Whether you’re an aspiring content writer or an established one, you would most certainly understand the power of words: a well-placed phrase can evoke powerful emotions in the reader, and a compelling opening line can set the tone for an entire blog post or article. But a good content writing process is more than just the right words in the right order; it’s a series of steps that must be followed to ensure a well-written piece that drives conversions.
And we’re here to provide you with exactly that – a guide to the perfect content writing process. (Yes, it does exist!)
With a perfect content writing process, you’ll be able to produce highly shareable, quality content that engages your readers and improves your search engine rankings at the same time. Read on and find out how you can develop, implement and sustain a well-defined content process to produce stellar content faster and with more efficiency.
- Content Writing Process Stage 1: Planning and Research
- Content Writing Process Stage 2: Writing
- Content Writing Process Stage 3: Proofreading and Editing
- Content Writing Process Stage 4: Publishing and Review
What is content writing?
Content writing is essentially the method of creating textual material for digital media and other channels. This material can be in the form of an article, blog post, e-book, product description, whitepaper, newsletter, and more. Its purpose is to educate, inform, persuade, and entertain the target audience through the careful use of keywords, the voice of tone, and stylistic elements.
Here’s a follow-up question.
What is SEO content writing?
SEO content writing is basically content writing in which you take specific steps to optimize the content for enhanced discoverability and better rankings on the search engine results pages (SERPs). Effective SEO content writing involves the creation of high-quality content along with a combination of SEO best practices, like incorporating relevant keywords, title tags, meta descriptions, etc. The purpose of content SEO is to drive more traffic to your marketing channels and enhance your reach to potential customers.
TL;DR here’s a video summary of this article.
What are the important elements of content writing?
Here are some important elements of effective content writing –
- Purpose: There should be a purpose to writing content. Whether it’s educating the reader, informing them, or persuading their purchase decisions. The purpose of content writing also guides the choice of words, tone, and style.
- Audience: Effective content writing that engages and informs the reader is only possible when you have a strong understanding of your audience personas and their needs and interests.
- Clarity: When writing content, you have to ensure that it’s easy to understand. It should be free of errors and make sense to your readers.
- Relevance: Content writing should be done in a way that provides some value to the reader. For this, it has to be up-to-date, timely, and relevant.
- Keywords: Keywords are essential if you want your content to rank higher in the SERPs, making it more discoverable for the readers.
- Tone of voice: Content needs to be constructed using a tone that is appropriate for the target audience.
- Style: The style of content writing is also very important in making it more enjoyable and engaging for the readers. That means concise and clear language, an active voice, and an engaging tone, among other things.
Content Writing Process: Explained
The content writing process is an integral part of digital marketing. People today go straight to the web to search for any information. And with the right content writing process, you can fulfill these search queries and enhance the visibility of your brand on the web. Don’t be mistaken though, the process of content writing is not just about stringing words together. It’s about communicating with your audience with a purpose, some amount of thought, and an effective strategy.
To define it in simplest terms, the content writing process is a series of steps that a content creator has to go through while creating any written piece of engaging content. This content creation process can vary from one project to another, depending on the specific goals and requirements. But, for the most part, it involves the following few steps –
- Planning: Before starting the process of content writing, you would have to develop and plan your content strategy, outlining all the topics you plan to cover, the desired tone and style, and the goals of the content. Content planner tools can make the job easier here.
- Research: In this step, you would gather all the relevant information on a topic to deliver relevant content to your audience.
- Writing: This is where the actual content writing starts. In this step, you would use your research to create content that provides value to the reader.
- Optimizing for search engines: After creating a preliminary draft, you would optimize it for Google and other search engines. This is done by ensuring keyword optimization, using meta descriptions, and other SEO best practices.
- Editing and review: The content created by you or your team has to be reviewed for grammar, accuracy, and clarity. This step can even involve multiple rounds of editing to ensure that it meets the goals.
- Publishing: The last step of the content writing process is publishing the content so it’s available to the target audience.
Now, let’s take a look at all these steps in greater detail to examine how best you can streamline this process.
Content Writing Tips: Navigating the content writing process
As is evident, the content writing and development process starts much before you add words to a file. A large portion of it is dedicated to the preparation, research, and development of topics and ideas. So, it’s important to give due thought and consideration to each stage of the content writing process. Here’s how you can get started –
Content Writing Process Stage 1: Planning and Research
To provide your audience with relevant, factually correct, and up-to-date information, it’s important to set the foundation right. The research and planning stage of content development plays a very important role here, as it gives you an opportunity to align your content with the audience’s interest and search intent. Without proper planning and research, all your investment (of both time and money) in content marketing will prove to be futile.
Here’s how you can approach this stage of content writing –
1. Set content goals
Before starting any content marketing campaign, you need to set an objective or goal you want to achieve by writing that content piece. This could be building brand awareness, collecting more qualified leads, re-engaging former customers, or anything else. Setting your content goals can also guide your strategy for audience segmentation, style and tone, and even the type of content you’ll be producing.
