Writing bad content is easy. Anyone can bang out a 500-word blog post. Creating high-quality, value-packed content is something else entirely.
It takes time, effort, and a lot of resources to create great content. And if you want to create great content again and again, it requires establishing a process.
Ready to put a content-creation process in place? Here’s how to do it in five steps.
Start by deciding what you want your content to achieve. Awareness is fine, says Kim Moutsos, vice president of editorial at Content Marketing Institute, but it’s better to tie your content to business outcomes. She recommends setting goals that “drive profitable action,” like generating leads, growing your subscriber list, and providing customer support.
With a goal, you can decide on an appropriate topic, the type of content you want to create (blog post, video, infographic, etc.) and your target audience.
You may feel comfortable planning one piece of content at a time, but many content marketers prefer to brainstorm several months’ worth of content in one go and lay everything out in an editorial calendar. This approach takes more effort, but it will significantly improve the efficiency of your content-creation process.
With a plan in place, it’s time to research your content. Start by googling your chosen topic and noting what terms and concepts the top search results include. Because these pages rank highly, it could be worth following a similar style and format.
Don’t stop there, though. Original research can elevate your content above your competitors’. Explore your topic carefully and make a note of anything you find relevant or interesting.
Also conduct keyword research at this stage to make sure you’re optimizing your post for the most valuable keywords. This step is absolutely critical if you want to rank in search results, says Tim Soulo, CMO at keyword research company Ahrefs. “If nobody is searching for what you’re writing about, you won’t get traffic from Google — no matter how hard you try.”
Finally, tie all your research together in an article outline. A clear, bulleted list of everything you want your content to cover will make writing much easier.
Writing will be the easy part for most of you — and it will be even easier for those using an outline. Make sure that you keep your goals in mind when writing the content and speak directly to your audience.
Don’t forget to set aside time to edit the article yourself — or, even better, have someone else edit it for you.
A carefully edited article won’t just benefit readers; it can also boost your search rankings. Google and other search engines want to show users the best results for every query, explains blogger Eb Gargano: “And one of the ways you can ensure your result is the best result is by editing your blog posts thoroughly.”
Once you’re happy with the finished article, it’s time to hit publish. If you haven’t written the post directly in your website’s content management system (CMS), watch for any errors in formatting when you copy it into the platform.
Before you hit “publish,” spend a few minutes optimizing the finished article for SEO. There are several parts of the post you should optimize when publishing, says Basha Coleman at HubSpot.
Make sure your main keyword is in the first 60 characters of your headline (what Google labels the title tag), in the meta description, and in the page’s URL. Also, add alt tags to any images in the post. These tags should be descriptive and include keywords where appropriate.
Your job isn’t finished once you’ve published your work. No content creation process is complete without promotion. Share a link to your post on your social media channels and notify your email subscribers, at a minimum. You may also want to post a link to the article in online forums like Reddit and email it to industry influencers.
However you promote your blog post, it pays dividends to create a promotion checklist, writes digital marketer Lilach Bullock. “It will not only help you save time, but it will also help you make sure you don’t forget about promoting your posts on different websites and platforms,” she explains.
Simply create a document that lists everywhere you want to do to promote your content and refer to it every time you publish something new.
Establishing a content-creation process can take a lot of work. But it’s well worth the time and effort in the long run. With a repeatable process in place, you’ll find it easy to create high-quality articles and nail your content creation and marketing goals.