Creating new content has become a critical part of any business’s success. Even more so since the implementation of semantic indexing. Business managers have been given an additional responsibility – content creation.
I recommend creating new content to most of my clients and as you can imagine, they are not thrilled by the idea. A small majority stick to it and try their best to produce some relevant content but after a while give up because “it’s hard” or they “don’t have enough time”. The truth is that content creation is hard. It’s not as simple as sitting down for a session and writing a masterpiece. It takes a lot more time and effort than most people realise.
I thought I would take some time to write a post about the 4 phases of content creation that one needs to understand in order to avoid the frustrations of this process. Once you know the phases involved your expectations are more realistic.Like it or not, content marketing has become a necessity for brands in the digital world of the semantic web. It is a genuine way to create online authority which has got business owners from diverse industries writing. Startup photographers, butchers, real estate agents, lawyers, politicians, they all write for their brand. In order to make it easier for people to write I have broken it down into the four phases of creating new content. In this post I will focus on blog posts in specific but they apply to most content types.
1. Idea, Outlining and Research
This is the first phase of content creation. It all starts with an idea of what you want to write about. I like to quickly jot down a rough outline of my post before I start writing. This step also involves doing all the research and finding the reputed sources.
Don’t worry about the grammar or spelling at this stage just create a bullet list of your post’s talking points. If you have some raw ideas on expanding any bullet list, add them as sub-bullets.
This rough outline will now be the backbone of our post.
2. Write the post
Now that you have the outline and research ready, it’s time to get writing. A lot of new writers often think this is the only step involved when writing for web and hence they get frustrated when they end up spending more time and energy than anticipated. You’ll be surprised by how patient one becomes simply by acknowledging the fact that there’s more to this process. If you are a one man business, perhaps set yourself some goals in terms of word count per day. You will find with self discipline, you can achieve your goals with less effort than you thought. If you would like to increase your productivity, here’s a relevant post that applies especially to writers.
2.1. Prepare and add graphics
Graphics make your posts less boring. They also improve the readability & engagement of your post. If you have had trouble finding free pictures, here’s a list of websites that offer free stock images, to your rescue.
Proofreading is another critical phase in content creation.
Ideally, you should get someone else to proofread your post. This post on wired discusses why it is harder to get hold of your own typos. However, if you are a one man business and don’t want to hire someone, read your post in reverse, from the end to beginning.
The wired post I shared above (just in case you didn’t read it) offers another handy little proofreading tip in it’s last paragraph. Here it goes:
Stafford suggests that if you want to catch your own errors, you should try to make your work as unfamiliar as possible. Change the font or background color, or print it out and edit by hand.
4. Promote and Maintain
The last step but one of the most important: promotion and maintenance of your post. This also includes replying to the comments left by your readers.
Promoting your post is a critical part of content marketing. I see this phase as the harvest time.
Modern content marketers go beyond social media and they reach out to the niche influencers. This may take about twice as much time as the previous three steps combined but if you have to gain links or increase your audience, outreach is the way to go.
The maintenance phase involves updating your post on regular intervals in order to keep the information relevant. This usually takes less than 30 minutes to scan through the headlines of a medium sized blog (300 posts).
Here’s a flowchart with the four processes involved in writing a new blog post:
Content creation is a more involved process than simply writing a post. The four phases involved are:
1. Outlining your post and research 2. Writing 3. Proofreading 4. Promotion and maintenance
How do these phases reflect in your process of content creation? Share your process in the comments below.