content-writing-tips

Content marketing is a buzzword. You probably have read hundreds of articles on how to create and write content that can engage readers and potential customers but at the end of your reading time, you still ask yourself, “How can I apply those content writing tips and strategies I just read?”.

This guide gives you 55 actionable content writing tips that you can immediately apply today.

But for newbie content marketers, let me first define to you what is content and what is content writing.

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Table of Contents

WHAT IS CONTENT?

Content is anything that adds value to the reader’s life. It could be in a form of text, image, video, audio, product, ideas and messages that can build trust and authority with your readers and customers.

WHAT IS CONTENT WRITING?

Content writing is a form of online writing that aims to convey a message targeted to an online user on one buyer’s stage: viral, discover, consider and customer.

55 CONTENT WRITING BEST PRACTICES

1. AGGREGATE BEST POSTS USING GOOGLE+

You know that you need to brainstorm content ideas.

The only problem:

You don’t know where to start.

One of the underutilized ways of sourcing content inspirations is through social media.

How?

You can use Google+ profile, for example, to create a collection where you can store all content posts that you see both in Google+ communities and in other blogs.

google-plus-collection

You don’t need to download an app to store content files. You just have to label each post you are sharing. The next time you start writing for content, you can simply visit your Google+ and make those stored/shared posts as your references.

2. MAXIMIZE CONTENT TIME WITH EVERNOTE

Productivity is an important element in content writing.

The more you are able to maximize your resources wisely, the more time you can spend for actual content drafting resulting to better quality of content.

One way to do that is to use Evernote.

content-writing-evernote

It’s a great tool that you can use to create drafts for your content.

Whether you are commuting going to places or having informal meetings with your other team members, maximizing the tool for effective brainstorming, content outline and drafting is a better way to maximize time than doing nothing else.

3. FOCUS YOUR TIME WITH TOGGL

Ever wonder how many words you can write every hour on an average?

No?

Remember, every task that is worth doing should always be tracked. Same goes for content writing. If you can track how many hours you can write every single hour, you can also set goals for a content writing project easily. This is very helpful if you are a content writer and is getting paid on an hourly basis.

One of my favorite productivity tools is Toggl.

It’s free and has a user-friendly interface. Check out the image below – this is how I tracked my hours of outlining, getting relevant references and resources on the web and writing the actual draft.

toggl content brainstorming

4. CAPTURE INTEREST WITH APP METHOD

Aside from writing headlines, one important skill that every marketer and blogger should be good at is engaging users in the first few sentences of the content.

The introductory part can either set the mood of the visitor continue reading it as it provides an information of what the overall content will bring to the table or get him leave the page because it doesn’t satisfy his intent.

The APP method, a copywriting method which was popularized by Brian Dean, makes content easily relatable.

Here’s an example of how Brian Dean implemented this method.

app backlinko copywriting

If you are struggling with writing the first paragraph of your content, try the APP method.

5. LEARN FROM COMPETITORS’ TOP PAGES

Ahrefs is a web-based link research that allows you to track a site’s most performing content in terms of link growth and number of social shares.

It helps you easily grasp which type of content your top competitors are heavily promoting and are receiving natural links from relevant sources. Here’s how can you do it.

STEP 1: Make a list of your competitors. If you don’t have any, ask your clients or do a Google search for your main keywords and see what brands pop up in the first page of search results.

Tip: Know if they are direct product/service-oriented competitors or content competitors. The clue is in the keyword you choose if they are commercially-based or informational.

STEP 2: Plug it into an Ahrefs tool and look at its top pages – you can click on the “best by link growth” to give you linkable assets that are continuously generating natural backlinks on its own.

best by links ahrefs

STEP 3: Generate ideas from their top pages. Note sections that can still be explained and discussed in deeper levels.

ahrefs competitors top pages

6. LEVERAGE EXPANDED GUEST POST

Expanded guest post is a coined phrase by Brian Dean that can actually help increase your content’s engagement and potential linking capacity by giving your adapt readers new taste of the information.

How to exactly do it?

STEP 1: Make a list of information in your industry based on the audience of your target guest blog. Provide actionable points as this type of content (how to’s) is more repeatedly shared and linked to by other content producers.

STEP 2: Expand your points by adding more details – more so with detailed steps. This allows your target readers to apply immediately each point you have discussed.

STEP 3: Do this repeatedly to all your distributed content – e.g. guest posts.

expanded guest post content

7. KNOW THE FIRST AND BEST RULE

When there are millions of content being published on the web, there is no other way to make your content standout but to make it totally better than others.

The questions is, how do you do it?

