If you don’t have reliable sources and expertise, it’s tough to rank high on a competitive topic and grab readers’ attention.
In this lesson, Tara Struyk shares insights on Finding and using sources. She also discusses;
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Name: Tara Struyk
What Tara Does: VP of Content at Janalta
Noteworthy: Tara is a writer and editor with several years of experience in online media. She specializes in writing about personal finance, real estate, and health and wellness.
Connect with Tara;
💡Importance of Sources in Online Writing
Tara Struyk discusses the critical role of sources in online writing, highlighting that adding sources enhances credibility, believability, and adds expertise to the content. In a world where AI can pull information online, human insights from sources become invaluable, creating an edge and building connections in the industry.
💡Types of Sources to Consider
Tara provides a comprehensive list of sources to consider, ranging from published research, surveys, and polls to books, quotes from experts, trend reports, market reports, and published news. The advice extends to creatively exploring and leveraging connections with experts to enhance the depth and uniqueness of content.
💡Strategies for Finding and Connecting with Experts
Tara provides a detailed guide on finding experts, explaining the human element they bring to content. From using Google to exploring LinkedIn, message boards, and relevant Reddit threads to leveraging services like Help a Reporter Out (HARO), she outlines practical steps for identifying and connecting with experts.
💡Overcoming Challenges with Small Websites
Addressing a question from the audience about obtaining insights for small websites, Tara advises against assuming that experts won’t engage with smaller platforms. She stresses the importance of persistence and transparency, recommending that writers openly communicate their site’s size and request brief insights or answers to specific questions.
Tara also highlights the alternative of relying on research, news, and reports when direct expert engagement proves challenging for smaller websites.
💡Finding and verifying experts for journalism articles.
Tara Struyk 0:06
So today we’re talking about finding and using sources. This is a question a lot of people asked me about in one on ones. And really, the thing about sources is, there’s really never a time in your writing that adding a source is going to make it worse, especially when we’re talking about, you know, these days AI, writing content, pushing writers out, one thing that AI can’t do, it can certainly pull some online sources, which I recommend you do as well.
But when it comes to talking to another human being and getting some unique insight, it’s, they just can’t do it. So this is something that you really need in your writing to give it an edge, it makes it more believable, it adds expertise, it makes it more interesting. And it also helps you make connections in the area that you’re working in. So you know, as you’re working there and talking to people and building that out, you’re, you are also kind of improving your connections in that area.
So the first thing I kind of want to talk about is why sources are so important online, I think it’s people have always used sources, it’s an important thing in journalism. We go and find the experts, we ask them questions, we get their opinion, we get their quotes.
And so in online content, we want to have kind of that same level of quality, whether we’re writing, whether we’re doing news reporting, or in a lot of cases, more evergreen content. This actually comes from one of Google’s documents called Creating helpful, reliable people first content. So Google’s kind of also telling us how important sourcing is. And this is just to kind of show you guys how much they value this. So content quality is part of what helps it rank. And this these are sort of Google’s guidelines or the questions they tell writers, website owners, whatever to ask themselves, when it comes to is their content, high quality. So I highlighted some of the ones that it’s definitely worth reading all of these, but I highlighted the ones that really apply, right? Does the content provide original information reporting, research or analysis.
So what you really don’t want is to go and research, you know, the other top five top 10 pieces of content that are ranking for the same keyword or in the same topic area that you’re writing on, and just use those as sources, because really all you’re doing is sort of rehashing information that’s already out there, what will really set you apart is creating something unique, creating content that doesn’t already exist, the best way to do that is to draw on some quality, quality sources.
Right? So that’s kind of the next thing that I’ve highlighted here, does it avoid simply copying or rewriting those sources? Just don’t do it. Right. Like you can use those sources as sort of a framework for some of the areas that you need to cover, to better understand the topic to get some of the background research. But you really need to go deeper than that. And I think that’s kind of like the next level in your writing is how can you go deeper than that? How can you find those sources? How can you make your content better? Because the internet is just full of that kind of content? And then does it provide substantial value? Again, that’s kind of the same thing, right?
You provide substantial value by providing something unique, providing something different, and I know we all hate it, and we see this in search quite a bit is you search something, and all the top results, they kind of have the same information. Like they’re kind of telling you the same thing. It’s like, this is not really doing it for me, you want to you want to stand out. This is a section from the same Google document that refers to expertise. So again, this is really related to sources as well.
