While content marketing is not restricted to written words, this article will be an insightful analysis into what goes on in the mind of a content marketer that does written content. The process is very flexible as you do not necessarily have to follow rules and procedures. You may discover that each piece of written content you create follows the described steps in a different order. It all boils down to what your current skill level is at and how quickly you can apply the questions you ask to your content. However, it is important to plan. This planning process consists of five big topics with mini subtopics embedded in most. There are specific questions a written content marketer should be using as a guideline when curating written content. We've compiled a list of steps tailored to the content marketing writing process.
There are five steps to the content marketing writing process:
Before jumping into the details of each step, there are questions you should be thinking about as you transition into each step. Some of these questions should be addressed in the prewriting stage to get your content to a great start.
Firstly, why do you want to write the content? This question can be rephrased to say what is your ultimate goal in writing this content? Is this content advertising a particular service? Is it to educate people? Depending on what you want to achieve with your content, your voice will be adjusted accordingly. For example, this piece of content is meant to educate you. As such, the tone which it is written will vary slightly if a service is being advertised. This is not to say that you cannot sneak in some promotional advertisements here and there in hopes of directing your audience in a particular direction. However, the primary focus is to inform and educate.
Secondly, what do you want to convey? After setting the primary goal of your written content, think about what you are trying to say. Figuring out what you want to say will make you think about your message. Your message should be clear, precise, and leaving the reader having a better understanding of what you are trying to say. Ensure that your reader is not confused by the end.
Thirdly, who will be reading your content? Thinking about who your audience is will help you tailor your written voice to that market. However, you still need to be thinking about the main message. For example, just because you are writing for a younger audience does not mean you should disregard having a professional voice. If you are advertising a product, then perhaps you will have a more entertaining tone. Another important question to ask: is this voice also consistent with my company's voice? Regardless of what you're writing, you should always be thinking about reflecting your company's voice in your words. Leveraging your written voice is important to keep in mind.
Now, how do you know you're on the right track? After considering the following questions mentioned above, you need to think how this process evolves. Firstly, are you developing ideas in the right way? Are your ideas consistent with what you're saying? Your ideas shouldn't be off topic and leading to something else that is not your primary objective. Secondly, is your order correct? Flow is really important for any content topic. By leading one idea to another related one, your reader will understand what you're trying to say by the end.
Thirdly, does it make sense? Rereading your content is a good idea to answer this question. By reviewing what you've written, you can ensure that your reader will also understand the content. If you are writing on a service specific to an industry, make sure you're providing enough detail that your reader knows the importance of whatever it is you are advertising or trying to educate them on. Never assume that your reader has the same expertise as you. Make it simple and easy-to-understand. As you go over your work, think about how you can make it more effective. By coming up with strategies, you can make your content speak louder and leave more of an impact in your reader's mind.
There are many more questions to consider before and after you curate your content. You might even think of some that no one has thought of. It boils down to what you're writing about. Words are meant to convey a specific message. The clearer and easier the message gets across, the more likely your reader will be more engaged with your work.
Step one of our content marketing process is your planning. This first draft includes addressing the majority of the questions mentioned above. Before you begin writing, define your goal. Again, what is it that you're trying to achieve? What should the reader get out of what you've written? Should they feel knowledgeable in a certain area? Should they be prompted to take action? When writing longer pieces, it never hurts to write down your goal and make a mindmap of how you're going to achieve it.
Included within this mindmap, you should have a section that defines your audience. How do you know who your audience is? One way to go about this is to think about what you're selling. Who will benefit most? This will allow you to get a better idea of your target market. For detailed, in-depth analysis, sometimes it may be best to consult a professional. Another section of your mind map should be the topic you are writing on. Within the topic area, there should be a neatly organized list of your ideas. How you want to your organize your ideas is your choice, but it shouldn't be messy or hard-to-follow; saving some frustration in the long run.
