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How to consistently produce amazing content? 8 top bloggers and content marketers know the answer

| Posted in category Blogging Content marketing Expert round-up Internet Marketing Writing

We all aim for great content. Bloggers, SEOs, content strategists, marketers, small business owners - we all want to add value to our readers with best articles, videos, whitepapers, podcasts, infographics, etc.

But when it comes to actually creating worthy content on a regular basis, we realize it's easier said than done.

At some point we need tips from content thought leaders to make sure we're moving in the right direction. With that in mind, I approached leading bloggers and content marketers with one and the same question:

How to consistently produce amazing content?

In this article, you'll find insights from 8 experts who built their authority through writing valuable stuff that resonates with their readers.

So, do top content folks have any secrets? Read on to find out!

1. Take the pressure off yourself, and don't aim for consistently amazing content


How can you consistently produce amazing content? You can't. It's impossible.

Everyone has their bad days. Everyone has ideas that aren't so great. Everyone writes content that isn't so good, including the top pros.

So I take the pressure off myself. I don't aim for consistently amazing content. I'm quite happy to consistently produce pretty darned good content, with a sprinkling of sometimes-amazing.

You see, when writers don't have to hit the bar of exceptional each time they write, they actually produce better content overall and rarely struggle with issues like writer's block or blank page syndrome.

No stress = more content, and better content. It's the recipe for writing success.

Of course, I also maintain healthy writer habits, like writing in short sprints and taking frequent breaks. I don't work long days, and I don't try to push through it when my creativity isn't high. I write when I feel good, which helps keep my motivation and spirits in good places.

I also eat well, get plenty of sleep at night, take weekends off to relax or get some playtime in, and I keep my focus on work I love to do.

James Chartrand is an author, pro copywriter and fearless leader of the world-class blog, website and copywriting company Men with Pens. She also owns and works with students as course instructor of Damn Fine Words, the writing course for business owners.  Follow James on Twitter at @MenwithPens.

2. Write on topics you're knowledgeable or passionate about


In my opinion, the key to producing exceptional content is to write from the heart. To qualify that somewhat ambiguous statement, I mean that you should typically write on topics that you are knowledgeable and/or passionate about.

The best blog posts I produce tend to be spur of the moment pieces on topics that I have a burning desire to write about.

The worst are those that I have no particular interest in. If you find yourself regularly writing such articles, you may want to ask yourself why you're writing at all.

Tom Ewer is a professional blogger and the founder of Leaving Work Behind and Healthy Enough. Follow Tom on Twitter at @TomEwer.

3. Use the powers of keyword research and break your content production in chunks


Here are my three tips for churning out amazing content:

1. When you need ideas, always go back to keyword research.

Discover what people in your niche are searching for, which tells you what they want to know more about. Then figure out the *best way* to respond to that need. Amazing content doesn't just reproduce what's already out there, it adds more/new value.

2. Break your content production up into chunks.

Start with rough notes, then create an outline, then build it out. You don't have to move linearly from the first sentence to the last sentence. I find it's helpful to start with a title and subheads, based on your target keyword, then fill in the content. (You can always change the title later.)

3. If you have an idea for a piece of content, say, "3 Great Examples of Interactive Content," but then you can only think of one example, write what you can and then save it in a file. Eventually you'll find your other two examples, and you'll be grateful that the piece is already 33% done – better than starting from scratch with a new idea!

Elisa Gabbert is the Content Marketing Manager at WordStream, a provider of search engine marketing software and services including PPC Advisor, a pay-per-click management platform, and the AdWords Performance Grader, a free PPC account audit tool. She manages the WordStream Internet Marketing Blog. Follow Elisa on Twitter at @egabbert.

4. Get someone in your organization to "own" the content


Recent research from MarketingProfs and the Content Marketing Institute found that 73% of all business-to-business organizations have someone in charge of their content marketing strategy.

Digging deeper, the overwhelming majority (86%!) of best-in-class marketers had someone to oversee content strategy, compared to only 46% of their least effective peers. You can see the full research here.

That means it's critical for organizations of all sizes to deputize someone to "own" content – to equip them with necessary resources (budget and/or people), and to empower them to make content decisions.

Why is it important? Because I want every organization to embrace the incredible opportunity that all of us now have as publishers. Publishing is a privilege; we shouldn't squander it. Yet many companies are. As my friend Joe Pulizzi said, "Every company is already a publisher. But there are two types… those that know it and those that don't." (I love that.)

I devised a simple content marketing org chart to underscore the roles within a content team. These aren't staff positions – you don't need six people to have an effective content strategy. Rather, these are responsibilities you need to consider, that may be filled by one or people. The chart and explanation are available at http://www.annhandley.com/2013/10/06/a-simple-content-marketing-org-chart/.

I hope the simplicity of this chart underscores the idea that making the leap to publisher is doable if you know what you're… well, doing. And as I learned in my journalism days: "No one will complain because you made something too easy to understand."

