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Research tips by punkt & komma

Your guide to good content

Author
Portrait von Cornelia Maier. | © punkt & komma
Cornelia Maier
Head of content marketing
Good content creates added value and impresses your target audiences. The ingredients for content that works: a good content strategy, a feel for the latest content marketing trends and ideas that make all the difference. Once the ideas are there, it’s time to do some research. We’ll take a closer look at that today – because thorough research is an important prerequisite for content that’s effective. 

We’ll give you some insight into the work of punkt & komma in this article, and we’ll let you in on how we do our daily research. Upcoming: valuable first-hand tips and techniques – ready for you to try! 
Google, our best friend

How we do our research at punkt & komma

Don’t fret – ask Google. Indeed, there’s hardly a way to get past the dinosaur of search engines. For multiple reasons. 

Why we ask Google: 
  • to find out which terms people search for 
  • to find out what other people have written on the topic 
  • to discover relevant sites for further research 
  • to look at images of places and things: That’s especially helpful if we can’t do our research on site, for instance, for a hotel on the North Pole. 

So … how many tabs can you open in one window? Our tip: Less is more.
Wh-questions – which, what, who?
Let’s stay with Google for a bit – more specifically, the topic of wh-questions. Those are questions that people type into the Google search bar. For instance: “What should I cook today?” You can find out what these questions are with the help of a wh-question tool like SEOlyze. Just enter the keyword that matches your topic or company, for example, “family hotel”. Then select the desired Google version (Austria, Germany, UK, …) and it tells you what the Google community is interested in and which questions are relevant to them. The advantage: Hardly ever are users more honest than on Google. A free alternative is AnswerThePublic. Unfortunately, it doesn’t let you select “Germany”. 

Tip: Based on the wh-questions, you can structure your text pretty easily: one question = one paragraph that answers it. 
Inspiration: the old-school way
Print is cool! Even if we write web copy, grabbing an “analogue” magazine once in a while can work wonders. If only to get inspiration from the high-quality, journalistic writing style. Sometimes, we also browse through the pages of a magazine in our idea finding phase – to spark our creativity. 

Between us: One of our all-time favourites among analogue magazines is “Servus in Stadt und Land”. 
Holiday feeling thanks to YouTube
Especially when it comes to touristic content, we love to do some research on YouTube. That’s how we’ll get a lively impression of far-away holiday destinations. The drawback: You might catch the travel bug.  
Wikipedia knows everything!
To gen up on a certain topic, we sometimes completely ignore a piece of advice that we were constantly given during our studies. It was: “Wikipedia is off limits!” How we were still able to complete our studies? We’re sorry, but we can’t answer that right now. 

The fact of the matter is: Especially when it comes to topics that are completely new to us, Wikipedia gives us a great overview and a general idea of what it’s all about. 
Pick up the phone …
Making a phone call is often the fastest way to get reliable information. But also to make sure the dates on a website are still correct. Or to request trustworthy materials about the topic you’re researching. 
Not without social media!
Of course, in this day and age, thorough research has to include scouring social media. Which medium works best entirely depends on the topic: 
  • Facebook is great to find out more about opening hours, addresses and current info. 
  • Pinterest provides new and creative approaches to a certain topic – alongside visual inspiration. 
  • Review sites like tripadvisor or booking.com are a treasure trove for customer opinions, especially in the area of tourism. 
  • On blogs, we like to gather inside tips, for instance, about a city we’ve never been to. 
punkt & komma-Mitarbeiterinnen bei der Recherche. | © punkt & komma
Take notes!
We don’t always just start hammering away at the keyboard. Oftentimes, we start by gathering information – in the form of notes. They can take all kinds of shape. We may type the key facts into a Word document, or we may use the Notes App on our computer. Fans of handwritten notes grab a punkt & komma notepad and write down all important info there. 
Händisch mitschreiben bei einem Workshop. | © punkt & komma

No-nos when doing research

  • sloppiness: Our credo is: It’s better to go the extra mile to find reliable info than to spread falsities. 
  • not listening to customers: Always keep in mind what matters to your customers. That means you need to be a good listener. 
  • not doing comprehensive research: This includes listening to critical voices but underlining the positive aspects. 
  • copy & paste: Content doesn’t get copied. Period. For one, because Google really doesn’t like it. But also because we want to create unique and one-of-a-kind content. Our goal is to always deliver the best possible text on a certain topic. 

With these tips by the punkt & komma team, you’re well on your way to creating amazing content. Once you’ve got that, all that’s missing are images to go with it. Where do you quickly and easily find those – without having to pay for them? We’ll tell you in our overview of the best free image databases

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