Two Easy Ways to Collect and Organize Info for Blog Articles [Plus Infographic]

Studies show that original content in blog posts keeps readers coming back for more. Here are two handy ways to generate ideas:

file folders1.  Set up Google Alerts or Yahoo Alerts for your topic area.

For Google Alerts, enter your search term, your e-mail address, and how often you want to receive updates (as-it-happens, daily, or weekly). Then specify the places you want Google to monitor: News, Blogs, Web, Video, Groups, or Comprehensive.

Yahoo Alerts works in a similar fashion.

Want to track where your name is appearing in cyberspace?

Of course you do! When you input your name as the search term, put quotation marks around your name, like this: “Laura Christianson.”

Keep in mind that a search term for a multi-faceted word such as “adoption” will turn up all sorts of irrelevant articles about the topic.

My “adoption” updates include links to articles about people adoption, pet adoption, highway adoption, technology adoption — anything and everything with the word “adoption” in it.

But it only takes a sec to sift through the headlines and pick out a couple of intriguing articles. I gather tons of great research and inspiration for fresh articles through Google Alerts.

2.  Use an RSS feed reader.

Quickly scan the latest industry news by subscribing to blog/website feeds and viewing updates via a feed reader. Most browsers come with a built-in feed reader. Or use a Web-based one such as Google Reader, or download one such as Feedreader3.

Feed readers, unlike Google Alerts, allow you to finely tune which sites you subscribe to, increasing your chances of finding pertinent information. I recommend doing both. You never know where the next gem will turn up!

How to organize your research

Create a system for organizing the articles you collect:

  • Categorize articles by topic and track them on a spreadsheet or in a word processing program. If you get most of your articles off the Internet, you can copy and paste the entire article directly into your word processing program.
  • Print or clip articles and stuff them in color-coded file folders. Invest in a file cabinet or a file folder holder so you can keep all your research close at hand.
  • If you’re a binder person, get a heavy-duty 3-hole punch, a 2-inch binder, and some index tabs. Separate articles by topic.

How do you organize?

Please share your best blog organization tip in the Comments.

Here’s a helpful infogaphic to help you plan your blog content:

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  • http://twitter.com/Diane_Bianchi Diane Bianchi

    Great tips on blogging, My favorite tool for organizing blog ideas is Evernote. I copy and paste entire articles into Evernote and then tag them as blog ideas do I can easily find them again.

  • http://bloggingbistro.com/ Laura Christianson

    Thanks for the tip, Diane. I’ve downloaded Evernote, but I haven’t used it yet. How would this be more advantageous than, say, just storing the articles on your hard drive?

  • http://militaryhealthmatters.com/ Milhealth

    Laura, absolutely! In fact your notes, PDFs AND even handwritten notes are searchable! (Premium -$45 annually vs Free). I’ve used EN since 2009, wouldn’t be without it! You can also ‘export’ a note (‘save it’) in HTML format. Then, copy/paste on your blog or website. EN also has an add-on for Chrome and Firefox (I wish it was avail. for Safari too) called ‘Clearly’ … and their Trunk is awesome. EN is integrated w/a lot of apps (e.g. Zite, Flipbook, RSS Readers, etc. Start with a free account to check it out –as well as EN Apps.
    (lol, no, this isn’t a paid endorsement)

  • Kevin Murtha

    Diane, you can also try snagit, it is more of a screen capture, but it has unlimited space (stored on your computer). An alternative to Evernote is Springpad; it works that same and has unlimited storage space. Also works from call phone.

  • http://bloggingbistro.com/ Laura Christianson

    Kevin- Thanks for suggesting these. I’ll check into them.