2. Set your content strategy
Building a content strategy helps you determine how every content piece will be created, shared, and managed as it moves through the creation creation workflow. Setting a content strategy is especially important when you’re running multiple content marketing campaigns simultaneously.
There are many different types of content strategies you can leverage. It could be product-led content strategy, lead generation strategy, sales-centric content strategy, or an SEO content strategy. The type of content strategy you’ll use is largely dependent on your content goals.
3. Build your audience personas
Creating audience personas is a nifty way to address the challenges and needs of your audience with your content, and bring more clarity to your content writing process. An audience persona, also known as a buyer persona or marketing persona, is essentially a fictional profile of your ideal customer. It consists of demographic details, personal interests, and everything else you need to know about your ideal audience.
4. Determine the audience’s search intent
To create impactful and helpful content, you need to know what your audience is searching for online, i.e., their search intent. Audience search intent can be of the following types –
- Informational search intent: When the audience is looking to gain knowledge on a topic.
- Commercial search intent: When the audience is investigating their options before making a purchase decision.
- Transactional search intent: The audience is ready to make a purchase, and is looking for more information on a product/service.
5. Do your topic research
To write impactful content for your audience, you need to expand your knowledge on the particular topic you’re writing on. This can be done in a couple of ways –
- Collating information from credible sources, like reputed websites, books, and academic journals
- Going through competitor content
- Interviewing thought leaders
- Interviewing leads and customers
6. Keyword research
For content to be visible to your target audience, it has to be framed around relevant keywords. Keyword research is an important part of the content planning process, as it tells the search engine what exactly your content is about. Since it is not an exact science, keyword research can sometimes be tricky. Luckily there are keyword generator tools like the one on Narrato that make the process simpler.
When you enter a seed keyword into the tool, the SEO content brief generator on Narrato generates a complete brief, along with a list of keywords, competitor references, topics to include, target word count, and more. Narrato also provides a content SEO score for easier keyword optimization on its powerful content editor. So, in a way, this tool takes care of your content outlines and topic research too.
7. Create a content outline
Creating a content outline is crucial for streamlining the flow of your content writing process. This becomes all the more important for long-form content like blog posts, articles, whitepapers, and eBooks. A content outline helps guide your research in the right direction and allows you to consider the most important parts of the content topic.
Use Narrato AI writing assistant’s Blog Post Outline use case to generate comprehensive outlines from just your content’s title. Here’s an example.
8. Plan your content calendar
An editorial content calendar is another crucial part of the research and planning stage of content writing. It gives you and your team a chance to visualize all the content you have planned for the week or month, so that you can pace your content writing accordingly. It also makes it easier to create and share content pieces with your audience more consistently.
Here’s what the content calendar on Narrato looks like. It can be very useful for planning and managing all your content projects in a central location.
You can assign content tasks to the writers directly from the calendar, and also change and set the deadlines for the tasks. There’s also an option to switch between weekly and monthly views. For a complete overview of projects-wide content tasks, there’s also a Global content calendar on Narrato.
Content Writing Process Stage 2: Writing
After all the planning and research, you’ll finally arrive at the writing stage. This is the most crucial stage of the entire process, as your approach here will determine the success of your content marketing campaigns.
You can choose to entrust the writing to your content team. But if you don’t have an in-house content team, you can get help from a content writing service like Narrato’s. Narrato Marketplace is a platform that gives you access to thousands of quality-vetted and skilled freelance writers across all niches and industries. There’s also an option of managed content writing services, in which a dedicated account manager handles all the content projects.
Whether you outsource content writing or use your in-house team of writers/editors, here is a look at how you can navigate the writing stage –
1. Pick the writing angle
The digital space is quite crowded, with a lot of content on the same topics. So, how can you make your content stand out? Choose your writing angle carefully, and examine new ways to build audience interest with the main body of the content. Maybe you can even target a different set of keywords on the same topic to get more traffic.
2. Start off right and end on a high note
While the body contains the meat of the content, you have to start off/end the content pieces on the right note too. How you construct the introduction will determine if the readers will want to continue reading your piece. A good introduction provides the reader with what they need from the start. That means keeping it relatively short and without any fluff content. As for your conclusion, it should tie together all the main points and leave a lasting impression on the reader.
Every so often, you can find yourself stuck with the introduction or the concluding paragraph. The AI Writer on Narrato can be an excellent tool for generating content for these use cases, and others including content outlines, SEO meta descriptions, and more.
Here’s an example of the Blog Post Intro use case on the Narrato AI writer.
3. Add engaging visuals
Writing high-quality content is not just about words. You need to include engaging visuals and media to complement the text and create additional value for the reader. Breaking up the text with visuals also makes your content easier to read. This visual content can be in the form of images, videos, infographics, and charts. If you use Narrato Workspace, adding images to your content becomes easier with the Free Image Search tool and Canva integration. There is also an AI Images tool to generate images from textual descriptions.
