With over a billion websites on the World Wide Web, it’s not hard to understand how difficult it is to stand out among them.
That’s why the best content on the web should be well-written, well-researched, and downright compelling to read, regardless of the topic.
And it’s not always – or rarely – an easy task. But breaking this daunting task into simpler steps makes the job much more manageable.
Creating content — and not just blogging — should always start with planning. And that’s often the difference between poor content and great content.
To outline that blueprint, use these six steps to successful content creation and ensure that what you and your brand post is easily found and digested by the right people at the right time.
Readers will not only respect that content and the brand behind it, but they will seek out that content and hold the brand in high regard.
Delivering something valuable (high-quality content) to the people who matter most to your business (customers) is a no-brainer and a winning long-term strategy that pays extreme dividends.
It is also the natural way to build the authority of your entity (a brand, a person, etc.) for readers and search engines like Google.
1. Know the brand you represent
We can never emphasize this enough.
Too often, when writing on behalf of a brand or company, writers overlook (or never consider) the overall voice and tone of said brand.
This is an essential element of success in terms of consistency, style and messaging.
You want to make sure it all fits within the brand’s general guidelines and overall brand image.
Large, well-established brands usually have guidelines that should include brand voice and tone.
But even if official brand guidelines aren’t available, there are still plenty of ways to better understand a brand, its voice and tone, and its overall message with goals in mind.
Rread the brand’s old blogs
A good place to start would be to look back and read the older blog content published by the brand.
Depending on how long the brand has been creating well-developed quality content, you can deeply understand the overall style and brand voice used.
Work to recreate that with your insightful turn.
Run a content audit (or a shorter, modified version of it)
When able to execute the overall content strategy or consistently write content for the same brand, it would probably be worth having a copywriter or content strategist run a micro-content audit.
This will help you get the best idea of not only the overall style and voice of the content, but also brand goals and identify what is working well in terms of traffic, engagement and performance (and what does not work).
It will also help develop blog topic ideas and identify content gaps.
Look at the competitors
Another way to better understand the brand a writer represents – and what they not be – it’s looking at some of the brand’s main competitors.
Competitors will likely publish their quality content, but content produced on behalf of a competing brand like the one you represent must be unique to that brand.
It’s one of the main ways brands can and are meant to stand out. Use it to your advantage.
It’s also a no-brainer when moving into a content role within a company or industry that you might not be too familiar with.
You want to understand the brand you represent and its message.
But it will also help you understand the brand’s main competitors, how they work to stand out from their competition, and how you can outperform them by educating and enlightening potential customers.
2. Understand your audience
Understanding the audience you are writing for goes hand in hand with knowing the brand you represent.
You can’t understand your audience without knowing the brand you’re writing for.
You cannot publish quality content without fully understanding these critical variables.
The above-mentioned ways to better understand both will help a brand’s overall content strategy and execution.
Remember to use topics that interest your audience and vocabulary that makes sense to your audience.
3. Find topics to write about
For many, this can be one of the most difficult steps in the planning process. But that shouldn’t be the case.
As a writer representing a brand – a brand that is authoritative on specific topics and industries – there will always be valuable information to offer current and potential clients.
Consider the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on many websites; they are built from topics/questions frequently asked repeatedly over time by people interested in the brand and its business. These answers are searched by search engines thousands of times a day.
Giving people (the right) answers to their questions will always build trust in a brand and the writers who represent it.
Apart from the FAQ exercise to explore content ideas, writers should also rely on competitive analysis to develop more good topics to write about.
Some brands will do a decent job of covering many different topics within their industry. In contrast, other brands will do a better job of only covering specific areas within that industry in which they can specialize or have more experience.
Use all of this research to create quality blog topics based on the abundance or lack of quality content on specific issues.
Identify competitors’ content gaps as areas to focus on, gain market share over the competition, and stand out in areas that other brands lack.
An analysis of your brand will also help you identify gaps in your brand.
Keyword research around topics and ideas helps writers develop keyword targets, but also helps shape blog posts in terms of:
- Topics covered.
- Questions to answer.
- The core elements of the deeper questions have different layers and subtopics.
Over the past 10-15 years, many keyword research tools have appeared on the market to help content strategists discover topics.
In addition to traditional tools such as Google Keyword Planner (formerly known as Keyword Tool), Ubersuggest, Google Analytics and traditional Google Autocomplete, new and improved platforms such as Keyword Magic Tool from Semrush, Keyword Explorer from Moz and MarketMuse, to name a few, have also had a huge impact on the content world.
Other proprietary tools that are higher in cost but still powerful, like Conductor and BrightEdge, offer even more content ideas and high-value keyword targets to help shape strategy, among other tools. content marketing.
Make sure it’s interesting
Above all – and this may sound simple, but it’s all too often overlooked – make sure the content you plan is interesting for the audience it’s written for.
If you know a brand and industry well and don’t personally find a blog topic interesting, helpful, or educational, chances are the audience won’t think so.
Write about interesting topics while offering expert opinions, commentary, and ideas.
Audiences will reward it by trusting the brand, its content and its message.
4. Do your research
Thorough research from credible sources is the main pillar of quality content.
Readers will be looking for expert opinions and research-based analysis.
This allows writers and brands to stand out – real-life experience and a deeper explanation of sometimes complex situations.
But this research is paramount to creating authoritative content that will have long-lasting impact.
As with all published content, check and double-check all facts and properly provide proprietary knowledge to its original publisher.
This can be done using outbound links, following SEO best practices.
5. Create a strong and attractive title
Writing headlines is an art, even more so in the internet age.
Now, more than ever, humans are consuming vast amounts of information from everywhere.
Headlines need to be awesome to stand out.
Otherwise, the content will probably never be seen.
There are a variety of different approaches to take when crafting a nifty and engaging headline that will grab readers’ attention.
All titles must:
- Link directly to the content they represent.
- Be well written.
- Don’t be too long.
Some effective ways to create great headlines include using headline formulas and tools and other innovative ways to ensure readers are engaged with content aimed at them.
6. Consider visual content
Rich media will always help a blog post in terms of click-through rates and the general likelihood of someone being more likely to click on it and read more.
This also helps if headline writing isn’t your job; a good visual generally attracts readers, and it is easier for the eyes to understand and remember visuals than written words.
Know what works best for your content and your audience.
Next steps after preparing the blog post
Now is where the real work begins! Here are the steps you will need to take to turn your idea into successful content!
- Write it!
- Optimize everything.
- Copy it, then copy it again.
- Then have someone else copy it for you.
- Publish it.
- Make sure the post has visible social media share buttons and valid rich media previews.
- Control the publication of the live blog yourself.
- Ask a colleague to rate the blog post.
Featured Image: puhhha/Shutterstock