What would it mean for your Google rankings, traffic and Social Media if you’ve been able to consistently publish content that works? We’ve noticed that for numerous content publishers out there, the main problem is overlooking and missing the essential phases of content creation workflow. Reason for this is the lack of resources, therefore businesses often decide to skim on the essential elements of this workflow.
This is why we end up producing content that doesn’t create value and results. In order to combat this issue, we’ve designed a guide that will walk you through all the elements that ensure the content effectiveness.
Purpose Of Content Creation Workflow Guide
A lot of our clients produce their own content, and they’ve kept asking us the same questions regarding this particular process. This article is designed as a guideline for Content Marketing best practices and it’s supposed to answer the question of “How” you should build your content and to provide you with a checklist that will ensure that you drive the most out of your content marketing efforts.
This type of workflow proposes a great challenge, especially if you’ve haven’t done it before. Having a content creation plan is already a half of the game. Learn what is mandatory for success, and you will be able to create content that has a long term value and potential, as well as immediate popularity with your audience. Let’s give you insights in how we create content here at Cult Of Traffic, and main stages of our workflow.
Keyword Research that fuels your articles success and longevity
Perhaps out of all the content creating phases, keyword research holds the highest value, because that’s how you market your content. Learn the Tools designed to give you actionable information regarding keywords, because they are extracting the relevant data from hundreds of different websites and SEO aggregators. The process of finding a single keyword probably lasts anywhere between 30 minutes and one hour. For this aspect of content creating, we use tools like: Majestic.com, Market Samurai and Moz.com.
Perhaps the single most important piece of this puzzle is the fact that we’re taking advantage of the SEO Competition module in Market Samurai that tells us if a keyword is worth fighting for, before we actually start writing. Investing an hour of time prior to making a decision, whether an article is worthy of even writing, is by far the biggest tactical advantage in our content marketing efforts.
If you are serious about finding money making keywords, make sure to read our in-depth walk through on the ultimate keyword research service.
Writing Attention Grabbing Headlines That Drive Traffic and Create Intrigue About Your Content
Writing great headlines is a form of art. At Cult Of Traffic, for this type of very short form writing we rely heavily on our PPC research. In AdWords, we’ve spent years exploring the proven copywriting formula for enticing users to act on your ads, improving their click through and conversion rates. These same “PPC principles” apply to search engines and social media as well. Grabbing the users attention always starts with a great headline. Creating a great headline before you start writing may even give you most of your outline. Therefore, this is done after the keyword research.
Content Research That Increases Usefulness Of Your Articles
Research is always separate from writing. Depending on the writers style and education, research can demand more or less time, but it always takes at least an hour of investment beforehand. Sometimes, doing the research itself exposes us to more keywords, which allows us to find even better potential keywords that we may have overlooked in the keyword research phase.
During the research we utilize deep Google searches, and go through case studies to find other great relevant pieces of information that others already have already produced on the web. This approach usually leaves us with very useful, and actionable bits and pieces of information that allow us to craft share-worthy content. The end product of content research is a good outline.
Writing In The Voice And Style That Speaks To Your Current And Future Customers
With so much time and effort deployed before writing the article piece itself, writing becomes a breeze. Your brain is filled with its creative juices, and now all it takes is putting these pieces of a puzzle together in an articulated, emotionally enticing manner. When you write, try to focus on some of your target markets personas, that you create based on the data from your Google Analytics demographics dashboard.
Identify to which persona you’re writing for based on demographics information in the display campaigns, or in Google Analytics itself. This way you can choose who your target audience is, and modify your voice accordingly. When your existing or potential customers read this type of article, they will feel as though this content piece is written by someone who thinks like them, and fully comprehends their problems.
Example of personas: this content piece was written and formatted for decision making executives, giving them all the required information in order to make a decision on choosing the right agency for their content writing efforts.
Editing, proof reading and fact checking
It is critical that the person that is editing the article, is not the same person that writes it. This allows a fresh pair of eyes on your content, and removes the personal bias from the equation. This way you will avoid, not only grammatical mistakes, but also the mistakes of style and tone. Your editor shouldn’t be simply an editor, he should be a person with marketing background, where he will understand how personas relate to content, and is it written in the tone designed to reach out to your specific audience.
