LET’S GET STARTED
- 1 What is Content Creation?
- 2 Steps To Optimize Content Creation Process
- 3 Conclusion
The current perception that the majority of people hold for content writing is that writing a few paragraphs with vibrant images and publishing it would bring a lot of traffic and attention. Which is not true!
The content creation process is underrated. People are unaware of the effort that goes between Ideation and Publishing. That is the reason why 99% of people find it difficult to produce engaging content.
Well, it is not that challenging. All you need to have is a process that I am about to share with you today. You all are going to know how to add Creative Ideas supported by Fine Research even when you have never written any piece of the blog before in your entire life.
With this elaborative guide, I am going to share my complete content writing experience with you that can blow your mind with how easy it is to write engaging content by simply breaking down all the steps, thoughts, loopholes, vulnerabilities, and little milestones.
Below you are going to get the checklists, calendars, spreadsheets, and content creation tools that I use while writing amazing content.
This process will help you in both the scenarios whether you are 1 man army or you have a team for developing content. Stay Tuned!
What is Content Creation?
Content creation can be understood as a practice where you look out for topic inspirations that complement your business idea and your buyers’ persona. So that you can write about them, decide their forms, come up with a strategy and finally produce it.
Content creation has the potential to benefit your business in a lot of different ways.
You can use it as a medium to build trust, generate leads, enhance SEO and overall brand upliftment.
Steps To Optimize Content Creation Process
Phase 1 of Content Creation: Ideation
Ideas for your content have no boundaries. You have to be observant and communicative to grab the nearby and most significant opportunities for your content ideas. These ideas can be from within your team, from customers’ feedback, from data insights, from things that inspire you, from the company’s stakeholders, or from anywhere.
The possibilities for creativity are endless. The major challenge arises when you have to mold your ideas and give them direction so they can meet your business goals and requirements.
Related: How to Write High-Quality Content?
Ways To Generate Content Ideas
Be Clear About The Intent Of Your Article
Before you wander out in your huge scope of imagination keep in mind the intent of your content. Stick to the questions “How do you want this article to come across your audience?” and “What is this content going to bring back to your organization?”.
Intents are of three types: Transactional, Navigational, and Informational.
- Informational Content: These are the posts that focus entirely on providing information about any topic, tool, etc. These posts must be elaborative and comprehensive.
- Navigational Content: These posts target products and services. Your content must be appealing enough to leverage reader conversions. These posts must be brief to the point but in a persuading tone.
- Transactional Content: These posts majorly include user interaction. The user comes with a mindset of buying something, downloading something, signing up or registering, etc.
So for instance my intention in writing this guide was Informational. I have learned so much that I want to share that with the world. I don’t want you to go through the entire pain of learning and understanding the concept of content writing all by yourself.
Here, at every step, I am going to tell you how this guide unfolded itself from my intention to its topic selection, the process of keyword research involved, and how it finally got published.
Being a content creator you must keep your eyes and ears wide open about your competitor, you need to analyze and evaluate your competitor’s content marketing strategies.
Try to understand their approach for that particular topic by using Ahrefs content gap tool.
Here in the above image, I added my competitors and my website URL to find out the keywords that my competitors are ranked for but my website doesn’t.
In the above image, you can be able to see the keywords that your competitors are ranking for and you can get your next topic idea from them.
This is one of my favorite tricks to find engaging topics. I consider them as my competitor, but on the same point, I get motivation from them as well to develop more engaging content than they do.
Consider Trending Topic
This isn’t any new advice I am putting out for you BUT it is important and we tend to neglect it while analyzing competitors. Dig in social platforms. Keep an eye on the trending section like a HAWK.
You must grab the opportunity to be among the first fewer people to cover the latest topics, upgrades, etc. This will help you to attract more readers as readers always want to read something new and unique.
You can subscribe to Google to get the latest update on your email faster, or you can communicate with your social media team to keep you informed with new trendy topics for the next blog by their social media research.
This is helpful as you can take help from the team inside your organization and this will also help you to think creatively for your next article.
