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Content Creation: The Ultimate Guide for Dummies [25 Concrete Tips + Checklist]

Content Creation: The Ultimate Guide for Dummies [25 Concrete Tips + Checklist]

I am not far from thinking that those who can write have a “superpower.”

The creation of content, whatever its form, almost always borrows the written word.

Creating content is knowing how to persuade; it knows how to convince.

It works for everything:

  • A speech
  • An email marketing or OutReach email sequence
  • A video script
  • A blog post
  • A sales page
  • A post on social media

But a lot of people think they can’t create content.

It’s wrong.

In this article, I show you how to get started.

I am giving you the keys to activate this superpower.

It is a method; it is simple, it is accessible to all.

Let’s see why 👇

Create Actionable Content, not literature

When it comes to producing content, in India, we often have the “impostor syndrome.”

We should have the pen of Émile Zola or Saint-Exupéry.

This is wrong.

Marketing content is not literature.

Your audience will not judge you on the quality of your pen.

Some purists will howl wolves. Let them do it.

Our goal is to interest our readers and help them understand and act.

There aren’t ten thousand ways to do this.

There is only one: create actionable content.

What is actionable content?

It’s content that impacts your audience.

How do you know if your content will impact your audience?

Ask yourself if he:

  • let’s learn something?
  • Can it be used to solve this or that problem?

You don’t have to write something exceptional.

All you have to do is speak on a subject that you have a perfect understanding of.

You must have established, certain, proven experience on the topic on which you are speaking.

Why?

Because by sharing your expertise, you will help other people get their jobs done.

Your job mainly consists of solving “problems.”

You are in marketing; you must increase your emails’ open and click-through rates, for example.

You are a salesperson, and you need to close more business in an ever shorter time.

Necessarily, you will look for solutions to get there.

If you can do it, just explain how you did it.

It is very likely that other people in the same industry as yours have much the same problems or issues as yours.

They will therefore be very interested in your solutions.

The first rule to creating content that will impact your audience is to document what you can do well.

Don’t be afraid to be specific. You can speak on very specific subjects. Your audience won’t necessarily be large, but it will be highly qualified.

Avoid speaking on subjects that you are not fully familiar with. You will have every chance to fly over them.

You won’t be contributing anything more than what already exists on the web.

It’s just a waste of time…

Investigate the areas or practices where you are performing very well.

Describe your recipes.

Put in a pinch of copywriting and storytelling.

You will get “killer content.”

For example: at the start of the Covid 19 crisis, teleworking was imposed by force.

I have several years of teleworking experience.

I thought it would be nice to share it.

I wrote: “Remote Work: 29 simple tips to tame telework [& fight Covid-19 🦠]”.

What did I do?

I compiled and explained my practices.

Nothing more.

Result: several thousand visits in a few days and hundreds of shares on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook…

Tip 1: speak only about your proven expertise, and document your achievements.

Your best achievements should guide your editorial creation process.

They must, of course, be related to your business objectives.

Speaking in a domain that you have little control over is the assurance of creating average content.

Tip 2: experiment before creating content

Do you want to speak on an area that you do not yet fully understand?

Before you jump in, experiment and learn what works and what doesn’t.

Then document your work.

Finally, create your content.

By documenting your work, you will save a considerable amount of time during the production of your content, and above all, it will be “actionable” and therefore useful for your audience.

Tip 3: start from these few anchor points to start:

  • The tutorial: what problem do you solve. It is typically this article that answers the problem: how to get started in the creation of content when you think that it is inaccessible?
  • How did you help this or that customer to solve this or that problem? Just describe your job.
  • What are your production methods, or how do you manage to achieve this or that result?
  • Describe your job, your daily life (ex: what is a copywriter?)
  • Detail your vision (ex: what is the future of Content Marketing?)

How to start your writing process?

How to start your writing process?

Before writing, you have to find an idea.

Two methods that I apply:

  1. Instinct
  2. The data

Instinct

Among the subjects that I master, certain ideas emerge spontaneously.

It is an instinct that speaks. I’m in the shower, and I’m like, why not write an article on “how to write web content for dummies.”

I enter my ideas in my editorial calendar, in a tab specifically dedicated to “ideas to be classified.”

I let stand for a few days, even a few weeks.

Then, I challenge my idea:

  • Do I have real expertise that allows me to deal with it effectively while providing added value?
  • Is it useful to my audience?
  • Can I connect it to one of my offers?

Tip 4: trusting your instincts means calling on your experience

The data

I definitively validate the idea by relying on some data that I collect on the web.

