Generally speaking, the steps in the writing process do not change. You may whiz through one step only to spend hours on another, but you should complete each and every one to be successful on the web. These would work for a professional writer or a novice. So, if you think you have what it takes, give it a whirl!
Step 1: Planning
- Pick a Topic/Brainstorm – The process must begin with you picking a topic. It can be a broad topic that can be narrowed down, but you gotta have something to start with. Jot down some notes and any resources you think would be helpful in the writing process so its there and ready to go.
- Determine Target Audience – Who are you talking to? What are their needs? How do they speak? How can you help them solve their problem?
- Keyword Research – Research highly searched keywords using any number of tools like Google Keyword Planner (free), MOZ (paid), Hubspot (paid) or Wordtracker (paid) and decide which ones to focus on. It is best practice to choose just 1 or 2. Also, remember that long-tail keywords (multi-word phrases) are growing in popularity by the day so you may want to go with something like “dog parks in south florida” over “dog parks”. They may not get as many monthly searches, but the traffic you will get from them will be much more relevant and likely to convert into a lead. Note: You will need to create a Google Adwords account to access the Keyword Planner. You don’t have to actually run any ads. Just create the account and use the tool. Tip: Google those words to see what your competition looks like.
- Outline – Once you have a good idea of what you want to say and how to say it, layout an outline for the content. Get the main sub-headers down with a few bulleted points under each one. You can fill in the bulky stuff later. We don’t even like to start with the introduction….sometimes seeing all the details down on paper makes it easier to write a high level summary of what you plan to tell your audience.
- Research Facts – If you know your stuff, great. But, sometimes you’ll need to hit the ole Google machine to fill in the blanks. Do this now so you are armed with the info. Remember that people love stats, quotes and facts….so throw them in whenever possible.
- Pick a Title – And finally, you need to pick a keyword-rich title that the search engines will love and that people will want to read. This should spend the most time on this step believe it or not. It’s harder than you think and is one of the most, if not THE most, important part of writing content for the web…well, if you want anyone to find and read it of course.
Step 2: Writing
Now comes the fun part! The warm up is over, the fields are lined and it’s time to step up to the plate. This is where you turn ordinary information into extraordinary content. If you’ve done your prep work the right way, this part actually doesn’t take as long as you think! Speak in a conversational tone and be entertaining! Then, you push your ego aside for a second, read it back and ask yourself if you would want to read it! Did you deliver on what your title says the content is about? Did you hold the reader’s attention from start to finish? Did you teach the reader anything? Did you solve a problem the reader might have? Did you let the reader know what was in it for him/her?
Know your target audience or persona and speak directly to them…on their terms.
So, now you’ve got a catchy title, an attention-grabbing intro, a meaty middle and a strong conclusion and you’re done…not so fast!
Step 3: Editing
Even the best writers make grammatical and spelling errors on the first draft! So, this step can never be skipped. Never.
Step 4: Post Content and Fill In SEO Elements
Last but definitely not least, post the content to WordPress (or whatever blog platform you use) and populate all the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) fields. If you use WordPress, install the Yoast SEO plugin and make your life a lot easier. You just have to fill in the keyword you chose to focus on and let the plugin tell you what to do. Now would also be a good time to find a good image to feature with the blog. Make sure the alt tag of the photo also contains your focus keyword.
And that’s all she wrote (pun intended). If you are new to content writing, whether it be for your website or your blog, we hope this helps you organize your thoughts and simplify the steps in the writing process. But, if this seems like it’s a bit too much for you, you’re not alone. We can help. Just click on the Yup! button below to contact us!