Give What Customers Are Looking For
All the research, hard work is for the reader. Why not offer them the dessert they wish to eat! You must be clear about what is in demand and what are customers consuming. You can’t serve your best meat to your vegan clients and wonder why it isn’t working.
Google Search Suggestions
In the above image, we searched for the keyword that we selected for our next blog to see what people are searching for most and what they want to know more about and see what we get.
The content creation process and content creation guide are the most searched keywords and here we are with our blog with the same keywords that our readers are searching for.
Don’t just straight-up run to paid tools. Google search suggestion provides you too many options to look for keyword variation as per your requirement.
Brainstorm With Larger Groups Within Your Organization
Writing content on your own from scratch to finish always ends up having loopholes. Coming from one mind’s perspective you stick to just one notion about any topic.
To Steal Ideas From One Person Is Plagiarism, To Steal Ideas From Many Is Research. – Steven Wright
But do we want readers to tell what they feel? Or educate what the topic really holds? For the later choice’ you must sit with a group of people (preferably your seniors) to discuss and include their take on the topic to make the content versatile.
Phase 2 of Content Creation: Schedule Your Content Calendar
Make sure you come up with a consistent content creation plan. The plan doesn’t have to be 6 months of the scheduled topic. It can be weeks or just one topic but with a deadline. Systematic workflow is the key to enhance creativity.
You don’t want to keep working in an empty space without a goal. Lack of a sense of urgency makes you and your mind lazy. Working on any topic for a longer period of time can cause you to drift from the intent.
Acknowledge that once you are done with the topic selection you prepare a timeline for the further coming steps and achieve them. I also try to add emojis to my content calendar. It adds to the visual knowledge and makes it easier to understand at a glance what roles I have to deal with the following week.
The content creation process involves several people looking over various roles. To create a seamless process flow and avoid task mismanagement. You must sit with your team and assign them roles as per their profile and skillset.
This managing step is necessary to perform to meet deadlines without creating havoc at the last minute.
My team uses Asana to record our content calendar and related suggestions to reduce the information gaps within the team. Asana also gives you the liberty to assign the roles and their deadlines among team members.
This is what our content calendar looks like. You can create a calendar, list, board, timeline, or dashboard according to your preference.
Phase 3 of Content Creation: Pre-Writing Procedures
By now you must know what you are writing about. Not the final heading! But what it is going to talk about.
Just to explain this process a little better, I am going to tell you what steps I took while drafting this very blog you are reading.
I knew I have to write something about a beginner’s guide for content creation or article publishing. I was not sure about the heading or keywords I’ll be using. I just had a ‘Seed Keyword’, “Content Creation” in my mind and a deadline of 4 days from now. Is it Challenging? YES!! But we will get there before the time you’ll see how.
Before beginning with anything we must dive into keywords and equip ourselves so we can easily sketch a rough outline of what we are going to put in.
Keywords are similar to chess pawns for your seo game that work in silence unnoticed and gets promoted to the queen title perhaps skyrocket your visitors’ volume.
I discussed it a little bit in the ideation phase when I asked you to play around with your seed keyword and just stick to Google SERP there.
But now I am not going to stop you from dwelling – use the tools you are comfortable with, analyse your competitor’s performance, put in additional phrases to check which ranks better.
For keywords research, I devote a good amount of time and explore quite a significant number of options to fetch my data for keywords. I am putting it out as steps you need not follow then in order.
In the above image, I have added my topic, keyword source, keyword, and data from tools. This is the sheet that I maintain for keyword research and add all the keywords as per the heading in the sheet.
Here is the keyword research sheet that I used for this article that you can easily get access to just by clicking on the link below.
So the next time when you write content for your blog you can use this template for your keyword research.
If this sheet is helpful for you so please comment below so that I can be informed that you love what I share with you.
Get Keyword Research Template from here.
Using Google SERP
Google SERP is the best way to know what users are asking and searching for. Google also helps us to analyze the customers’ needs, and what we can add to our blog to make it useful for our target readers.
This is what I already explained earlier in Phase 1 of Content Creation: IDEATION﹔Give What Customers Are Looking For
These sections give a deeper insight related to user intent for the topic you have considered to write about. You have the dessert options that customers have in their mind; you just have to bake the one that you think you can bake the best and present in front of them with creativity that attracts them.
