What is content?
Content is a form of marketing that’s created to give value to your audience.
Your content might give your audience valuable information, show them how to do something or keep them entertained.
It can take a range of forms, including videos, photographs, infographics and podcasts.
But in my case, it’s blog articles.
As your content strategist, my job is to work out what kind of blog content your audience is looking for, then write it for them.
The value of good content
It’s simple: good content creates value. And it stays on your website, working hard for your business, when other methods of promotion have given up.
Like advertising, for example, which stops working the moment you stop funding it.
Content is a form of advertising, but it doesn’t focus on selling.
Here’s a brief comparison of the two.
Content vs. advertising
It’s estimated that the average consumer now sees between 6,000 and 10,000 ads every day. Advertising is everywhere. It’s constant, it’s intrusive and people get sick of it.
In 2020, more than a third of us were using ad blockers. But even without those, we’ve been developing highly effective screening processes that filter out most of the ads we see.
While people can block or skip your adverts, bin your direct mail without reading it, and unsubscribe from your email lists, they will actively seek out good content.
That’s because good content contains something valuable to them. For example, it might answer their question, explain how something works or resolve an issue they’ve been having.
With most content, the aim isn’t selling. This content should be impartial, with a focus on building relationships and trust through meaningful engagement.
The value of my content
The content I write provides real, tangible value for your business.
Here are just some of the things it’s designed to do:
- Help a new website to rank faster in the search engines
- Help an existing website to maintain its ranking
- Attract and engage your target audience
- Build likability and trust in your brand
- Create a library of useful and relevant information
- Position you as an authority in your field
- Nurture new customers and generate new leads.
This isn’t the kind of content that can be written in a couple of hours. It takes planning, research and experience to know what to write and how to write it.
And it isn’t the kind of content that’s created simply to fill up your empty blog page or “because your SEO said you should be creating content”.
This is the kind of content that’s written to deliver results.
So let’s look at what you’re getting from your investment.
Your strategy call
The process starts with a phone call or video call to discuss your strategy. I’ll prepare for this by looking at your existing content — if you have any.
We’ll cover a few different points during the call, but specifically, we’ll talk about your:
- Business brand
- Target audience
- Content needs
- Aims and objectives
- Online presence.
We’ll look at the ways your content might work with your other marketing efforts and campaigns, like your social media and email marketing.
And if you have your own ideas about the kind of content you’d like to publish, we can talk about those too.
Following the strategy call, I’ll do my own research to establish the kind of content that will be most useful to you. This will include:
- Who are your ideal customers?
- Are there new markets you could be targeting?
- What are they searching for online?
- What questions are they asking?
- What are they thinking and feeling and what do they want/need?
- What’s going on in your industry?
- Are there changes, updates or advances in technology?
- Are there upcoming events or discussions?
- Who are your closest competitors?
- What kind of content are they producing?
- How good is their content and how well is it performing?
- How can we make your content different/better?
SEO keyword research
- What keywords are performing well in your sector?
- How can we use those keywords to create valuable content for your audience?
Marketing calendar research
I’ll look at my marketing calendar for:
- Relevant national/international days, weeks or months
- Relevant special events
- Industry events/happenings/anniversaries.
And I’ll look at the possibility of doing tie-ins or cross promotion.
Content ideas and angles
When I have all that information, I’ll start putting your content ideas together and finding the best angles for your audience.
Your content plan
I’ll turn my research and ideas into a customised content plan for your business.
For each article, I’ll include an explanation of what information will be included, why I’m suggesting it and what I hope it will achieve for you.
I plan each article so the content will reach at least 800 words. This is a good length for SEO and a manageable length for your audience.
You’ll have the chance to approve the plan and make sure you’re happy before any work commences.
In any one article, I’ll use several sources of information. Depending on the subject, these might include other articles and studies, videos, picture references and infographics.
The credibility of the information I use is paramount. I only use material from reputable, verifiable sources and I always check the dates to make sure the information is still current.
For certain articles, I might ask you for your input.
This would happen when:
- Your article needs inside information
- Your thoughts and opinions will make the article more original and more valuable to your audience
- Your article is intended to help your customers help you — and you want to give some guidance.
SEO keyword research
Here, I build on the keyword research I did during my initial research, using the information from the subject research.