Right? If you have quality sources, who are experts, your content will have more expertise. So it says Does the content present information in a way that makes you want to trust it clear sourcing, as it is evidence of expertise? And is the content written or reviewed by an expert or enthusiast? I would, I would add, does it include an expert or enthusiast I mean, you might not be an expert. The site you write for may or may not be reviewing it by an expert.
But you can certainly include that expertise in the content by getting quality sources. So that’s kind of straight from Google. above that. It’s sort of like a key tenet of just writing good content is to have good sources. So what sources can you use? I mean, I think, you know, it kind of depends on the topic, and you need to dig deep and use your imagination. And you know, I know I say that a lot. But really, you got to think about the space that you’re writing in the topic, you’re writing about what’s available, what might be out there. But these are some of the standard ones that you can look for. So obviously published research, surveys, polls, books, quotes and tips straight from an expert.
And we’ll talk quite a bit about that. trends or trend reports or market reports or research reports, published news, and then others, you might, you might need to get creative. Just by honestly Googling and thinking it through and any of those experts that you connect with. One thing I’ll often ask them, if I do manage to connect with an expert on a topic is like, what else can I look at? Do you know of any research? Do you know of any reports? Do you know of any other people or anything like that, because because they’re in the space, they are probably going to be able to recommend that better than you can find on your own. Doesn’t hurt to ask and see what see what you come up with.
So we’ll start with publish research surveys polls, there were quite a few people that I kind of recommended and put comments about this in their content, you would say something like, you know, topic clusters are really important, or everybody should be using topic clusters. Unless you’re an expert, you really shouldn’t be making a statement like that in your content unless it’s qualified by something a little bit more authoritative. So that’s where I started kind of looking topic clusters, could I find something?
Is there a study where people have tested the performance of a topic cluster where they’ve built out topic clusters and shown the results of that? Just something where I can say, definitively, you know, topic clusters have been shown to bring traffic from X to Y, or at least in this case, from x to y, you want to have that there and research and surveys, and polls can be a good way to do that. So I did some digging around just some searching. And I found that there is a published extensive experiment that shows that topic clusters improve search rankings a couple of SEOs did a kind of extensive experiment on topic clusters. And they showed the results. So this is a great kind of thing to link link to right.
And to site. I found this on the HubSpot blog. And they are linking to the original source, which I recommend. So you might find research in a news story, you might find it on a blog, but you want to link to the actual research or study itself as much as possible. So don’t link back to whatever. Whatever page you found it on link back to that itself. So here this, this link the extensive findings from from their initial topic, cluster experiment, that’s what you want to link to, as well, and cite that research as evidence that topic clusters work. So a few tips for research polls, surveys, case studies, etc, you want to find the most recent data you can.
So if you do find data, but it’s from 2010, maybe that’s the best you can find. And in some cases, you can just say this is the most recent data available, that might be the case. If you can find more recent, that’s better. So always try to find some of the more recent data, or you can cite the older stuff, and the more recent but you want to make sure you you get some of the more recent referring link to the data from its original source, not where someone else cited it. And Google can be a great way to find these right, it might be cited in a new study off or a news report. Often when new studies or surveys or these kinds of things come out, they end up in the news and news reports on them. So you might find it that way.
You can try including research study survey in your search terms. And Google is actually pretty good at pulling those out. You can use Google Scholar. So that’s just a Google product that includes academic research papers and, and things like that. You can use ResearchGate and academia.edu. Some of those reports are available in full text. Some of them you can at least get the overview of what the text includes. Some of them are paywalled. So if you have access to a library, some some libraries will give you access to more academic stuff. That’s paywalls for free. They’re quite expensive. So most people unless they’re getting access through work or through a library they’re probably I’m not going to be paying for it to get access.
Tara Struyk 10:03
Books can be another one. So obviously, your local library books that you have, Google Books can be a good way to find some of the books. So I can kind of search and see which books include information about topic clusters, right. And I can see books that actually have topic clusters in their text. Some of these books, you can actually see the text in Google Books, a lot of them you can’t eight. So again, your library, you know, you may have to access the book and other way, but it’s, it’s good to kind of find. And this can also be another way to find experts that you could reach out to like some of these authors.