STEP: Type in your target keyword or your topic in Google.

content writing tips google

STEP 2: Read the top ranking pages (if you don’t have much time, you can just skim). Find missing points where you or your team are able to explain much in detail. Note these points and make a list.

content writing tips first page

STEP 3: If your topic isn’t overly discussed by other blogs, i.e. there are only 2 or 3 in the ranking pages specifically covered the topic, that’s a good one you can pursue – make the content better than those 3 content assets or be the first one to comprehensively provide information on one subject if you don’t have any competing pages.

8. FOLLOW INFLUENCERS FOR CONTENT INSPIRATIONS

To build your content’s credibility, you have to make sure your examples are real. If not based on your life stories and experiences, link out to bloggers, experts or influencers who gave similar references.

Start following these steps:

STEP 1: Create a public or private list of Twitter influencers/experts in your industry. Most of the time if they are active content creators, they’d share their best secrets, experiences and examples of their work. These are goldmines if you’re trying to look for case studies and references EVEN IF you still don’t want to write at that moment.

twitter list influencers

STEP 2: Make a list of latest content they’ve shared on their blog and their recent valuable Twitter posts – you might want to use them as references in your future posts. You can use Notepad or best is Evernote as you can easily sync it either you’re online or offline.

twitter list influencers content

STEP 3: As you are writing your content, go back to your content references list and get what you think would be useful to add to your draft. Now, you don’t have to do Google searches to find useful resources you’ll externally link to your content.

9. GET A PROOFREADER

If you are a blogging newbie, this tip might cost you a few bucks. But if you’ve been blogging for years, one way to make sure you improve the quality of your content – is by having someone to look over it (proofread and edit). Since last year, I’ve hired a freelance proofreader to check all grammatical errors in my article whether it’ll be published on my blog or distributed to others as guest posts.

Here are a few steps to make the most out of outsourcing your proofreading task.

STEP 1: Find virtual assistants who have experience with copywriting and editing. Go search in Onlinejobs.ph or Upwork for freelance copywriters, editors or writers (some have a good background with proofreading too).

Tip: If you don’t have much time, ask your colleagues if they know someone good at editing/proofreading or go to Facebook content marketing groups.

STEP 2: Interview and hire someone you’re comfortable working with. Write an outline as to the tasks and process you wish to implement. For example, in my case, I want my editor to only add changes (still have to accept/reject) – there’s a feature in Word document for this. This can help me see first my errors before actually making the change so I can avoid it the next time I write the article.

STEP 3: Accept or reject changes. Put your content into your WordPress dashboard and publish it.

proofreading content

10. WRITE A SERIES TO CREATE EXCITEMENT AND ANTICIPATION

When you see your Google Analytics account, you’ll probably get more new visitors than returning ones. Depending on which traffic sources you’re looking at, you want to achieve a higher percentage of returning visitors.

What you can do to achieve that goal is to let your readers anticipate the next content you will publish on the blog. How?

STEP 1: Think of the type of content that will preceed your next to-be-published content. It could be sneeze pages (learn about more about it here), best of sections (e.g. Crazyegg best of content) or a series of content (one example is this content marketing tutorial of SEO Hacker).

content marketing series seo hacker

STEP 2: Set the tone of anticipation in your next content by adding a call-to-action at the end of the post. One good example is this, see how they let their readers know about the series and why it is something they should look forward to.

STEP 3: Promote your content series to your email subscribers and to your social followers.

11. USE TOOLS TO BUILD A HABIT

Distractions can get in the away easily. What we need to develop as content writers is the right focus towards the goal – which is to finish the writing task within the day.

If you want to be more productive daily, follow these steps:

STEP 1: Install any of these tools to break your habit of procrastination: Focus or Forest. These tools are useful to help you get into your “focus” zone.
forest content productivity

STEP 2: Be accountable to finishing your task by making sure you open up your preferred productivity tool. The web-based product also helps you track how many hours do you spend at work, at social media/leisure, etc..

STEP 3: Be determined to finish your tasks with the help of the tool.

12. CREATE CONTENT BASED ON BUYER’S INTENT

Success without an objective is useless. You don’t have a metric or KPI to measure your performance – making it easy to just produce mediocre content.

Hundreds of businesses, whether startups or big corporations are now investing in content marketing because they’ve seen returns from their investments – in particular with brand building, brand exposure and lead generation.

How can you create content with a business objective in mind?

STEP 1: Identify your objective as a marketer, whether you are working for an agency, client or for your own website. Set key performance metrics (learn about this here).

STEP 2: Identify pages you have on your site and match to the marketing funnel. Know what pages you are still have to create to facilitate your visitors into the buyer’s journey. Sample image from Webris.

buyer persona

STEP 3: Create a spreadsheet that shows what buyer’s intent each target page will be targeted to. You can do your topical research first before doing this. 

13. IDENTIFY YOUR AUDIENCE’S PAINS AND PROBLEMS

Informational content will best serve its audience if it solves a particular problem in the industry. If it’s something you think you haven’t implemented yet with your content marketing strategy, you can do it with these tips.

