Content has become the bedrock of most winning digital marketing strategies. And since it’s becoming increasingly important for your business to have stellar written content, you need to make sure that your writing is perfect. This article will walk you through the content creation process, from coming up with the ideas, doing research to crafting your content.
Plus we will share the best tools (both free and paid) that every content creator should use to start creating the best content possible. By using these tools, you’ll be able to craft compelling narratives that help your audience learn new skills or solve problems.
What is a Content creation strategy
You have probably heard the saying “content is king”. What does “content” mean in this context? Content refers to your articles, blog posts, social media updates, and other written content.
Excellent writing draws readers to your site and can help improve your search engine ranking. But creating great writing is not easy. It takes a lot of work and effort to create really good content that thrills readers and makes them come back for more.
Over time, we have become more used to reading content because we’ve become used to it. So long as it’s written well, there is no need to really read it. But what happens if you are in a situation where your reader’s attention span is short?
For example your reader needs to know the answer to a business question in 10 seconds or less, or the answer can’t be found on any of the big search engine sites like Google and Yahoo. They need to visit your site.
1. Brainstorm your ideas
After you’ve picked a topic, let’s begin the brainstorming process. You can think of this step as making sure that the topic is explored in a lot of different ways so that you can find one way to write about it that will resonate with your readers. There are several ways to brainstorm for content:
- Mindmapping is a way to draw out the major sections of your piece.
- Outlining is a way to list the main points in your piece. This is especially useful for longer pieces that need to go in a certain order.
- Using Google to search the topic will help you source new ideas.
2. Research the subject
Even if your topic is not very difficult to research, it is still important to find out as much about the topic as you can. For some topics, you may need to do a lot of research: internet forums, books written on the subject, Wikipedia, etc.
If you are going to write an article with a product comparison between two products or services, then make sure that you do your research and find out how well each product performs in different situations before writing your comparison. After you are finished researching, write down 5 points you learned and how they apply to your industry.
Tip: Start researching early! If your article is due today but it’s due tomorrow and you haven’t started yet, use a “15-minute research” method of doing research fast. Simply spend 15 minutes looking up the most interesting materials on the topic and jot down notes if you have them. It’s better to have some notes than nothing at all!
3. Write the title
Once you have a bunch of research notes, begin to sketch out the title. It’s important to have a catchy title and one that makes people want to click on it. The page title is probably the most important part of your content creation process. It will have the most direct impact on your ability to have your content shared or picked up by search engines.
Tips on writing great headlines:
- Make sure you include your topic within the headline as it will make it more relevant.
- Make sure your title is emotional. If the reader does not feel something, they will not be compelled to click on the link and read your content.
- Front end your topic in the headline as this will make it more interesting for readers and help them remember what the topic is about.
- Make sure that your title can be understood with one glance. There should be no need for readers to read the title before they click on it. If you have any doubts about how well your title will work, ask your readers and see what they think.
- If you can use numbers in your title it will make it more interesting. However, make sure you don’t use too many numbers as your title can look cluttered and boring.
- Make sure the title is interesting but doesn’t give away your entire story but sparks curiosity and the want to click.
- Make sure that the title gives your readers some idea of what they will get out of it.
- Use your reader’s language. If you are a mechanic, don’t use automotive terminology or slang in your titles, but instead use terms more familiar to the average person. Using words like “brake” instead of “parking brake” will help make your content easier to understand for people who aren’t familiar with cars.
4. Write the body of the article
You may be tempted to skip over this step because it seems like it takes a long time, but it’s really just about learning how to chunk content down into digestible bits. It’s much easier to write a whole paragraph than it is to write a whole article. Here are some tips to help you write the body:
- In the beginning, don’t write more than 1 or 2 paragraphs. If you are writing an article on a specific topic that’s much longer than 5 sentences, then this method won’t work for you. However, if you can write one paragraph of about 50 words, then culling it down to 4 short paragraphs should be pretty simple.
- Use short sentences. Many bloggers recommend keeping your sentences to less than 1,000 words. If you can get away with writing 3,000 words, even better. The fewer words, the easier it is to write and the more comfortable you will feel about this step.
