The number one reason why 70% of businesses invest actively (and lavishly) in content marketing is that it works. It is the best (and the only channel) to communicate with your target audience on the internet. The internet without content is nothing. Content drives the internet.
Whether it be blogs, videos, eBooks, podcasts, graphics, images, or any other form of content, you have to be actively involved in content creation. Video is the most produced content today while blogs and eBooks are the second primary content type that businesses create:
Content writing is an integral part of content creation. You either need a content writer or you have to write content yourself to keep publishing fresh content on your blog. If you are new to content writing and not sure where to begin, this guide is for you.
What is Content Writing?
Content writing (also known as content creation) is defined as the process of planning, writing, and editing content for the web. It isn’t just limited to text rather it includes all types of content ranging from text to video scripts to social posts to whitepapers and more.
Content writing is the most common activity that businesses outsource. Around 84% of B2B companies outsource content creation:
How-to articles are the most common types of content formats produced and an average blog post takes almost 4 hours to write:
Content writing is mostly associated with digital marketing as its purpose is to drive traffic, generate conversions, and build authority. At the end of the day, content creation is a subset of digital marketing and is an important pillar.
Content Writing Process
Writing content for your blog might seem an easy task but if you want to make an impact and want your content to stand out from the crowd, you have to go the extra mile. Creating high-quality, well-researched, and authority content requires a lot of hard work. You must follow a systematic process to content writing so don’t you don’t miss an important step.
Here is a short yet effective content writing process to help you get started quickly:
It begins with thorough market research that includes keyword and topic research, competitor analysis, target keywords, target audience and buyer persona, and setting content purpose and goals.
Here is a breakdown of what the research process looks like:
- Set clear goals and the purpose for the content you are writing. Ask yourself what you want to achieve with the content piece? Are you interested in generating leads, acquiring a backlink from a specific authority website, or you are writing a pillar content piece?
- Identify the buyer persona that you are targeting.
- Use a keyword tool of your choice (e.g. SEMrush or Ahrefs) to identify topics and keywords.
- These tools also help you identify top-ranking content for your target keywords. Analyze existing content, find gaps, and see how you can come up with better content.
By the end of this step, you must have: Topic, primary keyword, content layout based on existing content, and buyer persona.
Planning refers to internal planning related to content writing. This is where you’ll create and refine the content outline, add it to your editorial calendar, identifying internal links and CTAs, and plan all the resources (e.g. graphics, social media snippets, etc.).
An editorial calendar simplifies content planning and management. You can create an editorial calendar in Google Calendar, Trello, or even in Excel. There are several free templates available out there such as this one:
Here is an editorial calendar in Google Calendar:
You can also try editorial calendar tools such as CoSchedule that make it even easier to plan content. The beauty of an editorial calendar is that it helps you assign content to different team members, schedule content, and track production and publication.
This is the real process where you begin writing the content. There are several important considerations for writing content that engages readers and drives conversions:
- Stick with the topic and don’t deviate
- Use simple language, short sentences, and avoid jargons
- Have a clear introduction and conclusion
- Make your content scannable as 79% of people scan web content instead of reading it. Add headings, subheadings, short paragraphs, and bullets to make content scannable
- Use images, charts, graphs, videos, and other content types in the article to make it visually pleasing
- Add CTAs strategically throughout the content
- Seek help from content writing tools and apps.
4. Proofreading and Editing
Don’t publish content without editing. If you have a dedicated editor in your team, assign the article to the editor in the editorial calendar.
However, you need to go through the content at least once to find and fix typos, grammatical errors, punctuations, and other mistakes. Run 2-3 rounds of proofreading at different time slots – not at once.
Editing is a more detailed and in-depth process that isn’t just limited to finding errors, rather it is focused on accuracy, clarity, consistency, flow, style, formatting, and other essential writing and editing rules.
5. Publish and Track
Finally, you can schedule your new piece of content for publication after editing and proofreading. Don’t forget content after it has been published rather analyze its performance. The simple rule to identify content performance is by tracking if it met its purpose or not.
If the purpose of the blog post was to generate shares on social media, inspect the social share counter and see how well it performed. Regular content analysis can help you identify content issues and improve your content writing.
Building authority, generating leads, and growing your audience requires high-quality authoritative content. You must know the ins and outs of content writing and how to create content that will grow you and your brand exponentially.
The content writing process discussed above is flexible. You can tweak it as per your requirements by adding/removing steps and tasks. The more detailed and specific your content writing process is, the better. It streamlines the writing process and everyone in the team knows what they’re supposed to do, what is expected of them, and when they need to complete it.
Even if you work alone or have a very small team, having a content writing process with well-defined steps will ensure you create content consistently without any issues.
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