracy of sources and interviewing key people in the field is what you MUST do. Too many irresponsible people with easy access to the Internet are presenting what amount to opinion pieces that have no solid foundation in fact. Blogging for business is not the time to share your opinions.
It is incumbent upon us to be sure that whether we are offering information or searching for it, we take the time to verify its accuracy. If you are responsible for content, make sure it is well researched, accurate and sourced appropriately. If you are looking for information apply the same due diligence to your search. Look for the source, is it credible? Apply the scientific principle – is it replicable? You probably want to place a higher degree of reliability upon a medical site hosted by the Mayo Clinic than one hosted by Facebook, curated by “Tom” and called “Free guide to pain free Home Dentistry!” This might all seem like common sense but the unfortunate fact is common sense appears harder and harder to come by. Our reliance upon the web to present factual and credible information and to discern fact from fiction has taken the place of the old-fashioned legwork that used to be involved in going to library, hauling out books and comparing their content or searching through microfiche for factual references in newspapers. I know I’m dating myself and I am not a Luddite “anti-internet” gal by any means. It’s pretty darn convenient. Just don’t forget that the old principles: research, accuracy, credibility, source citing….still apply!
As Owner and Principal partner of “Writing Right For You” Sheralyn is a Communications Strategist – working together with entrepreneurs to maximize profit through effective use of the written word. Looking for web content that works, blog articles that engage or communications strategies that help you get noticed? Contact Sheralyn today. Sheralyn is also the mother of two children now entering the “terrible and terrific teens” and spends her free time volunteering for several non-profit organizations.
Sheralyn Roman B.A., B.Ed.
Writing Right For You
Communications Strategies that help you GET TO THE POINT!