Content research: How a highlighting tool will help you create better content

Content writers of all types face a huge challenge when it comes to getting their work started — understand how much of the content that has been already published is relevant, and how their angle will spark the interest of their audience.

Content research is an important part while building the content outline of each piece of content, but storing and organizing the information leads to heavy and disorganized sources from links, videos, ebooks, and more. Unfortunately, there are tools to help content creators save what matters, remember what they read & organize it in a way that doesn’t go against their creativity. 

A highlighting tool, just like Snippet should be the go-to solution for this problem, and today we’ll dive deeper to see how that applies to a content writing journey.

The importance of content research in content writing and SEO

Before we dive into the topic, I want to make sure that you are aware of the benefits that content research brings to your writing process. This initial step from the writing journey has managed to impact the life of both products and people, by blending together a story around a product with the bare necessities that a human might need.

According to Content Science Review, content readers are more likely to accomplish their goals and take the desired action on your website if they read your content and find it relevant. ABM marketing strategies showcase that there are 4 stages until the final step in the path of revenue, based on the type of intent that your users give you.  

There are also a few extra added benefits of content marketing research, such as:

  • Content research will help you uncover customer’s mind and buyer’s intent
  • Discover the advantages and disadvantages of your competition
  • Learn what type of content works best for each audience
  • Build a thorough source of information to back up your content piece
  • Well-documented content raise higher credibility 

And these are just some of the advantages that support you to craft better content marketing materials, blog articles, and more. 

Who is constantly performing content research?

In the world of digital marketing and blogging, we have a few content crafters always working on the next piece. 

Copywriters

Versatile copy crafters — even if they are writing a landing page copy or the next headlines for a few ads, copywriters are also doing their content research around the web. Usually, they are looking to build their own swipe file with ideas and marketing examples. 

Freelance writers & content marketers

Entire communities of freelance writers working for a wide variety of industries are doing content research at each minute, saving snippets of information from web pages, PDF documents, and other sources. They are looking for the best search terms available to optimize their content, for new keyword ideas that their client market has not yet covered, and high-quality content pieces published by the competition.

Many of the freelance content writers out there can be found inside well-known communities, such as Peak Freelancers and Superpath. Inside these communities, content marketers teach beginners how to write their own content, how to start creating high-quality content, perform a content audit, or draft their first content strategy.

Social Media Managers

We often make the mistake of thinking that if you are not writing a long-form blog post article then you are not doing content marketing. Which is wrong. 

Social media marketing is a form of content writing, adapted to each channel — no matter if we speak about visual posts, text threads on Twitter, or videos on TikTok. Each type of post needs its own internal and external research to craft the right message for the right target audience.    

SEO specialists

The same wrong judgment may apply to the area of SEO too. Even if they are looking at content research from a whole new perspective, and are more oriented towards keyword research, SERP specialists are still browsing the web. And they need a place to store and organize insights on how different keywords are performing, spot backlinks opportunities, and save new content ideas that would increase organic traffic, and bump up content performance metrics.

Bloggers

I know they are a different breed in the area of content writers because they start writing out of a passion for a specific topic or industry. Probably here I can name fashion bloggers and culinary influencers as being the most common ones (at least those across that I often stumble upon). 

Even if they don’t perform content research by the book, they still read information from other bloggers, specialty media websites, and follow key opinion leaders. And saving information as inspiration or as documentation for their next article. 

How can you perform content research like a pro?

Running around through different web pages or sources of information can become overwhelming, especially when you are dealing with a large amount of data. So, there are two things to consider when performing content research — to end up with a clear batch of data that would help you create great content instead of getting you stuck. 

  • Define a clear path for your content research plan
  • Be clear about what type of content you are looking to build and what type of information you need
  • Outline your content creation process and outline additional elements you might need, such as data sets or tools
  • Take a look at what type of content research tools you have available or the budget needed to subscribe to them 
  • Connect all these content pieces from each research phase and organize them based on the main topics that you need to build your content

Why do you need a highlighting tool for content research?

A highlighting tool like Snippet can become very useful because it helps you quickly save different pieces of content (with their source included) just by highlighting the text with your mouse or trackpad. 

Collect and store data into a better swipe file Web data 

We know that there are all sources of information that content writers look for when drafting a new piece of content. 

Usually, each research process starts with a Google search of different content ideas that need to be validated by the search engines and the search volume that target keywords might have. Then you check out forums and threads of discussions from places such as Quora and Reddit.

This is how we start performing deep content analysis across web pages, to check competitor’s content topics, and find possible new angles for our content. 

