Tips for Content Creation

14 replies
I have done freelance and contract writing for 15+ years now. With unique, quality content now a base requirement for site ranking, I thought I’d share what I have found the most proficient system for researching and developing content on any given topic. I use this system for writing articles, reports, ebooks and web content.

When I research a topic, I like to draw material from as many different sources as possible. I look for authority sites on the web and extract content from somewhere between 10 – 12 different sites as a minimum. I also refer to books, magazines and encyclopedias. I obviously end up with a scratch file that is total mess – duplications, variations and even conflicting data. I would never even think about organizing this material into some semblance and then spin it. I would end up with a mish-mash of different writing styles. After all, spinning is essentially nothing more than synonym substitution.

This is where a more methodical approach is needed. This is what I have found to work best for me:
  • I go through the content I have assembled and reduce it into a long list of factual statements.The “what, where, when, how” approach works best. I prefer short, single-line bullet points. Good information that is not “factual” I attach as annotations where they best fit. These include descriptions, clarifications “by-the-ways” etc.
  • I then organize my fact list into categories and assign a heading and sub-headings within each category. This then becomes a draft document structure or Table of Contents. If I am writing a long report or an ebook, I then go to Amazon and look at the Table of Contents for their best selling books in the relevant niche. I find the “For Dummies” books particularly useful. If I have missed out on some important issues, I add them to my category list and do some more research.
  • The next step is to sort and assign my list points to their appropriate category. Within each category, I then organize them into a logical sequence. This then becomes my “document outline”.
  • I can now proceed to write the content in my own words. As I get deeper into the subject matter, I often have to modify the structure, particularly at the sub-heading level. This is perfectly fine as I am working within a defined structure.
This method works for me because, armed with a document outline, I can write using my own creative instinct. There is nothing worse than trying to re-write what somebody else has written already. It entirely blocks your own creative power and you just end up tangling with words.

This method is obviously a little time consuming. So be it, I am only interested in the quality of the end product. I am not in the camp that has the misguided notion that you can write a new ebook every single day of the week and publish it on Amazon.

I’d like to hear what method others use. After all, mix and match is the best way to best practices.
#content #creation #tips
  • Profile picture of the author addyj672
    There are many characteristics of your content that are in the algorithmic calculations, there are a few that consistently hold relatively high priority and thus will be the focus of this article. These are:
    · Heading Tags
    · Special Text (bold, colored, etc.)
    · Inline Text Links
    · Keyword Density
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    • Profile picture of the author peter25k
      Before you write content you need to think about how it fits to your site topic / theme. Then you should research what keywords are in demand and use this as a starting point in the process of content creation. You can also ask your blog readers to give you suggestions on what content to write or research sites like yahoo answers to see what other people want to know.
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      • Profile picture of the author Gail_Curran
        aesweb, that was a good write-up. I use a process quite similar to yours, and you're right - it is time-consuming. Anyone can research facts and figures, but dissecting, organizing, and synthesizing material from various sources is a skill that many people lack. Most people would consider 10-12 sources overkill, but I'm impressed by your diligence.
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    • Profile picture of the author Gail_Curran
      Originally Posted by addyj672 View Post

      There are many characteristics of your content that are in the algorithmic calculations, there are a few that consistently hold relatively high priority and thus will be the focus of this article. These are:
      · Heading Tags
      · Special Text (bold, colored, etc.)
      · Inline Text Links
      · Keyword Density
      This is pure copy-paste spam, stolen directly from another website. If you can't think of something original to say, don't say anything.
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  • Profile picture of the author seobro
    Hi Gail:

    Well, every one tries to contribute their piece. I have found that BOLD text does not work as well anymore. Also, same with RED text which use to work ages ago.

    Google pretty much goes on anchor text now. They use that as their ranking signal and many other tried and true metrics they ignore. For example, according to Matt Cutts, Google ignores meta tags due to massive spam.
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    • Profile picture of the author Joachim Larsen
      The best advice I can give you, is to just use very basic SEO (like having the keyword in the title, in the first sentence, once in the middle of the article body and once at the very end, and preferably in an anchor link) and just write solid, good valuable content - for the READERS!

      If you focus on creating valuable content and focus on writing for your readers, chances are that you're article will go viral and start to spread all over the www. Focus mainly on the content and it will probably give you much more traffic by word of mouth than it would do if you mainly focus on the SEO part...

      Joachim
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  • Profile picture of the author simonbuzz
    Banned
    thanks for the share...
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    • Profile picture of the author Tina Golden
      Originally Posted by simonbuzz View Post

      thanks for the share...

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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    aesweb, this is the kind of professional approach that allowed you to make it as a freelance writer for over a decade. Wannabe writers could do a lot worse than printing out your post and reviewing it regularly.

    About the only things I would add are a couple of additional resources, depending on the subject matter...

    > Industry and trade groups' publications and websites can provide some excellent background information, demographics in particular.

    > Quotes/interviews with noted experts. Database sites which match people looking for interviews with people looking to be interviewed (HARO, etc.) can get you started. Many authors/publishers are also including contact information within their books.
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  • Profile picture of the author J R Salem
    Yeah, nice post. Definitely in the mind of an article pro..
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  • Profile picture of the author bnwebm
    Well said, and definitely good information for budding content writers!
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    My blog, because nothing is a more powerful marketing tool than a well written article.
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  • Profile picture of the author Charlotte Jay
    Excellent post. Your methods are excellent, but I think it's equally as important to inject personality into your content. It's easy to write about facts, figures, benefits and issues, but without personality, who's going to read your content?
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    • Profile picture of the author FreelanceScribe
      Originally Posted by peter25k View Post

      Then you should research what keywords are in demand and use this as a starting point in the process of content creation.
      Agreed. If I write for a client, that's the first question I would ask. When I write for my own sites, I work from a list of pre-defined keywords.
      However, when writing reports and ebooks, I can ignore keywords as the aim is to sell the products, not having them ranked in search engines.
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      Kindle author and freelance writer. Special offers on writing eBooks, manuals or reports. eBook: Facebook Advertising: "Strategies, Tactics, Tools & Tracking", http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ADV5LT6. Amazon Author page http://amazon.com/author/alexbeckis.

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