- The 11-Step Content Creation Process: An Overview
- Step 1: What is the search intent for your keyword?
- Step 2: Consider the Buyer’s Journey
- Step 3: How can you match what you have to say with where they are?
- Step 4: What content format would be best for your visitor?
- Step 5: Outline your content
- Step 6: Create your content
- Step 7: Edit your content
- Step 8: Proofread your content
- Step 9: Publish your content
- Step 10: Gather and evaluate your feedback
- Step 11: Repeat
- Additional Steps, Tips, and Considerations
- A Number of Other Content Creation Tips
- The Necessity of Unique Content
- SIA Test #40 – How Much Original Text Is Required To Be Unique?
Practically all content creation goes through some form of the 11-step content creation process I’ll outline (and explain) below.
Other articles on other sites may explore some aspects of these steps in more detail, but when you get right down to it, these 11 steps are the process that we at the SEO Intelligence Agency (SIA) and most professional web publishers go through.
The 11-Step Content Creation Process: An Overview
- If you’re creating content based on keyword research, ask yourself: what’s the search intent of a person who types in this search query?
- Consider the Buyer’s Journey. What part of the journey are they on?
- How can you match what you have to say (not necessarily your product, but your message) with where they are?
- What content format would be best for your visitor, considering the subject at hand?
- Outline your content (whether it be written, a video, or an audio).
- Create your content.
- Edit your content.
- Proofread your content (or listen to it or look at it).
- Publish your content.
- Assess your feedback. Hone your process.
Step 1: What is the search intent for your keyword?
If you’re creating content based on keyword research, ask yourself: what’s the search intent of a person who types in this search query?
Likewise, you could also think, given my headline, what would a person interested in this content be looking for?
Everyone who enters a search query in a search engine, or clicks on an enticing headline, has some type of intent.
Yes, this is obvious, but your goal in creating that content is to try to meet that person’s intent as best as you can (or if you’re creating teaser content, at least point them in the right direction).
Step 2: Consider the Buyer’s Journey
You may have heard of the Buyer’s Journey or some other similar concept. Basically, the belief is that every single existing customers that you have, before they became a customer, was…
1. First unaware of you (or even unaware that they had a need for your product).
2. Then, they were aware of a problem, desire or need.
3. They then came across possible solutions.
4. One of these solutions may have been yours.
5. After evaluating their options, they chose to do business with you.
6. And even better, they’re a happy customer who tells others about you.
That’s a short version of the Buyer’s Journey.
There’s a key reason why I bring up the buyer’s journey within the context of content creation: you have to know where your potential customer currently is on their journey. Once you know this, with each piece of content, you should try to move them one step closer to making a decision.
Knowing this, you have a potential source of inspiration for your next content idea.
Step 3: How can you match what you have to say with where they are?
This step comes from a branding perspective. When you build a brand, you want to consistently share your brand message.
You can basically do this in 2 steps:
- Fulfill the promise of your headline (or their search intent).
- At the end of your content, tie what you say into your brand message.
If your vision, brand message, and intent behind each product/service you offer is unified, you won’t have any problems matching them to the reader’s (or viewer’s or listener’s) needs.
I’m going a bit beyond the scope of this article, but I’ll just say this: one vision, one message. That’s exactly what unites everything.
Step 4: What content format would be best for your visitor?
This may be obvious. Which types of content would be best? Would video, written content, audio, images (or a combination thereof) be the best for this subject?
What about a white paper? Or an infographic?
Or (and I know I’m going a bit beyond here) a free trial (which could be free content that’s otherwise paid-for)? Or a free coaching call? What about a free session at your clinic?
Now, I know that a free session isn’t content per se, but…what if your prospect allowed that session to be taped/recorded, so that you could provide that video (which is content) to others?
If you’re creating a how-to, you can have a combination of written, visual, and video content. (You can upload your video to YouTube, Vimeo, or other appropriate video platform, and embed it onto your typed post on your blog and also share it to your social media feeds.)
Step 5: Outline your content
Lay out your main and minor points, then be sure they’re in a sequential structure. If you have expert content creators on your staff (or have enrolled outside services), they should have some sort of outlining process in place.
In fact, they may want you to look at the outline before they actually create the content.
Step 6: Create your content
Write, record, or create. Be sure you have everything you need: your training, your equipment, lighting, a good microphone, good acoustics, etc.
Step 7: Edit your content
Depending on what format your content is in, how professional you want to appear, and your budget, you may want to have a content editing process. This is where you have a third-party editor look at your content, or you can handle that in-house.
Don’t forget things like grammar, flow, and spelling. There are free tools online for that.
But this isn’t limited to written content. If you’ve ever created professional audio, you know that editing applies there as well. Although in an audio, grammatical errors are a bit more difficult to edit, depending on the time you have, they can be corrected in subsequent drafts.
Step 8: Proofread your content
This step might be blended into the previous one. Proofreading, of course, is just when you do a final read to make sure everything is okay.