In a secondary phase, content research expands into other sources (when needed), such as downloadable materials from well-known sources. For example, Forrester and Gartner often publish original research pieces that you can rely on. All these PDF sources can be uploaded inside Snippet and studied more in-depth to capture the information you need. 

If web content and other downloadables were not enough to create the best content out there, you still have millions of books out there. Pick your Kindle device, see what type of books you can find on Amazon, and go for a more in-depth view on your topic. Kindle devices let you easily highlight what’s important to you (and do even more), and then you can import all these snippets right into your Snippet account alongside your other resources. 

Organize your research to simplify your creative process

All your highlights — now that is all in one place can mix and match the way you need. You can create folders based on your main topics for the article or based on the main sources of information. The truth is, that this is your call! 

Organize them the way you want or need to simplify your writing process and give you a good vibe, just as the shelves of a beautiful library do. 

Build visual cards for your content piece or your social media channels 

After drafting your piece you might want to build some visual graphics to ensure that your topic will be easy to read. Successful content includes a variety of formats (such as text, video, photo, clickable elements, etc) to ensure your user doesn’t in a monotone environment. 

Additionally, your goal is to create sharable content and spark social shares. So, take a moment to transform your content snippets into a beautiful banner in less than a few clicks. If Snippet is not enough for your graphics, then you can head over to Canva for more customized sizes, high-quality design templates, and advanced materials, such as infographics, charts, or presentations. 

Simplify your creative process by connecting your snippets with the right tools

By now you are probably asking yourself if you gather all the information inside Snippet then how you can draft your content if you would always hack to come back for snippets. It’s time-consuming to switch on and on between so many different tabs.

Rest assured that there are ways to trick that, and quickly import the snippet you need either on your Google Docs draft or either directly in your final version within WordPress. 

Give context to your content writing tasks with snippets of information

If you are working in a team of content writers or need to share your snippets of information in a common dashboard of work with your client, Snippets lets you run a little optimization hack. Import one or more highlights into project management tools, such as Trello or ClickUp by using automated flows in Zapier.

Zapier lets you connect Snippet to 1,000+ other web services. Automated connections called Zaps, set up in minutes with no coding, can automate your day-to-day tasks and build workflows between apps that otherwise wouldn’t be possible.

Run social media research like never before

Automated Zapier tasks come in handy also for social media managers looking to move their content research pieces from the whole bucket right in the social media accounts that they manage.

Easily said. Easily done. 

Transform your snippets into social media posts. Create a banner with your favorite quote (or head over to Canva for an extra spark of creativity, just as I mentioned before). After creating a visual piece to promote your snippet of pieces of information and fill in the editorial calendar for this week, then you can import them right into your Twitter, Instagram Pinterest account, or Facebook Pages. 

If you use a social media publishing tool, then you might want to check out the connection with Buffer via Zapier. It can simplify your workflow.

Other tools to help you with content research

  • Quora & Reddit — online communities and forums are always a great content source of information because they show you exactly what people search, what people think, and how they approach different topics.
  • Google AdWords Keyword Planner & Google Search Console — these two tools are a great way to look at the existing content published, how is performing, and uncover what other keywords are bringing organic traffic to your website.
  • BuzzSumo — starts with keyword research and ends up with a while competitive audit, by finding the most relevant and well-performing content pieces from other market players. It will also help you save an immense amount of time.
  • The Moz Chrome Extension Bar – will help you analyze the status of your website’s authority (or your competitor’s one) and translate technical SEO elements into actionable tasks for your content and website optimization. 
  • Keywords Everywhere & Ubersuggest — these are two traditional classic keyword research tools that will give you an overview of the queries and most frequently searched questions for a given topic.
  • Pathfactory — probably one of the most desired tools to work within content marketing. If your website or your client’s website uses Pathfactory, then you can take advantage of the fact that you have a full overview of the content marketing funnel. Spot what actions your target audience is taking, and how well-performing are your content pieces published so far. 

How to use Kindle – tips & tricks to go from a beginner to an expert

How to supercharge your Kindle experience, and turn reading into the best bookworm buddy. 

We live in an exciting era filled with complexity and diversity. Never before has humanity been faced with so many ways to spend its free time. We have diverse social media networks, online newspapers, blogs on every topic you could think of, and later on, streaming services started dominating our lives.

However, even though we have access to so many distractions, people still find time to read books, getting various benefits out of it.

4 benefits of reading and why it’s important

  • reading improves our memory and creativity
  • we are cutting stress and anxieties
  • our knowledge and vocabulary becomes richer
  • we feel more positive and less depressed 

With the ongoing developments in technology, now we can read a book on every device, but the most popular ones still remain a physical book and the classical Kindle. With over 90 million e-readers out there, Kindle is constantly taking over the world of literature. 

