Creating decent content isn’t difficult.
But creating high-quality, useful, engaging content is a real challenge.
That’s because it’s not only writing ability or industry knowledge that is required to produce great content, it also takes time and energy. For many small businesses, that time and energy is better spent on keeping clients happy and running the business.
When you add on the fact that “good” content isn’t good enough anymore, it can all feel a bit overwhelming.
But content creation is an important part of any digital marketing mix, so how do you efficiently create great website content without spending all day writing? The answer is a rock-solid content creation process.
[bctt tweet=”How to Develop a Great Content Creation Process” username=”constantcontent”]
If You Aren’t Creating Content, You Should Be
If you aren’t using content marketing yet, you should be. I mean just look at some of these stats:
- Online conversion rates are 6x higher for content marketing adopters vs. non-adopters.
- 73% of B2B content marketers are creating more content this year compared to last.
- 86% of B2C marketers use content marketing.
- 91% of B2B marketers use content marketing.
Your target audience is interacting with content on social, searching for articles, and even sharing the best content with their friends and colleagues.
Content marketing allows you to provide your audience with useful content so that your business is top of mind when they are ready to buy.
Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That
The challenge for many businesses is that they simply don’t have the time or resources to commit to content marketing.
Well, I’ve got news for you.
By developing an awesome content creation process, you can minimize the amount of time it takes to plan and write content, and even increase the quality of that content.
[bctt tweet=”By developing an awesome content creation process, you can minimize the amount of time it takes to plan and write content, and even increase the quality of that content.” username=”constantcontent”]
You just have to establish a system…
Step 1: Decide How You Want to Use Content and Where It Can Improve the User Experience
Before you set off writing content, have a strategy and goal in mind. How will you use content? Where can it improve the customer experience?
One way that I suggest businesses approach this question is by creating content for the buyer journey.
The buyer journey is nothing more than a series of questions that have to be answered, and what better way to answer those questions than with content?
[bctt tweet=”The buyer journey is nothing more than a series of questions that have to be answered, and what better way to answer those questions than with content?” username=”constantcontent”]
For instance, at the top of the funnel, people are just realizing they have a problem and are looking for information. High-level blog posts, social posts, and educational content can go a long way here. Helping people find useful information is an excellent way to build trust and increase your chances of turning them into a customer down the road.
On the flip side, prospects near the bottom of the funnel are aware of their problem and some of the potential solutions out there. In this case, your content should highlight the unique aspects of your product or compare it similar solutions. Here is where people are more likely to best performing search that starts with “best” or “top”, like “the best email marketing software” or “top website chat tools”.
Step 2: Start Coming Up with Types of Content You Need and Some Topic Ideas
The first step of any content creation process is coming up with article ideas and headlines.
While it can sometimes be difficult to keep coming up with content ideas that your audience will find both interesting and useful, there are a lot of potential sources for content ideas:
- Ask your audience for ideas
- Read what people are saying on social media
- Read what’s trending on industry forums
- Review content topics at relevant conferences
- Ask a colleague
- Review your tools
[irp posts=”4829″ name=”20+ Ways to Source Content Ideas”]
As you start to come up with a variety of post topics and working titles, plug them into an Excel file or Google Sheet to keep a running tab of ideas.
Step 3: Do a Content Audit to Assess Existing Content That Can Be Repurposed
This step doesn’t apply to businesses just starting out with content creation.
But if you already have some content built up, then the next step is to do a content audit and ask yourself:
- How strong is the content?
- Does it support or strategy?
- How can it be repurposed?
A content audit is essentially a health-check on your existing content.
The goal of a content audit is to figure out your best and worst performing content and reveal opportunities for improvement. If you aren’t sure how a content audit works, this post explains the process in detail.
If you find that some of your content isn’t performing as well as you want, use this opportunity to repurpose that content.
Repurposing content means taking existing content and transforming it into something new. This could mean breaking an ebook up into smaller blog posts. Turning a listicle into an infographic. Clipping a few seconds of video to create a social snippet. And this list goes on.
The value of repurposing content is that it gives new life (and new ROI) to existing marketing materials.
[irp posts=”46917″ name=”15 Creative Ways to Repurpose Your Content”]
Step 4: Map Out Your Content Creation Plan and Content Calendar
Now that you have some content topics in mind, it’s time to start slotting that content into a calendar.
If you aren’t using a content calendar, then building one is a great way to improve your content creation process.
A complete content calendar should include not only when an article is published, but also the type of content, channels it will be shared on, and who the article will be attributed to. If you’re working with a team of freelance writers to produce content, your calendar should also outline who will write each post.
If you’re having trouble monitoring your content and seeing which pieces at which stage of development, then you can try creating a dedicated Trello board. To do this all you need to do is create columns for each relevant stage and then slot each piece of content as you start working on them. You can drag-and-drop the articles as they move through the creation process giving you a snapshot of where in production each piece is.
Or, you can use Constant Content’s dashboard and content calendar to get all this info seamlessly (just sayin’.)
Step 5: Find High-Quality Writers to Actually Write the Content
One of the best ways you can improve your content creation process is by working with quality, professional writers.