I’m testing the idea on Google.

By using the query “how to write” in the search bar of Google, the latter offers us suggestions.

These suggestions are based on the most frequent requests made in real life by real Internet users and potentially by your targets.

It is also interesting to do this research work on YouTube.

Google images is also an interesting alternative:

Of course, you can automate these searches using a tool like Semrush.

The data must answer two crucial questions:

  • Is there any research around the issue on which you want to speak? Otherwise, there’s a good chance your content isn’t attracting enough people.
  • What is the audience’s research intent?
  • How does the audience express the issue?

For example, I initially chose to title this article “How To Create Marketing Content That Hit Even When You Think You Won’t Write?”.

While doing some keyword research, I found that “content creation” was used a lot more.

So I opted for the title: “Content Creation: The Ultimate Guide for Dummies [25 Concrete Tips + Checklist] “.

Tip 5: validate your instinct with a good dose of data 😏

Prioritize your ideas

By adopting this simple ideation process, several content ideas will emerge.

The more you practice, the easier it will emerge.

We will now have to prioritize them and give ourselves priorities.

To find out if an idea is really good, ask yourself if it really addresses an identified pain point in your Personas.

If the pain point is sharp, your content is likely to be useful.

This is the case with the example of my content on “Remote Work.” ☝️

This is a problem that has become crucial overnight.

With the Covid, a lot of people said to themselves, “thin how I am going to do to work efficiently from home?”.

This article gave them concrete answers; it was appreciated (more than 580 shares).

Tip 6: base your content ideation on your Personas’ pain points.

Do not use your offers to create content.

Start from the needs of your audience.

Content that responds to significant pain points will be given priority.

This is the reason why you must base your Content Marketing strategy on your Persona.

If your Personas are not well defined, your strategy will be fuzzy; you will lose efficiency.

Tip 7: 👉define or redefine your Persona Marketing👈

Create an editorial calendar

It is a rule that I now apply systematically.

Maintaining an editorial calendar is crucial.

I learned it the hard way.

When I started blogging many years ago for my ex-agency, it was all “in my head.”

Which means:

  • No global vision of my editorial roadmap
  • Loss of some ideas for content to be created
  • No prioritization possible in content ideas
  • A poorer vision of the target audience

Today, for the SocialDevansh blog, I have to maintain an editorial calendar.

Yet I am all alone!

Now imagine that my editorial process involves several people: editors, proofreaders, references, illustrators, community managers…

Which is the norm.

Content planning helps align teams around a shared calendar.

Each person involved thus has an exhaustive view of the content created, being created, or to be created.

An editorial agenda is not just limited to a list of content classified by production and publication dates. It should make it possible to “map” (map) the content according to the targeted Persona, their decision-making process, and the different distribution channels used.

At a minimum, he must present:

  • the list of priority content to be published according to the defined strategy. It can be existing content to rewrite or optimize and content to be produced;
  • the names of the various writers and editors who are responsible for writing the content and/or validating it;
  • the production and publication dates;
  • the production, validation, and distribution workflow if necessary, and the possibility of identifying at what stage the content is;
  • distribution channels. It is appropriate here to indicate both the format that the content will take as well as the channel through which it will be primarily distributed;
  • titles, keywords, and meta-description insofar as these elements are important for natural referencing;
  • the call-to-action that will be offered on the content (subscription to a newsletter, download of an eBook, a promotional voucher, registration for an event, etc.);
  • the main statistics generated by the content over a defined period after their publication (the statistics will also be the subject of specific dashboards).

It may also be interesting to provide a space dedicated to new ideas or to content that must be written urgently, dictated in particular by unanticipated news.

An editorial calendar is, above all, a collaborative and managerial tool. A good balance must therefore be found between the information that must be included and its ease of use.

In all cases, whether it is a simple spreadsheet or sophisticated software, it must be the most used tool in the content creation process.

I use a calendar with four tabs:

  • Ideas to classify
  • Create
  • Published
  • Persona

I created this calendar on Airtable. A solution like Notion can also do the trick.

Tip 8: Create an editorial calendar, and update it at least once a quarter.

Please don’t make a plan; lay your ideas down as they come.

A plan is a bit academic, and it’s especially complicated.

Start with your title. It represents the main idea.

You will come back to it later to refine it.

Then write down all the ideas that come to your mind.

Use a short sentence to describe the angle you want to address.

Let stand.

Let stand.

Let stand.

Go back to your document, and read it again.

Supplement it if necessary with new ideas.