Keywords From Quora Or Forum Sites
Quora and other Forum sites, like Google SERP, provides you with popular queries regarding your idea.
These sites offer you question and answer pattern information for a particular topic. This format is helpful to know more precisely what to focus on and whatnot.
You can use these questions to sort out your sub-headings of your topic.
The above-mentioned tools are giving you the details from the intended point of view. Although you can see multiple options to choose from which among those is actually being searched in volume is still a question.
“By using the Google Ads Keyword Tool, you can search for keyword and ad group ideas, see how a list of keywords might perform, and even combine keyword lists to create new ones.”- Google claims to offer all these services at their Google Ads page.
When you search your keyword in Google ads, it will show you results that you can use in your content to make it more engaging. Below is the screenshot of my search keyword. These are the keywords that Google ads show for my targeted keyword.
Use Paid Tools (Ahrefs, SEMrush etc.)
You didn’t see this one coming, I bet. After all, what else can you get from a paid tool? You have numbers and you have keywords.
Well, I agree but it is always to take up information from several sources in the name of research and then pick the best of everything.
I use Ahrefs Keyword Explorer to get metric data. One fine thing that I prefer is keyword difficulty. Keyword Difficulty tells you how easy or difficult it is to rank in the top results for google SERP for that particular keyword.
And that is a smarter move from an SEO perspective.
For this post when I did my keyword research I looked up “Content Creation” as my seed keyword. And you can see the keyword difficulty is 53. Therefore it can be understood as a keyword that will require a little more effort to rank for top 10 results in SERP.
The above image shows the keyword ideas by search result that you can include along with the search volume. Simplified right?
Consider LSI Keywords
LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) Keywords in a layman language are the synonyms or conceptually related terms that can be used within your content to enhance keyword game.
Google no longer sticks to just one keyword and its density to rank your content. It relies on LSI keywords to get a deeper understanding of the content.
The easiest way to look for LSI keywords is the google autocomplete. These keywords are the ones that are trending and are related to your topic.
When I enter my keyword I get these LSI keywords for my query and you can notice I have used these queries in this blog.
Now you have the keywords, you know the phrases that you must use within your headings for a better SEO perspective. With that being done. You are just getting started with the outline of our content.
An outline indicates how your post will look, the headings you’ll include, the interaction, ideas, thoughts, and experiences you are going to mix in, and where they’ll pop up.
Before I start planning an outline I answer a few questions within my outline writing template. This helps me to have a better grip on the content I must include within the outline.
I prefer to keep questions that are generic for every piece of content. For eg: What is the user intent? How does it fit in my business strategy? Is it helpful in achieving my goal? What is the CTA? What is the targeted SEO phrase?
Before beginning any outline for any topic I just go and fill in this template this allows me to figure out the start and end of my content. You can straight up go and fill it in to get what you are getting yourself into for the next few days.
Get our Outline Template from here.
You have all the details where to start when to end, what to include in between.
The only task that this very step brings is to create catchy headlines using the keywords in an adequate amount. You don’t want to purposely stuff the headings with tons of keywords that make the reader lose interest altogether.
Outline Competitor Comparison
A prepared outline may be your best input on the subject but to make sure if it is best according to market requirements I emphasize this step.
I prepare a google sheet to compare the outline with our trending competitors for the topic we plan to write.
This will provide you with an overview of what your content lacks or exceeds in comparison with the already published content in the market.
Before drafting this guide I considered the top three websites that were ranking for the same keywords. They aren’t just my competitors but people I look up to for guidelines. Therefore I compared their outlines to get ideas for my subheadings and content flow. You take a look at how it is performed within the image below.
Here is the Template that we use in our Organization for Competitor analysis, to explore the possibilities of sub-topics that can be included to make our blog the best.
Get our Outline Competitor Comparison Sheet from here.
Finalize The Outline
Once you are done with competitors’ analysis and required upgradation within your outline. You pass on the file further for approval along with all the template sheets I just mentioned. This helps to validate your choice of headings and topics and reduces the chances of changes within your outline. Though outline drafts are kept highly flexible.