- Break up your paragraphs (or entire article) into smaller chunks that are easy to digest. I personally like to break the body of the article into 5 or 6 smaller chunks of about 50 words each.
- Give each chunk a unique name so that you can tell the 5 or 6 chunks apart. I like to call them by their topic (for example in this post the chunks are: “How I got started”, “What are the benefits of debt consolidation”, “How to get started with debt consolidation”, etc.).
- Make sure that each chunk contains one or two key points about the topic. One way you can do this is to look at your research notes and see what a few key points are.
Tip: This is a great way to get more out of your writing. I highly recommend reading The Finish Line by Gary Keller. If you don’t have time to read it, just Google ‘The Finish Line’ and then read the articles that come up in search results, especially the ones with titles like “A simple formula for consistently high-performing blog posts”.
5. Don’t forget about the core elements of SEO when creating epic content
If content is the bedrock of digital marketing then SEO is the cement that helps hold your content together. Never forget about the basic elements of SEO as this will help your content stand out.
What is SEO: SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization, which means it’s the process of getting your content to rank better in the search engines. SEO is not a secret, nor is it rocket science and even though Google has changed a lot over the years, the basic foundations of SEO are still the same.
The basic foundations of SEO are :
- Find a keyword that is relevant to your site and make it the focus of your content.
- Use keywords throughout your content, building links to back up important terms that might not be in the title but should be mentioned in the article.
- Make sure your website has all of the links in place (this includes anchor text) so that search engines can find you when they crawl your website.
6. It’s time to format your article
Most of us will probably not get any formatting right on our first attempt, but that’s okay. As long as you understand the basics of what you’re doing, the formatting will come in time! Formatting is not nearly as hard as it seems. You just need to read some tutorials and practice.
For a breakdown on the basic formatting that you need to know, check out the below list of formatting basics you should be aware of.
- Headings: Use H1 for the main heading, H2 for subheadings and H3 for even more subheadings.
- Lists: Use list tags (example below) to make text into a list. This is an effective way to break up long content.
- Quotes: For a quote, type ‘ at the beginning of characters and italicize the quote.
- Bold or Italicized Text: For bold or italicized text, wrap the text with asterisks (*).
- Linking: When you want to link to a website, use double brackets (##) and the “full URL.”
- Images: There is no real trick to adding images, but here are some tips you should keep in mind before you start using images.
- Never add too many images – it can be distracting for your users; try and use one main image and perhaps two or three smaller supporting images.
- Use thumbnails if the image is just a small supporting image.
- Use descriptive text for the image; if there is no descriptive text, use the file name as the alt text.
- If you want to use a video or podcast, link to it from your post using an embed code.
- Add a title above the image – this helps search engines know what you are talking about.
- If you need to add a caption, make sure the caption is displayed on the screen and does not cut off part of the image.
7. Check for grammar and spelling errors – add a level of professionalism
There is nothing worse than creating an epic piece of content to be let down after with simple grammatical errors. If you are making a piece of content that is going to be professionally produced, then make sure that you proofread your post before publishing it so that it is error-free.
You can use online tools that will help you make sure that your spelling is correct and your grammar is correct. A simple step in the content creation but a very important one if you want to be trusted with professional content.
8. Publish the article on your website
This is probably the easiest step of all and you can do it all in one go if you want to. However, it’s important that you publish your article on your website so that search engines can pick up on your new content and start to index it.
9. Amplify your content
Once you have your epic content published on your website, it’s time to promote it on social media. Social media is a great way to get the word out quickly about your new content.
Here are two ways that you can market your content on social media:
- Share it with the world! Get people talking about what you have created and encourage them to share it with friends and family. Make sure you use clear and helpful call-to-actions at the end of the post that prompt readers to share it with others.
- Only share your best content. This is a rule that I learned very quickly when I started creating content for my blog and although this doesn’t apply to every site out there, it’s definitely true for mine. I don’t want to waste my time trying to get people to read the lower quality or older posts on my blog, so only share your best stuff on social media.
- Promote the post on your social media accounts. Try to use unique images and captions for each of your posts on social media so that it stands out from all of the other content you are sharing.