TIP 1: Find industry threads in forums and Q&A sites and look for patterns of problems and pain your content should best serve.
quora suggested questions

TIP 2: You can also skim through comment sections of top blogs in your niche. There are online readers who happen to share their struggles by asking questions to influencers.

TIP 3: Don’t think much about keyword volume. If you are targeting long tail topics, you’d be surprised to get some long tail traffic by creating a content that answers a specific question.

Tip: Read this guide for reference on optimizing content for Google answer box.

14. USE WIKIPEDIA TO FIND OLD LINKABLE CONTENT ASSET

Wikipedia pages acquire a lot of editorial links and mentions from relevant blogs, making it an evergreen linkable asset when its linking inbound links grow over time. Taking advantage of this, by determining which Wikipedia pages relevant to your industry are evergreen linkable assets, helps you brainstorm for great content ideas.

Here is how you can start it out:

STEP 1: Find Wikipedia pages in your industry by using this tool or doing a Google search for site:wikipedia.org [keyword] + “dead link” (or “citation needed”)

wikigrabber content ideation

STEP 2: Determine how many referring domains are linking to each Wikipedia page to assess how linkable the topic is (~100 referring domains is a good number).

STEP 3: Create content that covers the topic of Wikipedia page you choose. Make it as comprehensive as you can, so it’d be easy for you to nudge linking bloggers of that Wikipedia page to mention your similar content in their blog posts.

15. END YOUR CONTENT WITH AMAZING CALLS-TO-ACTION

There are still some content writers who haven’t utilized the power of calls-to-action as part of their content creation phase. It’s saddening that the reason people aren’t signing up for an email list or even following a certain Twitter profile is because there’s no call-to-action added at the end of the post.

Take a look at some of the best call-to-actions I’ve seen on other blogs.

call to action content

Writing a call-to-action takes only 2 to 5 minutes of your time, so be sure to have it as you write your final draft.

16. STRUCTURE YOUR MOST IMPORTANT CONTENT WITH YELLOW BOX

Design and user experience makes a lot of difference in engaging blog readers. The moment they land on the page, they don’t just read your whole blog post but look at other elements that’ll make it easy for them to understand the topic. Elements like images, videos, presentations and custom boxes give more emphasis to some of the most important parts of the content.

I’ve first seen the use of “yellow box” in Brian Dean’s post. No big thing here, but what makes it interesting is that it allows specific content to be emphasized within the whole content, especially if you’re trying to write a long-form type (~2500 words in length).

STEP 1: You can add this code to your theme’s “functions.php” file (or “custom_functions.php”on Thesis) to create a yellow box.

function make_yellowbox($atts, $content = null) {

return ‘<p style=”background: none repeat scroll 0 0 #ff9; clear: both; margin-bottom: 18px; overflow: hidden; border: 1px solid #e5e597; padding: 13px;”>’ . do_shortcode($content) . ‘</p>’;

}

add_shortcode(‘yellowbox’, ‘make_yellowbox’);

STEP 2: Once the code is added, any text wrapped inside of this shortcode below will appear in a yellow box.

backlinko yellow box content

STEP 3: Emphasize your most important subtopics, quotes, features, etc.. using the yellow box feature.

17. STRATEGICALLY LINK TO YOUR INTERNAL CONTENT

As you write your initial or edit your final draft, it is best to know which relevant webpage you can internally link to your content. If you’re a newbie blogger and want to be smart at internal linking, you can follow these simple steps.

STEP 1: Go to Search Console – Search Traffic – Analytics (if you haven’t connect your Google Search Console to your WordPress site yet, check out this guide).

 search console traffic

STEP 2: Find pages with high impressions and CTR but are sitting in positions 11 to 20. This is to get these pages improved its ranking positions by adding new internal links to it.

search console data

OPTIONAL: If you have thousands of pages, you can also do a Google search for site:yourdomain.com “your current topic” to find pages relevant to the content you are currently writing.

STEP 3: Link to your preferred thematically related pages from your content.

18. PUT SCHEDULES TO EACH WRITING PHASE

You’ll read most productivity articles talk about how to break down a huge project into small pieces of tasks. While this is very useful, there’s something missing in here. Even if you break a huge project into smaller ones, you want to make sure that you can commit to completing every small task.

Same goes with content writing. If you’ve got a huge content writing project, here’s what you can do to ensure you can publish your content on or before the deadline.

STEP 1: Break your huge content writing project into smaller tasks. For example, if you are targeting to write 5000 words in length type of content, then you can divide it into five smaller tasks (writing of 1000 words at a time).

STEP 2: Set schedules to finish each small writing task. You can use free project management tools like Trello to make this possible.

put schedules content writing

STEP 3: Don’t procrastinate. Achieve your goal daily by completing all small tasks.

