One of the most significant aspects of Content Marketing is consistency.
But creating high-quality content week after week can be quite a task. Before you can even pick up a pen to write, there is a myriad of things to do.
You need to do your keyword analysis, pick a topic, research on the topic. Then comes the part of actual writing.
Make sure it speaks to your company’s tone, follow excellent SEO practices, and so on. Things can get really complex, real soon.
Well, it doesn’t have to.
You can set up a repeatable and adaptive content creation framework. A routine with a clear chain of processes and directions.
You may ask, isn’t having a plan counter-productive to creativity?
Doesn’t structure strangulate imagination?
Shouldn’t artists be independent of routines?
Well, if you want to roll out charming articles that provide value. And offer a cohesive experience to your visitors.
You must find a middle ground to nurture creativity while working within a structure. A structured content creation framework can help you do that.
Today I will walk you through the steps to create a wonderful content creation framework.
That will keep your content machine moving, and your creativity flowing.
Let’s get wild.
The 9-Step Content Creation Framework
The first step in the content creation framework is to explore ideas.
Find out the frequency and form of content you want to publish. This will tell you how much content you need for a stipulated period and in what category.
List down all the potential topics and conduct keyword tests on them.
Then create a pool of subjects based on the keywords you want to rank for.
If finding topics is tough, work with your colleagues from Sales. Create a list of FAQs they get during client interactions.
It’s good to focus your content strategy around your potential consumer’s inquiries.
The buying journey often confuses prospective customers. They need your guidance and education.
Why not leverage your content to help them?
Arrange the topics according to the stages of the buyer’s journey. These stages- awareness, attention, and decision act as a great way to group topics.
Dan Martell explains it with a funny analogy in the video below.
The second step in the content creation framework is to assign responsibilities.
There are several steps involved in content creation.
And all of these are interdependent.
It also needs distinct competence.
For example, designers have a different skill set that editors.
Even if you’re a small team or a one-man army.
It’s important to establish specific directions.
More so for the larger teams.
The editor can not edit if the writer hasn’t finished writing.
Hence you need a team that’s highly collaborative. A group that works like levers of a well-oiled machine.
Because you’re only as good as your team. So it’s crucial to establish roles and responsibilities within the group.
Everyone should know what is expected of them, and when is it expected.
With a plethora of topics to choose from, the third step in the content creation framework is to create a content schedule.
A yearly calendar is ideal because it gives enough time to schedule all the topics. While leaving room for flexibility.
But a half-yearly or quarterly schedule also works well.
Anything shorter will not give you enough time to work with.
One thing to keep in mind is to leave a place for flexibility. The calendar should accommodate company initiatives and incorporate any unforeseen circumstances.
A content creation framework should include new product launches, sudden trending topics should find a place in your plan.
During the testing times of corona, many companies diverted their content strategy.
They included articles to spread general awareness, share company initiatives.
It’s also essential to keep track of all the pieces at various production stages.
It helps to hold people responsible. It also provides a deadline to ensure time-bound delivery.
The fourth step in the content creation framework is to actually draft the content. This is where you can give shape to your ideas.
The most important aspect here is to think of the headline.
Without an attractive headline, even the best-written articles can not be successful.
Think of a headline as a promise you make to your prospects. They click on the headline, hoping to find what it guarantees.
Use a tool like CoSchedule’s free headline analyzer to analyze your headline.
But make sure you deliver on the promise when they click. If your post doesn’t match with your headline, your audience may leave and never return (And google hates it too!).
Another important aspect to consider here is to establish the kind of narrative you want to share.
Ask yourself this question: what type of story does my audience want to read?
Based on the answer, you need to decide the storytelling formula.
Next, there should be an offer for the audience. A piece of content that you provide when they share their information like a name and email address.
This helps increase your email list. It is also an effective way of engaging with your audience.
Now that you have your piece ready, you’d want to think about the formats to publish it in.
