Stephanie Harper
March 8, 2021

We love interns! We love bringing on interns who can assist us in time-consuming tasks that will eventually turn into their #careergoals. We recently hired our intern, George, with the intent of him helping us source content for our clients that need additional support in reaching their targeted audiences. This task is not a short one if you're a content writer or blogger for your company-so together, we've collaborated on some basic ways in researching content on the web without feeling like it's the same old boring search routine and so that we get comprehensive, new content every single time.

Broaden your Google Search

Anyone can Google something online but what makes your effective in finding relevant articles and sources to pull from? Make sure to use all the categories in the Google search toolbar: web, videos, news, etc. This will allow you to access tons of information among different media types. It seems like an easy thing to miss and it is when you are going down the Google search hole, one article at a time.

Set up Google Alerts to Keep a Running Tab of your Key Searches

If you scroll to the bottom of Google search results, you can create alerts which will allow you to save all the wonderful key words and phrases you just spent hours plopping into Google. For some odd reason, we all knew this function existed, but I'm guessing some of us are so used to not reading past the fifth article that we fail to see it. The alerts function is great, because it sends you an email every time one of your saved key phrases or words comes up in recent media on the internet. While you can easily begin to heavily rely on this seamless catch-all of content, it is definitely an appreciated addition to your search toolbox. GoatCloud has a great on setting up alerts and how they help with generating weekly blog content.

Make a Mind Map or Idea Cloud

Yes, there are things we learned in our childhood that we can use in our adult life and one of those countless routines we remember drawing over and over (then erasing in frustration because the circles weren't big enough to hold our gigantic writing) is the mind map or the modern day, idea cloud. It is timeless and genius in so many ways. For one, you can draw many of them and branch off several additional ideas which then lead to additional search words or phrases. You can even use colors like Tony Buzan, originator of the suggests. By drawing and writing the words in this way, we are tapping into our natural creative thinking-plus who wouldn't enjoy this ode to elementary school English class?

Write your Headlines Before you Curate your Content

It sounds ludicrous, but writing out your headlines can be the jumpstart to your content search. You're already trained to edit your headlines after you've created them, and by doing this first, you're now coming up with new ideas too. This process can be interchangeable but somehow writing your headline first, opens up another world of content that searching on Google can't. We love Portent's Content idea Generator which not only whips up quirky headlines, but it can end up being your blog or content headline end game at the same time. Try using unique versions of your headline to produce new content.

Subscribe to Newsletters & Blogs; Don't Forget Resources & Links

If there's one piece to searching for content that we tend to forget to do the most, it's browsing a website for the blog, newsletter, resources, or links page. We have access to all of these through a website we found through our search, but we can miss the one step in getting the most out of our efforts. It's like ordering salmon, receiving the belly (which may be the best part) and not eating the rest of the fish-It's wasteful and you are leaving out valuable content pieces you could be using for future publications. When you sign up to blogs or newsletters, you're also getting additional stories and content straight to your inbox, cutting back your search time. Resources and links are great for connecting with other organizations that are similar to your source. What's up future blog outreach and exchange!

Searching the web can be distracting and knowing where to start can turn half a day of engaging in a time suck (psst...YouTube) into an hour of glorious productivity.

- Stephanie Harper