19. USE MICRO SURVEY TOOLS TO GAIN VISITOR INSIGHTS

Customer insights play a vital role in content ideation. If you are able to identify what your customers want, it’ll be easy for you to create content that caters to their intent, specific to their levels in the buyers’ journey. One way to do that is to use a micro survey tool. Follow these steps.

STEP 1: Install Qeryz plugin in your WordPress account.

qeryz wordpress plugin

STEP 2: Gain insights using their platform, you can ask questions like what type of SEO professional they are, then proceeds to another question like what topics they’d like to read.

seo hacker qeryz content

 

STEP 3: Create content based on what insights you gathered – what content type and format they’d like to see published on your blog.

20. UNDERSTAND PROPER BLOG POST STRUCTURE

Structuring your latest article like how you plan and build a house is almost the same. If you want to make a great foundation fgr your house, then start by planning everything. Here’s how you can do it.

STEP 1: Create a list of topics, subtopics and points you’d like to discuss in your article.

STEP 2: Bundle all topics together. Look at points that you can compile into one subtopic. Make sure you don’t overlap points in each and every subtopic that you have.

STEP 3: Use this blog post structure from Zazzle Media to ensure organization of your content.

article cheat sheet

21. USE SUCCESS AND FAILURES AS YOUR CONTENT IDEA

Stories tell a lot. They’re actionable, real-life, and life-changing.

If you have something that you can share that can teach valuable lessons from your experience within 1 year or so, use that as your next content idea.

Here is a sample from Matthew Woodward’s top blog post – How I Build a Top 100 Blog in 12 Months.

success failures content

You can apply these tips to make your success and failures a great content asset.

TIP 1: If you have internal data like screenshots of month to month organic traffic or growth of email subscribers, include them in your content. This will increase the credibility of your page content.

TIP 2: Show results at the beginning of your post to build initial interest from your readers, especially those who are new to your blog.

TIP 3: Share how you accomplished your success by detailing steps to make it easy for readers to follow the process by themselves.

22. WRITE ABOUT INDUSTRY MISTAKES

In any industry, there are always mistakes to commit. For parents, it would be exchanging time at home with more work in the office. For search professionals, it would be blocking your important pages in your site’s robots.txt file. Whatever it is, there are always mistakes in your industry and you can use that as your content idea.

Start with doing Google search for [your industry] “mistakes” or inurl:mistakes [your industry] or intitle:mistakes [your industry] to find blog pages and forums that cover that specific topic.

google parenting search results

Note that in your content ideation or brainstorming tool if it’s feasible for your writing team to discuss.

23. GET INSIGHTS FROM REDDIT AMA

Reddit is one of the top user-generated websites on the web where insights from experts can be best seen on its Ask Me Anything (AMA) sections. Follow these steps to generate ideas for your content.

STEP 1: Go to Reddit and search for [topic] AMA, then you’ll see a list of AMAs recently been conducted by Reddit moderators.

reddit ama parenting

STEP 2: Find any relevant Ask Me Anything threads and skim through each question and answer part. Consider using any insights or potential topics as your content ideas for blog posts.

24. SEE COMMENTS ON OTHER SITE’S CONTENT

I’m not talking about these examples of blog comments.

comment spam

But there are many other valuable comments on other blogs’ content that could be potentially be your next content topic.

Let me give you an example. This Whiteboard Friday post by Michael King garnered a lot of comments in the SEO and link building community.

blog comment content ideation moz

blog comment content-ideation whiteboard friday

If you’ll search for specific terms, you’ll notice some of the comments can be your potential topics for content (if you’re blogging about SEO).

Pro tip: Click the box saying, “email me when new comments are posted” right below the post of your target site, this would help you track if there is a new comment on the blog post. You’ll receive a WordPress email when someone just comments on the post. Some blogs in your industry have this feature in their comments section so take advantage of those.

25. SEEK INSIGHTS FROM EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS

Email newsletter is one of the most profitable sources of content ideation. Why? Given that your customers subscribe to your email list (assuming they intend to do so), you know that they want to get more information from your brand.

Take a look at this email:

pat flynn email subscripton content

If you notice the question, it’s plainly straightforward. “Is there anything you want me to write a blog post about?”

The next time you send emails to your subscribers, add a call-to-action at the end of the email asking to give you their suggested topics to write about. If you’ve got a huge list of subs, it’s a guarantee you will get replies.

26. USE TWITTER LISTS FOR CONTENT UPDATES

One notable feature of Twitter that content marketers haven’t found worth using for their content ideation process is Twitter list. If you can create your own Twitter list or find any public lists of influences you’ve been following for a long time, then that’s a goldmine of content topics you can take priority the most.

How to get started?

