When you produce content, you want it to be relevant, useful, and original, factually correct, data-driven, newsworthy, and even somewhat controversial so that not only does it attract a large readership but also helps to generate high-quality backlinks. There are many occasions when you think that the content is top-class but it failed to attract enough eyeballs. The problem could either be in the content itself or your expectations regarding its ability to go viral and yield enough links. Some of the best sources for data you can consider for producing quality content:
Data from Public Sources
With numerous government agencies as well as researchers in colleges and universities and private organizations publishing a huge amount of research on virtually every sector you can think of, getting access to data in the public domain is relatively easy. Some of the most popular sources of data include the various United Nations agencies like WHO and UNICEF as well as the U.S. Census, the Bureau of Labor Studies, the CDC, the TSA to name just a few sources of high repute. With the huge amount of information available publicly, the opportunities for using publicly available data for generating content are endless. As attractive the lure of using free data is, you also need to deal with the fact that the reports tend to be very technical and may not be very reader-friendly, to begin with. Extracting data of value while ensuring your content is easily understood by your target audience will usually require a lot of effort.
In sharp contrast to the free data from public sources, conducting surveys can be comparatively far more expensive; however, the good thing about using surveys as a methodology to structure your content is that you can use it to find out information on anything and everything you want. Surveys are a very popular source of data for content generators simply because they let you access behavior, opinions, and sentiments of groups that can be as specific as you like. According to BBC, face-to-face interviews are the best but are expensive and require the selection and training of researchers.
The problem with using surveys it that they can be created by just about anyone disregarding the best practices needed to prevent biases from creeping in. In an age where fake news is a disturbing reality, content creators must ensure that all content is informative, entertaining, and attention-grabbing without compromising on the accuracy of information. Survey campaigns, to be effective and accurate, require analyzing the responses with strict procedures. Data collection too must be done with rigorous attention of upholding ethics, a fair representation of visuals, and validity of data.
Another very effective way of collecting information is by conducting experimental campaigns with the active participation of team members. These are generally unique concepts aimed at throwing light on issues that may not have been studied earlier. Examples of this kind of information gathering exercise include asking a group of respondents to draw popular brand logos from memory, performing a month-long squat challenge, or even driving from Washington D.C. to New York City to record traffic transgressions with a dash cam. As innovative as these participatory campaigns are, content managers and providers of SEO Services need to appreciate that they are inherently risky because you might not get any tangible results even after investing a lot of effort and money in conducting them. The lack of any guaranteed outcomes can be pretty scary for the teams conducting them as well as clients.
With social media being as pervasive as it is in our lives, using it as a source of data is undoubtedly an option that ranks along with public data and surveys. The most attractive reason for using social media to provide information for your content is that you do not need to indulge in data gathering methods that require a lot of investment in planning, effort, time, and money. You can simply use your computer and internet connection to generate insightful content based on data from social networks. Another very useful feature of social media as a content source is that you can use it to yield information across all sectors and industries. However, the biggest drawback of producing content using data from social media is that it tends to be almost completely subjective. This makes it necessary for the content not to be hard-hitting on factual information but instead project the findings informally for ensuring maximum coverage. Regardless of the subject of the content, it should ideally contribute to an ongoing dialog on social media.
Content marketers do not often realize the worth of data residing within the client’s data and information systems as well as its employees. Most of the time, they could be sitting on a treasure trove of industry insights that they can action on for generating valuable content but may be completely unaware of the opportunity. There is a tendency to believe that data internal to the organization can be used only to improve internal processes, however, the truth is that the information can have a valuable impact outside too. The beauty of internal data is that it is completely original and unique unlike data available in the public domain. Content-based on never-before-used internal data, as a result, tends to be completely exclusive and therefore very attractive to news reporters and feature writers. Another advantage of using data internal to the organization for content generation is that while it performs as effectively as surveys, unlike surveys that consume significant resources of time, effort, and money, internal data is typically totally free.
For content to attract the interest of readers, it has not only to be unique and engaging but also credible and fact-based. This requires writers and content managers to access data sources that are authentic and reliable. There are numerous data sources, some of which have the added advantage of being free, which content creators can access to create engaging, insightful, and viral content that will not only attract a lot of eyeballs but also encourage a large volume of backlinks.