Whether you have a website, a blog or a YouTube channel, you will need to create content, and sometimes that is a daunting task. You may have a great content strategy and be struggling with how to actually create the content. or you may be starting at the very beginning and needing some ideas of where to even get ideas for what to write or video – no worries! With these 5 simple steps on how to create content for a website, I’ll guide you through how I regularly create content with the maximum efficiency.
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1. Plan – What are you going to talk about?
Planning is a key stage to your content creation, and because it’s often a combination of creative and research type activities it’s really something that lends itself to being done in batches. If you’re like me you’ll come out of the planning phase with ideas for at least half a dozen blogs or videos (or both!). According to my current content creation strategy, this is two or three weeks worth of posting all planned in one go.
Getting ideas – but where?
I find I come across content ideas two ways, either by actively looking for them, or my subconscious has been mulling away on things in the background. And randomly spews forth an idea when it’s very inconvenient to write it down (like while just falling asleep, or in the middle of a run)! Because of the way the brain functions, the latter will often happen after I’ve been working on the former. It’s a very good idea to try to capture the random ideas – they are often some of the best! I keep a notepad by the bed and make sure I always run with my phone, that way I can quickly add a voice note when it happens.
Try using your favourite creative method to come up with a big selection of ideas, don’t judge them in the beginning, just get as many down as possible (remember, Adam Grant – the really creative ideas won’t come out until your get into 35+ ideas). Don’t be afraid to combine, scale-up, scale down or go looking for inspiration elsewhere within your niche.
Purpose – is this content or copy?
Now that you have your big collection of ideas, split them into two segments:
Content – designed to inform and/or entertain
Copy – designed to persuade and/or sell
As Content and Copy have different purposes, your approach to crafting your post, video or website will be different. We will get into this in a later post.
Who wants to know?
Now that you’ve got your big collection of ideas, and you know whether your purpose is to entertain or persuade you need to figure out how to make your content or copy relevant and valuable to your target audience and niche. Once you’ve figured out how to make the information important to your audience, you need to make sure that they can find it.
What does your plan look like?
Well mine is usually quite messy. It often looks like a mind-map with lots of extra scribbles on it noting whether the idea is copy or content, and how to target my audience (including how I’m going to promote this post).
You will have noted that some of my posts, like this one, have short associated videos – I started doing videos because the target market for my blog includes people who like information presented in a variety of mediums. My plan will include whether I think each idea is suitable for a sub 15-minute video. I also used Pinterest to drive traffic to my blog – therefore if I have any particular ideas for the pin images – I’ll note them on the plan too. That way I can generate a few week’s worth of ideas all at once, and still remember what I’d thought at the time when I pick the plan up again.
Now planning is key – so if you fancy more granularity, have a look at the full post on planning content in detail!
2. Outline – How you’re going to say it
For each individual post or video, it’s really worth creating a detailed outline of what you’re going to say. For posts you want it to include all your headings and subheadings as well as the important details that you want to make sure to include. When you’re outlining a video it’s really worth making sure that you’ve outlined the individual sections and important details.
As an example, I’ve included the outline of one of my recent posts. As you can see, I’ve created it all in a notebook – I find I can get the ideas down a lot more efficiently using pen and paper, despite then having to type it in when I’m creating the post.
3. Draft it – Do the images and diagrams too!
The next step is to draft it out! Take your outline and expand into all the details that you want to include in each section. It’s also a great time to create or tweak any graphics that you want to use and to create the summary statement for SEO description on your blog or your YouTube video description.
The Steps For the Bloggers:
- Find your long-tail keywords and work them in
- Do the draft copy fleshing out the outline and getting all the details down
- Create your graphics or images at this stage
- Write your summary, note your tags and category
For you Vloggers:
- Get all your prompts down and do a dry run
- Create any graphics or transitions that you might want
- Draft your YouTube Description and note down your tags and playlist (if you use playlists)
4. Fact Check – The details need to be correct
It is super-important that you get all the details correct, so this is the stage to double-check all the facts and references, as well as making sure your grammar, spelling and punctuation are correct. You should also edit your blog post for its flow while being read, check that you’ve correctly targeted your audience and that your keywords are in.
- Double-check all details
- Have you spelled their name right?
- Is this the right source?
- Plagiarism free and all copywrites checked?
- Your audience is correctly targeted
- Make sure that you have the correct links for any offers (and that all affiliate links are correctly declared as such)
- Check your keywords
- Edit for readability, spelling, grammar, punctuation and that your tone is suitable for the audience
5. Create your Ancillaries
Don’t forget about your social media marketing and how to reach out to your audience. Using ancillary methods to drive traffic to your primary medium (for instance, my primary content medium is blogging – but I use YouTube to complement it and Pinterest to increase my traffic because it is appropriate to my niche).
- Create your social media marketing images (I like Canva for this)
- Post to Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, or whatever social marketing you prefer
- Consider enclosing your video in a blog for additional reach or for the bloggers consider adding video!
Final Top Tips
Consider batching steps to improve your efficiency even more. There are some that work better than others for this approach though – for instance, I find it easy to generate plans, outlines, and ancillaries for a number of different posts at the same time. I’m not particularly proficient at drafting and fact-checking in batches at this point, as I find these activities to be mentally exhausting – but it’s an area of improvement that I’m trying to focus on.
Try not to worry if this process doesn’t work particularly well for you the first few times though – it takes a bit of time to get into both the habit of working this way, and to practice the individual skills necessary to create valuable content.
I’d love to hear what you think, so do please let me know in the comments if you’ve tried this method of increasing your content creation efficiency and how you got on!
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