There are plenty of compelling reasons to hire a professional writer to produce content.
For one, you end up producing better, more interesting content. Second, it frees up time for you to focus on running the business. Third, it allows you to scale your content creation as needed.
Before you can hire a writer to produce your content, you need to choose between hiring an in-house writer or leverage external writers. If you’re at this stage, check out our post Hiring In-House Writers vs. Outsourcing to an Agency vs. Hiring Freelance Writers: What’s Right For You
Constant Content specializes in connecting businesses with expert freelance writers, get in touch with us if you’d like to learn more. (Now, back to our regularly scheduled program…)
Step 6: Trust the Process
Consistency is an often-underappreciated aspect of content marketing.
Content marketing is a long-term strategy, which means that successful content needs to be communicating a consistent brand message and conveying a consistent brand style.
Is your tone fun and energetic? Informative and educational? Casual and friendly? Formal and professional? While none of these are necessarily better than the others, it’s important to be consistent in both written and visual style.
Content Creation Tools of the Trade
Another way you can up your website content creation game is by using the right tools. Whether you’re look for free or paid tools, there are plenty of useful resources that can help any content marketing.
1. Portent’s Content Idea Generator
One of the toughest parts of content creation is consistently coming up with ideas that are relevant to your target audience.
That’s where Portent’s Content Idea Generator can help. All you need to do is enter a typical topic of your brand and the Idea Generator will spit out possible headlines. Granted, some of the generated ideas will need a bit of fine-tuning, but then you can let your own imagination take over.
2. Co-Schedule’s Headline Analyzer
How do you grab readers? A catchy headline can make a huge difference in clicks and shares.
Co-Schedule’s Headline Analyzer uses a research-based approach to help you improve your titles. The tool works by assigning a numerical score to your proposed headline based on a handful of factors: readability, SEO value, presence of “power words” and much more.
After you receive your score, tweak your title based on the Headline Analyzer’s suggestions to make your headline more effective.
3. IFTTT (If This, Then That)
No matter how good your content is, it’s only useful for your business if you can get people to read it. That’s where IFTTT (If This, Then That) comes in. This free web-based tool allows you to create automated processes, called “recipes,” that enable you to connect various apps and platforms to each other.
Here are a few “recipes”:
- Automatically post WordPress blogs on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn
- Automatically tweet Facebook status updates
If you want the ability to create gorgeous, customized images without purchasing Photoshop, Canva offers the ideal “freemium” alternative. This tool has a user-friendly interface – just drag and drop – to create content using Canva’s free design modules. You can purchase additional design elements for a $1.00 each.
Quote graphics perform well on social media, collecting plenty of comments, likes and shares. However, it takes considerable design skill to get the layout, typography, color choices and composition right.
Let QuotesCover handle the details for you: all you need to do is enter your quote, choose a layout, select a color and font, and the tool puts it all together into one eye-catching quotes graphic.
It’s no surprise that infographics tend to attract more attention than plain text. After all, the human brain is wired to process visual information much faster.
With Easel.ly, you don’t need any design experience to create professional-looking infographics. Just choose one of the tool’s thousands of templates to visualize your data in a visually appealing way.
According to Twitter, tweets with GIFs generate six times more engagement than basic text updates. With the Giphy Chrome extension, you can access hundreds of thousands of animated GIFs, ready for sharing with your Twitter and Facebook followers.
8. Momus Meme Studio
Like GIFs, memes are one of the most shareable content formats on social media. This popular tool offers impressive graphics and fonts, helping you create personalized messages to share with your social media followers.
This survey creator offers various tools to help you survey your audience and then analyze the results. With the premium plan, you get access to over 180 survey templates covering a range of topics and industries. Customize your survey with appropriate colors and text, and then distribute it via email, social media, or directly from the SurveyMonkey platform.
If you’re looking for a fun alternative to surveys, try Qzzr, a user-friendly quiz creation tool. Simply create your own quiz, embed it on your website or social media channels, and track the results. It’s great for increasing audience engagement and gaining insights into your target market.
Various studies have shown that visual content boosts audience engagement. According to BuzzSumo, Facebook posts with images see 2.3 times more engagement than those without.
Snappa gives you access to various images, icons, and graphical elements to repurpose for your own use. Use your finished image for social media posts, Facebook headers, email content, display ads, and more
With over 1.2 million stock photos, illustrations, and vectors, Pixabay is another great tool to visually enhance your next piece of content. All the images are royalty-free, so you can use them without attribution for commercial purposes.
Some other free stock photo websites:
13. Haiku Deck
Developed to look beautiful on any device, Haiku Deck is a presentation creation tool that comes with instant access to millions of photos from the Creative Commons license. Choose a theme, add images, and insert text and graphics. Then embed the finished presentation on your website, post it to social media, or use it within an email.
Elevate Your Content Creation Process
Creating truly effective content isn’t easy.
But having a defined, comprehensive content creation process helps.
Need help creating quality, relevant, engaging content? We connect businesses with talented freelance content and copywriters. Learn more.