How to Thoroughly and Completely Research Your Next Content Piece in Less than Five Minutes
By: Ben Wills |

Perhaps the most difficult challenge to creating great content is coming up with the idea, angle, hook...whatever you want to call it. It's why I always keep a small notebook in my pocket; I never know when a great idea is going to come and if I don't write it down, I'm nearly guaranteed to forget it.

But the next great challenge, after I have the angle, is making sure I've done the best kind of research I can. And by "best," here, I mean that I need to know everything similar that has been published.

I need to know everything similar that has been published for two reasons. First, it will make my piece that much more complete to round it out and fill in holes with the angles that other have taken. And second, I get to see the blank spots that others haven't taken and can choose to emphasize those more if it makes sense to do so.

But researching for content can be difficult and certainly time consuming. As you're searching and trying to find similar pieces of content or specific research and data, your search queries can become convoluted, disorganized, and lacking in priority. It quickly becomes a mess.

Custom Footprint Templates to Research for Any Piece of Content You Can Imagine

Ontolo's pre-built templates for link prospecting and content research are great for the most common types of content you're researching or promoting.

But how about when you have a specific type of topic you're looking to research? What do you do when that content doesn't fit into the most common types of content?

This is where Custom Footprint Templates come into play.

As an example, I was recently researching for a project and wanted to know the specific techniques that were used for a variety of topics. This particular content was related to psychology and none of the other, pre-built Footprint Templates seemed to fit.

So I made one of my own.

Creating Your Own Custom Prospecting Template with Ontolo

To create your own, custom prospecting template from the Instant Prospector tool, simply click on the "Settings" link on the left, below "View Prospect Lists."

From there, you'll see a blank set of options.

Here's a screenshot of the completed template that we will walk through:

First, in the "Create/Edit a Template" section, you can choose if you want to create a new template or edit an existing template.

You may also notice, if you click the drop down, that you will see other templates shared by the community. When you create a template, you have the opportunity to keep the template for yourself, or share it with others. Sharing it with others lets the community's templates grow, expanding the creative options you have for your content research and link building.

Next, you can enter the "Template Name." This is the name that is displayed for you when you're creating a new Instant Prospector report.

Next is the "Prospecting Footprints" section, the most important section of them all. In this section, you are basically creating the structure for your own queries that you would send to search engines. You can see [KW] is used here. Wherever [KW] appears in the Footprint Template, we will insert the Prospecting Phrases you enter when you're creating an Instant Prospector report.

In this example, I created the following Prospecting Footprints:

  • [KW] how-to
  • [KW] plans
  • [KW] processes
  • [KW] strategies
  • [KW] tactics
  • [KW] techniques
  • [KW] tips

This means that, when I create a new report in the Instant Prospector, each of the Prospecting Phrases I add will be combined with the Prospecting Footprints above. So if I use "content marketing" and "link building" as Prospecting Phrases, I will end up with the following queries that get aggregated in my Instant Prospector report.

  • content marketing how-to
  • content marketing plans
  • content marketing processes
  • content marketing strategies
  • content marketing tactics
  • content marketing techniques
  • content marketing tips
  • link building how-to
  • link building plans
  • link building processes
  • link building strategies
  • link building tactics
  • link building techniques
  • link building tips

My final options are "Share with the Community?" and "Delete this Template," both of which function exactly as you would imagine them to.

What New Content Could You Create that Would Benefit from Customized Research?

Imagining you can now have amazing research completed quickly (most Instant Prospector reports are done in under five minutes), about anything and everything you would like to research, what amazing new content could you create?

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