But what pushes so many readers to prefer electronic over hard copy books and how can you make the most out of your Kindle app experience?

Kindle books vs Physical books

Why is reading on Kindle better than reading a physical book?

If you enjoy reading, you need a new Kindle e-reader. 

It is an incredibly convenient & practical reading experience and the functionality got better and better in recent years. More importantly, once you have one, you will find yourself reading more often. At least, this is what I have found out. This pencil-thick device will help you read whatever you want when you want – it is literally like having all your books or manuals with you all the time. 

Whether you are on the move, in public transportation, on a beach, or at home after a hard day, the Kindle store always has something for you to read. 

The library you find on Kindle Store has more books than you could hope to read in a lifetime – about 4 million at last count, with one new title, added every five-minute. Reading can’t get any more accessible than that. 

We are already using streaming services for music and movies, so why not embrace “streaming” a book on-demand? And with an Amazon account, you can get access to any book on the market, newspapers, magazines, and audiobooks in just a few minutes and clicks.

After purchase, the book can be easily and instantly transferred between all your devices – that means that even if you start using a different device for reading, you can pick up right where you left off. How cool is that?

But let’s forget for a second the fact that you have access to thousands of documents on a device no thicker than a chocolate bar. Forget that the books are cheaper than buying physical ones. Forget the long battery life, large storage capacity, and solidly built format.  

Forget that the Kindle Paperwhite just became waterproof so you can enjoy your book in the bath.

How to use Kindle app functionalities and turn reading into a pleasure?

Some readers don’t look past the standard features, so here are some amazing tips to boost your Kindle app experience.

First, let’s talk about its unique & practical design

Kindle is using an e-ink display that consists of millions of black or white pigmented capsules that provides a reading experience similar to printed books. Although the display offers a high contrast that is adaptable for different lighting conditions, this does not influence your power consumption. 

That means that the E-Ink screen is readable in the sun, unlike many other phone or tablet screens and it can run for weeks, with no lag and without using too much of its battery life

The light can be turned incredibly low so it can be soft on the eyes – especially if you are a night reader and don’t want to use lamps that might be disruptive to your partner or people near you on planes or public transportation. 

Also, it doesn’t stimulate artificial blue light like phones or tablets are prone to do and could affect your sleep and cause damage to your retinal cells and vision.

PRO tip: Turn your Kindle into landscape mode to feel like you are holding a book.

Kindle books & productivity apps

Kindle is not only your reading buddy but also your study partner. 

Need to mark a text and retain knowledge far after you finished reading? 

You have Kindle Highlights to save your day and help you remember what you read.

Highlighting snippets from what you read or important keywords, dates, and so on, would help you reflect on the subject. Also, you can come back to it later, and easily review your highlighted parts.

If you want to pick your favorite non-fiction book from the latest bestsellers, you might want to learn and remember some of the most practical advice. This way, you can enhance the power of Kindle with productivity tools. Tools (like Snippet) help you bookmark and import your Kindle highlights under the same place, and make it easier to organize them the way you want.

8 ways you can use Kindle and productivity tools

  • Organize highlights in dedicated folders
  • Stash under the same place highlights from different places (Kindle, PDF, web) 
  • Add tags to simplify search on a single topic
  • Edit & make personal annotations
  • Share essential information with friends and colleagues
  • Export your highlights into different formats
  • Share your snippets with your favorite apps
  • Create a banner with a quote and share it on your social media channels

Are you sick of stashing piles of research papers and never finding what you want when you want? 

You might consider scanning the files and send them as PDFs directly into Kindle or Snippet. Both tools let you easily highlight information and have them organized so that you remember more out of what you study.

How to improve Kindle highlights with your own notes? 

While Highlights draw attention to a specific section of the text, notes enable you to add your own text to specific passages (just like you did in the margins of printed books in the good ol’ days) so you can share your knowledge with others and maybe inspire someone new. 

To view your notes and highlights:

  • Tap anywhere at the top of your screen to display the toolbar
  • Press Menu then View Notes & Marks

You can also view them on your computer by signing in in your Kindle account and clicking Your Highlights link.

Would you share knowledge and findings with friends and colleagues?

You can share all your notes and highlights with your friends on social media and also see other readers’ thoughts, concepts, and theories on interesting passages.