If, if somebody has a book, and it looks to be a fairly authoritative book, you know, it’s, it’s got good reviews on app, lots of good reviews on Amazon, you can look up the writer and kind of see what their background is, then maybe that’s someone that you can reach out to as well, if they’ve got a whole chapter in their book about topic clusters, then they probably can tell you quite a bit about that. So here’s kind of what you can see in Google Books, you can search inside the book.
So you can at least get a sense of how much that book talks about. And again, because these books are copyrighted, some of the older books will include full text, a lot of them just include kind of a sample. And it’s tricky, because it’s here. And you’ll have to, you’ll have to access more of the text and other way or just honestly reach out to the author and see if you can speak to them. So anytime you choose a book, kind of do a little research on it, do some research on the author, these days, it’s pretty easy to just self publish a book on basically anything. So you want to really see that the author has some expertise there, that this is a book that people actually refer to.
So the next big one that I keep referring back to is experts, right? Because this is the one that an AI is not going to be able to access. So you want to leverage this as much as possible, I’d recommend you try to leverage it every time you write something. And it takes some practice to to kind of get the technique that helps you get people to respond to you get the kind of quotes that you want. And build up your list of experts that you can reach out to.
So when you’re writing in a specific niche, you want to try to keep keep any experts that you use and appease keep their contact information. That way you could reach out to them again, the next time you are needing some information or a quote, there’s just never ever a case where including some expert quotes and insights will make your piece worse. So I would say just get used to doing it as a matter of course, it’s really, really important. So how do we find experts?
I mean, the first one is just Google it, start Googling that topic, see who comes up, see who’s talking about it, see who’s presenting on it at conferences, who’s written books on it, anything like that, see who see who keeps kind of coming up there, you can lose use LinkedIn, obviously, on LinkedIn, that’s helpful, because everyone’s kind of showing their job title in their description, and they’re using all of the keywords that are related to their work.
So that might help you narrow in on people who have that expertise, you can use Help a Reporter Out. And I will go into that in detail because I I liked that service. And it’s a good way to access experts, you can reach out to your network. So we’ll talk about that a bit. You can hop onto a message board or relevant Reddit thread and just ask, ask who the experts are ask if anyone will talk to you. Just don’t be afraid to ask right? And then look for conferences or events where you might find experts in real life. And that’ll help you kind of understand who those people are, and who you can reach out to finding an expert on Google.
Tara Struyk 14:30
I mean, honestly, I know that looks really lame, just Google topic cluster expert. But that can work because that’s often how they’re presented by other people who are using their expertise in their content. So I decided to do this since we kind of keep using this one as an example. This one’s good because it’s a little bit more niche. So not a tonne of people come up. But I did this and look who we found. We found Chima, right So it’s not like you just automatically take whoever comes up, you want to do a little bit more googling a background check, does this person really have expertise? Okay, so now I’ve got someone named Chima, who might be an expert here, she spoke on what looks to be a pretty reputable SEO podcast.
Let’s see what else I can find out about her. Okay, so Google a little bit more. And I can see, okay, she’s actually presented and spoken on a few plays in a few places about topic clusters. She’s written about it extensively on her blog, she’s tweeted about it, she’s talked to about it on LinkedIn, I can see she’s a content marketer, that she’s, you know, considered to have some expertise in the field as an expert. Okay, so this now I understand, this is someone I could contact as a source, if I’m writing about topic clusters, right. So I’ve done a little bit of research, I can put her on my list of experts. And, you know, not everybody will agree to speak to.
So it’s, it’s good to kind of do this and pull out a few people that you think are good opportunities. Maybe you have somebody who’s like, you know, really high level expert, you don’t know, if they’ll give you the time of day, you can kind of find some people who maybe are a little bit less sought after busy, who need the exposure a little more, and include them on your list and just see who you can get, right. But this is how I would find somebody like that. Next, finding people on LinkedIn.
So on LinkedIn, again, they’ve got a search bar, it’s just in LinkedIn, it’s kind of specifically grabbing from things that people post about, and then how people present themselves on their profiles. So the kinds of keywords that they use their job title, all that kind of stuff. So it’s not as good at kind of zeroing in and refining, based on the person’s anything that would kind of tell you how sought after the person is, I guess, but you can also look at it in from the perspective of like, who might have a connection to you.
So that’s one way that LinkedIn can be kind of useful, because if someone is connected to you, or even connected to someone that’s connected to you, you have a better chance of actually getting them to respond to you. Because you can say, oh, you know, you are connected to my friend or my colleague, or just gives you a little bit more of an in, rather than kind of just going in like a cold call, they would say. So see how you can find see who’s posting about the topics you who maybe includes that kind of keyword in their in their kind of profile.
