Prove It! – 5 “Quick ‘n’ Easy” Tools for Painless Research

Prove every claim you make. It’s Copywriting 101.

Your prospect needs to trust you before he’ll place his order. And without proof to back up all the great and fantastic claims you make, your sales copy is headed for the waste basket.

But the problem is, many copywriters fail to provide the necessary proof. And almost always, it’s because they’ve slacked off on their research.

Don’t let that be your excuse for not making your copy as strong as it could be.

Here are five quick and easy tools you can use to dig and find those gems that’ll make your copy rock-solid, even against the most skeptical eye:

Quick ‘n’ Easy Tool #1 – Highbeam.com

Highbeam.com allows you to search for a keyword or phrase and then shows you every credible publication where that keyword or phrase appeared online.

For example, if you searched for “vitamin c good for the body,” it may give you a few articles from The New York Times where that same, or similar, phrase appeared.

While it is a subscription site, it still allows you to search and read about the first 100 words of any articles, essays, etc. it finds. This is often enough to get a great quote or factoid from a widely accepted, credible source.

Quick ‘n’ Easy Tool #2 – Google Scholar

To use Google Scholar, go to www.scholar.google.com. This tool is great when you’re looking for a research study or other scholarly article on a particular topic.

Just type in the subject or keyword of your research, and voila! … Google gives you every scholarly work it can find that contains that term.

For example, if you type in “omega 3,” Google Scholar finds over half a million results – including various studies and articles that appeared in medical journals across the globe.

Quick ‘n’ Easy Tool #3 – Google Book Search

Google book search is a life-saver when you’d like to get a quote from a famous author, or a credible 3rd-party mention to support your claim.

Simply go to www.books.google.com. Again, similar to the other tools I’ve already mentioned, you simply type in your search term. Google Book Search then will give you every book where that search term is mentioned.

For example, let’s say you’ve just made the claim that omega 3 fish oil is healthy for the heart. But now you need something to back it up.

Type in “omega 3 healthy heart” into Google Book Search. You’ll find over 800 results.

Now it’s just a matter of finding the right quote and attributing it to that source in your copy.

Here’s an example (I found this quote in less than two minutes, just by typing in “omega 3 healthy heart”):

In his book The Carbohydrate Addict’s Healthy Heart Program, Dr. Richard Heller states, “There is a growing body of evidence that points to the particularly beneficial effects of omega-3 oils on heart health.”

Quick ‘n’ Easy Tool #4 – Google Alerts

Go to www.google.com/alerts.

This handy tool will constantly search the Web for any new mention of the search term you’re looking for, and then send you an alert.

So, let’s say you just landed a new project with Nightingale-Conant. It’s about how to eliminate stress using the ancient Chinese technique of Qigong.

Here’s what you would do to create a Google Alert on this topic:

  1. In the “Search Term” box, enter “Qigong.”
  2. Then, for “Type,” select “Comprehensive” from the pulldown menu. (This means Google will search everything available … blogs, forums, discussion groups, news sites, etc. for the term “Qigong.”)
  3. Then, for “How Often,” select how often you’d like Google to alert you. I recommend once a day, so you don’t get overwhelmed with too much info.
  4. Once you’ve done that, simply type in your email address, and hit the “Create Alert” button. You’re all set!

Now, every time Google comes across anything new on the Web with the term “Qigong,” you’ll receive an alert in your email inbox. In that alert, you’ll see where the term was used.

For example, if the term “Qigong” was found in an article on CNN.com, Google will highlight where the term appeared, along with a link so you can read the entire article.

Quick ‘n’ Easy Tool #5 – Wikipedia

This one can be a great timesaver, if you know how to use it right.

Go to www.wikipedia.org. Then simply search for whatever it is you’re looking for.

For instance, if you type in “vitamin C,” you’ll get an entry that tells you everything you’d ever want to know about it … including its molecular composition, how it gets absorbed into the body, etc.

Now here’s what I mean by using Wikipedia the “right” way.

Wikipedia is a free encyclopedia that anyone can edit. Which means, it isn’t always accurate. So, let Wikipedia give you a starting point, but verify the information elsewhere.

Going back to the vitamin C example, thanks to Wikipedia, you might discover that it’s good for the immune system and that vitamin C helps build collagen, which is good for having young, supple skin.

Now you’ve got something to work with.

Armed with this info, you can then go to the other four tools I’ve mentioned and do a search for “vitamin C benefit immune system,” and “vitamin C collagen skin.”

Going through this process accomplishes three things:

  1. Going to Wikipedia first clues you in to benefits or other pieces of information you might never have thought of on your own.
  2. By searching for this new information using the other tools, it double checks the accuracy of the information you found in Wikipedia.
  3. By double-checking the accuracy, you find new quotes, studies, facts, and figures that help you prove your claims.

Use these five tools and you’ll never be without enough proof for your sales copy. Best of all, your copy will pass muster even with the most skeptical prospects.

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Published: May 11, 2009

4 Responses to “Prove It! – 5 “Quick ‘n’ Easy” Tools for Painless Research”

  1. Excellent ideas for quick and effective research. Good stuff!

    GlennMay 11, 2009 at 2:42 pm

  2. The informations here are very easy to use and helpful .Well done

    yusraMay 18, 2009 at 8:45 am

  3. Thanks Guillermo!
    I wasn't familiar with Google/Alerts.
    I will give it a try.

    M.A.Noel

    MANoelMay 21, 2009 at 9:19 pm

  4. Very good article!

    A note for new researchers using Wikipedia: Don't forget to check resources listed in the References section at the bottom of the page. These frequently include a link direct to a credible & quotable online source.

    Steve CoombesMay 7, 2010 at 4:47 pm


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