5 Content Creation Steps for Bloggers
If you think that blogging is just for telling the world about your hobby, I’m sorry, but you’re wrong.
Blogging is a marketing tool.
Good content drives traffic to your website, generates leads and brings in new customers. No business can afford to miss out on an opportunity like this.
However, a lot of companies take the statement “the more content the better” literally. Content created for content’s sake became our new reality, but in an insanely competitive place such as the Internet it is a dead end.
To genuinely help your business, you need to systematically produce high-quality, super-relevant and SEO-friendly materials with more value to the users than your competition.
Sounds like too much to ask? It isn’t. In 2018, bloggers should also be marketers to stand out and achieve whatever goals the business sets.
And I want you to succeed in any online marketing activity that you take on. So, specifically for bloggers and content writers, I’ve made a list of 5 effective content creation steps for your blog.
All content activity should begin with keyword research. Everybody knows that, but often ignores this stage. Don’t skip keyword research, it is the foundation of online commercial writing and a great opportunity to gather a lot of ideas for your future posts.
Whether you are creating a new post or updating an old one, you should always have a current list of your target keywords at hand. Start your research with finding related keywords and analyse their total volume. For best results, strike a balance of keywords that have higher search volumes and lower competition terms. This means that users are typing in these keywords more often, and other sites aren’t trying to rank for them as much.
Oftentimes there's a correlation between longer keywords and lower keyword difficulty and competition levels. Focus on targeting long-tail keywords. The conversion rate for long-tail keywords can be higher because longer search phrases show more specific intent, allowing writers to offer more relevant and specific solutions that a searcher will find helpful.
Analyze questions related to your target keyword. A great way of making your post popular is to make it answer a specific question. This way you directly help users solve their problem and increase your chances of getting into Google’s Featured Snippet.
There are certainly a lot of tools for keyword research that allow you to streamline your first step of content creation. Try finding the one that works for you.
Once you have a prepared list of keywords, it’s time to move to the next stage of research.
There are many blogging woes, and one of them is that keyword lists are useless without niche research. After you select the prospective keywords to work with, you need to dig deeper — explore the topic, create a draft, find the perfect headline for your future post. And don’t take your eyes off your rivals.
Research forums like Quora and explore autocomplete suggestions in the search bar to find topics that people are actually interested in. These are probably the most exhaustive source of real people’s questions, pains, and problems. This data will allow you to create the most relevant content and come up with the shoutiest headlines using people’s questions.
Dig into Google Trends to keep up with the latest trends around your keywords. Be the first to write an article on the topic people search for.
Check your competition by googling the keywords you want to target. Take a closer look at those who are successful in your niche and explore how exactly they use your target keywords in their articles.
Collecting this data manually can take a lot of time, but there are useful tools on the market that will make your topic research easier. Feel inspired enough? Now it’s time to create your content.
When I start writing a new post, I feel both apprehensive and enthusiastic. Some things can be foreseen, but I never really know how my article is going to perform and whether the readers are going to actually engage with it. Does this sound familiar?
To avoid perfectionist paralysis, I try to get as much information on the topic as possible. There are certain parameters for my upcoming post that help me get into my stride easier.
When a user searches for a particular keyword, they expect to see a particular depth of analysis, and as a result a certain text length and readability. If you don’t meet their expectations, the bounce rate of your future article will be growing. Since you’ve already analysed your rivals, learn from their example -- if something is working for the most successful players, it might work as well for you.
Build the structure of your future post using a collected list of your keywords. Let the H1 title contain a keyword with the highest volume, H2 — a long-tail keyword with less volume, H3 — a more precise keyword with even less volume. Once the structure is ready, working with the text is easier, since every section focuses on a limited number of topics.
Keep in mind that before a user opens your article, they see your organic snippet in Google or a backlink anchor. To convince them that your post is worth their attention, be sure you’ve made your title, headings and meta-description relevant and they include your target keywords. And this is just the beginning of content optimization.
What any commercial blogger knows is that you cannot rely on creativity alone if you want your content to get attention. Brilliant ideas don’t save badly promoted posts, and basic search optimization is essential if you want your readers to find you.
Don’t get discouraged as there are ways to check how well optimized your text is, even if it’s not published yet. I use several tools to check if my future article complies with SEO, and one of them is SEO Writing Assistant.
It’s an add-on for Google Docs and Wordpress. It analyzes the text you type in real time for SEO friendliness based on your target keyword and gives recommendations for optimization. You can select a location up to a city level to get more precise and relevant results.
These are the metrics that SEO Writing Assistant checks for your content:
- Overall score, a live metric which shows your text’s quality.
- Readability score, which demonstrates how easy your text is to understand according to the Flesch reading-ease score formula.
- Number of words in your text.
But these numbers don’t give you anything in isolation from your competition. What the add-on does is that it collects data from your top 10 Google rival articles targeted for the same keywords and suggests the following:
- Specific target for the above metrics -- overall score, readability, number of words.
- Semantically related keywords to enrich your text with.
- Title reminder to include your target keywords.
These recommendations will make crawler bots friendlier to you and help your audience spot your article in an endless Google list.
Not only does the add-on help you with content optimization, but it also checks how original your text is. The plagiarism checker feature detects the total percentage of copied words in your text and identifies original sources of content from across the internet. It’s available for all languages and is extremely useful if you want to check your own content for originality or monitor the work of your freelance and in-house copywriters.
We’ve got to the stage when your content is fully optimized and published. Performance monitoring is crucial both for the evaluation of the efficiency of your efforts and for the future amplification of your blog’s content strategy. There are several metrics you need to take into account.
The first and foremost concern of every content creator is how visible their content will be for search engines. Organic traffic is a good indicator of the relevance of your materials. Use Google Analytics to find out how much traffic your updated posts bring you and how well your new posts perform.
Also pay attention to the number of sessions, average session duration or bounce rate -- this allows you to find the pages that don’t comply with your readers’ expectations, and as a result underperform. These posts still require your optimization efforts or an update.
As the backlinks are an important ranking factor, it’s what makes them crucial when assessing how well your content performs. In addition, contemplating your competitors’ backlinks can help you pinpoint prospective PR channels. There are several backlink audit tools, start with Google Search Console and find the right one for you.
Commercial writing differs from writing for yourself. When a business depends on content, you can never let your standards drop or not post when you don’t feel like it.
Some writers think that commercial blogging or content writing is not ‘real’ writing, but this is not true. It is no less creative than any other type of writing, it just requires a different approach and a proper toolkit to streamline the work.
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By Nadia Nazarova
Nadia Nazarova is a Product marketing magician at SEMrush. Has 8 years of experience, working as a PR/marketing manager for IT and finance companies. Truly passionate about content creation and marketing strategies. Always have a crazy idea to try and a story to tell.