Articles can be written, edited and fixed in a couple of different places. In your Dropbox, your Evernote or in Google Drive (Awesome for Editorial workflow). My personal recommendation is that you use the tools that work for your team. Technical aspect of writing is as good, as your team can adopt it. One of the common case scenarios that we’ve encountered, is the fact that majority of writing is being performed in the content management system itself. Often times less tools means better content creating experience. Never overlook the power of simplicity.
Finding Images that steal your readers attention
Finding good images is time consuming and flow breaking. This kind of friction would probably obliterate the output of your writers, so you should delegate this task potentially to editors. Editors don’t have the same kind of workflow, and appointing this responsibility to editor only makes sense.
Also publishing your content without images is a virtual suicide in the era of visuals. Your text simply can’t compete with the army of empowered, photoshop ready social media updates, that will steal the attention from your readers, before you will even get a chance to reach them.
Some of the best websites where you can get images, icons and backgrounds include:
Flickr.com – Our personal favorite, and it should be yours too.
At this stage of the game formatting, placing images and adding links to your content and making sure that it is formatted properly. Including the proper internal link structure is beneficial for your long term keyword strategy. Sometimes this is done contextually, often times it is done as a more detailed and long term SEO strategy.
When you think of publishing, you need to think about your content pyramid and sitemap structure. Every piece of content needs to support this pyramid and more competitive phrases that you want to rank for. This is the phase of the content creation workflow where you need to think about the critical elements of your SEO strategy and tie it in with the execution.
Another essential part is identifying affiliate opportunities where you can maximize the revenue behind your articles. If you are mentioning a specific book in your content, it would be beneficial to include an affiliate link, which can result in a recurring revenue from your web property.
Key takeaways from understanding the phases required to create a successful content marketing piece
These seven phases have very different and unique workflows that require you to be in different frames of mind when creating content. Furthermore, you can separate these seven phases to estimate how much time you need for each, and every individual phase. This usually pushes the content production of one blog piece over the span of three days.
At Cult Of Traffic we split this effort between three employees. The content crafter does the research, crafts titles, and writes the article. The editor ensures articles meet grammar standards, and the search engine marketing manager does the bulk of keyword research. This deployment is allowing us to create content
We use batch processing to improve efficiency of content creation workflow. Some of these elements (like keyword research) are routinely performed on a daily basis, where we are able to maximize the efficiency behind the processes we deploy.
So How Much Time Is Required To Create A Successful Content Marketing Article?
The math behind content crafting time requirements:
- Keyword research – depending on the strength and reputation of your website, keyword research required to find a single keyword can last anywhere from 15 minutes if your website has strong established presence, up to 90 minutes, if you are just starting out.
- Creating headlines – Involves analyzing the first page of Google results and creating a headline that will stand out from the others on Google. This process takes around 30 minutes.
- Content Research – Doing a research for a long form content piece takes from 90 minutes to 2 hours. It includes the production of the outline and a solid collection of facts and useful information that will be used in the article.
- Writing – Dishing out 2000 words draft takes around two hours. During this duration the writer will write the article and will go through the first revision, to watch whether the content holds the logical flow and how it would reflect on the buyers personas.
- Editing – The norm at Cult Of Traffic is that the same person doesn’t do the writing and edit for the same article piece. Editor makes the suggestions inside of Google Doc, and returns the suggestions back to the writer for the corrections and clarifications. This usually takes another 90 minutes.
- Creating Dedicated Images – Image search can be an exhaustive endeavor, as it requires finding and then flipping them in photoshop. However, we’ve managed to make this process as efficient as possible, by recreating the titles in a graphical format, so instead of one or two hours of content creation, we’ve brought it down to 30 minutes.
- Publishing – Including the links, posting the photo, promoting the article on social media – another 30 minutes.
When you summarize the time required for the proper creation of a single content marketing piece, altogether it can take up to 8 hours of combined effort of three individuals.
Define your content marketing checklist and understand the importance of careful execution of content marketing with your business goals in the forefront of your mind. Creating content without a deeper vision can be very expensive, so make sure that you have absolute understanding how every article supports the structure of your entire website, and how it helps you to drive conversions and create more customers.