Step 9: Publish your content
Set when you would like to publish the content and then publish it to your blog, website, social media, etc., whichever content platform you choose.
Step 10: Gather and evaluate your feedback
Of course, this step doesn’t happen right away. In fact, this is probably the most iterative step of the entire process. You may want to publish a number of pieces of content, across a number of platforms, before you have enough content to assess, to see which content is getting you the best results.
Step 11: Repeat
Of course, you’re not just going to stop with one blog post, article, or video. You need to do more, according to a schedule. That’s really as simple as content creation can be: research, create, assess, repeat.
Additional Steps, Tips, and Considerations
In addition to the 11 steps I have provided above, you may find the following tips helpful in creating your web content.
Remind Yourself of Your Company’s Vision and Brand Message
I sort of alluded to this above. If you have a solid vision and message, and every one of your offerings is an outgrowth of that (plus, if you’ve done the research to ensure there’s demand for your offerings), then it should echo in every high-quality content piece you create.
Look Through Your Market and Customer Research
It’s always good to re-familiarize yourself with our customer research. Also, you can dig deeper and find more content ideas this way.
What Are Your Purposes, Goals, and Objectives?
Whereas your company’s vision is more long-term, what I’m asking you here is to consider your medium- and short-term goals.
Are you creating content that will hopefully attract people into an email marketing campaign? Is your aim to build an email list?
Determine How You’ll Best Attain Your Objectives
This may be beyond the content creation aspect, but it may encompass it, so it’s good to consider where content creation fits into the larger picture.
How Many Pieces of Content Will You Need?
I’ve heard it said that the average potential customer may need 8 to 11 “touches” (or exposures to you, or your message, your product, etc.) before they buy.
Of course, this depends on what you offer: if you’re a massage therapist, maybe not so many exposures; but if you offer customized financial services, maybe more. Maybe you’ll have to speak to prospective clients, assure that their money is safe with you, provide accreditation, and so on.
Do You Have a Content Marketing Plan?
If not, you may wish to consider one.
If I were to briefly describe a content marketing plan, I’d first say that you generate one once you have a few main components in place: market and customer research, SEO and keyword research, and a realistic evaluation of how long it will take to gain traction in the search engines.
Then, you hypothetically ask, “Okay. We want to inform our prospects as to how we can best serve them. What do we tell them? What content, and how much of it, do we create?”
Now, that’s probably a bit of an oversimplification, but that’s the beginning of a content marketing plan.
A Number of Other Content Creation Tips
Consider your Target Audience
Your target audience may not be “the market,” as, depending on your keyword, that may be too broad. That’s why I say that, whenever you (or your team) is starting on a specific piece of content, you know who you’re writing to (or recording for, taking a photo for, etc).
- One way to get content ideas for your blog posts and other types of content, is to have your content team look at your stats from Google Search Console for your site.
What they should look for are the queries that searchers use to find your site.
Are there any queries that pique your attention?
If so, those may be valid sources of content ideas, such as blog posts, that you can publish to your social media platforms.
- When it comes to formats, there are a number of content formats to consider: text (which itself can be segmented into other formats, such as white papers, pdf reports, and articles), audio (podcasts, and simple recordings) and visual (images, video).
- If you’re a strategic planner, you’re probably wondering, What’s a good content strategy? There are so many moving parts to content marketing. How do I win?
Combine various types of content
A good content strategy is long-term, comprehensive, and involves various types of content.
- Don’t forget that, if appropriate, visual content can be even more appealing to strictly written content. Of course, a lot of this depends on how you want to communicate your topic ideas, the subject of your content, and your reader. Visual content may, of course, be a better way of conveying an idea than other types of content.
- Successful content is content that achieves its aim. That’s why, before you start on a piece of content, it’s so important that you know what your large- and small-scale goals are.
- A great way to discover potential topic ideas is to do some research on social media for topics that pertain to what you offer. What are some of the best-trending posts? Which posts have been the most popular–not just recently, but across time? Why are they popular? Are there time-tested themes that run across those?
- Depending on how broad your definition of what a content creation tool is, there are a range of such tools available for you to use.
Use the right content creation tools
Some content creation tools are free, some offer a free trial, some are affordable, and still others can be out of your budget.
Of course, word processing software, such as Microsoft Word or Google Drive, can be thought of as content creation tools, and it’s likely that you’re familiar with such software. Heck, even your content management system (WordPress or other site platform), can be thought of as a content creation tool.
Another type of content creation tool would be what’s called content optimization tools. Frase and Surfer SEO are examples of such tools. Without going into too much detail, my understanding is that they basically help the writing process by suggesting keyword phrases that are highly correlated among the highest-ranking content in the search engines.
- Always strive to create amazing digital content, not just “so-so” or “good enough” content. The Web is filled with content–heck, that’s practically what it is, by definition–so you really need to stand out by being amazing.