STEP 1: Check out each Twitter profile of influencer(s) or experts in your industry. They may have one or two Twitter lists that are publicly available. For example, Ross Hudgens created his own Twitter list of content inspiration. Given that we’re on the same area of blogging, I can subscribe to that list.

ross hudgens twitter list subscription

STEP (optional): You can create your own Twitter list featuring all influencers preferably bloggers in your niche. Take this image below as your example. It’s my own bucket of off-page SEO, content marketing and internet marketing bloggers. Most of the content here at SharpRocket and Digital Philippines are inspired with their regular tweets.

STEP 2: Check out every link they are sharing on Twitter. This can consume a lot of time, so set it aside either late in the afternoon or evening. Use Evernote to list all links to every article they’ve shared. This allows you to quickly organize all of these resources.

27. CUT OUT UNWANTED FILTERED WORDS

As a writer and blogger, one big mistake I made in the past is trying to please my readers with flattering and unnecessary words. You can relate to this, right? When starting out in blogging, you’ll find yourself adding more words that shouldn’t be added, which makes your overall content crappy as you do it all the time.

Instead of saying very very good, you can say excellent. Instead of saying Today, I am going to tell you about, say I’ll tell you about.

Making your content as straightforward and succinct as possible is important to make your readers engaged better. In your next writing time, make sure to filter your words by cutting out unwanted phrases.

28. FIND FAQS IN YOUR NICHE

Google provides results for frequently asked questions with quick answers, satisfying every online user who does every search query.

In essence, if you are making a habit as a content marketer to find FAQs and servicing each valuable question with right answers, you are producing new types of content that can drive direct traffic by ranking 0 in Google – if you happened to be caught as top direct answer. Check out this example. I’m getting some good traffic by ranking for this query.

How to take advantage of this?

STEP 1: Use FAQFox to find commonly asked questions in your industry. Simply do searches any relevant keywords in the search box.

STEP 2: Pick a category of your choice to start filtering questions targeted to your industry.

faqfox

STEP 3: FAQFox will provide a list of commonly asked questions that are good considerations for your next content. Find any that will fit to your blog categories and start answering them in your posts.

29. GET TRENDING TOPICS USING AHREFS

For advanced content marketers, it’s common to use Buzzsumo to find the most shared content on the web as well as of your competitors.

If you are using Ahrefs as your primary SEO tool, make sure you maximize their content explorer features. It’s quite a recent feature they have that allows you to find top content with good amount of social shares and referring linking domains.

How to maximize Ahrefs for content exploration?

STEP 1: Type in your head term or your next keyword phrase in their search phrase. Choose in title in their options to only find blog posts with exact head term in their titles.

ahrefs content explorer

STEP 2: Filter results based on your preferences, either all time or a set time period, language, specific Social account share or referring domains. Make sure to click one article per domain. Filter based on your needs.

STEP 3: Check each link listed in search results and identify new trending topics you can consider for content creation.

ahrefs content explorer content ideation

Pro tip: View each detail (click Details) to get a glimpse of link growth (referring domains graph) and organic traffic. This allows you to see if a specific content topic is linkable in nature as it tends to attract natural links over time.

30. FIND SIMILAR CONTENT THEMES

Analyzing your own data is helpful to get new insights as to which area of topics you should be investing your content creation in. What you can start doing now is to look at your Google Analytics account. Follow these steps to identify profitable content themes.

STEP 1: Go to Behavior – Site Content – Landing pages and set your duration period for one year or three years, depending on how long you started blogging.

google analytics landing pages

STEP 2: Sort them by number of visits and conversions to see which content asset performs well in terms of business value.

STEP 3: Find similar content themes by listing down their topics in a spreadsheet and looking at patterns of content areas each of them is aligned to.

31. DO 6-3-5 BRAINSTORMING

If you’re having a hard time brainstorming with your team using your office’s whiteboard and pen, then you need some alternatives to use for that purpose alone.

One handy tool is 635 brainstorming.

Each individual or content writer if you’re part of an agency will have 6 rounds each to suggest any content idea for a project they’re working on (assuming it’s a collaborated content writing project).

Six people, six rounds at 5 minutes per round.

This allows each content writer to participate in the brainstorming session, not just one – the content manager who does the entire thing.

If you’re part of a big agency or team, this tool might help you brainstorm content ideas effectively.

32. BE MORE PRODUCTIVE WITH COFFEE

Productivity matters in content writing. When you know what specific hours you can do the work more effectively, you’ll see much greater results in less time. One habit you can start now is drinking coffee, if you’re allowed to do so.

The habit of drinking coffee helps you become more productive at work, in particular at content writing, helps you to be more alert and makes you become creative by setting your mood.

In this article from Time.com, the author shared the best times to drink coffee – it is between 10 a.m. and noon, and between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. You can drink two or three cups of coffee within a day – it’s up to you, as long as you it helps you do more content work.