I finalized this outline including all the points my team discussed while brainstorming. This outline was surely the backbone of my content. But did I follow it entirely? No!
If you take a look at the table of content at the beginning of this blog you’ll know the gap between a final outline and a final draft.
Mind it, you don’t have to stick to the outline you have to take inspiration from it and you are free to add quality to it.
Collect Content’s “GOLDEN NUGGETS“
If you envisioned crispy chicken nuggets reading the heading then you’ve got it right. That is what you’ll offer your readers. Something interesting besides topic-centric literal blah, blah, blah for 3000+ words.
Considering a scenario, How long do you read a political case study with no facts and figures? Hardly 500 words.
That is what happens to long blog posts, you need to make sure you keep on adding something interesting here and there to keep them engaged.
You can take the help of data points, personal stories, examples, hypothetical scenarios, imagery, screenshots, embedded videos, demos, real-life applications, etc. Make sure whatever you add must compliment your content and must not overpower the subject.
I prefer noting down my points as soon as I find them during the research process.
While I was researching regarding the content creation process, there were a number of infographics and examples I came across but I wasn’t sure about the flow structure as in how I’m going to include it within my writing. So I kept on filing my excel with links and categorized them in the relevant category. (You can see all the categories I have included below.)
I have enclosed this AMAZING template that helps me from overwhelming myself with all the Collectible and sorting them into categories.
This is our Golden Nuggets Sheet. Get it for free.
Phase 4 of Content Creation: Writing Procedures
Start Writing Your Draft
I know you clicked on this post for this very section, but to your disappointment writing is the smallest fraction of this journey and does take the least effort as well.
You must keep in mind that you don’t have to overwhelm yourself with all the data you have gathered via research and all the workflow guides you have maintained through the process.
You have all the tools and a HUGE block of research you just have to carve it into a piece of art. Assemble all the gatherings seamlessly and you are good to go.
Checklist of Creating The Draft
Attractive Heading To Bring The Attention Of Your Readers
Didn’t it occur to you by now about the heading? You’re way past the outline phase. Well, I have mentioned earlier that outlines are flexible; you may or may not have a heading by now. But what all you need to know while creating a heading?
Make sure your heading is catchy, interesting enough to grab the visitor’s attention. You can do it by keeping in mind a few instructions.
- Use your seed keyword in your title.
- Try including numbers if you are offering strategy-related content.
- Include pain or gain points in your heading.
- Use words with higher emotional connect
First, a few headline suggestion that I kept changing for this blog as I continued writing were:
“How to Publish an Article?”
”Content Creation and Publishing Guide for Complete Beginner”
”How To Write & Publish Content?”
”Content Writing to Article Publishing: A Breakdown”
Guess which one got finalized? 😆😆
There are many freely available Blog title-generators tools, you can always turn to them with your seed keyword and get heading suggestions. I have listed a few below for you to take a look at yourself.
- Portent Idea Generator
- SEO Pressor Blog Title Generator
- Fatjoe Blog Post Title Headline Generator
- Hubspot Blog Idea Generator
Work on Intro
The introduction is the first piece of your creation that a stranger comes across and makes sure you can leave them in awe for the rest of the information you are going to offer. Your introduction must include at least 2-3 of these points.
- Start with targeting user intent.
- Question their wants and needs.
- Add facts and jokes when possible.
- Include contradictory statements and back them later.
- Add a few digits in terms of statistical or analytical context.
- Insert a few links
You can combine a few points to frame your intro similar to this:
Avoid Keyword Stuffing
Don’t just shove your researched keywords without any purpose here and there. Keep track that keywords are used organically in a strategic manner.
The above image might have made it clear as to why you should avoid bulking your content like that. How is anybody going to read if you keep on yelling out the same phrase after a few words?
This deteriorates the overall user experience and easily generates a notion about you as “I just want to rank this page”.
Use Of Subheadings
Check that the subheadings you use must be informative. Don’t run after the concept of putting fancier headings. There is no point in putting a fancy heading that doesn’t offer the meaning it should.