I’ll use three different kinds of SEO keywords in your article.
Your primary keywords are the ones we’re actively targeting. Ideally, they’ll have a high number of searches and low competition from other websites.
Secondary keywords are other keywords that come up during the keyword research stage. These give search engines a more rounded view of what the article contains, so they can determine the relevance of the article for the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
When I have the primary and secondary keywords planned out, I’ll use them to create a format for your article.
Supporting keywords occur naturally as I’m writing.
During the editing process, I’ll go through and look for opportunities to improve the supporting keywords I’ve used. For example, I might rephrase them, so they’re closer to what people are searching for.
Writing your article
When all the research is done, I move to the writing stage. My aim is to pack each article with as much value as possible. To this end, I make every sentence count and I don’t waste words on waffle.
I’m a logician — personality type INTP-A, which means your articles will be put together logically in a way that reads well and makes good sense.
They’ll be written for the web, using short paragraphs, broken up with descriptive headings for easy reading and skimming.
There are a number of other things that will be included.
Summary of main keywords
For each article, I’ll provide a summary of the primary and secondary SEO keywords I’ve used.
Each article will be formatted, so you can see how it should look when it’s published.
All articles include headings. In most cases these are the title <h1>, the main headings <h2>, the sub-headings <h3> and the sub-sub headings <h4>.
Next to each heading, I’ll include the tag to show which number it should be.
The above image shows the Google listing for a blog article I wrote. The meta description is the two lines of black text under the blue link. These descriptive lines help persuade your visitors to click.
The above picture shows an article listing from my main blog page. The excerpt is the body text above the ‘READ MORE’ button. This gives your visitors an insight into what each article is about and entices them to click on it.
Categories and tags
Not everyone who visits your blog will come straight from Google. Some will look at your blog while visiting your website.
Categorising and tagging your posts will help these visitors to find articles that are of interest to them.
Editing your article
When your article is written, I sleep on it. This gives me some distance, so I can come back to it afresh and look at it objectively.
As I’m editing, I read it aloud to make sure it flows well and fix anything that seems amiss.
I highlight the words and phrases I’ve used naturally that could be keywords and use my keyword research tool to find better alternatives. And I look for more places to insert the keywords we have, without cramming or stuffing.
When I’m happy, I’ll send it to you for approval.
My blog packages include one round of complimentary revisions. At this point, you can request any revisions or additions to the content.
Before you come back to me, you might find it helpful to read my article on ‘How to give your copywriter constructive feedback’.
If several people need to provide feedback, please make sure:
- It’s consolidated into one email — not one email from each person
- It’s all provided at once, with no latecomers
- It’s clear and specific
- Everyone agrees — because it’s impossible to please several people who all disagree with each other.
When the revisions have been made, it’s time to publish.
Publishing the article
The finished article will be submitted as a Word document and I’ll give you the information you need so you can publish it yourself. This will include:
- Date for publishing
- Heading tags (h1, h2, h3, h4)
- Working links
- Blog page excerpt
- Article categories and tags.
In addition, each article will need at least one image. You can take your own photographs or use stock images.
Using stock images
If you’re using stock or Creative Commons images be sure to check the licence carefully and follow the instructions to avoid any copyright infringement.
Stock image sites usually give you a byline to credit the photographer or image creator. Even if this isn’t a requirement, it’s courteous to use it.
Remember to include an alt-tag for SEO and visually impaired visitors.
Need help with image research?
I’m an accomplished picture researcher and offer image research as an additional service. This starts at £40 per article and will depend on the number of images you want.
Your images will be:
- Free to use or within a given budget
- Supplied with a byline credit and alt tag
- Scaled and optimised for your blog.
Promote the article
When the article is published on your website, you’ll need to promote it. My ‘Turn it up to 11’ ebook will show you how.
A version of my ‘Turn it up to 11’ ebook is included with each package. It features up to 30 ways to promote and repurpose your blog articles, so you can get the most value possible.
Why work with me?
I’ve been creating blog content for more than a decade. I’ve blogged for my last employer, for my own business and for my clients.
When I say blogging works, it’s because I’ve seen what it’s done for those businesses and how valuable it’s been for them.
If you want to see what blogging could do for your business and would like an informal chat about your needs, it’s easy to get in touch.