Remove those that ultimately seem irrelevant to you.

Arrange them so that there is logic in the process.

It’s like a puzzle. This step is important. It gives consistency to your content.

The skeleton of your article is done.

Tip 9: put your ideas down as they come. Let it sit, then create the structure of your content.

Source your content

I always do research around:

  1. From the main subject of my article
  2. From the different angles that I want to approach

The different resources that I can collect allow me:

  1. To deepen my knowledge on certain points
  2. To understand what was the editorial treatment of the articles sourced: targets, objectives, pain points treated.

Obviously, the goal of the game is to produce content that is better than what already exists on the subject.

Tip 10: Look for resources that will help you write your content. Evaluate competing content already in place to find out where you need to raise the bar to do 10x better.

Write as you speak

That’s it; we are there; we have to get started and write.

I have VERY good news.

You don’t have to write well.

Write as you speak!

At school, we were taught to make beautiful sentences; to make emphasis.

It was important and effective in the days of print.

It is totally ineffective on the web.

Read your writing aloud. If a sentence doesn’t seem fluid enough, rewrite it by simplifying it.

Your sentences should be short and to the point.

You can also register and transcribe your recording.

Or use voice input on Google Docs, for example.

I’m not a huge fan of this solution, but it works pretty well.

In any case, it will force you to compose simple sentences that are perfectly understandable by Google and by your audience. 😁

Hemingway’s type applications also allow people to be assisted while writing their content.

Unfortunately, I do not know of an equivalent solution in French.

If you know of one, please let me know in the comments of this article 👇.

I still use “SEMRush SEO writing Assistant,” which gives interesting information on the points to improve.

Tip 11: simply write. Remove all unnecessary words. Cut, cut, and cut again!

Keep paragraphs short

The shorter your paragraphs, the better.

I also recommend making each of your sentences a paragraph.

This makes it super easy to manage, and you will automatically limit the length of your paragraphs.

Between 45 and 70 characters per line is a good benchmark. Of course, don’t make it a religion.

Especially since other factors greatly contribute to the readability of your text.

Tip 12: one of your paragraphs is longer than 4 or 5 lines, break it into several small paragraphs.

Abuse titles and subtitles

Use lots of headlines and subtitles.

They make it easy for readers to scan your content and quickly navigate to the portions of your text that interest them.

Tip 13: use titles and subtitles to give rhythm to your content

Use bulleted or numbered lists whenever necessary.

Do you have an enumeration to make, a succession of elements to communicate?

Do it with a numbered list or a bulleted list.

They are much easier to digest than long paragraphs.

How to choose between the two?

It’s a question of order:

  • An ordered list = numbered list
  • An unordered list = bulleted list

Tip 14: Bulleted or numbered lists provide eye anchoring. They allow content to be easily scanned.

Use active voice

Passive voice is totally ineffective on the web.

As a reminder, in the active voice, the subject takes action. In the passive voice, the subject undergoes the action.

Tip 15: involve your readers in your stories using the active form

In the article “How to Write Successful Blog Posts? (The Complete Guide)”, I give a lot of other tips that relate, especially to the formatting of your blog posts.

Tip 16: read the article “How to Write Successful Blog Posts? (The Complete Guide)”😁

Train yourself

Writing is a “muscle.”

The more he is trained, the more he performs.

So yes, at the beginning you will have a hard time. Then, the more you write, the easier and more fun you will find.

The hardest part is getting started.

Your first content will require a lot of effort.

You will see that the right reflexes arrive quickly and that ideas will emerge more and more easily.

Don’t be afraid of impostor syndrome.

If you know your subject matter, there is no reason your content should be bad.

Again, your readers don’t expect literature. They want to understand, learn and above all, solve their problem.

If your content helps them achieve their goal, they will necessarily find it good.

Tip 17: write your first 3 or 4 content before making the first assessment. If it’s really a disaster, go to the next point. 👇

Increase productivity during your editorial work

Increase productivity during your editorial work
Source: Tashatuvango / Shutterstock

Writing content can be really time-consuming.

With good organization and a few tips, you will see your productivity explode.

Here are three tips:

Tip 18: telecommute 👉 writing in a noisy environment where you are disturbed every 5 minutes will deter you from writing. You simply won’t be able to do it. Take advantage of the fact that teleworking is fashionable to grant yourself periods dedicated to your editorial work.

Find your time slots during which you are the most productive and/or creative. It is often morning and evening.

Tip 19: Protect yourself from all distractions. Email, social media, notifications will ruin your focus. Use site blockers, for example, and make specific time slots for your emails and social media.

