Content is the cornerstone of the internet, in one form or another. Whether it’s videos, music, or infographics that you like to spend your time on, you’re consuming content. If you’re reading a news article online or browsing a seasonal collection of clothing, you’re also looking at content, albeit less evergreen.
Content also comes in the form that you’re observing right this moment — blogs are, by far, one of the biggest constituent groups of the internet. That’s because every wise business owner understands that content is more than just king — content is a product.
It might be the only product you’re selling or it might complement other products and services you’re providing. Whatever the case may be, without content, you’re not going to get very far.
A guide such as this one is all you need to get started with content creation in 2021. The aim of this article is to provide you with an overview of what the process of content creation entails. There’s more to building content than simply churning out blogs or videos when you feel like it. Take a moment to read this guide to avoid major headaches down the line.
Do You Really Need Content?
It’s one thing for an article online to claim that content is more relevant than ever, and a completely different thing to back up that claim with numbers.
Let’s take blogs as an example. About 69% of businesses with an online presence claim that blogging is responsible for most of their lead generation.
On average, companies that blog have 434% more indexed pages which garner 55% more website visitors and 97% more inbound links.
It’s not just blogs and other written content that increase lead generation. 86% of content marketers claim that they saw an increase in traffic from videos on their websites. Add to that the fact that 87% of consumers want more videos from brands and you can begin to glimpse the immense value that content has.Feel free to explore more stats these websites have to show, or discover incredible statistics on your own. The fact is that no one can deny the value of good content. However, since you’re already here, we can safely assume that you don’t need any further persuasion regarding the inherent value of content.
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What Comprises Good Content?
Before we proceed with our guide on content creation, we first have to touch on the topic of “good” content. Not all content is created equal. Producing content with no clear idea about what you should or shouldn’t do is not going to achieve desired results.
Every good piece of content should abide by the following:
- It should be optimized for SEO
- It should be unique
- It should follow the brand style and quality guidelines
- It should be structured to match the marketing channel of your choosing
- It should supply a demand
- It should be legally compliant
- It should deliver measurable results.
The rest of this guide will tackle more specific issues and processes of content creation. However, the general rules we just mentioned are always true. If any of the above are missing, your content likely isn’t going to produce the results you’re hoping for.
For example, let’s say that your content abides by all of the above, with the exception of brand guidelines. You’ll get huge traffic on your website, however, all those visitors won’t be able to commit your brand to memory. They’ll feel as if they’ve stumbled on an excellent piece of content, but if the style and tone of your other content are different, they’ll never make the connection between brand and content. You want that connection because it turns leads into a loyal audience. Without it, your content is just a random collection of high-quality blogs.
The Planning Stage
Now we get into the first step of content creating — careful and meticulous planning. Content creation, much like every other process, requires you to have a detailed plan called content strategy. Without it, you can’t expect to achieve any results since you won’t even know which results to expect.
In the planning stage, you’ll be considering your goals, target audience, their journey, the format of your content, as well as future promotion.
You might want to attract more visitors to your website and increase organic traffic or straight up increase the sales of your product. Your content goals should align with your marketing goals and help you achieve measurable results. Remember, the ability to quantify the success of your content strategy is the foundation of good content.
Once you figure out a goal to strive out, start creating content that will help you reach that goal. Measure your progress along the way in case you need to make any adjustments. For example, you might need to up the rate at which you’re producing content or rethink promotion tactics.
First, have a clear goal and then create content.
Do You Know Your Buyer Persona?
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your target audience. It’s a set of characteristics and desires that you can expect from your customers in general.
Before you create any content at all, it’s good to know who you’re writing for. You need to predict your audience’s pain points, wishes, wants, and expectations in relation to your content. That’s the only way you can make your content personal enough and have your audience identify with it. You can’t please everyone — if you try to create content for every person that might see it, you’ll end up pleasing no one.
The trick is finding out who your buyer persona really is. It will take some guesswork, predictions, and a lot of trial and error before you can pinpoint your ideal customer. Start with basics, then work your way up to more specific details as you get more information.
A basic buyer persona could consist of details such as demographics, interests, and behavioral traits.
Awareness, Consideration, Decision
These are the three stages of every buyer’s journey. Raising awareness means introducing new customers to your brand. For newcomers, there’s no better resource than blogs. That’s where they’ll get all the relevant information about a service or a product, including more details on your brand. That’s where you also help them crystalize the nature of the problem they’re trying to solve.
In the consideration stage, you offer your product or service as means to solve the problem they’re having. To that end, you offer customers webinars, worksheets, and various templates where they can learn more about your product in action.
Finally, your customers who are ready to make a decision could use free resources such as demos, coupons, and consultations to help them decide to buy your product or service.
Why is it important to know the stages of the buyer’s journey? Because you can’t serve new customers with free resources — they still don’t know enough to care about your coupons. Likewise, customers who are on the verge of buying your product don’t need blogs to inform them about what the product is.
You’ll need different types of content to meet the needs of customers who are at different stages of their journey.
How Will You Promote Content?
Social media channels first come to mind when thinking about content promotion. They’re the easiest and most straightforward type of marketing, but far from being the only one.
You might want to set aside some funds for a PPC campaign. Pay-per-click ads can market your content on search engines, social media, and even other websites. Other than that, email marketing is yet another option you have available to you.
After coming up with a buyer persona, divulging their pain points, and planning out content for different stages in the buyer’s journey, it’s time to move on to creating actual content. You have your goals. All that’s left is to start writing content that will lead you towards your goal.
Start with SEO Research
SEO research is imperative. Without it, you can only guess which keywords are worth your time and which aren’t. After doing all the work and planning how your content would progress, it would be a shame to stop being methodical and smart about content creation.
Since you now know who your buyer persona is, it should be much easier to determine what they would be interested in searching for. Start from there, and use keyword tools such as SEMRush or Moz Keyword Explorer to find the keywords with the right search volume and difficulty.
If you’re just starting your new blog, don’t try and rank for keywords that are too difficult. Anything with a difficulty over 50 is going to be unattainable at this moment, so focus on keywords that have a decent search volume combined with a manageable difficulty.
You could also look for keywords by typing them in the search bar and looking at the autofill results, or by checking out the related search section of the browser.
What difficulty you should or shouldn’t go after depends on your domain authority. As you increase domain authority with the help of backlinks and content, you’ll also be able to target more challenging keywords.
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Actual Content Creation
If it’s writing you’re doing, the first step is to structure your content properly. Research the topic that you’d like to write about, come up with heading and subheadings you’d like to cover.
Use meta descriptions and title tags to keep your on-page SEO on a high level.
Don’t forget that it’s crucial to have unique content. Without original content, you’ll never be able to get far and Google is likely going to penalize you.
Above all, always edit and proofread everything you’ve created.
Creating content is more about planning ahead and being organized rather than just churning out blogs, videos, and other types of content without rhyme or reason.
Stick to your strategy, and your content is that much more likely going to succeed.