- Add it to your next newsletter. If you have created an epic content piece, then add it to your next newsletter and share it with your subscribers. Be sure to use compelling call-to-actions and include a link-back on Facebook and Twitter for your readers.
Content Creation Tips
1. How to Be Original With Your Content Creation
Creating original content can sometimes be tough given the amount that there is out there. So here are some ideas you can take on how to be original:
- Find unique angles. Your content can vary in so many ways, like the kind of content you use, how you use it and who the target audience is. The best way to be original is to find something that you are passionate about and go from there.
- Make sure your content isn’t being done already. Check out other blogs to see if someone has already written all of what you want to say. It can be hard to avoid, but you need to remember that just because someone else has done it, doesn’t mean that you can’t do it as well.
- Stop worrying so much about being original. Sometimes people get too caught up in trying to be different that they end up going down the wrong path. Most content out there is pretty similar and all people want is for you to solve their problems by providing useful information in a straightforward way.
- Understand the fine art of stealing like an artist. I’m not saying plagiarise but if you see awesome content. Use it for inspiration in your original content and create something 5 times better. This will help you produce content that doesn’t just look like it’s been regurgitated from someone else’s work.
2. How to Create Epic Content for Social Media
There is a lot of content out there these days and I think this can make it hard for people to find the right kind of content to share on social media. This is why you need to be proactive with your ideas for content so you can stir up some viral magic without having to spend a lot of time creating content. Here are some ideas that can help you create content for social media:
- Create webinars – A good webinar is a great way for people to get information in an easy format. You can use tools like Google Hangouts, Skype, or even GoToWebinar to create a high quality webinar that is easy to access on your website and on mobile. Once you have the content created, just make sure you market it as much as possible so that you reach as many people as possible.
- Create infographics – Infographics are a simple and straightforward way to get information across quickly. There are many sites that will create infographics for you, such as Visual.ly or Piktochart.
- Use eBooks – You can create e-books that are filled with useful content. Readers love this kind of thing because they can read it any time they want to and don’t have to worry about having an Internet connection or reading on a screen.
- Make videos – Creating videos of 1 minute or less is a great way to get your message across to a wide audience at the same time. There are many sites out there that will help you create these kinds of videos, like Veoh or YouTube. Once you have your video created, you can publish it on social media platforms for easy distribution.
- Create Wallpapers – Wallpapers can help you get your message across in a fun way. Just find an image that’s been made for a popular social media site and put it on your website in a creative way. For example, this is an Instagram template created by The InTailor which you can use to create great wallpapers for your site.
- Create memes – Memes are a great way to get your message across. You can just create a humorous graphic that gets people thinking about what you are saying and is easy to access on social media. This is an example of a meme generated by the “Food Blog” which I found on Tumblr.
- Design promos – Promos are easy to do and can be fun to build as well. For example, I recently created this prom for a new social media campaign that we have in the works.
3. Owning Your Voice and Uniqueness
I think it’s important that you write in your own voice and not try to be someone else or copy the writing styles of others. The best way to do this is to make sure that you don’t get distracted by what other people are doing.
Start off with a simple message and focus on that message with everything you write. When you find your niche, it will be much easier for you to develop your voice without worrying about what everyone else is doing.
Being yourself and humanising the writing in line with who you are is an important part of building trust with your readers and encourages people to respond to you in a more personal way.
When creating content, try not to get distracted by other ideas or styles. Instead, focus on the core message that you want to get across and develop that in as many ways as possible without becoming distracted.
4. How to Write Great Content for Link Building
Writing great content for link building is really all about creating content that will be interesting to people and then sharing it with as many people as you can. Most of the time, you will want to take a neutral approach to your content and stay away from any sort of sales pitch. Here are some ways you can create great content for link building:
- Use statistics – Great information is always based on facts. Try to use statistics or other facts in your pieces of content. This helps increase the trust factor and gives your piece a more legitimate feel. For example, this article has a number of statistics that it uses to prove its point that great content is something you will want to create every day.
- Share other people’s content – If you have found some really great content, share it with others so that they can get access to it as well. This helps grow your network and gives you the opportunity to form relationships with others.
