From Zero-Idea to a Hero Article in 6 Steps
Blogging is tough - coming up with unique content as well as marketing it can be quite overwhelming.
There are too many pieces to the blogging puzzle, and blogging how-to guides - even though in a wide variety - tend to be too long, and are often intimidating.
With that in mind, I've put together something more minimal, yet actionable, which will help guide you through the process of creating and marketing a blog post, from start to finish.
Here's my quick guide to effective, simple content marketing.
1. Come up with your core topic
Let's say you have no idea what to write about - but of course, you have a generic blog topic, like "gardening".
The goal is to find an interesting idea with doable competition that's possible to beat without too much effort/investment. These keywords might not bring as much traffic as more popular queries with high competition do, but focusing in low-competition queries with each article will drive a little bit of traffic each time, leaving you with a lot of visits in the end.
This is where Serpstat comes in handy. Simply enter your core term, then use the filter to limit results to those with keyword difficulty (i.e. Serpstat's own metric showing organic competition) between 1 and 5 (that means the lowest).
This should give you lots of generic content ideas and angles to narrow down in our next step.
2. Build content including related terms and questions
Now that we have a pretty generic idea on what we want to write about, let's find some unique angles and learn to optimize content as we work on it.
Text Optimizer is the tool you want to run several times while writing content for any page. To use the tool, copy-paste the core term you found in step 1 into Text Optimizer, choose "Google" and then "New Text: Start from scratch"
The tool will run your query in Google and use semantic analysis to extract:
- Related terms
- Related topics
Take note of related topics (these may be your article sections) and select at least 20 related terms to include in your article.
If you uncheck any of the topics - the tool will refine the list of related terms to better serve your remaining categories. For each or any of the selected topics, you can also run the "Topic Ideas" tab to see popular questions on each one.
For example, [garden art] category piqued my interest, so I went ahead and ran it to find the following cool questions to cover in my content:
Note: At any point of this research you may want to create several articles (i.e. the article series) if you feel like there's too much to say on some of those subtopics. This is fine: The more content ideas the better.
The main thing is that once you think your content is written, you run the tool again using "My text: Fill in your text" option to see how well you did, including related and neighboring terms and concepts.
This will urge you to work more on your content to better satisfy both the readers and the search engines, as well as to improve your content quality (the tool will encourage you to use specific and technical terms as well as avoid vague words):
3. Come up with more spice
A good article is not just a wall of text - even a very-well-researched top-quality content piece will not perform as well as one that includes something fun and engaging, e.g. related videos, images, books, etc.
You need some spice (many years ago I referred to it as a "flavor")
To give you a few examples of possible fun (and useful) things you may want consider:
- Beautiful (useful, eye-catching, helpful, depending on your article) images on the topic (your own, e.g. screenshots, or using these free resources)
- Videos, slideshares, polls or other types of embeddable content (Don't overdo here as it can negatively impact your load time but it's a good idea to give your readers something to play with from time to time)
- (Visualized) stats, comparison charts, or even visual quotes (especially from an industry influencer)
- Further reading resources, useful tools, related books and authors, etc.
Here's a template that I tend to use when working on my content:
4. Hit "Publish"
Once you're ready to publish your post, make sure all the little pieces are in order:
- All the sections and elements look good
- All the links are working
- All the SEO elements are in place (I use Yoast SEO plugin that guides through and simplifies that part)
- All the sharing buttons work and there are no weird symbols when you click them (sometimes you'll notice social media buttons not dealing well with things like hyphens and apostrophes)
5. Publish well-crafted social media updates (+Schedule more)
Now spend some time crafting those social media updates, a slightly different one for each of major platforms.
- I use Design Wizard to create best-fitting images for each platform separately.
- I make sure to find and tag every person or brand I mentioned in my article. Remember those expert quotes and numbers I mentioned above? Use these expert content blocks for higher trustworthiness as well as for relationship building (tag those experts and sources in your social media updates)
- I may invest in some Facebook ads to boost the content (I usually don't pay for ads anywhere else)
I also use Drumup to schedule recurring tweets far into the future, tagging key influencers I featured in the article. This drives additional exposure from them on a regular basis.
6. Monitor, Engage, Re-Optimize
Now, sit back and relax, right?
If I really care about that article, I'll keep looking at its numbers to see if there are any missed opportunities or updates it needs. This could include broken links, outdated numbers, etc. as well as finding keyword gaps to re-optimize it for (and catch more ranking opportunities)
Cyfe (Disclaimer: This is my content marketing client) is a solid tool that you can use to monitor just about anything. You can create dashboards allowing to combine and aggregate stats from dozens of places (social media sites, Google Analytics, Google Search Console, etc.) saving lots of time keeping up with many numbers and reports:
These are the basics of creating and sharing effective content. Hopefully these notes help put you on the right track for more blogging success in 2019.
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