Going back to our mindmap example, the draft is where you transition those ideas onto paper. The drafting and planning stage can be combined into one stage. In the drafting stage, your ideas should be written in an essay-like format with bullet points that covers what you're going to talk about. This will give you an exact breakdown to a tee. Second, create your heading. Headings should be captivating and prompting the reader to click. Good headings are not restricted to promotional advertisements. When you curate content, you want others to see. Therefore, you want a click. Great headings get people to click. Headings are not just used for clicks. They are also great for obtaining visual attention. What do we mean by this? When you read a piece of content, it's highly unlikely you read through the entire article. It's likely that you're scanning for something in particular and this article provides it. As such, headings should be clear that readers find what they need instantly, thus saving your readers some time.
Third, grammar comes later. When you're writing the first draft, it's likely your mind is constantly revolving around your primary goal. As such, do not be surprised or discouraged that your grammar isn't up to your standards. Get sentences written about your idea before it vanishes. The most painful thing about writing is thinking of a good idea and worrying too much on how to convey that thought, and ultimately missing it completely. When being unable to describe great thoughts, this can also invoke frustration. Ideas will change and shift as you write. So do not fret when you think of a better idea to replace your previous ones. As the gears in your mind turn, you'll be branching into new ideas that you wouldn't have thought of beforehand.
After your first draft has been written, go back and reread. You are guaranteed to find grammar mistakes, oddly worded sentences, or even misplaced ideas. Revising is important in any piece of writing to prevent such mistakes. As you revise, you may discover more ideas to either add or that may fit best elsewhere. Revising is to secure your thought processes. You may find that a section of your writing is off topic in this particular paragraph. Should you delete it or move it elsewhere? The answer is to keep revising. Oddly worded sentences are extremely common in first drafts. As you revise, you'll come up with better ways to word certain thoughts. Lastly, consult with your peers if possible. Getting a second pair of eyes is never a bad idea. They will catch mistakes that you overlooked and point out sentences that sound odd to them. The chances are that if it sounds odd or something fails to make sense, thousands of other people are thinking the same thing.
This stage can be combined with the revising stage. It all depends on how you work. Some people revise to strictly look at the flow of ideas and use the editing stage to check for grammar mistakes. Regardless, the editing stage involves checking for spelling mistakes, fixing punctuation mistakes, and correcting sentence structure. This is the stage where the second pair of eyes would be the most beneficial. Editing is a tedious effort that should be done with a fresh mind. Editing right after you finish your draft or revising won't do you much good. You'll find that you're missing easy mistakes if you're fatigued. Also, it never hurts to edit twice or three times. Edit as many times as you want. Most writers write a piece of content and leave it for a few days before checking for errors. That way, their mind is reenergized and have a keener eye.
Publishing is not just clicking that wonderful button after the tedious writing process. Depending on what you're writing about, you should tailor your content to match the appropriate format. Different pieces of content will have different formats that best optimizes the reader's experience. Before you publish, add relevant audio or visuals to enhance your writing. By matching stunning images or creative videos to your content, it will look extremely polished and ready for the public eye. No one really likes to see blocks and blocks of text. Adding images will keep your reader engaged, and a video can summarize what you want to say in a minute or less.
By giving people options, you're increasing your page popularity. Now that you've read your content a billion times, it never hurts to give it a final read. The final read-through will help catch last minute errors. Ensure images and videos are where they should be, and everything looks consistent and to your liking.
This article was meant to inform you on Digital Shift's writing process. Our content marketers take diligent care in creating great content for your business. As we understand how much effort goes into curating any kind of content, we want you to understand the effort that goes into each piece of content we create for you. Writing with no plan can get you stuck in one of two ways. Firstly, you run out of ideas and do not perform the steps in sequential order leading to wasted time. Secondly, you may keep writing until you're wondering when you should stop and how detailed each paragraph should be. It's easy to get stuck in one of these two ruts. To prevent this from happening, plan beforehand and have a content marketing writing process that works best for you. Having experience fine tuned by experimentation is key.