Your 7-step guide to awesome content
Copywriters and content creators should always aim for awesome content. It helps build an authoritative brand, develop a loyal customer base and generate more leads, so it’s well worth the effort that goes in.
So, how can you ensure you write awesome content every time? We’ve created this handy guide to help you out.
7 steps to awesome content
1. Know your audience
Top-quality content should solve your readers’ problems, so you really need to know your audience before you start.
Look at your existing client base, and create audience personas to shape the direction of your content marketing strategy.
2. Plan effectively
Once you know who you’re talking to, you can start focusing your content on the right people.
Remember, everything you write must have value for your target reader. If it doesn’t, they’ll disengage and seek a brand that makes more of an impact.
Select a topic based on their interests, and the solution you can offer. Your content should be actionable and educational, so make sure you consider this in the planning stage.
Brainstorm any questions your audience may have, then make sure your plan covers them.
A good plan should include info on your:
- Chosen keyword(s)
- Target audience
- Problem you’re solving
- Points to include
- Different sections/layout
- Sources to use
Once you’ve established all that, make sure your plan is in line with your content marketing strategy, and use this stage to set any goals you may have for this piece of content. This will come in handy when measuring the success of the piece further down the line.
3. Write well
Start off by creating a killer headline. A whopping 80% of readers never make it past this stage, so it needs to be good!
Make it short, snappy, obvious and benefit-led to engage your audience, then add in your chosen keyword to tell search engine crawlers what your piece is about. You can then get on with writing the main body.
Awesome content is always thought-provoking and engaging. The introduction should grab readers’ attention, explaining why they should care and what will be discussed in the piece. This is the section where you really need to go all-out to make them want to read the whole piece.
Capture their imagination by using stories or anecdotes in your piece, and use statistics to back up any claims you make.
Follow the rules of good copywriting and write for SEO to ensure both Google and your readers are happy.
Ditch the fluff, make sure every sentence is short, snappy and concise. Get to the point quickly, without any waffle, and your audience will thank you for it.
This doesn’t mean you can’t write long-form posts; just make sure every word and phrase contributes. If it doesn’t, it can probably be cut.
4. Edit thoroughly
This is the bit most people overlook, and often the reason why their content isn’t awesome!
Every piece of copy that leaves your desk should have a thorough copy-edit. Preferably, someone else would do this, but if you’re on your own, go for a cup of tea and come back to it later with fresh eyes.
You need to check for accuracy, sense, tone, spelling and grammar. The best way to do this is to read it aloud to make sure it flows, and then ask ‘how’ and ‘why’ about every statement made.
At this stage, you also need to ensure that your links and sources work well too. Make sure your content doesn’t link to a compilation page, it needs to go straight to the source of the information to be effective.
Once you’ve checked all that, whizz your piece through Yoast to make sure it’s good for SEO and readability. If both of those are green, you’re good to go.
5. Publish perfectly
Publishing is pretty simple, just hop into your CMS and make sure everything is filled out correctly. Just don’t forget your metadata!
Take this opportunity to spruce up your content a little with images and videos. However, only do this if they’ll really help lift the post or add value. Charts and graphs are great here!
If you’re going for photos, avoid stock images where possible and make sure they’re in keeping with your brand’s style.
6. Promote often
Promoting awesome content starts at home. Use social media to send it out to your followers and spark conversations. This will help you build relationships and, hopefully, encourage them to share it with their followers.
Remember timing and targeting are key for content promotion, so test both to make sure you get them right.
7. Reuse regularly
Figure out which posts were most popular using analytics software to measure success.
Take the best performers and transform them into something fresh and new to engage readers. Got a long stats blog? Turn it into a SlideShare presentation or infographic. Got a long-form post you can get more out of? Turn it into a great guide.
If you do all this, you’ll be well on your way to having a bank of awesome content ready to send out to your followers. And that, ladies and gents, is every content marketer’s dream!