Screenshot 1 below shows the Free Image Search tool while screenshot 2 demonstrates how the AI Images work.&nsbp;
4. Add CTAs strategically
The main purpose of content creation is to educate and inform your audience, and provide them with solutions to their problems. And if you want to convert these leads to customers, you need to include CTAs in your content. But filling your content with CTAs at random places will not solve the purpose. The key is to find a way to organically include your product and service as a solution to their problem, which is what product-led content marketing is all about.
5. Incorporate researched keywords into the content
The keywords you researched in the first stage of the content writing process will help your content ranking in the SERPs. While researching is half the job, you need to incorporate these keywords intelligently too. Here are some pointers for using keywords in website content writing –
- Make sure that the primary keyword appears in the introductory paragraph
- Incorporate the keywords generously in the body of the next, but make sure it fits naturally
- Include the keywords in the sub-headings
- Keyword stuffing can affect your search rankings in the long run
- Use variations of the keywords and related keywords that are relevant to a content topic
- Include the primary keyword in the meta description, to encourage readers to click
If you’re creating content on Narrato, the attached SEO content brief on the task will automatically show how many times you’ve used each keyword. This makes it easier to ensure that you’ve not underoptimized or overoptimized your content.
6. Pick a catchy title
You might be wondering why we didn’t ask you to pick your content title at the start of the content writing process. This is because it’s important to put some thought into choosing a working title for your content. After all, it is the first thing that the audience sees. So, the best way to approach it is by creating it after you’re done crafting your content. Instead of picking generic titles used by other brands, create a unique and catchy title that covers all the important elements of your text. And make sure to include your primary keyword in the title too.
Narrato’s AI Topic Generator tool can help you come up with SEO-friendly and catchy titles for your content pieces. Just enter the theme of your article and it will give you a list of possible titles that you can use as is or modify as needed.
7. Write the meta title and description
The purpose of the meta title and meta description is to provide the audience with a brief overview of what the content piece contains. As we’ve already explained, including your primary keyword in both is important to help with the indexing of your content in the search engines. The meta title should ideally be 70 characters long, while the meta description can contain 160 characters.
Content Writing Process Stage 3: Proofreading and Editing
Writing perfectly in one go isn’t always possible. Most content pieces have to go through several rounds of editing and proofreading before you can finally hit publish. Publishing without proofreading and editing can detract from the credibility of your content. So, it’s important to optimize digital content editing and proofreading processes too.
Writers often self-edit their content during the process of writing itself, checking for spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, unclear segments, etc. A grammar checker tool like the one on Narrato’s AI content assistant can be useful for preliminary editing, as it automatically scans your content for grammar and readability issues to provide context-based suggestions.
After the preliminary editing and proofreading, the content can be handed over to a quality assurance (QA) specialist for final editing and fact-checking. It’s good practice to do a plagiarism check at this point to ensure that the content meets the quality standards.
Narrato comes with a plagiarism checker tool too, which makes it easier to run plagiarism checks on your content through the content task page itself.
What should be your proofreading process for content writing?
Your proofreading process has to be efficient if you want to streamline your content-writing process. Following a standard set of steps can help in proofreading process optimization –
- Take a break: After completing a content piece, take a step back so that you can look at it with fresh eyes. This makes it easier to identify any issues and grave errors.
- Proofread slowly: Pay attention to every sentence and word while proofreading your content. If you find yourself getting caught up in the flow of content, maybe try reading the content backwards, starting from the last paragraph.
- Check for grammar and spelling mistakes: Scan the content for any spelling and grammar issues, including typos, sentence structure, and punctuation mistakes.
- Verifying data and fact-checking: Double-check the data and facts included in the content to ensure that they’re up to date.
- Consistency in the tone of voice: Examine if the tone and voice in all content pieces are consistent and suitable for the target audience.
- Review the content structure: Check whether the content has a clean structure and the flow of thought is logical from one paragraph to another.
Content Writing Process Stage 4: Publishing and Review
The last stage of the content writing process involves the publishing and review of content. Publishing is not just about putting the content out there in the digital space. You need to develop a well-thought-out content publishing strategy, that outlines the channels you’ll be distributing your content to. It should also lay down the procedures for uploading and sharing the content on each channel. And if you’re looking to speed up content publishing, maybe consider investing in a content publishing automation tool like Narrato’s. Narrato comes with WordPress and Zapier integration, and also allows custom integrations through Narrato API.
Although the usual content writing process ends with content publishing, we find it useful to include another step in the process – Content Review. In this last step, you would examine each piece of content to see how it measures up to your content goals. It also gives you a chance to collect relevant information and data to perfect the next content marketing campaign.
By implementing the content writing tips and steps described above, and optimizing them to suit your needs, you’ll be able to create content consistently and efficiently. Having a step-by-step plan for your content writing process will also help in the identification of any glaring inconsistencies in your content, making accountability easier.
So yes, perfecting your content writing process might take some trial and error, but it is certainly possible. The key is to have a strong content writing framework, like the one outlined here, and to hire talented people who can make it sing.