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Consistent content creation is not easy. It requires time, effort and research - and whilst you may be writing blogs, you may be doing this infrequently and using processes which take far too long.

It’s important to realise that blogging is a key component in driving traffic to your website from search engines and social media channels - and will help you to establish your business online as a source of valuable information.

And, as you continue to grow your library of content and attract audiences through search, you can increase your lead generation activity and ultimately sales leads for your business.

Therefore, in order to help you find consistency and refine your content creation process, here are our best blog writing tips, content creation tools and best-practice advice.

Have an idea of what you want to write about, before you start writing

Generally, we will browse the internet for newsworthy articles and events which then become fuel and context for our content creation strategy. Alongside this, we will aim to answer the questions many of our customers have regarding certain aspects of the industry we work in. Having at least a vague idea or the principal tenets of that which you want to write, makes it unbelievably easy to get writing.

Don’t get caught up in the wording of a particular sentence or statement – or spending time on or trying to find suitable, yet erudite words. First and foremost: get those thoughts down! Worry about perfecting what you have written later!

Skip the introduction at first - or shorten it

Your introductory paragraph or ‘lead’ is vital to capturing the attention of your reader. Introductions are so important that people agonise over them, spending hours trying to craft the perfect hook, instead of spending more time on the body text. Whilst your lead paragraph should entice your reader and encourage them to read on, it should also provide an abstract or snapshot of what the article contains.

Ideally, keep is short and sweet - provide just enough information for your readers so that they feel compelled to read on. Alternatively, skip the introduction, formulate your article and then write your summary of the piece afterwards, as this allows you to familiarise yourself with the content and determine what parts stand out most - which will most likely form the basis of your introduction.

Have a content map

A content map allows you to create content that better matches the searcher’s intent. It’s orientated around buyer personas - the people whom you want to target with your content. However, if you are unsure about what a buyer persona is, you can read our blog which establishes their importance and why they are relevant to your content marketing strategy.

Now, your content map is effectively a diagram that interlinks with your buyer personas, highlighting what content you can implement to solve a particular issue, problem or concern - we call these ‘pain points. Furthermore, it helps unravel where you have gaps in your content relating to certain buyer personas, allowing you to brainstorm new topics and ideas.

This is, however, just a brief insight into content mapping. In theory, it’s simple; in reality, it can become quite complex.

With a complete content map, you can create highly personalised content which is aligned with the needs and wants of your prospective customers or blog readers. The aim is to create targeted content which is based on the characteristics of the person who will be reading it (that’s where your buyer personas come in) and where that person is in the buying cycle (essentially, how close they are to a purchase). Then, you separate the buying cycle into three lifecycle stages: Awareness, Consideration and Decision.

You then utilise the stages of Awareness, Consideration and Decision to help you determine what kind of content you should create and to what buyer persona that content is related.

But if you want to learn more about how you can use these stages to direct your content creation, we have written a detailed blog post on the different lifecycle stages and the content relevant to each stage here.

If possible, have a library of ideas

If you have gone through the meticulous process of defining your ideal prospect, brainstorming relevant ideas to target their pain points and built a detailed content map, it is highly likely that you have a library of ideas ready to be deployed at every stage of your marketing funnel. Formulating ideas on a regular basis is the hardest part of your content creation strategy. And, if you have run out of ideas, or not gone through the process of developing a content map, make it an absolute necessity that your department comes together once a month for an hour or two to brainstorm new ideas.

Avoid distractions and keep your research close by - or in the document

Rather than continuously flick back and forth between internet tabs, books or articles to locate important information, try to write down your most important points within the document you are working on. In doing so, you generate momentum and reduce time spent on trying to find those salient quotes.

Tackle one topic at a time

When you are writing a blog, you should aim to address one issue at a time. Explore it in detail and uncover all of its intricacies instead of trying to branch out and discuss a multitude of subjects in the preamble. Attempting to discuss more than one primary issue right away, risks quickly losing focus and accuracy; and potentially lose the reader as well. Instead of opting for a broad generalisation, choose to be specific, concise and pithy.

Take breaks

If you are a machine, don’t worry about this section.

But for those of us who are not content machines, your productivity is defined by how energised you are. At the end of the day, you are not going to be able to produce any content, let alone quality content if you are deteriorating at your desk, gradually withering away into a husk.

It is important to take breaks, not only because your mind and body will feel rejuvenated, but it also gives you the opportunity to come up with different perspectives and approach what you have written previously with fresh eyes.

Proofread and edit

Even though you are producing a plethora of content, it is nonetheless imperative that you have your content checked by someone other than yourself for grammatical consistency and readability. Everyone has a tendency to type and write for themselves, i.e. not considering how their work would read to others. It’s our job as authors to include signs and indicators which help people digest our content and not choke on a wayward comma. Once you have proofed your work, edit. There is always something which could be constructed or phrased better and you will be all the happier for it.

Now that you have a map to follow, you need the tools to help you on that journey.

Have a schedule, be consistent, use the tools (no, not the force)

All the planning, creativity and enthusiasm in the world won’t count for anything if you can’t maintain a level of consistency and have a plan you stick to.  We manage to draft and complete quality blogs because we have a series of reminders that pop up throughout the day, preventing us from veering off into the uncharted depths of Reddit, or trawling our Facebook feed for cat videos. Although the method we have adopted might work well for us and perhaps others, we recognise that consistency is achieved in different ways. So, we have compiled a list of applications you can use to help you on that quest for consistency:

Information saving tools

[1] Pocket – Pocket allows you to save pretty much everything and anything for later use or viewing. This is particularly helpful if you are looking for multiple articles and can’t read them right away. Pocket works on all mobile devices and computers, plus – you don’t even need an internet connection to access what you have saved!

[2] Evernote – Evernote is similar to pocket, but helps you to save and capture ideas as quickly as possible. The best aspect of Evernote is the fact that it has seamless transition between any browser and/or device – and also adds your ideas/drafts/notes to the infamous Google Drive – which is exceptionally good for file storage and access.

[3] Trello – effectively a noteboard (combination of whiteboard and notepad), Trello enables you to list everything and anything using a series of cards (however many you require) and attach users, or files to each card. You can customise as much as you wish so there’s no limitations to how your board looks or works – and if people need access to your work/schedule you can provide it to them!

There you have it, our best blog writing tips - and some tools you should consider using. Ultimately, your content creation is defined by your ability to be consistent in your processes. Make it a regime - an office religion even - that you all come together to discuss topical and technical ideas relevant to your business and buyer personas, and then assign responsibility to the creation of that content. And, as you begin to become accustomed to these processes, they become second nature and everyone in your business is working towards the continuous building of your library of content on a monthly basis.

Though if you want to refine your blogging skills further and construct the perfect blog, check out our super-quick guide to the perfect blog, here.

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