Content continues its reign as the king. This explains how high-quality content production attributes to the success of 78% of the content marketers as per the Content Management Institute.
However, creating valuable content is not a child’s play, especially, as you work to establish yourself as an authority in your field.
Research reveals that an average reader dedicates no more than eight seconds to a piece of content. This multiplies the challenge as you need to churn out engaging content to hold the reader’s attention span.
Although content creation is a tough nut to crack, it’s not impossible. The good thing is that you can simplify the process by breaking it down into steps.
So, without further ado, let’s walk you through the six crucial steps to creating content for your blog:
Step 1: Select a topic and prepare an outline
Content creation begins with an idea that shapes into reality as you mold it into a topic. Your primary aim should be to think about the audience before you finalize the topic.
The ideal subject is the one that interests and caters to the needs of your audience.
Be mindful that it’s not about you, it’s about your readers. You can always find a middle ground though – a talking point that fascinates you as well holds your reader’s attention.
Pro tip: Talk about a trending topic in your niche.
Use tools such as Buzzsumo to find the trending topics, which will get some eyeballs. For instance, when Stranger Things Season 2 was aired, the character, Steve Harrington’s hair (played by Joe Kerry) shot to the top of the trend charts.
Naturally, leading publications such as Buzzfeed covered it under the title, “We Have Now Reached “The Peak Of Steve Harrington’s Hair In “Stranger Things 2”.
Since people couldn’t get enough of it, Buzzfeed covered it again. This time the title read, “We Need To Talk About Steve’s Hair From “Stranger Things” Again.”
Of course, I am not suggesting that you talk about Harrington’s hair in your posts. But, you can weave in trending topics in your business blog intelligently.
Take, for instance, a blog post on ‘marketing lessons to learn from Apple.’
Step 2: Understand your audience before creating content
As you work your way around the perfect subject matter, look closely at your audience. Besides, ensuring that the title captures their attention, be careful of the tone that your blog post will adopt.
Since you probably already know who your target market is, this should be fairly easy.
For example, if you own an app that targets elderly women who are at risk of mild cognitive decline, then your target audience entails senior women. If you narrow it down, women aged 65 or above are your audience.
Naturally, you can’t use the voice and vocabulary that you’d use for millennials. You will need to be more careful with the words you choose.
Pro tip: Read from publications and blogs that cater to the demands of the same audience bracket as yours.
Another golden tip to ace this step is to use simple language. Regardless of who your audience is, write like you are talking to an eighth grader. In simple words, don’t bombard your readers with heavy words.
Not to forget, about 1,400 blog posts are published in a minute. That’s over 2 million blog posts in a day.
In other words, there’s a lot of content out there, which translates into a lot of choice for the readers. This means that people mostly skim read posts.
So, your write-up needs to employ easy-to-understand and straightforward language.
Remember, don’t consider such writing a piece of cake because “easy reading is damn hard writing.”
Step 3: Conduct extensive research
If there is anything that is repulsive, it’s content that reeks of amateur advice or too much yammering. This brings us to conducting thorough research.
Research is the key that fixes the amateur-vibes that your blog post may emit. It consolidates what you’re suggesting and shows you off as an authority in your field.
For instance, if I say that blogging is beneficial for your business, some of you may agree. The rest will only shrug and say, “well, maybe, maybe not.”
However, if I back my claim with research, it will not only confirm that I am right, but you will trust me better.
So, here goes – businesses that blog get 55% more traffic and have 434% more indexed pages than those who don’t.
Pro tip: Take notes while you research
Jotting down notes makes the next step of writing your post easy. You can simply insert supportive research or statistics to prove your point.
Plus, this move helps you create original content because you won’t be copy-pasting research in your work.
Step 4: Craft your headline and write your draft
Your next step entails crafting the perfect headline for your blog post.
Experts recommend that you spend more time on this part than writing the post itself. At the very least, give it as much care and time as you give the post.
The underlying explanation is pretty simple.
A reader clicks on your post only when he finds its headline interesting. If the title doesn’t tempt him to click, your post will forever remain hidden behind the curtains.
On average, 8 out of 10 folks read your headline. However, only 2 out of 10 will read the rest. A compelling headline has the power to change this.
Copyblogger outlines four key factors to keep in mind when you devise a title. These include usefulness, a sense of urgency, uniqueness, and specificity.
Once done, start working on your draft.
Pro tip: Subtly insert your keyword within the first sixty characters of your headline. Then, sprinkle it naturally throughout the post without overdoing it.
You can also use your keyword as naturally as possible in your headline and write-up to take your website’s SEO game up a notch.
An excellent tip is to write a draft on paper, then get to writing it digitally. When you write on an e-screen instead of a paper, you have the option to edit as you go.
This makes you lose track of your thoughts, which sucks the uniqueness out of your content. If your fingers are attuned to writing on a keyboard, then don’t take tiny breaks to tweak your text hither and thither.
Read or correct your spellings only after you’re done with the first draft.
Step 5: Look for mistakes – Edit, polish, repeat
Here’s the stage where you can edit all that you want to change. Add the synonyms, cut out the inappropriate sentences, and chop out any tantrums in your work.
Besides, talking too much is a turnoff.
So, make sure to strike a balance between chatty and professionalism. There’s nobody to stop you from developing your unique style also known as brand voice.
It’s the voice that reflects your personality and knowledge as well as resonates with your audience. However, it takes time to find your voice.
Your style evolves over time. Consider it a caterpillar growing into a butterfly. In the meantime, don’t be a bore and drain the life out of your readers by ranting on and on like a two-year-old.
Pro tip: Think like an editor or better yet, Sherlock Holmes. Investigate, question and most of all ask yourself: why should I believe in this?
What’s more, don’t be afraid of cutting out sentences from your work no matter how attached you feel to them.
Editing, re-editing, and editing all over again brings the true flavors in your work.
Step 6: Format for readability, proofread and publish
Before you hit publish, read your work. Re-read it only to proofread it once more.
You can seek the help of tools such as Grammarly to help you in this part. Such tools guide you by outlining any typos, spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and so on.
Missing these is common. On top of that, typos love playing peekaboo, so one or two may escape your strict vigil. Any spelling or grammatical error can tarnish your impression though.
In a survey, almost half of all the respondents- 42.5%- confessed that a grammar or spelling mistake negatively influences their opinion about a brand.
Pro tip: Proofread your work at least twice. Read once, then change your font and re-read. Reading out loud also helps spot mistakes.
Don’t forget to format your work for enhanced readability.
To this end, keep your paragraphs and sentences short. This makes it easy for your readers to digest the content that you present to them.
The Founder of Examine.com, Sol Orwell, elaborates this further. He points out,
“The easier it is for someone to read your stuff, the more likely they are to share it. The more likely they are to spend time on your site. The more likely they are to buy from you!”
Once done, hit publish.
Creating content has both an art and science to it. While playing with words and tempering with your style is significant, clarity of voice is the most essential.
Know when to let a professional handle it for you. The blog posts for your small business should discuss valuable topics, addressed in an easy-to-understand language.