4 min read

Beyond Google: How to Find Better Sources from Alternative Channels

Beyond Google: How to Find Better Sources from Alternative Channels

While Google might be the main go-to resource for research of all kinds, don’t think it’s your only option.

The search powerhouse certainly helps users get the information they need fast, but it has some limitations. If you’ve ever had to research a super niche topic or an industry filled with competitor ads, you know the struggle.

Often, to craft really unique content, you need to go beyond the SERP and get creative with your sources. That’s what this short guide is all about. From Discord to Reddit, here are a few killer options for finding better sources.

Why Does This Matter?

Before we dive into our alternate options, you may be wondering why this would be something so critical to add to your research toolkit.

Well, to be blunt, when you write anything based on the top results on Google, you’re using the same sources as everyone else — which can be a really efficient way to produce boring copy.

Moreover, Google bases its ranking on what’s called helpful content, meaning the content that’s easy to read, easy to follow and somewhat general gets to the top faster than the dry, boring and long alternatives.

This can be fine for plenty of writers and industry topics.

But, if you’re looking to craft something truly unique, something that will wow even your SMEs, you need to dive deeper.

Peeking Behind the Google Curtain

To help you along your research journey, here are a few platforms, websites and apps you might use to find better sources.

Just keep in mind that not all sources are credible. When you dive deeper into these alternate research channels, you’ll really need to trust your intuition and find creative ways to vet a source. But don’t worry; we’ll cover some tips on that as well.

Let’s get started.

Reddit: A Universe of Communities

Reddit, also known as the front page of the internet, is a vibrant and sprawling platform filled with user-created communities known as subreddits.

Users can vote on posts based on their merit and relevance. The posts with the most “upvotes” get to the top. Now, these communities can be as general or as specific as you can imagine. They can range from popular subreddits like r/news to extremely niche topics like r/fountainpens, a community, as you might guess, dedicated to fountain pens.

But, since all the information is user-generated, you need to have a discerning eye for garbage. Here are some tips to make the most out of your Reddit experience:

  1. Check the moderation of the subreddit. Popular subreddits like r/askhistorians or r/askscience tend to vet posts to mitigate the risks of misinformation.
  2. Always review a user’s post history. Do they frequently contribute to the subreddit and get loads of upvotes?
  3. Verify information through another source. 
  4. Look through the comments. There’s a saying the quickest way to find the right answer is to confidently post the wrong one. You’ll always get corrected.

Answer the Public: A Tool for Crowdsourced Queries

Answer the Public is quite the unique consumer insight tool. It leverages the power of Google and Bing’s auto-suggest feature to create a list of questions and phrases related to your search term.

What it doesn’t provide is the answer. You’re on your own with that one.

Even so, this tool can be useful for a few key information-sourcing tasks:

  • Content creation
  • Market research
  • SEO and keyword research

To get the most out of the platform, though, you’ll need to validate the information you receive. Make sure you always cross-reference information, try to connect questions with credible sources, and fact-check when you can.

Remember, this tool is meant to help you gain an understanding of the questions people are asking, not about providing actual answers.

Discord: More Than a Gaming Hub

Discord is a communication platform that offers text, voice and video communication channels. Think Slack, but for gamers. Well, at least that was the case at the beginning.

These days, you can find all sorts of communities on Discord. This can range from super casual hangouts of like-minded individuals to professional-focused community groups and everything in between. 

Finding the right channels can be a challenge, though, as Discord doesn't offer a general directory like Reddit or other platforms. 

But you can find third-party services, like Disboard or Discord.me, that help with this.

To join a server, you need a link. To find these links, you should search social media sites, other communication platforms, through networking or other websites — it’s kind of exclusive in that way.

Once you find the right Discord server and community, you need to understand the proper etiquette. Here are some tips:

  1. Read the rules
  2. Be respectful
  3. Find the right channels and use them
  4. Don’t spam

Discord communities can be energetic environments of idea sharing, professional development and networking. If you can find the right niche group for whatever topic you’re researching, you have the opportunity to talk in real-time with experts in the field, or at least those who are hyper-interested.

Again, remember to vet your sources and take what you hear with a grain of salt. It’s a great place to find what people are talking about and find new leads for helpful resources.

Other Channels to Explore

While these three platforms can offer a lot in terms of sources and research, they are not the end-all-be-all. Here are a few honorable mentions you should consider if the above methods are turning up nothing:

  • Slack rooms: you can find all sorts of public Slack rooms on a particular topic of interest. It’s a great place to find advice and talk with other people interested in the subject. Much like Discord, make sure you know the rules and community culture before you post.
  • WhatsApp and Telegram chats: because of privacy concerns, it can be a challenge to access these rooms. But, when you do, you can find news updates and up-to-date discussions around a particular topic.
  • LinkedIn groups: these groups can be a boon for finding valuable sources of professional and industry-specific information. Check out the “Groups Discover” page to get started.

Better Sources, Better Copy

While it might seem like extra work, once you get the hang of navigating some of these platforms, you can really start seeing some significant results. Not only can you find some unique sources, but you can engage in discussion around a topic with experts, professionals and those who just love the subject you're researching.

If research and writing tasks are mounting, and you can’t find a credible source to save your life, don’t think there isn't help.

Here at Hire a Writer, we’re experts in finding the right sources and weaving them elegantly into killer copy. Whether you need expert SEO services or a winning content strategy, we can help. Get in touch today to learn more.

Google Experiments with Get Phone Number Button in Ads

Google Experiments with Get Phone Number Button in Ads

Google is testing replacing the "call" button in Google Ads, including Local Service Ads, with a "get phone number" button. While this phrase is much...

Read More
Google's New AI Ads - Demand Gen, Here We Come

Google's New AI Ads - Demand Gen, Here We Come

Google is launching a new AI-powered campaign type known as Demand Gen campaigns. Currently in beta for advertisers, this groundbreaking approach is...

Read More
Stop Ignoring Your Google My Business (GMB) Profile

Stop Ignoring Your Google My Business (GMB) Profile

Google My Business (GMB) is a directory listing you have to validate through Google, and, believe it or not, it's kind of a big deal. Increasingly so.

Read More