To share on Twitter or Facebook you first need to link your Kindle with your social media account:

  • Go to the Setting Menu then click Reading Options
  • Click Social Networks. When the new screen appears associate your accounts with your Kindle

Then, when your accounts are linked:

  • Slide your fingers across the text you want to share
  • Tap the Share button
  • You can even add personal thoughts and ideas in the text box that will appear
  • Press Share

Now that you have all your valuable Kindle notes and highlights, you can use a storage place for your valuable information so you can easily find it later on – even years later.

Use Snippet to collect, organize, review and share your favorite book passages with all friends. You can access your snippets at any time and put them to good use. No longer will a quote be lost in time!

Additionally, in your Kindle, you can find “Popular Highlight” with passages and notes that other readers have highlighted or written. These passages will be underlined.

This is a cool trick where you can discover important parts of texts that might have skipped your eyes – and even read what other people are thinking about as they highlighted, added, or shared Notes.

Going on a book trip, but without leaving your couch. 

Use the most-highlighted passages and most-highlighted book features when you are looking for a new book to read.

Yep, just like going into a book store and looking for your next book, but without having to get dressed and leave your home or waiting for a courier to drop it at your door. 

Furthermore, that book doesn’t end up forgotten in a corner of your house, but rather in your account, in your personal collection of “Hmm, I’ll definitely read this next”. Amazon even offers deals and recommendations every day.

How to turn your Kindle into an audiobook. Wait, what?

For those of you caught up in a reading, but with hands stuck driving or doing other things – you might find a solution now. So that you know what happens next with your favorite character, have your Kindle read the text aloud to you. 

Is it possible to transform your Kindle into Audible?

With the Text-to-speech feature, the device will read your book or document through headphones or built-in speakers. You just need to follow these steps:

  • Press the Home button to enter your book library
  • By using the 5way controller navigate to the document you want to read
  • Press the center of your controller to open your book. (For Kindle Touch, bring up the menu by tapping the top of the screen)
  • Tap the TEXT key (marked “Aa”) then press the 5way controller and underline the Turn On option for the Text-to-speech feature. Your device will start reading aloud your document through the speakers or headphones (make sure they are plugged in)
  • If you want to pause just press the Spacebar. (For Kindle Touch press pe play/pause button). Same button if you want to resume the reading.
  • If you want to stop the reading, tap the Shift and Sym keys simultaneously. (for Kindle Touch, tap anywhere at the top of your screen and press the Off button for the Text-to-Speech feature)

You can even change the reading voice from male to female (and vice-versa) 😊 

  • Make sure the text-to-speech feature is “ON” 
  • Press the Text button (“Aa”) while your Kindle is reading aloud
  • Scroll to “female/male” and click on it
  • The voice will change to your desired gender

Convert your document before sending it to your Kindle app

The Send-to-Kindle feature allows you to email books to your device. And although Kindle is compatible with a lot of file formats, only 2 of them allow you to have access to WhisperSync or font features.

But there is a solution. If you write “convert” as your subject line when you email your document to your Send-to-Kindle address, Amazon will automatically convert your file and add it to the library. 

So, this is how you turn your personal documents into Kindle format.

Sure, for the book puritans out there the Kindle might not be perfect, but the technological advantages outweigh the “smell” of fresh ink on new books. It’s one of those delightful gifts that promise to entertain and ignite a new passion for reading.

For example, you can enable Word Wise and Multiple-Choice Hints and your device will show hints and definitions over difficult words.

Improve your vocabulary with WordWise & Kindle Flashcards

1. Kindle WordWise

WordWise is another functionality released by Amazon inside the Kindle app to help you learn while you read. 

Tap on the top side of the screen, select WordWise from the top options in the right. This way, Kindle will display the meaning of less-known words at the top of them. If you dislike that too much content is displayed you can adjust how many hints Amazon-Kindle can show you on the page.

2. Kindle vocabulary builder

Understanding the meaning of the words you read is one step, and memorizing what you read is another thing. 

Fortunately enough, we can test our language and learn new words by building flashcards.  Activate this functionally by going to the options button on the top, and then select Vocabulary Builder.

Export Kindle highlights and notes to PC 

As easily as you can send books to your Kindle you can also export all your highlights and notes to a PC. You can use our tool as a (web extension) & import all your valuable highlights and notes from your Kindle books, in a few seconds and without any cable needed. 

Download Snippet 

You can go further and transform all information into Word, Text, Excel, and PDF documents that can be easily shared via email.

Disadvantages of highlighting on a piece of paper

Highlighting on a piece of paper has a huge disadvantage

You can’t erase your highlights.