And just kind of see what you you can find similar as Google, you have to kind of look around and and check the person’s level of expertise and what you think you’ll you’ll have a long list of people, and you’ll just have to refine it. In here’s the next page, I just kind of expanded out the search a little bit, right. So SEO, now I can see there’s a bunch of getting a bunch of SEO consultants, looks like 4 million should be enough in there that you can find somebody who will give you a quote or talk to you.
Again, any source with expertise is better than no source. And the reason that people are doing this typically is they want to show that they’re an expert, they want to appear in Google as an expert. So especially people who are maybe like still building their business building their career, they may be willing to do it for smaller sites, and smaller projects. Whereas some of the higher level people who are busier and get a lot more requests like this, they may not be willing to work with you if you’re writing for a smaller site. So you just got to kind of that doesn’t mean that the that these other people are, you know, that have less expertise. They’re just kind of have a lower profile.
So that’s okay. I think just getting someone with expertise is is the key. All right, so the next one is use HARO. This, there are other services like this, but this is the one that I’ve used the most. And I find it really useful, easy to use reliable, typically delivers pretty good results. It’s free, at least for now. So all I have to do is sign up as a journalist. And what this service does is connect people who need information. So writers like you with all kinds of experts, PR people and other people who want to provide information in order to get backlinks to their site, build their brand and credibility online. I show their expertise.
So you know, if if I’m putting a query into this, the people who are receiving that are like, PR people, business people, because they want their name to appear in the news, they want their name to appear in content online, to help them build their visibility online. So that’s kind of the exchange that’s happening, right, you’re getting something they’re getting something. And that’s what this service is designed to do. I’d also recommend that you sign up as a source, you can see there’s journalist on the left and source on the right, then you can see what the emails that the sources are receiving look like.
And it’ll help you get some ideas on how to tailor your queries, and how other people are telling their tailoring their queries and just help you understand the service better. So it helps to sign up as both. And basically, you put in the query, these queries go out several times a day to various lists based on, you know, a topic areas. So if you’re writing in tech, you’ll put in your query, this is the information I need, this is the kind of sources I need, it’ll go out to everyone who signed up for that tech list. So 1000s of people will get that email with a bunch of different tech queries from writers and journalists.
And if they have, if they have expertise in that area, or they have someone in their company with expertise in that area, then they may respond to you. I think the other benefit to this service too, is that it’ll connect you to PR people. Sometimes they’re better than the source itself, because their job specifically is to get publicity, right? So maybe the you know, Head of Content, or the head of product, or the CEO or whatever, of the company, they don’t really care about talking to a journalist, even though it’s good for the company, but the PR person’s job to care.
So they will go and get information from those people get quotes from those people. So those can be good contacts to have. And then they will often work with a number of companies. So again, if you’re writing in tech, and you have contact with PR person, they may have a whole bunch of different contacts. So then the next time you’re writing a story, okay, I’m not writing about cloud computing. Today. Now I’m writing about AI, they might say, oh, yeah, no, I have some people in AI that you could talk to.
So again, just like building up your list of contacts. So we’ll just quickly go through how to make a query in HARO, there’s some pretty good instructions on HARO as well. When you log in, you’ll see queries and pitches queries are what reporters send out pitches are what people receive, who want to be included in your potential piece, or pitches or what you receive from people who want to be included. So I pulled out a query of mine, it’s pretty serious. Sorry, I pulled out a query of mine, it’s pretty old 2019.
But this one did pretty well. I think I got 40 responses and, and some pretty good, interesting responses. So what I’ll say is, you want to catchy title. So just like, anything you write, the title is what’s going to draw people in. And you want it to be accurate, and hopefully draw in the kind of people you want. You want to explain what you want, clearly the information that you want. And then you want to detail the kind of people you want answering.
So if you want doctors or lawyers or you know, whatever specific level of expertise, so you don’t just want someone giving their opinion you want, you know, maybe you want for the topic clusters, a professional SEO to answer so it’s not just any, anybody who knows a little bit about SEO, you want to professional SEO, so you want to be specific about that. That’ll help you get the right kind of responses. And then here’s one of the responses that I got, right. So this is a PR person connect you with Director of edge former director of engineering at Yahoo. About their new company. So obviously, this person is trying to get publicity for a new company that’s really important at that stage of growth.
