5 STEPS TO BUILDING AN AMAZING CONTENT WRITING CREATION WORKFLOW
Let’s be real - I can write anywhere between 6,000 and 10,000 words every single week. Content writing is a big part of what I do.
From my own website to writing blog posts for my clients and all the other content writing I do, I write a lot of content. And I’m not talking 500-word basic blog posts. I’m talking content that is AMAZING.
Strategic. Well written. Detailed. Optimised. Entertaining. Those are just some words I’d use to describe my content.
And that is JUST content. It’s not taking into account all the other content I create, from YouTube videos to social media posts and more.
I write a lot of content. But it’s manageable.
You might think this isn’t the right way to go about it and I’ll never be able to carry on at this pace. But I’ve been doing the workflow I’m about to show you for the past four years.
The reason I wanted to share this with you is because:
It shows you can create a lot of amazing content without being short on time (or burning out).
I know the strategies and steps you can implement to help make this happen.
A lot of you have been asking for a blog post on this topic...so here we are.
Today I’m taking you though my 5 step content writing creation workflow, which I use for every single blog post.
Because let’s face it...blogging is my bae.
SHOULD YOU FOLLOW MY STRATEGY?
Am I trustworthy enough?
Well in addition to content for my clients and my own website, I’ve also won three blogging awards (two in a row at the UK Blog Awards). Over the past nearly five years, I’ve written thousands of words worth of content to help you get a breakthrough with your online presence.
And I can guarantee you this. Content writing is something I will never delegate to anyone else.
All this is to say, I’m not just blowing my own trumpet here. Content writing is my jam.
I’ve been there as a blogger who feels an insane amount of pressure and overwhelm to get content out there. Add to the fact that you feel like you’re doing this alone.
This process is how I got to where I am today.
AVERAGE CONTENT CREATION SPEED
I want to outline this briefly, but I also want to say that this is just what works for me. You do you.
Currently, I can write around 1,000 words per hour when I know what I’m talking about. This doesn’t count idea generation time or planning time. I feel like you need a separate chunk of time for each of those steps to bring the final version together.
That may seem like a lot to you, but it’s only possible because I follow this workflow.
And remember, when I first started out I was spending too much time on content that was nowhere near as good as what I can create now.
This workflow started as I went from novice blogger to the content writing business owner typing these words right now.
My 5 Step Content Writing Creation Workflow To Help You Write Amazing Content
STEP 1: SET ASIDE TIME TO COME UP WITH IDEAS
I am never without content ideas. Never.
There are a couple of reasons for this. First, because it’s so useful to think and plan ahead. Second, because you never know when you need to spring up a new blog post if your editorial calendar becomes a little unpredictable.
That’s why the first step of this process is to set a decent amount of time aside to come up with loads of new content ideas.
Here are a few things to think about when you have this session:
Look at questions your readers have asked you and see if you can think of an idea to solve their problem.
Come up with a few months of newsletter ideas.
Plan all blog posts for the month ahead.
The reason why it’s useful to do this all in one sitting is because you can get in the right mindset and get your idea generation done in one go. It’s a great time management strategy and allows your content to stay connected throughout a period of time.
Let’s say you think about a general topic - eating vegan. You come up with one working headline around that topic. Then another and another. Within minutes you’ve got a full-blown series of blog posts ready to go that are all connected and can build momentum around your brand.
Now, this isn’t to say you can’t come up with ideas at any other time. I don’t limit myself to those idea generation sessions. If an idea comes to me in the spur of a moment, you better be sure I’ll make a note of it.
The first step of this process means I haven’t run out of content ideas since 2013.
So you’ve got lists of ideas for each of your different categories. But you’ve also got a backlog of ideas in case you come to do and think, “oh I kinda want to write something else instead.”
You’ve got the option to follow your editorial calendar for whatever content you’ve got coming up, or you can choose something from your extensive list.
Now it’s time for step 2 (which won’t come as any surprise to you if you know how much I love planning).
STEP 2: IDENTIFY THE PURPOSE AND STRUCTURE OF THE BLOG POST
It’s so important to get clear on the purpose and structure of each blog post.
While I write my posts in Google Docs (more on that later), I do this stage in a notebook so I don’t get distracted by the research stage (coming up soon).
It’s great to do this when you’re coming up with ideas for planning your editorial calendar. This way you won’t forget any details when it comes to the actual content writing.
If this doesn’t work for you, you can do it on a blog post by blog post basis. It all depends on your preferences.