And many of us tend to highlight more than that’s the case. So, rereading a material and cleaning through your highlights help you study more efficiently. At the same time, important information can be lost if you don’t highlight it on time. If you want to use or revisit the information from the books you read, you need to have a good system in place.

When you are reading a book on your Kindle, you can highlight text the same way you can with a physical book. 

But unlike having to search page by page afterward on your Kindle and look for your highlighted passage, Snippet collects them into one place, accessible at any time.

How to highlight on Kindle?

How to highlight text on Kindle Paperwhite

  • Put your finger down on the first word of text you want to copy and drag it until the last word you want to be highlighted. 
  • When you take the finger off the screen, a pop-up box will appear. (If you want to select text across multiple pages, just move your finger to the bottom right edge of your screen.)
  • Click the first icon to highlight text.

How to highlight text on Kindle Fire

  • Put your finger and hold the first word of text until a pair of handles are displayed on either side of that word.
  • Then drag the handles left or right to select your passage.
  • Press Highlight.

How to highlight text on a standard Kindle

  • Position the cursor at the beginning of your desired content you want to highlight then press the 5way controller.
  • Position the cursor at the end of the passage (if you want to highlight text across multiple pages press the Next Page button).
  • Then press the 5way controller once more to highlight your text.

How to highlight text via Kindle app on your MacBook

  • Head over to your browser & download the Kindle app for MacBook 
  • Log in with your Amazon-Kindle account in the app
  • Open your favorite book from your library
  • Go over the paragraph or the word you want to highlight, select it, and highlight with one of the 4 colors available

How to highlight text via the Kindle app on your Android/iOS device or iPad?

  • Look for the Kindle app on your home screen, select it, and open it on your mobile device 
  • If you don’t have the app installed, open a web browser or local store on your Android or iPhone device, and install the app before going to the next step
  • Log in with your Amazon-Kindle account in the app
  • Open your favorite book from your Kindle homepage 
  • Go over the paragraph or the word you want to highlight, select it, and highlight with one of the 4 colors available

How easy is that? 

With your finger and a few clicks, you can save key concepts, theories, quotes and every little bit of text you want in just a few seconds. And you can do it with every eBook you read. 

Where to find your Kindle highlights?

All your lines, quotes, motivational gems, excerpts are automatically synced and stored in your profile on all your devices (or on the Cloud) for you to email, share, post, or reflect later on. When you want to find your highlighted text, just go to your personal Kindle Page and click on Your Highlights at the top of the screen

This will show you all the texts you’ve highlighted over time, in chronological order, with the latest book at the top.

If you are looking for a specific book, click on the Your Books icon (top of the screen) and you will see your library in alphabetical order. When you click on the specific book you want, another page will open with the book and on the right, you will have (with blue text) the number of highlighted passages. Click the blue text and you will see them all.

Keep in mind that there are restrictions too. 

“For some books the publisher allows only a limited percentage of a book to be “clipped” and stored separately from the main body of the book, as normally happens when you add a highlight. If you exceed this limit then you will see fewer highlights on this website than you actually marked on your Kindle. Popular Highlights are not counted towards this clipping limit.”

According to Amazon

Every book has a different limit of passages and the restriction is there because of copyright laws. So, when you highlight, do it wisely! 

Choose the only relevant text.

PRO Tip: If you don’t want to get confused about the location of your highlighted passages, make sure to capture specific details as well, such as a chapter or sub-headers names, and organize your highlights efficiently. 

Reading books on a Kindle is an absolute delight, and its sleek design, impressive battery life, lighting adaptability, and large storage capacity make it a convenient and easy experience. 

Reading is such an important part of life and having full access to all the valuable lessons, insights, quotes, and studies from books will improve your overall experience.

Header over to this Amazon “notebook” link, and get access to all your Kindle notes & highlights.

FAQ

How to import your Kindle highlights in Goodreads? 

All bookworms have a profile on Goodreads and track their book reading. 

If you are a bookworm with both a Goodreads profile & Kindle device, you should know that Kindle empowers you to connect these two. You can then import all your highlights into Goodreads, filter through them, and decide what to showcase on your profile.

Here is a short helping guide from Goodreads to help you import everything quickly.

How to extend the battery life of your Kindle?

Kindle usually has a battery life longer than your mobile phone. 

However, there are other Kindle secrets to conserve its battery life. 

  1. You can turn Wi-fi on for example, only when you decide to shop for a new book or import something over Goodreads. Otherwise, keep it offline. 🙂 
  2. Either trick is to keep your Kindle running on airplane mode so that all the unnecessary activity goes off.

Is Kindle Unlimited worth $9.99/month? 