33. USE HORIZONTAL THINKING FOR BRAINSTORMING

It is a saddening reality when you’re trying to come up with ideas for a client sitting in a boring or, as they say, less creative industry,Let’s say, for a plumbing niche, you can’t think of broader topics than toilets, installation, etc.. Even if you do, you’ll find yourself moving away from the general content theme.

As such, one way you can do is think horizontally – others say its tangential thinking. Whatever it is, it is a process of looking at the sideways. Take a look at this example from Moz.

horizontal thinking

If you plainly look at bathroom content ideas, you are only getting a small scope of audience. But if you can think laterally, you can consider other thematically-relevant ones like DIY and eco or environment-friendly concerns.

Did you get how this works now?

You can create a bubble chart to get started with it.

34. WRITE EXCERPTS FOR VIDEOS OR VISUAL PRESENTATIONS

Being resourceful should be every content marketer’s characteristic. Knowing what to prioritize with your list of content ideas and using what assets you already have at hand can help you follow your content calendar – only producing high-quality content pieces.

One creative way you can do now is to collect all your existing videos either produced internally or outside your organization. Once you have all of these internal content assets, choose pieces that you think can be turned into blog posts. The key here is to identify if one particular video is something your existing readers/audience will care about.

Your next step is to write excerpts to be placed below the video content. You can hire someone from Upwork to do the work for you or you can do it yourself.

content excerpts

If you don’t know what content you should be producing next, start looking at your database, see which videos you can translate into a blog post, with excerpts to preview details of the video.

35. ALIGN CONTENT TO BUSINESS GOALS

Setting business goals is essential to every business activity. You can’t put a specific KPI at your desk for your content writing or creation process without a goal in mind first.

Now here are some quick tips to start defining business goals with your content writing process:

TIP 1: Be specific with your content creation goals. To be the best marketing agency is not a goal. It’s too broad and there’s a lot of factors before you can measure it. Below are some good examples of specific business goals.

GOAL: Rank on first pages in organic search for competitive link building terms.

SharpRocket is a newly established link building company. In order for us to be recognized as the best link building agency in the world, we need to rank highly for both for commercial and informational keywords.

GOAL: Generate 200 inbound leads every month with mid-level to large marketing budgets.

We have to implement a robust content creation and promotion campaigns in order to achieve that goal. We also want to make sure that visitors from different traffic sources will convert into potential SEO clients.

These are just some of goals that we have at SharpRocket. Knowing this in mind will help our marketing and sales team to set specific actions based on goals set. From goal-setting, now we can set for specific KPIs that we need to achieve every single month.

If you are an in-house content writer, it is best to always align what you write to your organization’s business goals in its digital marketing campaign. This way, you’ll be more motivated to provide the best quality with your content given that you know where it’ll go.

36. CREATE YOUR AUDIENCE PROFILE OR PERSONA

When you strategize your content marketing campaign, one thing you shouldn’t never forget is to create your own audience profile or persona.

It’s not rocket science. It’s very simple and if you haven’t executed this yet for your website, you can follow these steps to get started.

STEP 1: Know your audience and be very specific with this. For example, our company targets three types of companies: SEO agencies, SEO and digital marketing teams of big corporations and medium-sized businesses. Using this as our starting point, we can create the following audience profiles.

buyer persona

STEP 2: The next step is to know where these audiences are spending most of their time online. This includes identifying what type of blog they frequently read or which forums they’re actively participating in. This isn’t just useful for content creation but in massively promoting content to web places these audiences are familiar with.

STEP 3: The last but crucial part in creating your audience profile is to think of how you can add value to each of them. Each person has their own needs that your content should be able to address.

As you write your next content, don’t just write everything. Identify to whom your content is targeted to, so you can get more results from your work based on the value provided by your content.

37. USE BLANK PAPER FLOWSTATE

Writer’s block is common in content marketers, especially for newbie bloggers–though at some point, you can actually avoid it and make sure it’ll not happen to you all the time.

If you’re struggling with writing your introduction, take these simple steps.

STEP 1:  Install Flowstate. This app allows you to continuously write your thoughts. If you’ve been stuck or stop writing for more than 5 seconds, the app literally deletes all of your work.

flowstate example

STEP 2: When you finish each part or section of your content, i.e. your introduction, be quick at copy-and-pasting it into your Word document.

STEP 3: Use the app every time you feel you can’t write your first paragraph. This is a handy technique every content writer should consider.

38. MATCH HEADLINES WITH META TITLES

When people landed on your page coming from Google search results, their first thing to consider if they’ll keep reading or not is when they’ve found what they are looking for – user satisfaction.

I’ve seen this mistake most of the time. Bloggers tend to mislead their readers by mismatching headlines with meta-titles. They’ll write the most clickbait meta-titles when in fact their headlines and content itself don’t match to their SERPs structure.

Don’t let this happen to your own content writing campaign as you’ll lose most of the new visitors you have on your website by misleading them wrong information and by not satisfying their intent, desires and questions.

