The continuous creation and promotion of content is now a pillar of online marketing. In order to be able to keep up with the demands of content marketing, it is critically important that you establish and follow a well thought out and efficient workflow. In this lesson we will take a look at a fine tuned content workflow that has been successfully implemented by hundreds of websites.
Content starts with ideas and those ideas should go through a process of scrutiny and refinement before they make it onto an editorial calendar. Perhaps the best model for this process can be taken from the writers room of just about any popular TV show. Everyone present in the content idea session should feel free to suggest topics. If the group agrees that the topic should be considered, then the group should take the topic through a brainstorming session with the list of questions for an encyclopedic exploration of content. (It really helps to record these brainstorming sessions with a voice recorder, typically any smartphone will do). While discussing the topic with the following questions, create an outline for the most thorough exploration of the subject matter possible. Over time this can evolve to become an entire section of your website with multiple types of content and once finished can be tied together to become a complete eBook.
These Are The Questions That Define High Quality Content
(This section was also included in the lesson on the Google Panda Algorithm, but it is so incredibly important that it bears repeating here.)
This is extremely important for you to understand. When the engineers at Google began trying to define “what makes content high quality?” They came up with the following list of questions and concluded that the more of these questions that are answered on a single page about a specific subject, the higher quality that content will be and the better chance it will have at providing the information the user is looking for.
Also keep in mind how Google’s knowledge graph works. They have built a database that aims to understand the world and information by establishing everything as entities. Every entity has attributes and connections. By understanding the attributes and connections of an entity, the entity can be known. Of course different types of entities have different types of attributes. For instance, look up any topic in Wikipedia and see the different ways that the topic can be described, explored and understood.
The following list of questions represents some of the most fundamental and common ways that topics can be explored. However, your specific topic may lend itself to questions and factors that are not listed here. Start with the questions below and go from there. The more fully your topic explores the subject matter, the more likely your site will be seen as a highly valuable resource by search engines and visitors.
Who? Who is involved?
What? What is happening?
When? When did it or will it happen?
Where? Where is this happening?
Why? Why is it happening, why are these people involved, why does it matter?
Definitions: Define the subject and any important terms.
Frequently Asked Questions: Identify all of the questions that could come up whether someone is new to the subject or relatively well informed. Q&A is one of the most effective ways to explore a subject.
Features, Attributes & Components: Can the subject be broken down into parts? What are those parts?
Relationships: Who or what is this connected to, responsible for or dependent upon?
Influence: Does this influence, or is this influenced by anything? How & why?
History & Future: What is the history and how does that play a role in the future?
Variations in use: Does the same thing appear differently or have different applications? When & Why?
Competitors: Are there competitors? Who and what is the basis for competition and determining the winner?
Processes: What processes are involved?
Considerations for evaluation: If evaluating, what should be considered?
Theories, Hypothesis & Expectations: Are there any? What are they? What could they mean?
Tests, Results & Implications: What was the test? How has this played out? What does it mean?
Statistics: Any data on the subject? How was it collected? What is the significance?
Governing Bodies: Who is in charge here?
Quotes: What do authorities on the subject have to say?
Commonly misunderstood. misconceptions or misrepresentations: Any opportunities to clear the air?
Motivating factors: What is the driving force behind the situation?
Demographics: What groups of people are involved and what are the characteristics that define that group?
International implications: Does this affect multiple countries & Governments? How & Why?
Environmental implications: Does this affect the planet? How & Why?
Economic implications: Will this affect the readers finances or the broader economy? How & Why?
Political implications: Could this cause a shift in public opinion or provide political leverage?
Shock value: How can this be used to grab peoples attention in an unexpected way?
Fear: Can this draw upon the fears of the audience to demand their attention or action?
Challenges: What are the potential obstacles and how can they be overcome?
Inspiration: Is there an uplifting message that can be used to spread some positivity?
Encyclopedic Exploration of Subject: Also look up any related Wikipedia pages to identify more ways to explore the subject matter.
Once the topic has been discussed from every applicable viewpoint, create an outline that delivers the most natural front to back exploration of the subject matter. Typically you should start with the more general and introductory types of information and then progress toward the more advanced level information.
Once you have a good outline, each line item or perhaps a small groups of items, should turn into a writing assignment for a specific page, article, blog, report, infographic or video. Add each writing assignment to an editorial calendar with a date for when each assignment should be delivered.
It is important that the expected completion dates for each assignment are realistic considering any other responsibilities that the writer may have, and that the other phases of the process are considered as well.
Using the Editorial Calendar and Content Optimization Templates
The first tab is the editorial calendar. The rest of the tabs are filled with optimization templates that you will use to help optimize every piece of written content.
Checkout this video on how to use the Content Optimization Template.
Once an editorial calendar has been created and writing assignments have been identified, it is important to conduct keyword research before actually writing the content. Remember, keywords are what people use to search for content online. Keywords are also the basis for how search engines recommend content to users, so it is critically important that a keyword strategy is established and followed for every piece of content you create.
One of the easiest and fastest ways to create content is to use the outline to interview either yourself or an expert. Record the interview and transpose the interview afterward. It is much easier to clean up and fine tune the interview responses in editing than to wrestle with perfect wording on your first attempt writing the article.
Using a transposing service
Numerous transposing services can be found online where people will take any recorded audio, such as interviews, and type out everything that is said for as little as $1 per minute of recorded audio. This can be an incredible time saver that allows you to significantly speed up your content creation process. Check out http://www.rev.com/transcription for audio transcription.
Any content should be edited by someone other than the writer. It is important to get a fresh set of eyes on written content to make sure that mistakes are not overlooked and that the points are salient and easy to understand. Editors are responsible for the following:
- Content is free of grammar and spelling mistakes.
- Appropriate keyword usage and keyword density based on the keywords assignment.
- Content is written at a reading level that is appropriate for the target audience.
- Content is well written and engaging.
- Content is marked up correctly with heading tags, bold, underline, italic and block quotes to emphasize the important keywords and the important points on the page.
- Contextual cross links are used wherever appropriate to point users to additional information resources and to support the optimization of those pages.
- References are used as appropriate to give credit to information sources.
- Google rel=”author” and rel=”publisher” markup is present.
- Appropriate Schema.org mark-up is used wherever possible.
- All SEO strategies that are applicable for that type of content are used.
Many companies treat the publishing of content as the finish line, but in truth this is just the handing off of the baton in the relay race that is content marketing. As soon as the content goes live it should be pushed through the appropriate syndication, social and link building strategies to support the content, extend its reach and help it achieve maximum visibility.
Every once in a while things change. You may have written about a subject only to have changes in the information occur days, months or even years later. While sometimes you may need to cover those changes with an entirely new article, often times you can simply update an older article and re-release it with the updated information. This not only saves you some time and effort, but it also satisfies Google’s desire to see that you are keeping your content fresh with updates. This strategy can give your site rewards by demonstrating to Google that your content is kept up-to date and therefore worthy of longer lasting rankings.