- Be insight-driven – Insight is all about showing people what you understand about a topic and helping them learn more about it. This helps build trust with your readers and gives them something to think about when they read your content. For example, this article talks about how people in the fitness industry are changing their marketing strategies when it comes to social media marketing. This is a great example of insight because the article shows that the original idea of getting more fitness information out there may not be as effective as we think.
- Use different formats for different posts – Different formats can help keep your readers interested in what they are reading. Try and add a variety of different formats to your posts, such as list posts, detailed guides and blog posts.
- Create content in different languages – If you are targeting a global audience, then make sure that you write your content in different languages so people from around the world can understand it. Google released the “Translator Tool” which makes it easy to make a post available in another language.
- Create videos for a special event – If you are running an event or seminar, then make sure to create a video of the event or seminar. You can use tools like Vimeo or Youtube to share the content with your followers.
- Generate interest with diagrams and graphs – Diagrams and graphs are a great way to show how information is related and give your readers something that they can visually relate to. Check out Visual.ly which is a great tool for building diagrams and using them in your posts.
5. Using SEO and Analytics to find potential content creation based on search intent
Data can help you create amazing content. If you are an established website then falling back on your analytics is a great way to see what users are searching for.
It can help you work out what topics for creating information about. If you have Google Search Console and Google Analytics connected. This acts as a great way to align topics and headlines which are driving great click through.
Use this as a basis to understand what is working for your content and what isn’t. If something is well ranking in search engines but not generating a lot of clicks. That is a great opportunity for you to create more engaging content as an alternative to the low click-through.
If you are a brand new website it can also help you with understanding what users are searching for. You don’t want to be creating content around every single search phrase, this is not ideal and can actually lead to being penalised by Google algorithms over time if you stuff keywords in all over the place.
6. Creating a Content Calendar that helps you stay focussed
EVery great content strategy has a rock-solid content calendar. A content calendar is a great way to keep all your content ideas in one place. it is also a good way to ensure you are creating content that is relevant for the right people at the right time.
This ensures that your users are getting value from your content, and it helps you build familiarity with these various topics. This makes it easier to create engaging content around these topics of interest.
Things you should include in this content creation calendar are :
- The actual title of the content. You want to have it as concise as possible. As this is what will get shown in search engines and social media shares.
- What type of content you are creating – A blog post or video?
- The date where you expect this content to be created. You can use a calendar that is linked from your email system or you can use google calendar for these dates if it suits your business.
- The time of creation. This will help you track what people are looking at the majority of your content. Don’t wait until the last minute for this information.
- Who is going to write the content. If you have an entire team of writers then this can be a good idea. But if not then try to get it done by a single writer or someone that has an eye for what people are reading about in the marketplace.
- Metrics of success – For example, social shares and a number of comments.
Once you have this content calendar you will see that it is a great way to manage your time and create amazing content.
7. Staying Consistent With Your Strategy
There is no point in creating amazing content if you can’t keep up with it. If you are too busy to create this content then your business could be suffering in other ways.
If you are too busy to create the content or don’t have the resources or time. You can outsource the work. This is a great way to ensure that your business goals are met without the hassle of time and resource issues getting in the way of your success.
Use content creation services such as ours which are tailored to delivering great content on your behalf. Use content writing services such as ours will allow you to concentrate on other aspects of your business.
8. Recycling and repurposed Old Content for Freshness
This is a pivotal part of content creation. Understanding how one piece of content can be used in other ways is a gold mine of opportunity. For example, if you have a written piece of content turn it into an audio file with the same topic. The same can be done with images and videos. This gives a fresh take on information that is already out there, providing value for new readers.
If your content piece is data focused this is a great chance to turn it into an explainer video or infographic which helps with attracting new readers who digest content in different ways.
A key to growth is to understand that different people consume content in different ways. Some like to read, some like to listen, some like to watch the video. Make sure you are providing them with the formats they want.
9. Use Social Bait to Get People To Share Your Content
Social media is an important element of content creation and spreading your content in a way that gets people to share it. This doesn’t mean posting it on social media and hoping for shares, this means finding interesting ways of getting people to share your information. If you are an organisation, you can use this as a way to get potential clients and followers to share your content.