Tara Struyk 24:25
And actually, interestingly, when I look back at this, this is the company that our company actually uses for prescription coverage. So clearly this business worked out to some degree right because it’s we’re actually using it but yeah, then I’m able to respond to this person and say, Okay, I’m gonna send Mr. Gupta, a few questions by email, or maybe I can connect with him on the phone. Often people prefer email anyway, it’s quicker, kind of depends on how much information you need, but if you send a few targeted questions, email will typically work out, okay. And then we go from there. So I got 40 responses like this to this query.
Some of them were, you know, just kind of junky, but a lot of them are really good. And they came from, you know, pretty solid experts, who can kind of give me some of the information and insight that I need to make my piece in really interesting. So a few tips for using HARO. So putting your pitch, we typically put in a deadline, the, you know, the timeframe within, within which you want all the responses, I like to wait for all the responses to come in. And then I can read through them all and filter out the best ones that I would want to try to connect with. I’ll send questions by email or offer to connect some other way with people who that I’ve selected.
And if I send questions by email, I provide a deadline for those. So just kind of helps make sure that the responses actually come back. Asked for the job title. And any site you should link to, for the person you’re quoting, whether or not you’re allowed to link to them might depend on the site you’re writing for, it’s always nice to link back to, as a thank you just kind of depends on what the rules are, but definitely, you’re gonna have to say, you know, this quote, came from this specific person.
And, and this is where are they, you know, this is their job title and, and where they work, right. So at minimum, you need to make sure you know, how they, how you should refer to them, then I really recommend following up with everyone you included after the piece is posted. So maybe you talk to maybe you talk to three experts, and you included their quotes and insights in your piece. Once that piece is published, go and send them that link and say thanks very much for you know, helping me out providing information, here’s the piece hope I can talk to you again in the future, just helps build that relationship. And it also provides them with the link.
So hopefully, they’ll put that link on their LinkedIn, or they’ll share it on their Twitter page, or they’re linked to it from their website or something like that, right? Just a little something that you can do to help grow the traffic in the piece, thank the people who were included, build that relationship with them kind of close the loop, right, they didn’t just send those quotes off into a void, because they may never find that article right there.
They may be sending out quotes and information to, you know, dozens of people a week. If no one sends them a link, they may never even know it went up. So I think it’s helpful to close that loop, and then tag them on social. So once that piece goes live, you post it on your LinkedIn, your Twitter, you know, whatever social platforms you use, and here’s my new article on such and such site, and expertise from at this person at this person at this person. Right. And again, just giving them a little bit of kudos giving them the opportunity to share the piece and just kind of increase its reach and building those relationships. And Phillip has is asked how do you go about providing me with a deadline in your email?
So when I email them, and I say, Hey, thanks for you know, responding to my pitch, I have a few questions. So here’s, you know, three questions I have about this topic, can you please return them to me by Friday, you know, November 5, or whatever. That way, that person is going to put that on the calendar. I mean, I think that’s just good practice. And anytime you ask someone to do something for you, it’s nice to give a deadline, because it’s just more likely to get done. Otherwise, if it’s open ended.
You don’t know when they’re going to do it, are they going to do it? Are they going to prioritise it. So that’s just helps ensure that it actually happens. And then the final stage, so you’ve responded to them, you’ve sent them the link, you’ve tagged them on social. The final kind of piece of the puzzle is you add them to a list, you know, their name, their email, what their area of expertise is, so a spreadsheets fine. People good spreadsheet. And that way. Again, if you need expertise in that area, you could go back to that person and say, hey, you know, you talked to me last month, I included you in this piece. I’m writing about this again, or I’m writing about something similar.
Do you want to be included again, it just makes it easier. Again, building that relationship that you don’t have to go back into hero and see if you can find someone. Especially you know, some people are really great at providing interesting insights and quotes. If you really liked somebody for that, why not go back to them right? Then you can kind of build that build that repertoire. So one caveat of HARO is the site you are writing for must have been running for at least one month, the pretty low bar. And it must have a similar web ranking of 1 million or less. So basically, it needs to be sort of in the top 1 million websites in the world, so I wanted an example I looked up FCDC, you could not use F CDC, on the FCDC website on HARO, you could not use your own blog on HARO.