While adding sub-heads follow:
- Use keyword variation.
- Keep it short.
- Heading must be to the point.
- Include bullet points instead of longer para.
Use of Content Breaks
You are familiar with the importance of nuggets. Ensure that you offer consistent content breaks to keep your reader hooked.
Longer informative content is more likely to be left half-read. Be creative and find the ways to include:
- Embedded videos
- Real-life applications
Optimize Content Readability
When you write inflow and try to simplify things for your reader. You tend to use some of the technical words or complex- longer sentences that are difficult to understand. To reduce such problems and improve the readability of your content. You can use tools like Grammarlyand Hemingway.
Link to Reputable Sources
Google considers you as a credible source of information on the web when you include external links. Including these links bring balance and authenticity to the overall SEO health of a page.
The external links from your content can strengthen the topic signal to Google.
Try to include at least 2 external links to relevant popular blogs, news sites, and .edu and .gov resources in every content that you publish.
End Blog with BANG
The conclusion is yet another very important part of the blog. You must end your post with a takeaway. Open endings are abrupt and leave a bad impression.
Here are some tips that you can add at the end of your content to give a polished finish:
- Put up a question.
- Add call-to-action (CTA).
- Inspire your readers to do something.
- Include related blog post links.
- Ask for their perspective.
- Provide answers to the following questions: who, when, where, where, why, and how.
Phase 5 of Content Creation: Post-Writing Procedures
Congratulations! You have successfully passed the bigger milestones of this journey. You are done with your share of efforts. Now it’s time to get evaluated and finally put it out there in the wild world of actual critics.
Here are the procedures you need to follow before Publishing your Blog Post.
Use Your Target Keywords in your Heading Tags
Tags are intended to highlight unique aspects of your posts. Consider them as the index words for your website. They allow you to categorize and distinguish your content on a micro-level. Tags are not arranged in any particular order. You can add whatever tag you want as per its requirement.
For eg: The content heading is kept in the H1 tag.
The completed draft with all the images, texts, and other inclusions in the perfect format just like your published article structure must be sent to the higher authority within your team to review your content.
This activity helps you to get a third person’s perspective over your content and suggestions provided during this process helps to make your content much more versatile for a wide range of people.
The review process includes a few steps:
- Double-checking quotes and citations against the source.
- Scanning for plagiarism and copyright violations.
- Creating feedback to guide any content changes needed.
As a reviewer try to be clear regarding your needs for changes. Make sure you add suggestions or comments and convey major changes in the polite way possible. You don’t want to question the person’s writing capabilities just by red marking or striking through the content without a means of suggestion.
During the content creation process of this very guide you’re reading right now, this is how I got my review suggestions.
With the review process being done. The content again goes back into the hands of the content writer. The suggestions received during the review process make it necessary to manipulate your content. Take care that whatever you add or remove must not spoil the flow of your content.
The approval phase is nothing but another round of review but for your edited content. You must understand that by this time your content must not have any loopholes. You don’t want to get stuck in the never-ending loop of edit and review.
Once your reviewer is satisfied with all the manipulation, you get approval to publish the content.
As a content writer, your role ends in the last step itself. Most organizations tend to have another team to publish the content to multiple platforms, but if you are a solopreneur just getting started with everything I must explain this to you.
BONUS TIP 💡
You don’t have to add lots of keywords and links to rank your content. Focus on user requirements and fulfill them.
- Portent Idea Generator
- SEO Pressor Blog Title Generator
- Fatjoe Blog Post Title Headline Generator
- Hubspot Blog Idea Generator
Phew! What a journey it has been. I hope you are all caught up to rock your blogging adventure. All the Content Creation tools and online help that I have mentioned through the various sections above, I am including the links for you to redirect according to necessity.
Did you note down all the points I mentioned about the whole writing process? Yes including the pre and post ones. How are you going to check what you covered and what is still left to include within your content?
It is okay you can steal my content creation sheet just with a few clicks. Smash the button below and get a well-elaborated Checklist to keep a record of progress in each step of your writing.