- Content marketing success doesn’t come easy. This is a long-term game, and your content creation efforts need to be repeated and honed, day after day, year after year.
- Types of media (written, audio, visual) is only one way of categorizing content. There are other categorizations of content, one of which is marketing content. Marketing content is just that: content that’s created for the sake of marketing or promoting. This type of content is not necessarily ads, but may be things like promotion pieces that give information, and have a bit of a soft sell to them.
- If you have an e-commerce site, you may want to consider giving your customers the ability to leave reviews. Reviews (especially well-written, thoughtful ones) are a form of user-generated content that can say more about you and your product/service than anything you could ever say.
- Email campaigns can be designed to go hand-in-hand with your overall content plan. What you can do is send a teaser email to your list, having that email link to a good piece of content.
- Need content for your email newsletter? Why not double-up: create content for your email campaigns, and then, republish that content on your blog, or as an update on your Facebook page? That would be a great way to be efficient with your time.
- Knowing what people are searching for is a great way to discover relevant topics for your content. That’s why research (keyword research, customer research, market and niche research, etc.) is key when building your content.
Use SMART Goals
If you’re a content marketer and are familiar with SMART goals, you can use that process to guide you in your content efforts. If you’re not sure what SMART is, it’s an acronym that says that goals should be Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time-limited.
(If you look up SMART goals online, you might find that there are slight variations in wording, but you get the point.)
You can use this goal-setting method in all areas of your life.
- Another way to generate content ideas is to look at the monthly search volume demand for certain search queries. This is known as keyword research, and if you’re into SEO, you’ve probably completed some form of this. If you’re new to SEO, I’d say to not just go for the competitive search terms, but to also consider the lesser-competitive, more long-tail keywords.
- Creating content that addresses underserved queries is a good way to get organic traffic from the search engines. So, don’t just ignore low-volume or low-search keywords: a lot of golden keywords have low numbers, but the conversion rate for them can be high.
- Here’s a content idea: customer experiences. One of the many forms of content available are case studies. Instead of just creating content for potential customers, why not create content based on the experiences of satisfied customers? After all, people would like to know what their lives will be like after they do business with you.
And, this content doesn’t have to be overtly promotional. Let’s say you offer something that meets a specific need or want. Instead of “How Our Product Does X,” you can have a headline that reads, “A Tale of 2 People Who Used to Struggle With ABC.”
- For a content marketer, or a person who manages the creation and marketing of content, the constant need for content can be demanding. That’s why you may need others to help you (such as an external content agency or an internal content team), and a content schedule or plan.
- A good social media strategy would be to repurpose content from one platform to another. It’s a great way to recycle your content while keeping your audience updated. A lot of social media platforms are image-heavy, so you may want to have a provocative thumbnail image for each post.
- You want content pieces that take a deep dive into their subjects, and others that are more introductory. Vary content between comprehensive pieces and introductory and easy to read ones.
- If you have a sales team, then content, if used properly, can be a blessing to them! If you really want to get your creative juices flowing, look at what an individual salesperson has to do to sell your product or service to potential customers. Record a sales call and listen to the audible sales process that takes place. That can be a source for many, many pieces of marketing content.
- When you think of the term, content team, what comes to mind?
You’re probably thinking of businesses that have at least a dozen on their staff, if not more.
But if you’re the owner of a very small business of less than 6 staff, or you’re a solopreneur, don’t discount the notion of having a content team.
The Necessity of Unique Content
The term, unique content, is usually used in reference to written content. (That said, there is the idea that images, audio, and video should also be unique.)
Unique, of course, means one-of-a-kind, or something that there’s only one of.
What’s wrong with submitting the same content to different sites, as is done in content syndication?
Well, the concern is that, if 2 sites have the same content (say, yours and a more established one), the more established site may out-rank yours for the same content (maybe even if it’s published on your site first).
That’s why, instead of publishing and submitting one article many times, it’s better to have many different articles.
Or…maybe one unique article, but re-written for each additional submission, so that each additional submission is unique.
But, that can be time-consuming.
We want to be efficient.
Is there a way where we can retain some of our original efforts, yet create enough uniqueness so that each submission of our content is seen as unique?
It seems that there is a way, and 51%, according to a test we at the SEO Intelligence Agency did, seems to be the magic number.
SIA Test #40 – How Much Original Text Is Required To Be Unique?
In SIA Test #40, it was tested how much original text is required for a content to be considered unique by Google. In this particular test, as I said earlier, it was found out that you only need 51% of the content to be unique in order to pass the duplicate content filter.
In this video, Clint discusses the test more into detail and his thoughts on this particular test.
As I said in the beginning, content creation is simple. I hope the steps I laid out above, plus the accompanying tips, helps you establish your own process that you can work with, over and over again.
In need of more guidance? We have more articles on content creation and content on SEO and getting your site and pages ranked in search engines. Check out our other articles for more details.
SIA STAFF SEO WRITER
DK Fynn full bio here.