Content Writing has become an important component of the digital marketing process. If you want your website to rank, you should consistently produce high-quality content.
People go on the Internet to search for information that is relevant, useful, and engaging. If the blogs, articles, and videos you publish have these qualities, search engines like Google will reward you with higher search rankings.
However, when writing content for the Internet, it is not enough to string words together. Your content must speak to your audience.
Most importantly, it must be found.
With billions of websites operating on the Internet, your content can easily be lost in a sea of information.
Therefore, it is important for your process of content writing to have structure. You should approach it with thought, purpose, and strategy.
4 Steps To Effective Content Writing
If you often find yourself staring at a blank computer monitor, you’re in fine company. Getting started on a new blog or article can be quite difficult. It happens even to the best content writers in the business.
Creating online content is much different than writing for a glossy magazine or a newspaper. These are publications which are found in a newspaper stand or at the checkout counter of a supermarket.
Instead, you are competing for a specific audience on the Internet. There are other content writers who are targeting the same audience. The task- at- hand is to have the audience choose your content over others.
This task is not easy. Even if you have a Master’s Degree in Comprehensive Writing; write in perfect spelling, and grammar, these are not guarantees that your content will be effective.
Put simply, content writing is a different ballgame. If you want to succeed, follow our 4-step process for content writing.
Find A Topic To Write About
Finding a topic can be very difficult especially if it seems like you’ve written about everything already. In order to speed up the process, don’t just come up with topics when you’re about to write. Come up with a spreadsheet file of prospective topics.
An idea can strike you anywhere at any time. The last thing you would want is to lose the idea. If a topic comes to mind, write it down on a piece of paper or record it on your phone.
The Golden Rule in finding topics to write about is simple but effective: Always write for your audience.
The question should be, “How do I know which topics interest my audience?” Here are a few tips on how to stay on top of the issues that interest your audience:
- Use Analytics – Find out which types of content on your website have generated the highest engagement levels, most number of views, most number of likes and shares.
- Check Social Media – Visit your various social media pages. Check which posts garnered the most likes, shares, and had active engagement levels.
- Ask Your Audience – Once in a while, post this question on your website and social media pages, “Are there any topics you would want me to write about? Please comment in the section below. Thanks!”
- Use Email Marketing – In your cover email for newsletters and other content, ask your subscriber if there is any topic or subject matter that he/she would like you to write about.
- Check Your Competitors’ Websites and Social Media Pages – Take some time to visit the websites and social media pages of your competitors. Find out what they have written about and identify the types of content that have generated the most positive feedback, likes, and shares.
- Use Topic-Generating Websites – There are websites that help you find topics to write about. Among the popular ones are answerthepublic.com and www.buzzsumo.com .
Make a list of these prospective topics and organize them in your spreadsheet file. These topics are still in their rough stages. The next step will clean them up and firm up your list of titles.
Before you start writing on a topic, make sure people are searching about it. If the search volume is not sufficient, it may not be worth your time and energy. Therefore, the first research you should undertake is to determine sufficient search volume.
The best tool you can use to determine search volume is Google Keyword Planner. All you need is a Gmail address to set up an account. Using Google Keyword Planner is easy. Just follow these simple steps:
- In the box, “Your product or service”, type in the keywords that you want to search for. For example, if you are in the fitness industry, you could type in “weight loss”.
- Set the parameters of your search. Google Keyword Planner allows you to focus your search on a specific country or language that you are targeting.
- Click “Get Ideas”.
Within a few seconds, Google Keyword Planner will retrieve and present keywords that you can use for your content. It will include data on “Average Monthly Searches” and “Competition”. Ideally, you would want to use keywords that have high monthly search averages and low in competition.
Your next step would be to run a Google search on the keywords. In our search example for “weight loss”, the keyword with the highest monthly search average would be “how to lose weight”.
This particular keyword also ranks low in competition. Now, you are assured of a topic that has a high volume of average monthly searches. Simply type “how to lose weight” in Google’s search box and run the query.
Google‘s SERP or Search Engine Results Page will give you a summary of the top websites for the keyword, “how to lose weight”.
You are now about to enter the second stage of research which is Keywords Research. You will need to use a tool such as www.semrush.com . It is easy to open and to set up a SEMrush account.
How do you use SEMRush? Follow these simple steps:
- In the SEMRush Dashboard, copy and paste the URL of the first website that appears on the SERP, then click “Search”.
- SEMRush will check if there are organic keywords in the URL.
- If the search is successful, click “Export” and choose the type of export data you want to receive. For the most part, choose “Excel”. SEMRush will present the organic keywords data in spreadsheet format.
- Copy and paste the organic keywords in your own keywords file specifically for the article.
- Repeat the process for the next 3-4 websites.
Now you have a list of keywords that you can use for your data. Make sure you remove all duplicates and to rearrange the order of keywords from largest to smallest for easy tracking.
The final stage of research is on the topic itself. Once you have fine- tuned the topic, finalize the title and search for websites that you can use as references for the article.
Create An Outline
Every good writer worth his/her word processor always creates an outline before commencing the writing process. An outline gives you structure and helps organize the ideas of your topic.
The structure of an outline is simple. You need a beginning, “The Introduction”, a body or the main discussion points of the article, and a conclusion. From there, you can break up these sections into smaller ideas or concepts. This way, you will have a better idea of how to compose each section.
There is no singular way on how to use an outline. If you have a hard time coming up with an introduction, start with the main body of the article. You will develop a better understanding of the content. Consequently, you will have a clearer perspective on how to write an introduction that will best set up your content.
Implement Quality Control Measures
Do not post your content until you have implemented Quality Control (QC) measures. The typical QC protocol has 3-tiers:
Tier 1 – Spelling and Grammar – www.grammarly.com
Tier 2 – Originality (Plagiarism check) www.copyscape.com
Tier 3 – Readability www.readable.io
Before publishing this article, we put it through Grammarly and Copyscape to check for errors and to validate its originality and freshness. Once these qualifications have been confirmed, we put it through Readable to test for ease of reading.
Its scores were as follows:
Grade: A; the highest possible grade
Flesch Reading Ease: 68.7
A Flesch Reading Ease score that is higher than 50 means your article is reader-friendly and will rate favourably with the audience.
The most important stage of content writing is the process of writing itself. You must dedicate time in the day for it. Can you finish the writing process in one day? Possibly yes, possibly no.
A 1,600-word article may take at least 2 hours to complete. If the article needs a lot of data and research, it may take more than 2 hours. According to studies, you can probably maintain focus for no more than 90 to 120 minutes per task.
If you are getting tired, don’t push it. Take some time to relax and recharge. Perhaps it would be best to call it a day and revisit the article the following day. With a refreshed mind, you will see more ways to make your content much better. Sometimes, you just have to start writing on a topic.