An often-ignored step in the content creation framework is refurbishing. Infographics, videos, slide shows- you can use the same write-up in different formats.
Publish a post on Medium or LinkedIn. Post a video on YouTube. Share an infographic on Pinterest. This is a recurring process.
This way you can increase reach without having to create something new. Something from scratch.
The fifth step in the content creation framework is to review the draft.
Editing converts a good article into a great one. Excluding things that are not important. Amplifying the ones that are. This is where the magic happens.
Checking for grammar, facts & stats, clichés, story gaps, and plagiarism should be basic hygiene.
This is important because poor grammar can be off-putting for many people, a deal-breaker even.
And it doesn’t take much effort. Paste your write-up on any grammar checking app like Grammarly. You’ll see what you need to correct.
The content should also speak in your brand’s tone. It should reflect your company’s unique personality.
Also, check for SEO compliance if you’re aiming to rank on Google (who isn’t?). Fill any gaps you may have left during the process.
The sixth step in the content creation framework is to arrange the items in order.
When you create pieces regularly, you can gather a giant pyramid of items in no time. It can get difficult to manage real quick.
Imagine you need something urgently. You look through the enormous pile that you’ve collected. But it’s impossible to locate.
This can be frustrating. So it’s necessary to organize everything for easy access. There are two major things to keep in mind: naming conventions, and storage location.
A good content creation framework encourages a clear rule for naming items. Choose a simple formula to apply to every piece you store.
For example, combine the topic name with the format and add the month and year of publishing to it.
Once you name the pieces, keep it safe in storage space. Preferably uploaded on the cloud to cut hardware dependency.
07. Publish & Promote
With your content all suited up, It’s time for the seventh step in the content creation framework. To show up at the party.
Push the article into your favorite CMS for publishing.
Then be ready to show off to the world. Showcase your hard-labor by promoting it across channels.
To reach your prospects organically, send out an email to your list and share it on social media.
For higher reach, consider paid promotions on social media and Google.
If you’ve finished the first 7 steps, congratulations are in order. This brings us to the eighth step in the content creation framework – analysis.
Analyze the results and see how your article is performing. Find out actionable insights to work with.
Andy from Orbit Media provides excellent Google Analytics tips for beginners in the video below.
But remember, analytics do little on its own. Its power lies in providing insights. And its effectiveness lies in user actions based on those insights.
You should change elements and see how it affects your SEO ranking, blog traffic, or conversion.
Consider A/B testing by tweaking the title a bit, or changing the structure of the post.
If you use emails / social media (which you should), there are separate analytics for that. Those will also give you valuable insights.
Keep experimenting till you find what clicks for your brand.
Create. Analyze. Change. Repeat.
If you’re creating an evergreen article, this final step in the content creation framework is essential. Evergreen content is one that stays relevant even after many months (or years).
For example, an article on how to open a bank account can remain relevant for a long time. But an analysis of the Budget 2020 will lose its significance after a while.
Depending on the article type, assess these quarterly or half-yearly.
Create a checklist of questions for regular health-checks.
Does it need more depth?
Has a section become redundant?
Does it need a newer addition?
Are the recommended links still working?
And so on. The idea is to keep an article written in 2015 relevant even in 2020 with regular updates.
Over To You
Imagine if your family loves Barfi and wants to eat it every week (I approve! :P).
You go online and search for ‘how to make Barfi at home’. You get a list of ingredients and steps to prepare the best Barfi in the world.
So you don the chef hat and out comes a batch of this delicious Indian dessert. But after a few weeks you want to experiment and create Kaju Barfi, and then Mango Barfi.
What you will do is follow the same instructions. But add a few extra ingredients and alter a few steps.
Similarly, you can add/delete/change elements to satisfy your creative freedom.
You’ll notice, with a robust content creation framework, your creative expression gets amplified. Because you always have a skeleton to fall back to.
Now you know how to create your unique content creation framework.
Follow the steps to churn out top-notch content that your audience loves, consistently.