So that’s kind of the the downside is you have to have a reasonably sized site. And it’s just because, you know, for Haro as a service, they want to make sure that it’s worth people’s time to respond to requests. So definitely take a look, if you are writing, a lot of sites will fit in this, some of them won’t, especially again, if we’re talking about your own blog, and your blog, a smaller blog. But actually, a lot of the sort of principles of HARO are going to apply to any other way that you go and find sources, right. So you’re gonna go and find that person, you’re going to ask for their help, you’re going to send them questions, you’re going to send them the link. So that whole process still applies. HARO is really a nice, easy way to get there.
You may or may not get the best experts, you kind of get what you get, right? You’re throwing it out there into 1000s of people who’s going to see it who’s going to respond, we don’t know. So it’s worth a try. It’s an easy way. But it’s it’s also never a bad idea to go out there and try to find your own your own people. So that kind of brings me to the next one. Another option to find sources is to reach out to your own network, right? Ask people, you know, if they have any relevant connections, use any groups and communities like the FCDC is probably a great one, you’re all in Slack, there are at least hundreds, if not more people in there, from what I can see.
And you’re all kind of connected in that you kind of come from the same background, you have similar goals, you know, you’re a community. So I would definitely try to leverage that for things like this and pop into the slack and say, you know, I’m looking for an expert on this topic. Does anyone know anybody who is an expert on topic clusters? Or do we have any experts on topic clusters in the in the group, because if you have some kind of a connection to somebody, you’re way more likely to get them to give you the time of day, even if you are writing for a smaller blog, write someone who feels like they know you, they’re way more likely to help you out.
You know, so if you can find someone who’s a connection on LinkedIn, you worked with my friend, you know, whatever, we went to the same university or primary school, we both wrote for the same company. I mean, I’ve used a lot of these just to connect with someone in some way, right? We Oh, we both wrote for this same site a few years ago, isn’t that an interesting coincidence, like something that just kind of connects us rather than a total cold call will help probably help you get that source.
So any any communities like FC DC, and I really recommend joining other ones, like content marketing groups, or SEO groups, or whatever groups kind of apply to the areas that you are most interested in working in, you know, be active in those communities. And then if you, if you need a little help on something like this, chances are if you’ve got hundreds or 1000s of people, somebody’s going to be able to give you a bit of a boost. So definitely use those and leverage those. Alright, so that’s kind of the experts. Some of the other source options we talked about are like trends, market reports, research reports, whatever you want to call them.
Tara Struyk 34:24
industry trend or market reports are a really good source of information you can draw on for a lot of different kinds of articles. I mean, they have them in most industries. You just kind of need to do a little digging. So here’s one that you might find some interesting data if you were writing about topic clusters. If I were writing on this topic, I would definitely seek out this kind of market report. I forget who did this one. I forget. But you can find this on Google. So how to find market research I would check websites of leaders in the space.
So in this case, like the SEMrush, and the HubSpot and search engine, journal, and all that kind of stuff, a lot of the reports will come from sites like that. It can be as simple as googling it, like SEO report SEO trends. Often these reports are like the really big ones, or are yearly or maybe every couple of years. So if you can find that one exists, you can. You can Google the actual name of it, and then you can kind of find the most recent one. forums and communities again, super helpful. So if you were in an SEO forum, with a lot of SEOs guarantee, someone will know of some of the best reports out there. So you can just go on go out there, and Sam looking for some, some of the latest like SEO, market research or trends reports.
What do you know of? If you talk to people on HARO, you can definitely ask them just in general, what other sources do you know of or like information, and sometimes sources will bring these forward as well, because part of the reason people write these reports, or at least some people write them is because they’re their traffic generator, readers, their publicity generators. You know, they give something that other sites can cite in their content. That’s why the site builds them, or at least part of the motivation.
So PR people will bring them forward and say, Oh, you’re writing about topic clusters. You know, my company has this huge 2023 report on, you know, SEO strategies and in trends, or whatever. And it includes a section on topic clusters or something like that. People will often bring that forward. Or you can ask, and if you already have a source, again, that you are already talking to, you’re sending them a few questions by email anyway, ask them what other sources what other reports? What other research? Are you aware of? If they’re immersed in the space, and you’re not chances are, they’re going to have a much better idea of what’s out there than you are. Google can only take you so far.