Tip 20: If possible, do not exceed 2 hours of writing per day.

In the following article: Remote Work: 29 simple tips to tame telework [& fight Covid-19 🦠], you will find some tips to increase your productivity. Some are perfectly applicable to content writing.

Collaborate with a copywriter

If despite the advice given in this article, you still have trouble producing your content, you can then hire a copywriter.

In that case, find one who has real expertise in your field.

You can search on freelance platforms:

  • Scribe
  • Textmaster
  • Textbroker
  • Editor
  • Writers
  • Redactiweb
  • Scribbr
  • Malt

If you are in a really sharp or niche sector, there is little chance that you will find the rare pearl.

Query your network on LinkedIn.

Look for bloggers who speak up on your topics.

If so, ask them if they would be up for writing for you.

In short, spend time to find the rare pearl.

Don’t be discouraged, and you won’t find it easily.

You then have two ways to collaborate:

  1. either you write your article, and your editor “rewrite” it
  2. either you ask him to interview you, and he writes the article based on the interview

Tip 21: in case of extreme necessity, surround yourself, but the “raw material” must come from you, from your expertise

Invest in your title

Your title is essential.

It all starts with a successful title.

The latter will generally condition the success of your article.

Don’t neglect it!

Three tips will help you write effective headlines:

  1. Be super-specific.

For example, “The best ways to save time” is less effective than “Save 2 hours a day by hacking your productivity with seven tips”.

  1. Use numbers.

For example, “Connect with the best Freelancers” is less effective than “Submit your project to over 32,868 super Freelancers and get impactful responses”.

  1. Add an emotion.

For example, “25 tools for your SEO” is less effective than “25 SURPRISING tools for your SEO”.

Tip 22: write several variations, let stand and choose the one that seems most impactful to you.

Learn the best copywriting techniques

Copywriting is the art of writing to inspire readers to take action.

It’s sort of the use of words to sell.

There is a very close correlation between storytelling and copywriting.

Storytelling is the art of telling stories. Copywriting is the art of persuading with words.

Ultimately, these two concepts are almost inseparable.

However, storytelling can pursue a broader goal than “acting out” itself.

While copywriting essentially aims to ensure that the reader takes action.

I will come back to this fundamental Notion in a full article.

Tip 23: take an interest in copywriting. You will discover a super interesting area applicable to many of your marketing actions: email, social media posts, sales pages, blog posts, videos…

Ensure a sick promo

Spent 10 hours writing content?

Spend at least 20 promoting it.

Obviously, the “traditional channels” must be activated:

  • SEO
  • Ads
  • Social media
  • Newsletter
  • Email marketing
  • RP

Don’t neglect the reuse of your content.

A long article of this type can, with some effort, become:

  • Happy snacking
  • A webinar
  • A video
  • A podcast
  • A checklist
  • An infographic

Obviously, all these adaptations will be the subject of their own promotion.

Tip 24: in short, you will understand, do not hesitate to take advantage of your content by giving it multiple lives

Tip 25: use this checklist to get started 👇

The Perfect Writer’s Checklist

❑ Know your Persona inside out

❑ Find an idea for content that matches:

❑ expertise that is truly mastered

❑ a real need identified in the targeted Persona

❑ Master a document and proven know-how.

❑ Experiment with subjects that are not perfectly mastered before speaking

❑ Choose a format: tutorial, case study, personal vision, quantified study…

❑ Validate spontaneous ideas with data

❑ Write down your ideas in an editorial calendar.

❑ Let stand

❑ Create the structure of your content by listing the big ideas you want to address

❑ Let stand

❑ Find third-party resources that allow you to supplement your knowledge.

❑ Evaluate competing content already in place to know where to set the bar and do 10x better

❑ Write as simply as you speak.

❑ Cut, cut, cut

❑ Keep paragraphs short

❑ Abuse of titles and subtitles

❑ Use bulleted or numbered lists whenever necessary.

❑ Use active voice

❑ Invest in the title (create at least three variations, then choose the best)

❑ Copywriter the introduction

❑ Do not neglect SEO 👉Select the most relevant keyword for the targeted Persona.

❑ Ensure a promotion for patients (Cf.: the “content promotion” checklist)

❑ Use the content in different formats.

❑ Create an alert in 6 or 12 months to review the content and update it if necessary

What’s your thoughts on the topic? I’d love to hear. Share your thoughts in the comments box below.👇

Yours Sincerely, Devansh Pathak.

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