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The Content Marketer’s Café with Julia McCoy, Episode 4: How to Set Up a Content Creation Workflow & Process You Actually Enjoy
This is for the content creator that has sometimes felt stumped at the creation phase.
Here’s a few questions that might have ran through your head:
- Where do I begin?
- Do I just jot down an idea and start writing?
- I have a keyword. Now what?
I’m here today to give you a few quick hacks on how to approach the content creation process in a few key workflow steps that will make it easier, less challenging, and natural, every time you sit down to write.
Even if you’re an experienced content creator, it’s normal to feel like you’re right at Square 1 again when it comes to creating content.
How do you get past that and get into a comfortable swing with content creation?
3 Phases in Content Creation
Approach it in three phases:
Ideation, Creation, Preparation
FYI: These stages will differ if you’re writing for a client: example, clients usually have topics and keywords prepared, so you might be able to skip stage 1.
Why Stages? My Wake-up Call to Stop Rushing
But here’s why you need to think of creating content in stages.
When I started out in my agency, I was the sole staff member at my agency, and I was scared of growth and investing in what I needed to have, to grow. So, I did all my content, and rushed when it came to getting it out. I barely double checked what I published.
A year later, my husband who is our CTO actually asked me why I was rushing through my content creation process, when I did it so carefully for clients. That was a turning point. Now, I invest hours if not weeks into one piece of content and following a process.
Here’s how rushing harmed my content:
- When the content I’d thrown together started ranking 2-3 years later, in super high organic places on Google – example, #2 for the long tail phrase hire an SEO content writer – I got zero conversions.
- Only when I rewrote that crappy but high ranking content did I start to get conversions from it. (I ended up investing and paying double to fix the crappy content.)
The perils of “rushing content creation” happens for many business owners.
But if you start right and devote time and care to this process, and in the long run, your maintenance and “fixing” costs will be much less.
So let’s discuss these three stages.
1. First, IDEATION.
This is where you come up with a topic that is worthwhile. Think of content ideation like a crosspaths. You need to choose one road for every content idea you (or your client / team member) have, to make sure that idea is worth investing the time of creation into.
Once you have an idea:
- Map it to a goal early in the idea phase. That way you stop low ROI from even happening.
- Then, research and finalize your topic idea. Write it down.
It’s easy to know what you should be creating, when you know how your content idea aligns to your goals.
EXAMPLE: If you have a new site, skew towards looking for keywords that are relevant to your searchers so you can get some rankable content ideas going. Use a keyword tool to find that data. OR If you have an existing site, map your ideas in a sales/brand awareness direction and think of trending topics that you can add your authoritative voice to, in your industry. Use Quora to research trending questions being asked in your topic area.
#WordFromTheSponsor: I go really deep into each areas of this process and much more, in my new industry course. Get off the fence and invest in yourself, if you’re looking to grow your skillsets! Go here: www.contentstrategycourse.com
This is where you write down the topic, put it in your editorial calendar, and get started on writing. This stage includes drafting, writing, and optimizing the content, or having writer/writers creating it for you.
Time here should really depend on the piece, AND your creative flow.
Finding your flow in the creation step is KEY.
For example, I write best at morning and late in the day. I know that, so those are the only times I write. You MUST block off times around your creative flow.
Don’t create when you’re tired. Eat lunch if you haven’t. Simple stuff.
If you schedule your content around your creative flow and when you’re most charged up and refilled, you’ll create GREAT content.
This doesn’t mean you have to spend weeks writing – once I know and have researched my topic, I can write a 2000w blog from start to finish in one day if I match the writing to my creative flow.
3. PREPARATION: This is where you fine tune your piece and if it’s for your site, decide when to publish.
ALWAYS get a second pair of eyes on your content. That could be an editor, a creator you work with if you run a company and have a team, or an editor if you’re an agency writer. I don’t ever publish my content without a second pair of eyes on it.
When it comes to publishing, think of dates you can publish that will especially appeal to the topic – if it’s seasonal and applies to a holiday, publish and tie to that holiday week or date. Even Google’s birthday can mean you write an SEO topic and tie it to that day.
If you’re doing the writing, there are also easy ways to “hack” and simplify that process.
- You can invest in a transcription service and speak your content into a recorder, then have the transcription service write it out for you. You can finalize it from there.
- Draft your content ideas, then hire an editor to clean up and finalize your rough drafts.
- Hire an expert copywriter!
- Ask your assistant to interview you about a topic and write you up a recap—it can be much easier to edit spoken thoughts than start from scratch.
- Mix up types and formats to change up how you present content to your reader. Remember your content cores.
Today’s Episode of the Content Marketer’s Café with Julia McCoy brought to you by… Julia McCoy!
I hope you enjoyed my fourth episode!
Please leave a comment on the video and tell me how I’m doing! This means so much to me! 🙂
And, come back every other Saturday for a new, short video where I teach one content marketing hack you can start using today.
Also… In case you didn’t know, right now you can grab a FREE copy of the SEO expert checklist I use when publishing content that gets ranked by Google, when you join my Facebook group! Join the group at: http://bit.ly/contentstrategyfacebook