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57 (?!) Steps to Becoming a Research Provider


New Year, New Provider

This year I plan to go through the process of becoming a Genlighten research provider. My lovely co-founder and spouse has been one of our providers from the day the site first launched back in 2009, but now it’s my turn. By becoming a Genlighten research provider myself, I hope to learn how every aspect of our site — from our “onboarding” approach to our payout process — can be improved. I also plan to create a series of blog posts about my experiences and build a detailed manual for first-time providers in the process.

Steps I Plan to Take / Topics I Plan to Cover

Here’s a draft list of titles for posts I plan to publish in this series:

  • Scouting out repositories near me
  • Building a toolkit of online research resources
  • Doing my “local history” homework
  • Figuring out what sorts of “research offerings” I can provide
  • Sizing up the competition
  • Who are my customers?
  • What do my customers really want from me?
  • Creating my first research offering
  • Using images to make my offering stand out
  • Designing my offering with search engines in mind (or not!)
  • Crafting persuasive copy (titles, body text) for my offering.
  • Pricing my offering / setting my rates
  • Using a sequence of offerings to reflect the research process
  • Delivering remarkable customer service
  • Obtaining referrals from happy customers
  • Getting the word out — initial steps
  • Networking in the genealogy industry
  • Participating in the genealogy community
  • The power and promise of a personal blog
  • Social Media methods that don’t vacuum
  • Genealogy societies — what can I get from them? What can I give?
  • Why join the APG?
  • Attending local genealogy conferences
  • Attending regional and national conferences (NGS, FGS)
  • Finding genealogy mentors
  • Becoming a genealogy speaker
  • Support for the “transitional genealogist”
  • Certification — is it for me?

How I Hope Things Will Go

My basic plan here is to do the things I think will help me get off to a strong start as a provider, then write about what works and what doesn’t. I’ll pivot and adapt as circumstances dictate, and I’ll try to be as transparent as possible with both my successes and my failures.

If there’s something you think I should try as I make my way along the new provider learning curve, please let me know by adding your comments to my posts. I hope this process can be fun and informative for the entire Genlighten community. Wish me luck!

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