Creating outstanding content can seem like an arduous task, especially when you commit to doing one blog every week and you haven’t prepared your next. But breaking the task into several smaller steps makes it achievable.
• How do I choose worthwhile content topics?
• How do I research topics and combine the results with my ideas?
• How do I develop a voice with which to write?
• How will I find (or create) relevant images to accompany the text?
• How long should the pieces be?
• How do I get feedback on the blogs I’ve written?
How to Choose Topics
Your blogs should serve your customers and prospects and not be a veiled marketing piece. The purpose of your blog should be to provide readers with worthwhile information about their interests. Readers come seeking information about their business or their personal needs.
The best way to find topics is to think about your business and the industry it serves. Ask yourself what are my customers’ and prospects’ concerns. How can I provide something of value and in the process improve my credibility? Customers’ concerns should jump to mind quickly and from them you can develop topics. If you’d like other opinions or to get details first hand, invite several of your customers to lunch or coffee and ask them. Most business people are more than happy to talk about their business. They may also have ideas about how you could improve your offerings to help them.
Organize the topic ideas you have compiled into a list. Enter the topics on a calendar or maybe a spreadsheet. Note the topic, some details that have come to mind and a target date to publish. You’ve just created what content marketers call an editorial calendar.
How to Do Necessary Research
Choose a topic and outline what your purpose is in creating this piece. What will your readers want to know about this topic and what search phrases will have brought them to your page? (Keeping possible search words in mind will help you get into the frame of mind of your potential reader.)
Research should support or contrast with your ideas, never replace them. Search on the search words you have identified and begin to skim what others might be thinking about your topic. Make notes about what you are finding as well as what your thoughts are. Soon you will have compiled the ideas you need to begin your writing. Be on your guard to not just borrow your content from the blogs you read.
Choose a Voice, a Writing Personality
Writing becomes an extension of your personality. You can’t choose a voice and be honest in your writing. Over time you will develop your voice. After writing for a while, reread the results and decide if it sounds like you. If not rewrite and try again. Ask others if your work is a representation of how talk and what you think. With enough work and practice, your voice will come through.
How to Add Relevant Images
The images you choose will be the first thing your reader notices. The images will often be the reason he decides to stay and begin reading or move on. It should reinforce the purpose of the piece. The reader should be able to glance at the image, say to himself “Yes, this makes sense” and then continue reading the text. It could have a touch of humor to lighten the tone but not disrupt the reader’s train of thought.
How Long Should It Be
There is wide disagreement in the right number of words for a blog.
Some say to hold the reader’s attention a blog should be 1500 to 2000 words. They say that it takes that long to adequately state the hypothesis and then make the case. Anything less is a disservice to the reader and a waste of his time.
Others say that for most writers it is too difficult to hold a reader’s attention long enough to read 1500 words. Readers are accustomed to just grazing on the Internet.
All agree it should be just long enough to hold the reader while you make your case.
How to Evaluate your Work
Honest review of your work by a peer or a mentor is vital. The words and thoughts live in your mind until you get them on paper. Then they become like family as you go through revisions and polishing touches. An honest review will identify your weaknesses and offer suggestions on how to improve.
Best Time to Work
Try working on content creation during different times of the day until you find the best time for you. You may find that one time of the day is better for the actual writing while another time is better for research and graphics. The good news is that like most things practice makes the task easier and the results better.
Although this describes a process for creating blogs, the same process applies to creating scripts for podcasts and videos.