39. PREPARE EDITORIAL CALENDAR

As I always say in my blog posts, organization is one key for an effective content creation campaign. If you don’t take time to organize everything, you’ll miss out some important details and make more mistakes at work.

Preparing editorial calendar for your content marketing campaigns helps you to schedule and organize topics with deadlines attached to them. This helps you become more accountable to what you do.

Below is a sample of editorial calendar template from Michele Linn and you can download it here.

editorial calendar

In her template, he tracks every info each blog post such as: post date, author, keywords, categories, tags, call-to-action and status. It’s not near to perfection, but the template can help you start with content execution.

40. KNOW ABOUT BLOGGING MOJO

Blogging mojo is a coined term by Darren Rowse that basically refers to a blogger’s motivation to consistently produce high-quality content. Consistent means not just once every year, but once or twice every week depending on the blogger’s writing frequency.

There are many ways to get your blogging mojo back, especially if you’re being burnout by too much content work. Here are some that are most effective for us:

  • Align your blogging style to your business goals. You wouldn’t worry if you’re producing quality content when you start to remind yourself about why you do it – and mostly it boils down to providing value to your business or to someone’s business – if you’re hired to write for them.
  • Say the same things in a different way. Oftentimes, bloggers stop writing because they think that they always blog the same topic. More often than not, they simply don’t know to find angles. You can blog about the same topic but attack its discussion in a different way.
  • Get help from other people. If you think you can’t find a good blog post today, then ask your email subscribers, your mentors or even your offline friends. You wouldn’t realize but they have something to contribute to your content ideation.

41. FINISH BIG ROCKS FIRST

Top CEOs and business leaders start their day early in the morning, on average 6:30 A.M. Before distractions come, they’ll start to do the most important tasks of the day so they can get big wins even before the afternoon starts.

It’s interesting because content writers and bloggers might find themselves to be productive early in the morning. Depending on your work schedules, if you can try to get up early and finish the “big rocks” – your content tasks, you’ll be more efficient and effective with your content creation process.

Jeff Bullas, a popular blogger spends his first five hours (4:30am to 9am) only for content writing. By finishing this big rock early in the morning, he can get most of his day growing his blog and acquiring more business value out of it.

42. USE DOTS TO CREATE SUSPENSE

Engagement matters in content writing. If you can’t connect to your readers until the end, you’ll lose their interest at one point – leading to less time on page.

One technique you can employ at your regular blogging is the “dotting” technique. I see this all the time from Brian Dean’s Backlinko where he uses this technique throughout his blog posts.

dots suspense content

dots suspense content two

The dots creates curiosity which keeps visitors reading until they reach the end of the content. Such technique is much more useful for long-form content.

You can try “dotting technique to your own blogging style and see for yourself results of it (check your time on page data in Google Analytics).

43. THINK EVERGREEN

Content has lifetime value. Its lifetime value depends on how long its information provides value to its target audience.

Take a look at this, this blog post of mine way back in 2014 has beemen well-received by the content marketing and blogging community. It continuously get new backlinks over time, since more and more content marketers, especially those who’re looking for additional references and resources find it very useful to include in their latest blog posts.

ahrefs content promotion strategies

If you have posts that need continuous updates and changes in its context, make sure you take to investing in its update or revision, so you can grow its organic traffic and build more audience around it.

44. LEVERAGE BUCKET BRIGADES

If you’ve started with SEO copywriting, I recommend you start to read this guide from Brian Dean. It compiles actionable copywriting techniques to help you effectively engage your readers – making them stay in your content from beginning to end.

One copywriting tactic that Brian Dean shared is the use of “bucket brigades”.

Bucket brigades or grease-slide words (its other referred phrase) are words and phrases that create a smooth flow of transitions between paragraphs and sentences. They minimize the friction of readers leaving the page and lets them read the content just like a greased slide.

If you’ve been an avid reader of this link building blog, you’ll probably noticed some of my posts have bucket brigades. Here are some examples.

bucket brigades content

Here are a few bucket brigades you can add to your post (full list here).

The next time you write the draft of your content, try adding bucket brigades to make your readers stick to it.

45. USE PROPER FORMATTING

One overlooked factor in when writing content is proper formatting. I see this all the time – plain content without tables, bullets, numbers, yellow box, etc..

There are simple and most common formatting options you can try to include in your content, such as:

  • larger font sizes for quotes and headings
  • underlined text for emphasis
  • bullets for unordered lists
  • numbers for steps to follow or lists ordered by importance
  • indented paragraphs for quotes or testimonials

46. SEARCH BAR AGAIN THE SECOND TIME

Google autosuggest helps content marketers find new long tail keywords that aren’t easily been discovered using keyword research tools.

The first suggested search keywords is different from the second try.