The single wish that book worms have is to own more and more books. Tell me, am I wrong? 🙂 

Amazon spotted this dirty pleasure of us and released Kindle Unlimited, a sort of Netflix for books where we can read as much as we can. For those of you that manage to read many books at a time or end the year with thousands of books read, I recommend trying this. 

You pay less than spending all your income over the local library. 

Did you know you can take a screenshot on your Kindle?

Just pick your Kindle device and tap on the top left and bottom right of the screen simultaneously, and see if I am right or wrong.

So, what other Kindle secrets are you using? Tell us in the comment section.

How to remember more from what you read?

Remembering what you read is one of the most top-of-mind challenges that students and learners have. Either because you are preparing for an exam, or just learning to get better at something you love, you have to become familiar with how your brain works, and which are the mental processes that take place when you read.

Below is a step-by-step guide that takes you through the process of reading, learning, and memorizing by explaining key concepts and methods from the industry.

How do you read?

Reading may seem like just our eyes traversing words and our mind picking up the meaning, but it’s more than that. Everything has an impact on how we read and memorize — from the type of text that we read, the typography of it, the length of the text, our purpose to read, and even the external environment has a role in this, such as how much sleep we had the night before. All of them work together to shape how we read and perceive the information in our minds. 

In fact, reading is not a linear process, but rather a series of eye movements called saccades

There are a few main reading techniques that we use as human beings.

Skimming

When you’re looking to pull specific information from a text, skimming comes into play. Basically, your eyes team up with your mind and start scanning for specific keywords that you need. The actual reading happens only around the keyword after being found, to get the information and context.

A great place where you can use skimming is while doing research. Think of a few words which are essential to the topic and start skimming publications for them. 

There’s no real limit to how many of these keywords you can choose, so focus on their quality and relevance to the topic.

Scanning

Much like skimming, scanning helps you get information quicker when reading. What sets the two apart is that while skimming is laser-focused on a subject which you are searching for, scanning is more general — it helps you get an overview of the text.

While scanning, your eyes analyze the headline and shapes of the text. When you see a headline, you stop only to read the first few words of each paragraph to get the gist.

Scan texts when you need to pick up the topic being discussed fast and get a general idea.

Intensive reading

In contrast to the other two methods, intensive reading is an in-depth style of reading. It’s very useful when you need to fully understand the subject which you are reading about.

During the intensive reading, your mind has time to analyze and process the information as it comes in. It solidifies it then into the memory and creates more profound links with existing knowledge, compared to just scanning or skimming.

For example, very often students are using intensive reading while studying course materials. This way, your mind actually learns information instead of just getting an overview. One way to boost this is by taking notes.

Since this method helps absorb a lot of information, your mind needs consistent breaks. Consider doing short bursts of intensive reading to make sure that you are not losing the information after a while.

Active vs passive readers

There are two types of people in this world: active readers and passive readers. 

Passive readers 

People that usually forget the information which they read as quickly as turning a page are called passive readers. They focus more on quantity reading — think of them as a marathon runner. Passive readers can read a whole book in one sitting and not feel overwhelmed by it. For them, reading is more of a relaxing activity through which they can think of their own stuff while doing it. 

Information-wise, a passive reader that reads a lot is not much better off than one that reads little. They do not retain much information either way but can devour entire libraries if they have the time.

Active readers

On the other hand, active readers are much more engaged. They are inside the text, which leads them to remember the majority of the information that they read. Just like a boxer, active readers can get much better over time by… reading more. The mind is a malleable organ — by engaging it through reading, you develop mental models that give you a leg up when reading new subjects. 

Even better, this type of person becomes faster after each book. People that identify as active readers tend to make better decisions and be more knowledgeable in general.

How does your memory retain what you read?

To understand how your memory works, we need to first look at its composition. There’s the short-term memory and the long-term one.

Short-term memory acts as a small cache for new information, before being sent to the long-term memory. It helps you retain stuff quickly, but for a short time if not memorized afterwards. Think of new names of people you’ve just met: how often do you forget their name right after them telling you? The short memory is estimated to have a duration span of a few seconds, so it’s important to exercise new information as soon as you get it.

Long-term memory, on the other hand, is indefinite. There is no real margin to how much the long-term memory can hold, and it’s typically the one that people think of when “memory” is mentioned. 

The Memorization Process

The way your mind solidifies new information and stocks it into the long-term memory for being recalled whenever you need it is done in 3 stages. These are called the encoding, storage, and retrieval process.

Memory encoding

New information that enters our system needs to first be changed into the right format. 