Ann Handley is co-author of the best-selling Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business; the Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs; a columnist for Entrepreneur magazine, a keynote speaker and writer. Follow Ann on Twitter at @MarketingProfs.

5. Quit fast-food mode and devote significant time and attention to your content


If you want to produce consistently strong content, slow down and be deliberate.

There are tons of businesses out there trying to cook up prime rib on a McDonald's budget and in a fast-food time frame. With content production at a fever-pitch, we forget to make quality a KPI, forget that creating something really noteworthy usually means devoting significant time and attention to the research, creative and editing processes.

There's more than enough good advice out there about content ideation, formatting and outreach - so knowledge isn't the problem. It's time. More is not better; better is better.

And please - if you're going to claim to be serious about content, pay your content creators what they're worth.

Joel Klettke is a copywriter with a history in digital marketing. He runs Business Casual Copywriting,  working with businesses and agencies who are more concerned about creating awesome things than they are about word counts. Follow Joel on Twitter at @JoelKlettke.

6. If you're going to produce content, go big or go home


I see "consistently produce" and "amazing content" as being two different things.

"Consistently produce" means that you see content creation as being central to your marketing efforts and having a positive ROI. It means inserting "content creation" into your daily workflow and keeping to a consistent schedule.

To be honest with you, I have not been blogging nearly as much as I would like to, but I have been successful at consistently producing my Maximize Your Social podcast, which actually helps me flesh out content for future blog posts and other content.

"Amazing content" is hard to do for every piece of content that I publish. But I do think there are three important elements to make it happen:

1. Passion for what you are doing. Are you a marketer - or are you an educator? I see myself as an educator, and therefore I want to ensure that I publish content that will be useful to my audience.

2. Authority for what you are doing. Every time I speak, consult, and coach clients, it provides fuel for creating content of value to others. Without getting out into the field and experience the problems your customers are having, it makes it had to write convincing content.

3. A perfectionist personality. I simply won't publish any content unless it adds value. That is the way my brain is wired!

Having a combination of all of the above is pretty rare, which is why I tend to post less frequently than I would like because my perfectionist personality keeps me in check. However, if you're going to produce content, GO BIG OR GO HOME!

Neal Schaffer is the author of Maximize Your Social, founder and editor-in-chief of Maximize Social Business, and is a social media strategy consultant and speaker who also teaches as part of the Rutgers University Mini Social Media MBA Program. Follow Neal on Twitter at @NealSchaffer.

7. Give your readers "meat" cut into small enough bites


In my experience, consistently good content comes down to three factors:

1. Personal passion. Every subject I write about is something I'm deeply interested in. I teach novelists how to write, and, as a novelist myself, most of my posts are based the lessons I've learned or am learning myself.

2. Paying attention to readers. Blogging is at its best when it's interactive. Our readers are our best source of feedback. I listen to my readers' concerns, answer their questions, and heed what they like and don't like about topics and presentation styles.

3. Simplifying complex subjects. This one is two-sided. First, we have to begin with subjects that are complex. Readers can find fluff everywhere they look on the Internet; to stand out, we have to give them meat. But, more than that, we have to offer that meat in small enough bites to allow even the most uninitiated to chew and digest it.

K.M. Weiland is the author of the epic fantasy Dreamlander, the historical western A Man Called Outlaw and the medieval epic Behold the Dawn. She enjoys mentoring other authors through her website Helping Writers Become Authors, her books Outlining Your Novel and Structuring Your Novel, and her instructional CD Conquering Writer's Block and Summoning Inspiration. She makes her home in western Nebraska. Follow Katie on Twitter at @KMWeiland.

8. Find out what your reader want and give it to them


Constantly producing amazing content is no harder than finding out what your audience wants and giving it to them.

You can find out what they want using forums and social media. Once you have a rough topic start listing the specific problems and questions people have around it.

Next take a look at what already exists for the topic at hand. Search Google for a few related terms and take a look at the entire top 10.

Once you know what people want, the problems they face and what content already exists - you are armed with everything you need to know to produce amazing content.

Another way to get great content ideas is just by asking your readers! I have a dedicated tutorial requests forum and send out this email as part of my auto responder:

At the start of every month I look through all of the post ideas and use Google Calendar to create an editorial schedule. Planning like this in advance at the start of the month saves a lot of time and hassle later in the month.

But really creating amazing content is no more complicated than giving your audience what they want.

Matthew Woodward built a top 100 blog in 12 months purely by focusing on creating high quality content. He has won a range of awards for his content including Problogger One To Watch 2013, Unbounce Top 75 Internet Marketing Blogs and Search Engine Journal Best of 2012. Follow Matthew on Twitter at @MattWoodwardUK.

And what ideas have you found particularly insightful? Or maybe there are winning content creation tactics we failed to include? Share your ideas in the comments below!



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