Instead of just sticking your content ideation process with the first try suggested search phrase, try searching for Google suggested phrases the second time.

47. DON’T FORGET ABOUT GOOGLE RELATED SEARCHES

If you are a newbie in the content marketing and SEO industry, you probably are not familiar with other keyword research tricks aside from using the Google Keyword Planner.

Google provides suggested related searches connected to your current search query at the bottom of the search results page (SERPs).

This allows you to find another more related long tail keywords that you can include to your content to help it perceived by Google as desirable to rank for other thematically-related phrases.

google related searches

48. TRY ASTERISKS WILD CARD

If you are creating content in industries with things of different kinds and classes, like food recipes, you can take this search technique: asterisks wild card to find almost all types of things you’re trying to rank for.

Here’s one example.

asterisks search results

49. FIND PRODUCT ALTERNATIVES WITH VS TECHNIQUE

Decision-oriented online searchers are interested in finding products or services in an industry that will best fit their needs. Because they’re still on a decision stage, they’re trying to look for as many alternatives to products they’re already familiar with so as to assess features and benefits does each product or service offers. This way, they can make better buying decisions.

A Google query for product VS can reveal other brands (competitors and industry blogs) that are producing content on that same type – comparison type of content.

product comparison search query

50. GET CREDIBLE SOURCES WITH FILETYPE

If you are creating robust content assets, then you always have to consider the credibility of sources you’re getting information and data from.

One way to easily find credible sources from experts, influencers and popular brands that have secured significant case and research studies is by using the filetype:pdf research method in Google.

filetype parenting search results

51. GAUGE TOPICS BASED ON COMMENTS COUNT

Typical reverse engineering has this process: find top industry blogs, plug in to top link building or content tools like Buzzsumo or Ahrefs then find which posts are getting tons of shares and links.

Glen Allsopp upgraded that approach by looking at number of comments each post received as a basis of considering the topics’ high interest rate compared to just focusing on social shares and links.

blog comments content gauge

52. GET NEW INDUSTRY INSIGHTS FROM SLIDESHARES

Influencers are usually speakers in their own local communities or countries. If they have their own blogs, you’ll find them uploading their slide presentations to Slideshare and re-publishing them on their websites.

Slide presentations of influencers are top content ideation inspirations you can take advantage by monitoring their latest speaking updates using Twitter list or even finding latest events in your industry. Do a Google search for [industry] seminar/conference/event [current year] so it can provide you upcoming events as well as recaps of bloggers on a recent niche event.

53. USE CONTENT GAP ANALYSIS

I’ve been testing scalable content ideation strategy that will get results for our clients and this makes my top list – content gap analysis. Here’s how you can start implementing this to your own content marketing campaign.

STEP 1: Identify your content competitors – ones that you are trying to compete for informational keywords.

STEP 2: Plug URLs of their domains to Ahrefs together with the URL of your website.

content gap analysis

STEP 3: Export results to a CSV file, spreadsheet or Google Docs sheet. The end result should like this (image below). Check which keyword  you can potentially create content about with high potential to outrank your content competitors.

content gap analysis spreadsheet

54. RESEARCH NICHE TWITTER CHATS

If you are a social media enthusiast, you’d find different industry trends in Twitter alone. In fact, there are hashtags plus keyword that are picked up by top news sites and blogs that always update their posts.

Niche twitter chats is a content ideation source you should start considering today if you’re a content writer or content marketer.

These trending hashtags don’t just show up without any reasons. So if you’re having a content brainstorming block in your head, try searching for industry on Twitter.

niche twitter chats

55. FIND TOP QUESTIONS ON QUORA

I’ve been receiving a good amount of leads from Quora itself (see sample client inquiries below).

quora lead

But aside from lead generation purposes, this top community website is also useful in generating topic ideas for well-perceived topic ideas.

What you can do is to search for topical trends in Quora, and list them down in a spreadsheet. Here is a screenshot of what I do. Thought this is plainly for content promotion, it’s one great start for content ideation. If you’re doing content promotion, make sure you know how to find email addresses of your outreach targets.

quora spreadsheet threads

You can base your picking of topics on two things: first, rank in search – search the exact question on Google and see if they rank on the first page, best should be on top spots 1 to 5. Second, if they are in a range of 10,000+ views or 1,000 to 10,000 views – this means that these threads are visited most of the time by community members and/or are getting pageviews from organic source (from search).

Bring this HUGE guide anywhere…

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Now It’s Your Turn…

What other content writing tips can you share?

Or maybe you have a question on how to implement any of the strategies and techniques in our above list?

Either way, leave a comment quick below.

I’ll be more than happy to reply to comments and answer questions.

So if you have a question, insight or new tactic, leave a comment right now.

Venchito Tampon is the CEO and Co-Founder of SharpRocket,. Also a Filipino motivational speaker who inspired thousands of youth and young professionals across the Philippines.