This encoding can take 3 forms:

  1. Visual encoding
  2. Acoustic encoding
  3. Semantic encoding

Researchers found out that the main encoding mechanism of short-term memory is acoustic (through sound). Have you ever noticed that you tend to repeat something out loud in order to remember it? That’s the acoustic encoding at work.

Long-term memory usually formats through semantic encoding, which is through the meaning of the information. It also uses the other two mechanisms, but the larger extent is the latter.

Memory storage

After the information is in the correct format, your mind then begins to store it.

First, it stores it into the short-term memory, which has limited space like a ticking time bomb. George Miller, a renowned cognitive psychologist, suggested that we have 7 (plus-minus 2) slots of information that the short-term memory can hold. When these slots get filled, they store information for about 30 seconds before either sending it to the long-term memory or losing it.

On the other hand, storage capacity is believed to be unlimited in long-term memory. It may not seem this way, but your mind is actually a huge hard drive of your life

Memory retrieval

The last stage of the memorization process is the most important one — memory retrieval. The value of storing a large amount of memory is being able to access it.

New memories are stored and can be recalled upon through association. This is why items or events that you see can sometimes bring out memories seemingly out of the blue — they are connected semantically in your mind.

Influencing factors

While your mind does most of the heavy lifting when it comes to stocking and retrieving information, it needs outside factors to help it work optimally. 

  1. Degree of attention. To signal your mind that the information you are reading is important, you need to focus on it. Concentrating on that information is the most important factor when it comes to memorization.
  2. Motivation. Are you motivated to read that information? This factor simmers down into the first one in the sense that your mind needs to have an interest in the text. It’s hard to swim against the current, so motivate your mind to find the text valuable.
  3. Emotional state. Emotions affect every part of our lives, and reading is not exempted. For your mind to be able to focus on the information and store it, it’s important to be aware of how you’re feeling at the time, and what emotions come off from the text you are about to read. For example, if you’re on a vacation, it’s a good idea to read light, fiction books that relax and entertain your mind.
  4. The environment. There is a reason why libraries are very quiet and well light — the environment you’re in affects how well you can learn! Stay away from noisy places, find good lighting and a comfortable position. Keep in mind that your memory doesn’t only focus on the book, but also on the outside, so don’t give it too many stimuli at once, or your short-term memory will start losing information!

How can you improve your memory to remember what you read?

When you start reading or studying, a key step is to become familiar with the topic you want to learn. If you are aware of what the main theme is about, then you will be able to highlight the point of the text you are about to read and build a whole tree of information between new and old information.

Going forward, let’s see what mental tools you have available to improve your memory while reading, through the following six ones.

Build mental pictures

Building a mental picture by using visual encoding is a way to process images and real-life experiences, by temporarily storing the information in your iconic memory. The visual pieces are later moved into long-term memory, through the help of the amygdala and sleep, as mentioned by neuromarketing expert and author of Primal Brain book, Tim Ash. 

If you practice a skill but don’t sleep on it, you don’t take full advantage of learning it. Sleep is what goes through our experiences and learnings from each day and transforms them into long-term memories. – Tim Ash

Use evolutionary psychology to improve mental clarity – Andra Zaharia

Highlight & take notes

Students and learners are often dealing with large quantities of information that they have to retain, and they need simple ways to ease their process. One of these tactics is highlighting, through which you can pin-point important pieces of information

Despite being low rated & considered ineffective in many review studies, students and learners often use pen highlighters or online highlighters, such as Snippet, in their reading processes. 

The effectiveness of highlighting depends on the way learners use it, and the main challenges are: 

  1. To highlight too much or too little
  2. Highlighting without paying attention to what you are reading;
  3. Difficulty in filtering important information.

Structure your notes

Just as reading and segmenting the most important information, finding the best way to structure your notes has its items to work better for everyone. The topic you read or study, the lecturer or source of information, as well as other environmental factors matter.

Notes should be a tool that you use in order to facilitate your comprehension and memorization, and we recommend that you organize your notes based by picking one of the next well-known methods:

The Cornell Method

Less used when reading, and a better way to structure your notes during events, lectures, or even meetings, The Cornell Method divides your information into three sections. 

The Outline Method

One of the most popular methods of note-taking for students and learners — it helps you organize information in a logical way (main topics, secondary topics, and key ideas).

The Charting Method

A practical way of organizing your statistics and detailed facts into the columns of a table, that is pretty similar to an Excel spreadsheet.  

Let it sink

As we mentioned above, sleep among other environmental factors matters in order to keep your mental process functioning normally. There are different research papers in the learning industry that showcase how sleep helps learners enhance their memory, and process new material in a better way, rather than staying awake and trying to capture as much as you can.

