Let’s talk about creating optimized content.

How do you ensure you’re choosing the right topics? What can be done to increase the chances that your content will rank? And how can you incorporate keywords into your blog post without it seeming unnatural?

Well, we covered all of these questions (and more) in this #ContentWritingChat. Now, the tips you need to know are packed into this handy recap.

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Designing Your SEO & Content Creation Workflow with Diana Richardson

This month, we were lucky enough to have Diana Richardson be our guest host once again. Diana is a Social Media & Community Manager for our friends over at SEMrush. And she joined our chat to share some tips on SEO and developing an efficient content creation workflow. Let’s dive into the recap for all the advice!

Q1: What’s the first step in creating quality, optimized content?

Before you dive into writing, there are a few things to consider first. Here’s what you need to keep in mind if you want your content to be successful:

Diana suggests first knowing who you’re writing for and what your end goal is. You always want to create content with your target audience in mind. This ensures you’re writing about the topics that interest them, as well as communicating in a way that resonates. And of course, you need to know your end goal so you can tailor your content accordingly and track the ideal metrics afterwards.

Lexie agrees that it’s crucial you know who your target audience is. Otherwise, you run the risk of attracting all the wrong people (or no one) to your content.

Don’t rush into keyword research. Kate says you need to know why you’re writing and who you’re writing for first. That will get you started on the right path!

And as Michelle said, always remember that quality writing comes first. You cannot allow your writing to suffer for the sake of optimization.

Q2: When diving into topic research for your next piece of content, where should you begin?

Topic research can feel rather daunting sometimes. After all, there’s a lot you could potentially write about. So, how can you choose the topics that will resonate with your audience? Check out this advice:

Diana suggests starting with a few broad concepts and then using SEMrush’s Topic Research Tool to narrow down your search. She says to find a question that needs answering, then check out the existing content on that topic. From there, consider what you can add or if there are any other unanswered questions that come up.

Ask yourself what your audience is looking for. You want to create content that will be valuable for them, while also keeping in mind what you have to offer. The content you publish should showcase your expertise.

You can also see which topics are performing well in your field by checking out BuzzSumo. Answer the Public is another tool worth testing because you can find relevant questions that people want answers to.

Raquel knows that social listening is key in learning more about your target audience. Discovering what they’re talking about online can give you some helpful ideas on what you should write about.

And of course, social media is essential in social listening. Use platforms like Twitter to see trending topics and to check out conversations your audience is having. You never know when a new idea might pop up.

Once you have your fundamentals all laid out, you can move into SEO and data research.

Q3: What do you need to know when it comes to competitiveness and rankability?

We all want our content to rank high up in the search results because it helps us get discovered. But what’s the secret to landing that coveted number one spot? Keep these tips in mind as you create:

The factors you’ll want to keep in mind are keyword volume, audience interest, and keyword difficulty.

Higher volume keywords will be much more competitive and will be more challenging to rank for. Diana suggests checking out the first two pages of search results to determine the quality of the content already on the web. You may be able to publish something better or from a more unique perspective.

Then, we have audience interest. At the end of the day, your target audience needs to find your content appealing, otherwise they won’t be bothered to read it.

And finally, there’s keyword difficulty. The higher the percentage for difficulty, the harder it’ll be to achieve those high rankings.

Look at things from the perspective of your audience. As Rachel said, it’s smart to check out what has already been published on your chosen topic. Are they quality resources? How long ago were they published? She feels if you have an independent, timely take on the topic, it’ll help increase your competitiveness.

No matter what, you always want to aim to produce great blog posts. Quality is always going to win with your readers at the end of the day.

Kate isn’t afraid to target a variety of keywords with her content. Try going after keywords that have lower or medium competitiveness and see how that does for you.

Q4: How do you keep it natural when tying keywords into your content so you don’t go overboard?

There’s nothing worse than content that has been unnaturally stuffed with keywords. It seems forced and doesn’t read as being genuine at all. To make sure your keyword usage flows, here are a few tips to remember:

Diana feels there should be no problem writing naturally when you’re clear on your audience persona and the goals you have for your content. Try not to stress about it too much and focus on providing value. It also helps to use synonyms to your chosen keyword so you don’t overdo it.

Julia’s advice is to make sure the keyword is incorporate into your headers, intro, and end copy of your blog post. She also suggests using synonyms throughout the post.

Rachel also agrees that synonyms are key when optimizing your posts. She also likes to incorporate quotes that use her keywords and she changes up the sentence structure throughout her writing.

Q5: Are there any final steps you should take before hitting publish on your next post so you know it’s optimized effectively?

We’re all eager to get our content out into the world. But you don’t want to publish something before it’s ready! Take these final steps to ensure your post is optimized before it goes live:

Diana suggests using the SEMrush SEO Writing Assistant to check your work and receive any helpful tips for making improvements. She also said to evaluate things like tone, CTAs, etc.

Kate turns to the Yoast plugin for WordPress to do a final review of the post before publishing. This way you won’t overlook important things like alt tags, meta description, and other details.

Sometimes you just don’t feel like reading through a post after you’ve written it. But guess what? Those extra few minutes are crucial in helping you spot spelling and grammar mistakes, as well as any other errors.

If you can, take Lexie’s advice. Have someone else read through your post for feedback on things like readability and to see if they spot any typos.

Q6: What tools will be handy in helping you stick to your content creation workflow?

The right tools will make your job so much easier, which is why you’ll want to test these out:

Diana knows SEMrush is a great tool to manage your content creation workflow.

Lexie loves SEMrush as well, relying on their Topic Research Tool and Google’s Auto Suggest.

BuzzSumo, SEMrush, Answer the Public, and Yoast are always popular choices.

Here at Express Writers, we have a few tools we rely on. This includes Microsoft Word for writing posts, our very own platform for delegating assignments, and Airtable for keeping everything nice and organized.

Q7: How often should you revisit your workflow to ensure it’s actually still working for you?

Once you have a content creation workflow in place, it might need some tweaks. Or maybe not! Here’s what you should know:

Diana said you can change your content creation workflow as you go. You’ll likely have different types of workflows for various content. After all, creating blog content is different than creating social media content.

Rachel revisits her workflow every quarter, allowing her to spot any areas for change.

But sometimes there’s no need to switch it up! If everything is going smoothly, you likely won’t need to make any adjustments to your workflow.

Want to join the next #ContentWritingChat? Follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat for all the latest and mark your calendars for the first Tuesday of every month at 10 AM Central Time.