10 Research Tools to Help You Find Your Niche
There are common ways to collect data, in traditional academic and scientific circles. Doing research online has become the quickest and easiest way to gather basic information about a group, topic or trend.
It isn’t really that hard. Gone are the days when you had to drive to the library, learn the “Dewey Decimal System” and then find the materials – in print or on Microfiche or reserve them for a later date.
And that could take hours!
Today all you need is a computer, laptop or cell phone. Not only is it easy to search now, there’s so much more information available out there. And there’s been a huge effort over the past few decades to make information easy and accessible to internet users around the world.
For quality time and searching, as fun as it is to “surf” the internet or social media platform, it’s best to streamline the search process.
3 tips to help you stay focused:
- Open a Word doc or notebook app on your desktop. As you go along, copy links of topics or sub-topics related to what you are searching for. Save them for later. Also write down key words you see being repeated over-and-over again. Those you can add to your key word search later on.
- Make note or save links to the sites that offer the best information you can use. You might need to cite those sources or go back to them at a later date.
- Focus on one topic. For example, if you are baking a Chocolate Bundt Cake, focus on that cake, not cupcakes, or Velvet Bundt cakes. Those topics will be there later on. All focus needs to be on the Chocolate Bundt Cake.
Here are 10 tools to help you do this. And the best part? You may not even know most of them are already at your fingertips!
About these tools:
Some are a membership-based products, meaning you pay a monthly fee to get access. And the good news? Lots of people don’t know about them and/or won’t pay for them so they can give you an advantage. Other good news, you get real time research data. That can be critical when creating content for someone else with a deadline to make.
It also makes you look like the expert because you are current on trends, topics etc.
Products like these can be a really good investment.
If you are thinking about using one regularly, I would either try one or two (look for a free trial) or decide which price point fits for your budget, ($29-$300 per month) especially as a beginning writer/blogger.
Consider the Pros and Cons.
It could be said that doing quality research (by using one of these tools) might be better money spent than automating a social media site. But that depends on factors like where your leads actually come from and how important the research you are doing actually is. If lead generation is coming (for example) from your Pinterest account (leads as in actual paying customers vs. a reader base) than maybe using non-paying sites is better to start with. But if you happen to talk to an editor that is considering hiring you and she mentions how important WordTrackerScout.com is then you know what to invest in next!
Find and use the ones the work best for you.
Trends will come and go but the tools you need will be the ones that help you create the quality of work you need to create. I would recommend spending some time getting to know these products and trying them out. Then stick with the one or two that work best for you. They will save you lots of time and energy.
The 10 Research Tools:
Let’s start with free products :^)
“A place to share knowledge and better understand the world”.
A log-in is required for this one either through Facebook or Gmail. You can ask a question, answer others or search current topics.
Google Trends A cool Google product! As they say:
“Explore what the world is searching”
You can see current topics or search a topic and they show you up-to-date date on search trends, subtopics or interest by sub-region. Trends can be used, for example, when creating FB ads to target specific demographic groups.
Keywords Everywhere (Chrome and Firefox extension)
This is another cool Google app. It supports 16 sites, offers metrics and settings, and is easy to install on your Chrome browser for easy use. (It took me 3 minutes!)
Here’s a simple Youtube.com video to help you get started.
I use this and recommend it!
Think With Google: Free subscription-based program that sends you information on your pre-selected trends and offerings.
Another cool app within the Google family. It pools data from searching trends and finds correlates.
And they offer a tutorial!
Note: for more cool Google apps, click the Chrome browser link at the end of this post or simply type “google” in your google search bar and a list of their products will pop up.
Word Tracker Scout: A Chrome browser extension for “high performing key words”. They offer a bunch of ways to find key words.
Google Scholar: Yes, another Google product that is quite useful. As they say “Google Scholar provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature. From one place, you can search across many disciplines and sources: articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions, from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other web sites. Google Scholar helps you find relevant work across the world of scholarly research.”
Mangools: an SEO search tool.
Zotero: A browser-based tool that allows for easy searching through their library to help you “collect, cite, organize and share research”.
BuzzStream: an influencer research tool. Brilliant!
Stay open-minded and flexible. Look for new search tools when you need a break or are looking for a way to add something interesting to your work day.
Ps: I’ve listed some additional products along with resources below.
Pps: if you have a tool you would recommend, let us know in the comments below.
Good luck with your research!