The Internet is an incredibly powerful tool for research since it has no bounds nor restrictions for the information placed in the Web.
This seemingly endless amass of information gives us the ability to learn any topic through any media format.
Affiliate marketers know that it’s vital to build authority within a market and industry but the only true (ethical) way to do so is by being part of the culture surrounding a topic. The marketer must learn and participate in the topic in order to truly form an expert opinion for their work.
A little bit of knowledge goes a long way which is why we’d like to share how to research (and master) any topic while using the Internet … so you can venture out into new markets and industries with your affiliate business.
Step 1: Set a specific topic
Don’t set out to learn it all.
Find a single topic that you’d like to understand and make that your main focus.
You could start off by trying to learn ‘Internet Marketing’ but this is a very broad arena so instead you should focus on one of the sub-items in this category such as article marketing for traffic; it’s specific enough that you can condense information without being overloaded.
Approach the topic as if it were a single chapter in a text book. Plan to cover as much information you can about a particular skill, hobby, topic, interest, but without going too far out of its boundaries.
Step 2: Learn the Google basics
Google search is a powerful, complex tool for finding just about anything and everything on the Web. Your basic usage of the search engine may be limited so understanding of the advanced search parameters will aid in your quest to find the best and brightest information for the topics you plan to research and learn.
The following video will explain those advanced methods of Google search:
Spend 30 minutes to a full hour to dig around with these advanced search features to submit them to memory so each part of the learning process, here after, comes with relative ease.
Step 3: Validate the sources
The source of information is crucial to ensure the information you plan to retain has been accepted by the industry, applied in the real-world, and has not been created just to capture search traffic for monetary gain.
In essence: the information you seek should be factual and academic, in a sense.
Take each and every result you find with a grain of salt.
Take the time to cross verify the information by comparing the facts to other industry-standard websites covering the topic. Educational websites under the .Gov and .Edu domain extensions are generally seen as the most trusted since there are checks and balances though .Com and .Net sites will house some of the brightest minds in the industry. Take the time to browse through an author’s credentials and do your due diligence as to whether they actually put their knowledge into practice so you can verify that it has actual merit versus pandering to their website readers.
Step 4: Collect
Collect and categorize your sources of information by creating spreadsheets and lists.
A handful of tools you may want to use include:
- Microsoft Excel
- Google Drive’s spreadsheets
- Social bookmarking tools like Delicious
- Article saving services like Readability
Collect the resource into a common folder much like you would have in a binder during your classes back in the day. Categories these entries based on the topics, coverage of the information, and their sources. Coordinate the listing with colors/ratings based on expertise and authority in the industry.
Step 5: Condense
Spend the next afternoon condensing the information into one complete thought very much like you would when writing a research paper.
1. Identify the topic
2. Create a question
3. Use the sources to answer said question
It’s at this point that you can simply cut and paste the best tid-bits of information under each of the main questions you need answered. There’s no reason to fully edit each response but just that you cut out all the fluff so you can pull from these snippets in the following step.
Step 6: Note taking
Print out and read through the information that you have condense and use a highlighter to mark the information that has the greatest ‘weight’ based on factual sources and application.
Printing out information is a great way to avoid being overwhelmed by too many sources since it forces you to read through what you have in front of you.
Create a separate word document for all of the snippets of information you have pulled from multiple sources and condense them into your personal file. This item becomes a record for all of your work placed into applying the topic at a later date.
Consider watching the following video for good note taking strategies:
Step 7: Application
Experts are those that not only spout the information but have put it to the test.
Get out there and begin applying what you have learned so you can begin collecting real-world data on the subject. Not only will you find insights you may have missed during the note taking stage but you will develop a story around how you approached the topic which can be used in your content creation.
Don’t worry about getting everything just right because the more you’re active with the topic the more you will find the hidden secrets. Taking the time to do this step will let you jump past those that are skirting the mainstream appeal and it’s this level of expertise that will aid in building your authority.
Step 8: Distillation
Last, take everything you have learned and turn it into something you can share with the community.
- Turn it into an ebook and sell it on your website
- Write an evergreen blog post to define your position in the industry
- Record a video series and publish it to video sharing sites
In all, just get that information out there so you can become the authority in the matter. Get to the stage first (your website or others) and people will begin shifting away from the old and tired sources of information and onward to you since you’re sharing what others have not.
From there it’s a matter of using your skills as an affiliate marketer to craft this newfound knowledge into a profitable venture.
That’s about all you need to learn just about anything and everything on the Web. Explore the endless possibilities and turn your quest for knowledge. Use your skills in marketing to start new projects based around these interests and topics. Claim your authority in the niche. Create new sources of online income.