Reread

Besides all the psychological tips & tricks, we are humans in the end, and we must be aware that there is a limit on how much we retain. Don’t push your brain too hard, and go back to your book or notes, if a piece of information didn’t stick with you.

Reading again helps you recall & memorize what you didn’t manage on your first try. Rereading a piece of content can help you create new links with existing knowledge because you might have life experiences that create a more familiar pattern. 

Apply what you learned

Connected with the encoding process of your brain, memorization of things that you directly experienced can enhance your memory. So, as long as you want to remember something like how to play an instrument, how to cook a recipe, or how to run a chemical experiment, you should go for experiments that let you apply all the theory you have learned. 

Enhance your memory – FAQ time!

How to read and remember more for an exam?

If you are a student looking for ways to improve your memorization skills before taking an exam, we have summarized the information above in a couple of specific tactics that you can take & apply to remember more of what you read:

  1. Scan the information you have to study and become familiar with your topic.
  2. Highlight important information, such as dates, places, names, keywords related to the main topic. 
  3. Build a visual tree out of the information you have highlighted, and establish connections between them. 
  4. Read your notes again if you feel something is missing.
  5. Take a break between your reading sessions. Go for a walk outside, and disconnect from the place where you study.
  6. Try to find similar exam papers online, and answer a couple of questions to test your memory. If you are still shaking on the answers, go back to the reading table. 
  7. Sleep. Have a good session of sleep before going out to your exam.

How to absorb what you read from a book?

Depending on the type of book you are reading, you might want to connect the information to other sources. 

You can do this even for fantasy books — for example, you can take the Lord of the rings books. While you read this series of books, you would have to check out the additional dictionaries, and even the movies, so you can build a better visual map of the whole story.

How to remember what you read without taking notes?

Sometimes, you don’t have the luxury of taking notes when you read something. There are a couple of things that you can do in this situation to remember what you read:

  1. Ask yourself questions about what you read
  2. Quickly summarize what you read
  3. Connect what you read with topics you already know
  4. Keep your focus on specific pieces of information (names, places, numbers, etc.)

What is memory enhancement?

According to Wikipedia, memory enhancement, also well-known as memory improvement, is the act of developing one’s memory. Memory deficits, age-related memory loss, and people’s desire to improve their own memory have led to research on how to best help people to improve their memory. 

What memory enhancement techniques should you use?

Research determined the factors that influence memory and cognition, and they include cognitive training, psychopharmacology, diet, stress management, and exercise. Each technique has the ability to influence memory in different ways. 

Development updates – Feb ’21

We’ve been working hard for the last couple of months and today we’re ready to announce new features for the web application and our extension for Chrome and Firefox.
Here are the highlights:

Web application

  • Searching through your snippets and notes has never been easier.
    We’ve added search suggestions and an advanced search form so you can search through multiple books, articles and more.
    Also for our power users we have search operators.
  • Organize with Drag and drop
    You can now drag and drop snippets into folders. Drag with a mouse to select multiple snippets at once.
  • We’re introducing a new snippet card view to quickly add tags, notes or change card color.
  • Kindle import updates
    You can now import from Kindle directly to a specified folder. After the import you’ll also get more information about what has been added to Snippet.
  • Usability and user interface improvements
    We’ve simplified the navigation, added a copy to clipboard button and a few more small tweaks here and there.

Browser extension

  • Work with multiple tabs and folders
    The sidebar is now tab independent and you can save in different folders from each tab. Navigate, quickly add and organize folders directly from the extension.
  • Clicking the extension icon will now toggle the sidebar on/off
     
  • We’ve added keyboard shortcuts for faster operation
    Use ALT + X to toggle the sidebar and SHIFT + ALT + X to completely turn the extension on/off. You can change shortcuts in your browser.
     
  • Added more extension options including the option to disable Snippet on specific pages
     
  • We’ve also fixed a lot of small glitches

For those of you who prefer to use Safari, we’re working on a Safari extension now and it should be out there soon. Please contact us at hi@gosnippet.com if you would like to help with beta testing.

Integrations

We have updated our Zapier integration:

  • Now you can automatically create snippets from other applications. For example, you can create a zap to “save your favorite tweets”.
     
  • We’ve also added more options for the trigger so you can now fine tune which snippets you want to push to other applications.

New direct integrations (Instapaper, Pocket and more) are coming soon. Stay tuned! If you need a particular integration please let us know.

As always, we’d love to hear from you, so please send us any feedback or questions you may have at hi@gosnippet.com.