Google is hungry. How do you consistently feed the beast?
The problem with content is that it has to continually be created or it becomes stale and boring, and no one will want to read it. For most companies it is not a lack of information that they face but a lack of the time to write it down or a lack of motivation to get their projects started. Having an editorial content plan can make the difference between having good, fresh and interesting content and facing down the procrastination demons or being stuck with either no copy at all or the boring stuff you have had for a while.
Content is king in the world of the successful online marketing campaign and an absolute must to get the benefits of search engine optimization. If you know that you are going to drag your feet because you are either overwhelmed by the size of the task at hand or you simply hate writing, this is the process that you need to take so that you are not only able to handle things better but so that you are never faced with a mountain of writing ever again.
Before getting to the process itself, think of this for a moment: Most people, when faced with a writing task have one or the other of these problems. Either they have nothing to say and stare, panicked at a blank page or they have tons to say and no time to write it down. This process can help with those issues as well.
1. Pitch the article concept. This can be as simple as writing a few titles out to see how they flow and getting the general idea of the article together. This is also where you will be establishing the main points to be made in the article, what tools or skills should be mentioned during the article, what reference material will be available for the writing of the article and last, the word count that the finished article should have.
2. Research support and reference material. An article about your company’s history would benefit from having the timeline and some additional documents about the company’s history. Ask professional writers what their least favorite part of the job is and they are likely to tell you that researching information especially hard to find or obscure information is tops of the list.
3. Assign a copywriter to the task. Perhaps you have someone in house who does these tasks for you on a regular basis or you have an outside provider that you know and trust to get the job done in a timely and correct manner. Develop a relationship with your copywriters and you will know just how much direction you need to give to them for the right finished copy.
4. Write the copy. The copywriter will need to know how long (word count, number of pages, etc.) the content they are creating will need to be as well as the style and tone and any other direction that you want to give. Do this during step three or you will drive your copywriter insane.
5. Selection of images. You should already have an idea of the images that you will use with the article from step number one but should wait until the content is created to see if the image that you want is going to fit in with the content you now have.
6. Editorial review. If you are submitting this content to blog sites and some article sites, it has to fit their submission guidelines. You should also do a review for content and for spelling and grammar as well.
7. Revisions. If you need to send the content back to the copywriter for revisions do so as quickly as possible. Do not send an article back for a small spelling error that you can correct yourself ten times as fast as sending it and waiting for it to come back. Send notes with the revision request so that the copywriter knows exactly what is needed.
8. Final edits. After the article comes back again reread it and make sure that it is top notch, perfect.
9. Schedule and publish article to the respective directories. Some companies use the same content in various locations while others use one article as a master and then recreate the content by having others rewrite it or by using software that does the same thing. There are those that feel there is nothing to compare with the created works of a good copywriter, however.
A note about word count: During step 1, the pitching process, you may come up with a word count that you would like to see for the finished content. A realistic word count is important, especially if you do not want to end up with fluff and filler just so that the writer can make that number. If you set the number too high, there will not be enough valid information to give. If you set the number too low, some very valuable information may be cut from the content.
An experienced content writer will know from the pitch whether or not the word count is going to be a problem or not.
Dealing with Too Little Information
Before sitting down to write, make sure that you have adequate information for the task at hand. If you do not, then ask for a little more research and editorial input before sitting down or you will feel overwhelmed and unable to complete the task as given. A huge word count with very little real guidance can be a very daunting assignment.
On the other hand, if you have a ton of ideas and information, take a few minutes to jot down a few notes including what information goes with which ideas. Then you will have articles that are practically writing themselves at the ready whenever you are able and have the time to sit down and actually write them.
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