This is why experts are helpful, right? They know lots of things that we don’t. One other area, you can look as a source is published news on a topic. It’s not going to be relevant for all topics. I mean, if we look at topic clusters, it’s not really the most newsworthy thing, like it’s kind of more of an evergreen topic that SEOs are talking about. I mean, it might be interesting to look at maybe when people started talking about it, that could be kind of a cool thing to understand, like, how long have people actually been doing this or talking about it or promoting it as a strategy.
But for some things, like if you’re writing in tech, certainly understand how understanding how your topic is being presented in the news, and in some areas may be areas of concern around it is really important. And uses another really good way to dig up relevant research and reports and statistics, because the news often reports on them, new study comes out on whatever the impact of AI on SEO, something like that, it’s probably going to be reported on in some news sources. So it’s going to turn up in the news. Google will serve some news, and it’s regular search. But there’s also Google News, which has a little bit better filtering, filters out everything but news. And then it has some tools that you can use to filter your search.
So I would definitely check out Google News and use that. So I tried to chat GPT kind of gave me some of the relevant, pulled out some of the most, you know what, really what news sources are really talking about around chat GPT, like, the past couple of days, some of the key news over the past week. And then I could refine that further. To hopefully find some of the things that I’m looking for maybe I’m looking for chat, GBT and SEO specifically, I can kind of use this filter to kind of figure out what’s out there in the news around that.
So that’s just one more tool you can use. But I don’t care for sources is just get creative. So who or what resources might help people better understand your topic? You know, who can you leverage to help you connect with people who know more about this? How can you use what you know to track down what you don’t know? So just usually, I just get Googling, I see what I can find and I just kind of follow the trail from there really depends On on the topic, but leverage all the things that you have, and see what you can find and who you can find.
You want to try to learn something interesting, new helpful about this topic. That’s not easy to do. So it’s going to take some work. But it’s definitely worth the effort in terms of making content content that really delivers for people. I think one thing that I maybe touched on but forgot to mention a little bit more is like, conferences, and that sort of thing. So we happen to pull up Chima around topic clusters. If I went and looked at SEO conferences, which I can easily Google, right? If I Google SEO conferences, and probably get a bunch of lists of, you know, best seo conferences or whatever. If you go and look at the websites of those. That’s a great list of experts, right? And almost every industry has conferences. So who’s presenting at those conferences?
Go and see if you can reach out to those people. And if those people say I don’t have time to talk to you, then you can even just backtrack from there. Do you know anybody else, maybe they have someone more junior on their team that could talk to you like, be persistent, you know, keep trying and see who you can you can connect with. So you kind of obviously, the top level, people are going to be easier to find because they are more in the news. They’re more out there. But lower level people less, or even just people who are sort of more behind the scenes, their expertise can be excellent. So you just kind of have to do a little digging and asking around to to find those people. All right. So that’s kind of it for the presentation. Does anyone have questions? Okay.
Chidinma Nnamani 41:55
Hi, Tara. So I wanted to ask, if you have like a very small site like you’re just starting, and you can really get some experts to talk to you because your site is kind of very, like it’s still upcoming, like, what other we can use to get them back to get them to actually give you those insights.
Tara Struyk 42:24
I mean, I would still try, honestly, I think, never make the assumption that someone wouldn’t talk to you. It doesn’t hurt to ask. And you can totally be upfront, like, you know, this is a small site. Can you answer? You know, can you answer one question? That’s kind of what journalists do. Right? They’re really persistent. So I wouldn’t assume that, you know, maybe, like, the top SEO or the top presenter at the big conferences, yeah, maybe that person is not going to be able to give you the time of day, but there’s probably somebody with expertise who will.
So I wouldn’t assume that that someone wouldn’t that would, someone wouldn’t give you any information. If you absolutely can’t get anyone to speak to you, or give you a quote, The other sort of sourcing that I mentioned, like, the research, the news, the reports, that kind of thing, like, that’s still really valuable. So definitely pull what you can from there. But I wouldn’t, you know, it’s easier if you’re writing for a big site, obviously, if you’re going out there, and, you know, writing for a huge publication, yeah, people are going to be clamouring to, to get a quote, and in a lot of cases, especially if it’s going to benefit them. But that doesn’t mean that people won’t talk to you. I mean, motivations can be really different, depending on the person, right?
