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10 Essential Steps for Creating Content That Matters

The Epic Content Cycle [10] ESSENTIAL STEPS CREATING CONTENT that Matters "I'm struggling to..." 1 "I just wish I could..." IDENTIFY the Pain Points The starting point for any epic post is your ideal reader. Your post should target those painful or frustrating issues she is itching to solve. "I hate it when..." To uncover your readers' most acute pain points: Read blog comments. O Review emails from readers. Explore forums and Q&A sites. O Run subscriber surveys. Check Amazon book reviews. O Conduct interviews. 2 SCENARIO CHOOSE STEP PROBLEM a Tempting Topic Not even an epic post can solve OUTCOME all your audience's problems at once. Focus your efforts and narrow your scope by tackling just one aspect of one problem where you can offer immediate relief. To narrow down your topic, you can: Focus on just one step O Focus on just one case or O Focus on just one of a larger process, e.g., scenario, e.g., "exercising when pregnant" instead of "keeping fit." specific outcome, e.g., "create a resume" "earn your first $100 instead of "find a job." online" instead of "make money online." Confirm reader interest in your topic by using: ol Keyword research tools, like Google Keyword Planner or Moz Keyword Explorer, to check search Social research tools, like Google Search to check Buzzsumo, to confirm that that posts on similar posts on similar topics are topics already exist (low competition usually means low interest). popular on social media volume (aim for at least 1K (aim for at least a few searches per month for relevant keywords). hundred shares across the major platforms). 3 EVALUATE the Current Competition Your post won't be the first to cover this topic. Research existing content that tackles the same problem, looking for weaknesses and opportunities. To find popular posts on the same topic: O Type relevant keywords into Google Search, e.g., "exercising when pregnant". Bonus tips O Use Buzzsumo to search for posts that Collect links to relevant posts are popular on social media. in a spreadsheet or a bookmarking tool like O Search competitor blogs for posts on the Evernote, to make it easier to same topic, e.g., "site:zenhabits.net refer to them later. mindfulness". Make notes about specific weaknesses or opportunities against each entry. 4 DETERMINE Your Deliberate Difference Epic content is noticeably superior to the competition. Differentiate your post by choosing an approach or angle that deliberately exploits the weaknesses of competing posts. 3 To differentiate your post from the competition, go "all out" on: Design Use colors, images, and Drama Use storytelling and diagrams to create a visually stunning post. emotion to take the reader on a wild ride. Data Depth "Zoom in" to explore your Incorporate the real-world data that topic in more detail than competitors' posts lack. anyone else. BRAINSTORM 10 WAYS TO BOOS Your Irresistible Headline The primary job of your headline is to tempt your audience to click through and read your content. Take the time to craft a headline that makes readers desperate to learn more. To craft a headline that gets clicked, use the 4 U's method to convince readers your post is: U seful "I believe this has practical value for me." Bonus tips U rgent Use "power words" to amplify "I must read this right away." the emotional impact. Brainstorm at least 10 U ltra-specific headlines for your post before "I know precisely what benefit this post making a final decision. will deliver." Consider testing a selection of U nique headlines with your audience via social media. "I won't have read the same advice anywhere else." 6. CONDUCT Your Essential Research Your epic post is only as valuable as the information it provides. Bolster the knowledge and experience you already have by gathering supporting information through careful research. To fortify your content: O Read your competitors' most popular O Find relevant quotes to illuminate posts and note their best points. your topic and inspire readers. O Deepen your knowledge by reading popular books on your topic. O Collect and analyze real-world data or provide case studies. O Interview experts to gather additional tips and advice. O Find or devise examples to explain difficult concepts. 7 PLAN Your Main Points The way you organize your content is as important as the content itself. Create an outline to bring structure to your ideas and give you a handy blueprint for writing your epic post. To structure your content effectively, be sure to consider: Promise Objections "Does my content deliver "Have I addressed questions on the 'promise' of the or stumbling blocks my headline?" audience may have?" Flow Completeness "Is the information presented in a natural "Have I provided enough information for my and logical sequence?" readers to take action?" Bonus tips Use an outlining tool like Workflowy or your favorite mind-mapping app, to Import the outline directly into your favorite text editor to give your first draft instant structure. organize your thoughts. 8 CRAFT Your Epic Content Laying the groundwork for your post is important, but the execution is crucial. Use your outline and a few guiding questions to create a draft that truly deserves the label "epic." To write your killer draft, ask yourself: O Do I have a strong, empathetic O Have I incorporated the language my opening that taps into my readers' pain audience uses to help them connect points? with the content? O Do I acknowledge my readers' dreams, desires, fears, and frustrations throughout the post? O Have I used short paragraphs and rich formatting (e.g., bullet points) to improve readability? O Have I engineered irresistible O Do I have a powerful closing that subheads to keep people reading instead of just scanning? inspires my readers to take an immediate next step? 6. POLISH Before You Publish No epic post is ready to publish after just one draft. To get your first draft into shape, use several review/edit iterations to catch any errors and improve its clarity and flow. To make your draft shine: O Let your post rest at least 24 hours O Get rid of filler words and lazy phrases before reviewing and editing. that rob your writing of its power. O Read your post aloud to check the flow and catch any clumsy wording. O Replace jargon and gobbledygook with descriptive words that paint a clear picture. 10 "It's ready!" PROMOTE Your Published Post Content so good it promotes itself is a myth. Even truly epic content needs a push to get the ball rolling. Use smart promotion to give your post the reach and attention it deserves. To spread the word about your epic content: O Email your subscribers to build O Reach out to influencers and ask excitement. them to share it. O Share your post on social media, using O Repurpose your post for other relevant hashtags. popular platforms, like Medium and SlideShare. O Notify the people you mentioned or featured within the post. Brought to you by SmartBlogger

10 Essential Steps for Creating Content That Matters

shared by milkwhale on Nov 25
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The Epic Content Cycle 10 Essential Steps for Creating Content That Matters

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