To be a successful content creator, you must provide your users with quality information. Without it, your website or blog will fall flat. After all, content is the driving force in online conversions, it bridges the gap between business and consumer, and it’s what keeps people coming back for more.
Bill Gates said it best, “Content is king.”
To put the crown on your content, follow these 7 steps for content creation.
1. Write with a purpose.
Writing without a goal in mind is like driving without a place to go. If you don’t set a destination, you’ll probably never get there. Similarly, if you don’t identify a goal for your content, you probably won’t accomplish anything.
Prior to sitting down and hashing out your content, identify exactly what you’re trying to achieve. Not only will be you be much more likely to succeed, but your content will be that much more relevant and on task.
- – Identify which metrics are most important to you and your business, and use Key Performance Indicators (KPI) to guide you along the way.
- – Shares and likes – How many shares, likes, favorites, etc., is your content getting
- – Generate leads – Are users signing up for your newsletter, emailing you directly, etc.
- – Organic search traffic – How many site visits are you getting, how long are users staying on the page, is the bounce rate decreasing, etc.
- – Increase revenue – Are users buying your products/services
2. Have a strategy.
A content strategy is going to improve your process and help you write quality content in a timely fashion. A well-documented strategy will help you stay on track, and ensure your content is consistent.
- – Set up an editorial calendar. This will help you stay consistent with how often you update your content and/or publish new content.
- – Create a checklist that you can go back to every time you write a new piece; it’ll make the beginning writing process so much easier.
- – Get your team in on the process. If you working with a group of people, make sure you’re all on the same page.
3. Don’t forget about search engine optimization.
You might have the greatest content ever written, but if nobody can find it, your hard work will be all for not. Any time you publish content online you must optimize it for search engines.
Once you’ve declared the topic of your blog, go Google keywords and key phrases around the subject. Take a look at what kind of title tags others are using on the front page – maybe you can mimic that success. (I’m not advising you to steal their content! Just, ya know, get inspired by other content creators in the subject matter.)
Lastly, focus in on one or two keywords, and really hit your main point. Be sure you go into detail about those specific keywords and give your users exactly what they were looking for.
- – I recommend using keyword tools such as SEMrush, Moz, or Google Adwords to get more insight on how individual phrases are performing
- – Make sure your keyword shows up in your title and at least one more time in the actual content
- – Include your keyword in the URL of the page.
- – Ensure your title tag and meta description are both within best practices guidelines.
4. Stay concise and on point.
This one may not come as a surprise, but it wouldn’t feel right not to mention how important a clear concise message is. Far too often I find myself reading something online that either doesn’t have one singular message or it’s so blurry and buried that the meaning is lost.
Additionally, keep this in mind, only 20% of all readers actually finish your article. That means 4 out of 5 visitors won’t even reach the bottom of the page – don’t lose any more readers than necessary. Stay focused; tell your readers exactly what they need to know and what they can expect to get from your content.
- – Start your piece with an outline and try to stay true to that outline.
- – Write descriptive headlines and subheads
- – Use font modifiers (italics, bold, underline, etc.) on pieces of content you really want to stand out.
5. Content is king, but design still plays a supporting role.
Content on it’s own (at least in the web world) is pretty easy to dismiss. If you don’t include some kind of graphical intrigue to catch a users eye, you might lose them.
Really, this happens on two levels.
First, your website as a whole. If your site is poorly designed and outdated, users will leave in a hurry. This is a bigger project, but if you recognize that your site has a lot of room for improvement, we recommend finding a qualified team to make adjustments.
Second, images on a blog or an article. For this, you don’t have to be a professional designer, everybody writing content online can avoid an image-less world. There are plenty of places to find high quality images for free. Integrate those pictures throughout your content to keep your things interesting throughout your content.
- – For free stock photos try Unsplash, Pixabay, or LibreStock. There are plenty other places that offer a very similar service as well.
- – Take your game to the next level with a gif. Search Giphy to find the perfect one for your content.
6. Include a call to action.
This is an easy one to overlook, but it’s critical to the success of your content. If you don’t give users a way to interact with your brand/business, not only will it be harder to monitor any success, but you’ll also be having less of it overall.
- – Use language that elicits action (crazy, huh?), and gets a user interested about a topic. Stay away from stale options such as “Click Here.”
- – Have share/buy/etc. buttons in visible locations so they can’t be missed
- – Create a sense of urgency. The FOMO (fear of missing out) effect is always going to encourage people to click.
7. Edit, edit, edit.
Ask a co-worker, a friend, somebody, anybody to edit your work. No first draft is perfect, and it shouldn’t be published if it hasn’t been revised. The editing process is a long, never ending one, but if you don’t take time to do it, your content will suffer.
Just take it from J.K. Rowling who said, “You have to resign yourself to wasting lots of trees before you write anything really good. That’s just how it is. It’s like learning an instrument. You’ve got to be prepared for hitting wrong notes occasionally, or quite a lot.”
It may not be pretty, but the process of writing great content will probably include a big wastebasket full of crumpled up paper.
- – Take criticism/revisions with a grain of salt. It can be a little difficult when you get your work back with a few more marks than you were expecting. Just remember, it’ll help you improve piece, as well as help you progress as a content creator.
- – If you really have nobody to peer edit your work, you can edit your own stuff. However, I suggest taking at least one day away from the content and editing it at a later date. Fresh eyes will make a big difference.
- – Once you’re done editing, edit one more time. (It really never ends.) Right before you hit publish, read it over a final time. You may catch that one boo-boo nobody had caught before, and you may save yourself some embarrassment.
There’s a lot of pressure involved in content creation, but these 7 tips should simplify some things and hopefully get you on track to becoming a better content creator. Do you have any other tips or recommendations that have helped you as a writer? Let us know in the comments or tweet us.