Digging for Diamonds as a Virtual Research Assistant

January 23, 2011  |   Posted by :   |   Copywriting,Corporate Messaging,Research,Slideshow   |   Comments Off on Digging for Diamonds as a Virtual Research Assistant»

Do you enjoy doing your own research? Or run from it like the plague? Regardless, you’ll enjoy our new guest post from virtual research assistant, Christine Cavaliero (aka ‘The Lady in Red’). Her experiences might help guide your own career path, whether you’re an in-house corporate writer or a freelancer. Take it away, Christine…

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Anyone who graduated from high school before 1990 had to use a library. A student understood the importance of planning research to maximize their time.  Today, we have more information at our fingertips; yet it takes more time to wade through all the garbage and half-truths floating around on the web.

Many people wonder what a content research specialist does. In a nutshell, we are the treasure hunters of the writing world.  We find hidden gems buried in the rubble, but the writer ultimately decides how they use our research.

Often people wonder what skills a content research specialist needs.  I would say insatiable curiosity helps.  My jobs were all support positions.  I worked with marketing and sales teams helping process information.  I also worked with personal development coaches.  The turning point of my research career was Steve.  We worked together at an executive recruiting company.  He had a master’s degree in market research, and I worked as his assistant for four years.

Steve taught me how to:

  • Create a solid research plan.
  • Identify keywords, which we needed to develop a successful web search.
  • Use Google for deep web search beyond names, addresses, phone numbers, peer reviewed papers, etc.

For example, when we used the Internet to find candidates to fill jobs, I had to dig deeper than a traditional resumes job board.  I needed a superstar who was working for a competitor, or a scientist who specialized in treating a type of disease.  Frankly, these people are not easy to find, but we managed to find several candidates for every job.

Steve also encouraged me to go back and finish my college degree.  I picked a college where I could use the internet to finish my marketing degree.  During that time I gained experience in educational citation styles.  I owe him a world of gratitude showing me how to dig for diamonds in an information overload society.

Now a marketing manager or writer might wonder…”How could a virtual content researcher benefit my writing projects?”

My question is how much time and energy do you spend now surfing the Internet for references?  Imagine a wealth of targeted research, compiled in an electronic format, without lifting a finger.  Writers can sit down at the keyboard and get right to work.  Having a virtual research assistant offers more savings than having a staff member doing the research.

The average cost of research is only a few hundred dollars per project.  Many writers who work on promotions just add the cost of a virtual research assistant into the overall price to the customer.  The cost to the customer is invisible, but the benefit to the writers is invaluable.

One thing to keep in mind when you hire a content research assistant is experience. You want someone with a track record in the profession.  Don’t hire novices in the field, because they won’t know which information is common, and which information is critical.  During my past I worked with scientific companies, and internet and personal development coaches.  When in doubt, give a content research specialist a small project to test his or her experience.

Becoming a content research specialist is a great career for an individual who loves doing research.  After you’ve established yourself in your chosen industry, word-of-mouth advertising takes over.

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About our guest blogger.

Christine Cavaliero owns her own virtual assistant marketing company – Lady In Red Marketing.  She works from her home office in Connecticut.  Visit her website at www.ladyinredmarketing.com.  Follow her on twitter at @ladyinredonline or friend her Facebook fan page – Lady In Red Marketing.

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