So let’s run through how we can actually do this.
For this section, I use the first part of the blog post template I’ve created for you.
First, I pick a keyword for the piece of content related to the overall idea. This then allows me to create a draft headline and a purpose.
The headline is never the final headline that I use. For instance, for this blog post, the draft headline was “5 step content writing workflow”. Nothing fancy yet. Just straight to the point.
The purpose is a sentence or two that explains the key takeaway for people who are reading this piece of content.
For example, the purpose of this blog post was: “Discover my 5 step content writing workflow to help you create amazing content without losing more of your time.”
And for my post on driving traffic to your website with Pinterest, it was: “Explore how to drive traffic to your website with Pinterest using two key strategies, as well as learning about how to use keywords.”
If you know the call-to-action or larger goal for yourself for the content, that’s going to be so beneficial for you.
Now, this is where most people make a BIG mistake. They go straight onto writing. But there’s a step missing before we get onto that.
STEP 3: CREATE A DETAILED OUTLINE
After I sort out the draft headline and purpose, it’s time to create a detailed outline. And by detailed, I mean super detailed.
This is where I use the bullet points on the blog post template to list everything I want to talk about in the post.
I don’t start writing the post yet, but I make sure I get every single point down, whether it’s main heading or a smaller sub-heading. It all goes on there. And I use a Google Docs template to get this done.
This outline will include all the important points I want to include in my content writing. Talking points, examples, references to include...anything that springs to mind.
Your outline is the meat and potatoes of the pie.
It tells you what you’re actually going to write about and makes the content writing process a whole lot easier.
You want to make the outline so detailed that you could leave the post for a few months, come back to it and still know what you’re talking about.
Now at this point I bet you’re thinking, “Holly, this just sounds like MORE work, I thought you said this was going to save me time!”
Unlike what a lot of other people believe, this is the most creative part of the content writing creation workflow.
In order to really write a great piece of content, you need all the prep work to be done in advance. All your research and planning would just get in the way if you did it all at the same time as writing. This is just what works for me, but I highly encourage you to give it a try if you want to save time on your process.
STEP 4: GET WRITING
Now it’s finally time to write. And it’s going to be a breeze.
Why? Because the amount of time you dedicate to your outline cuts down on the time you actually spend writing. Hence the fact I can write a good 1,000 words within 60 minutes. So the whole process doesn’t take you longer. The different steps are just weighted differently.
Having a super detailed outline means you know exactly what you’re going to write as soon as you open the document.
It allows you to stop thinking and just write. You can share your thoughts, connect them together and really show off your expertise and personality.
Just imagine how you’ll feel at the end of the content writing process for a new blog post!
Using this simple content writing workflow becomes the best and easiest part of putting a new blog post together, whether writing comes naturally to you or not. And if you don’t like writing, this will really change your mindset about it.
Your purpose is set, you know what you’re talking about, so you can really just let the words flow. But we can’t forget about step number five.
STEP 5: DON’T FORGET TO EDIT
So many bloggers have admitted to me that they skip the editing process. And the main reason is because they don’t like it.
If this is you, you just need to go into your content and get done what needs to get done as quickly and efficiently as possible.
And when you edit your content, it’s not just looking for mistakes. It’s about making it better!
Remember when you’re editing that it’s about the package as a whole.
Now obviously your spelling and grammar is super important. But writing online content is about way more than just good sentence structure. It’s about knowing how to speak to your audience in a easy to read way.
So when you’re struggling with content writing, don’t focus on going through each sentence with a fine-tooth comb. Read it aloud and think of yourself as a reader and how your idea is being conveyed.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Your first sentence/paragraph needs to mention the main idea of your content.
Get rid of any words you don’t need (I’m looking at you, adverbs!)
Make every section about something in particular.
I highly recommend creating a Grammarly account because this takes editing to another level and makes it so easy for you. It’s way better than any built-in spell checker and will help to improve your writing over time.
After that, give yourself a toast because your blog post is ready to put out there into the world.
FINALLY...MAKE WRITING A HABIT
The way to make this workflow really successful is to make writing a habit.
I wasn’t writing amazing content straight away. I was writing more posts but they were of a really low quality. That’s why it’s important to focus on making writing a habit.
Don’t stress and don’t hold back. Just write. If you keep writing, your words will get better. That’s why I wanted to share this workflow with you that focuses on the whole content marketing process, not just the writing.
Will you be implementing any of these steps into your own workflow? Did you find this useful? Let me know in the comments!