Have you spent time on google looking for ‘Content Strategy’, “Content Writing’,? ‘Content Strategy examples’, ‘Content Strategy Plans’ or ‘How to Improve Content’? If your answer was yes then this is the article will be a good starting point. If not a starting point, it’s a good reminder or refresher.
Before we start, let me tell you about this amazing book I read recently. ‘Everybody Writes‘ by Ann Handley. This article is based on one of the chapters from the same book. She talks about how following a process is essential to content writing. And eventually to your content strategy.
I have added Content Marketing examples that will help you better grasp the concepts. This is your go-to content marketing guide to creating and publishing the kind of content that will make your business thrive.
Treat your writing process as a journey. Before you start you need a destination, which is the goal of writing your content piece. To arrive at your destination you need a GPS to guide you. This GPS Guide is a 12 step process, follow this to improve your content writing skills and your content marketing strategy.
- Goal: Just like your Google Maps or Uber, enter the destination. What is the end goal for writing/creating any piece of content? Do you want to create awareness about a new product, do you want to share a customer story? Always keep your goal clear in your mind before starting and make sure it is aligned with your business goals.
- Reframe: As the cliche goes “Put yourself in the shoes of your customer”. Why should the customer care about your content, what is in it for them? What value do you provide them? What questions they might have? And so on. Repeat this process of reframing your content until you have satisfied all the questions you can think of.
- Seek out data & examples: As self-explanatory as it might be, in this process you need to find credible sources that back up your statements and claims. Sometimes it could also be a real-life example (Like customer testimonial). This further adds credibility and trust in what you have written/created. The trick is to research a lot and get all the references to quote from.
- Organize: Your content piece needs to be well organized to be able to tell your story in a coherent and comprehensible manner. For example, this article is organised in the form of a listicle with 12 pointers. Your final piece may need to be organized in the form of a list, a how-to-guide, a customer narrative, a video story etc.
- Write in one person: Refer to point number 2, think of the customer you have in mind and write/design your content with him or her in mind. (Use You instead of They or People). This helps your TG to relate to your writing and message more easily. It is their issue you are talking about not anyone else’s.
- Produce The Ugly Draft First: Or as most entrepreneurs would say, focus on getting a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) out first. Finish the entire piece before worrying about the grammar, formatting and aesthetics of the article/content piece.
- Walk Away: Yes, that’s right! Distance yourself from this ugly thing you have produced. The idea is to put some distance between you and the article/content piece that you have produced. Take some time off for a break before you get back to attack it again.
- Rewrite: Now that you have had your break and indulged in a nice piece cup of tea/coffee attack that ugly piece and start work on making it more presentable. It should be easily readable, understood and presented in an inviting manner. Again, wear the customer hat and read through it. Keep making changes to every piece that seems like a blocker of a reminder of the ugly piece you wrote earlier.
- Give it a great Headline or Title: A title/headline provides context to your article and gives it an attitude. Make sure you have an impactful one. It tells the audience what you are going to deliver, and how you’re going to deliver it, and why they should keep reading. So spend time with it, think on it, and figure out how to best use that valuable bit of text.
- Have Someone Edit: Get a second opinion, either from a colleague or a friend who fits into the definition of your potential customer. A colleague will help you edit all your spellings and grammar. While your friend slash potential customer can give you a perspective that you may have missed.
- One Final Look For Readability: You are almost there, take one final look. Does it rank high on the readability meter? Use a tool like Hemingway to actually get a score.
- Publish it, but not without answering one final question, what now?: Make sure you leave the reader with a call to action. What do you want them to do now? Go visit your website, subscribe to a newsletter, follow you on social media etc. Voila! You’re done, you’ve made it.
Now, what do you think of this guide? Have you come across anything similar or something completely different? Share them in the comments. Check out my previous article on storytelling where I discuss the Storytelling Framework for Brands.