Keeping content fresh and original means that it needs to be shared in the right way. This is why repurposing old content for freshness mentioned above is so important. Getting the right people from a specific group of people to share your content will give it more exposure (more reach). If you want more reach, find ways of sharing your new content which will get the same messages across other platforms.
Content Creation tools that will take you to the next level
Firstly it’s worth noting this Australian startup success story and how it has changed content creation in general. Canva is an amazing FREE tool that will help you create images for social media, blog images and graphics. It will all be done through an easy to use drag and drop interface. They also have a variety of templates that can be used for social media especially, making the process easier and faster.
It has revolutionised the graphic design world by bringing this amazing tool to the masses, who previously couldn’t afford the expensive graphic design packages. It is a game-changer which recently made it into the top 10 most downloaded apps in 2015 according to Forbes.
This great tool will let you create stunning infographics for your blog or social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter. It is an easy to use tool which doesn’t require a graphic designer background to use the amazing templates they have available, with many more being added all the time. You can create beautiful data or information-driven infographics for your platforms, which also allows you to provide value for your customers by giving them the ability to understand data in a new way.
Infographics have been proven to help you rank for certain keywords, and increase traffic to your platforms. This is why Visme is a crucial aspect of creating great content because it turns information into easy to understand visuals.
The only tool you will need to make sure that your written content is high quality. This will check your spelling and grammar to make sure you are saying what you mean or need to say. It is a great tool especially for those who write blog posts and things like that.
It helps to make sure that you have the correct language for your readers without making them feel stupid by mistakes in grammar.
The great thing about this tool is that you can add the power of visualisation to your content. This will help to make sure that you are providing value for your customers in a new way. The data from your content can be visualised in ways which you can’t see in just words, which will give it an even higher level of understanding and clarity.
You don’t have to be an expert to use this tool, because it is simple enough for anyone to understand. This means that you can get more people to share your content in a way that is relevant to their role.
Quora is a great spot to find information that you need that is trending. It is a question and answer platform which allows experts in their field to answer questions from other users. The questions you find will be relevant to the information you want because they are already being asked by other people, who may not know the answer.
It is a great way to get your information out there in a new way because people are interested in what others think and how they came to find out the information which they are sharing.
Want to know what’s hot and what is viral. The Buzzsumo is the tool for you. It will take the hardest task in content creation and make it the easiest. You can find out what is hot in your niche by simply pasting a URL into the tool, or inputting a keyword. This will give you headlines of websites that have ranked well for that term, giving you the information you need to help with your content creation.
Buffer is a great tool to keep your social media accounts at the optimal posting time, which helps to increase engagement. You can post to all your social media accounts in one place, and schedule it so that it is posted at the optimal time. It is a simple tool that will save you time when creating content.
Twylah will help you to find and create content, but it will help you with a couple of other things as well. It will integrate with your other content production tools to give you greater organisation and control over your content creation process.
It is great for those who don’t have the time to put in the hours or who are just starting out. The level of options that you have is endless, as some of them will help you set up your automation, whilst others can get you your content in different formats.
This is my go-to tool for all things keyword research and SEO. It will tell you which keywords your competition is using, and can also give you a breakdown of the keywords that are most popular in your niche. It provides information on the volume and rankings of each keyword.
It is full of great information to help out with your content creation process by providing new ideas for content, as well as showing you what will really work.
This tool is one that I can’t live without when it comes to content promotion. It is the best tool for finding influencers in your niche. It will give you their contact details and it will help you to put in place the approach to get them to share your content, as well as a plan of action on how you will approach the influencer.
It is an essential tool if you are serious about content creation, as not only are we creating more content, but getting it shared with others through promotion is taking up a lot of time. It also creates a database of contacts that you can use again for future promotion and outreach.
The wrap on content creation
Hopefully, this article gives you an idea of what tools you can use for content creation. Content creation is a pivotal part of online success so master the art of creating great content and you will reap the rewards!
Take a look at our content strategy guide to kickstart you content game today.