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 pieces of 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 — it 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.
In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to get started with content creation in 2022. The aim of this article is to provide you with an overview of what the process of content creation entails.
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, content marketing generates 3 times as many leads while costing 62% less compared to traditional marketing.
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.
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 pieces of content are created equal. Writing 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 the content creation process. However, the general rules we just mentioned are always true. If any of the above are missing, your efforts likely aren’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 pieces of content are different, they’ll never make the connection between your brand and blog post. 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 creation — careful and meticulous planning. Much like every other process, it requires you to have a detailed plan called a content strategy. Without it, you can’t expect to achieve any real results since you won’t even know what results to expect. If you aren’t sure how to go about it, it may be a good idea to consult or even outsource a content strategist.
In the planning stage, you’ll be considering your goals, target audience, their journey, content ideas, the format and type of content, as well as future promotion.
Another important aspect of content is consistency. Publishing and promoting regularly ensures a steady growth and exposure. To this end, there is another important document to create in the planing phase: the editorial calendar.
The editorial calendar should outline the topics you want to cover, the keywords you are targeting, publishing dates, assigned content creators, as well as any other information that will help you stay on schedule and track the performance of each piece.
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 and business goals and help you achieve measurable results. Remember, the ability to quantify the success of your content strategy is the foundation of successful content creation.
Once you figure out a goal to strive for, 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 publishing, rethink promotion tactics, or come up with new content ideas.
First, define clear goals and then start creating 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 (blog post or any other content format), it’s good to know the people you’re writing for are. You need to predict your audience’s pain points, wishes, wants, and expectations in relation to your what you can offer them. 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 write for every person that might stumble onto a page of your website, you’ll end up pleasing no one.
The trick is finding out who your buyer persona really is. It will take some research, educated guesses, predictions, and a lot of trial and error before you can pinpoint your ideal customer. Start with the 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.
The Buyer’s Journey: Awareness, Consideration, Decision
These are the three stages of every buyer’s journey. Raising awareness means introducing new potential 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 pinpoint 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 your customer is facing. 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, people 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 platforms come to mind first 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 post 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 writing. You have your business goals. All that’s left is to start producing content that will lead you towards your goal.
Start with SEO Research
SEO research is imperative. Without it, you can only guess which keyword or search query is worth your time and which isn’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 marketing.
Since you now know who your buyer persona is, it should be much easier to determine what they would be interested in searching for and what type of content appeals to them most. Start from there, and use keyword research 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 in the eyes of Google and other search engines with the help of backlinks and quality articles, you’ll also be able to target more challenging keywords.
Actual Content Creation
When it comes to writing, the first step for content creators is to structure the article properly. Research the topic that you’d like to write about and come up with the heading and subheadings you’d like to cover.
Optimize your 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. Recycling existing articles, 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 blog posts, videos, and other types of content without rhyme or reason.
Stick to your strategy, produce high-quality content, and you will be much more likely to reach and engage your ideal audience.