So if we’re talking about a bigger company, yeah, they want that link back from a big site, or that mentioned in a big in a big publication, but, uh, you know, a regular just like, our working professional, like, maybe they are just flattered that you reached out to them, and you want to get their expertise on a quote, that doesn’t mean that they’re less valuable. They’re just, you know, they don’t have that same level of notoriety, and that’s fine. So I would say give it a try. But you can also use the other the other options.
A couple questions. Can one use Twitter to get expert views you if you have, I have seen people leverage Twitter. Well, this is more writers that have quite a large following. So they’ve built up, you know, a big following, but a lot of people will use Twitter. Haven’t seen it so much on LinkedIn, but maybe people are using it that way. Say I’m looking for sources to talk to me about this topic. If they have a good following of people in that space, people can retweet whatever that can work. That’s one way that I’ve seen people use. Use Twitter. I mean, you could find experts on Twitter, certainly and try to connect with them that way. Any, any place that experts might be social media? I mean, sure, you can try Quora.
Anyone can answer a question on Quora. So determining that person’s expertise, mean is asking is Quora a good resource? If you can’t get experts to talk to you? It’s not the best because I don’t know who this person is. Right? Like, I can go on Quora and say whatever I want. If I, if I sign up. If you see somebody on Quora, who appears to be an expert, and they’re responding to a lot of questions and a certain topic area, you could reach out to that person, you know, find out who they are.
But you if you’re going to use someone as a resource, you want to know their name, which you may not encore, or they might just have some screen name. You want to know who they are? Otherwise? How can you verify? And how can other people verify that they’re an expert? Right? The audience is like, Who is this person? So same goes for Reddit, I think Reddit can be a good place to connect with people. So you can definitely go into like, the SEO, subreddit or something. If you’re writing on topic clusters, and say I want to talk to somebody and get a couple of quotes on topic clusters, like, who would you recommend or like, especially if you’re active in that community, you can maybe get some suggestions.
But I wouldn’t just take information from a redditor like, hey, that person could be a top SEO, it could just be like, you know, a brand new SEO hobbyist whose knowledge is a little shaky, like, we just don’t know who they are. So I think that’s the key is like, you’ve got to know who these people are and have some way of assessing their level of expertise. And Google’s, you know, looking at that, too, right? They, they can they can kind of see how much a person has talked about these topics and, and have an understanding of their level of expertise. So any other questions? Is it acceptable to use a quote site in another publication? Yeah, I see that a lot. Yes, you’re allowed to do it, I think it’s a little bit lazy.
So I would say in the cases, where it’s acceptable is like, if we’re talking about a newsworthy quote, you know, so and so said, in the Wall Street Journal, like, made this big revelation or something like that, then we’ll kind of rehash that, quote, it’s sort of like a one time thing, you’re not going to go back and get another quote. So I would use these sparingly, and try to get your own quotes, because I see that a lot, where writer will just use a bunch of quotes, they’ve sourced from other people. It’s not like it’s not allowed, but it’s not really the best reporting. So I would use it sparingly. And the most worst use the best is when we’re talking about, again, someone really high level, you may not be able to access them.
Maybe they said something really, earth shattering in a conference or something. You know, you’re quoting that, and then building on that, that makes sense, but just using that as your source. Not the best. Yeah. eToro or Michael says, might MailChimp just released a 2023 benchmark. Do you think I can pick a quote from there? Yes, I think so. That’s kind of like a market report. Right? So that kind of thing makes total sense. You know, the next level would be you talk to someone at MailChimp and like, get more information again. Will Is that likely to happen, depending on the site size your site? I don’t know. But you never know unless you ask. Right. So it’s just an email, give it a try.
But definitely quotes from any publications like that are fair game. And honestly, if something new is being released in these, it’s a good starting point for an article, right. So okay, this report said, this is new this year. I’m going to write about it. And I’m going to get some more information for people to better understand this, this new area or this new, whatever thing by getting other experts to contribute. So yeah, I think that’s that’s definitely fair game. Consider that good. If you think of anything else, feel free to put it in the chat. I know you’re all working on the brief.
And the article that is to I believe November 9 but I would recommend for homework just having a look at the tools and techniques we talked about today, I’ll send out the links to like Google News, HARO, maybe a couple other things in there and just have a look and maybe sign up so that you just have an understanding. But otherwise, working on your briefs working on your writing, Bill, free to send me whatever you have, if you want me to take a look or provide suggestions. Yeah. Otherwise, I think that’s kind of it for the day. And we’ll we’ll see everybody next week.
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