A Simple 6-step process for writing meaningful content to win more readers

Articles, blog posts, guides, and a lot more, are forms of written content that adorn websites all over the Internet. It is our job, as writers, to deliver this content and help answer questions, educate, inform, and inspire the readers.

There is a small caveat, however, because any person with a computer or a laptop can write content. What sets a good writer apart from everyone else is the ability to write meaningful content.

Meaningful content is content that best serves the reader and their interests, targeting the actual subjects and tackling them from the right points of view, but without any sidetracking, wasted text, fluff, or excessive additions.

So how can a writer write meaningful content properly?

Step 1: The Brief

It can be a piece that was requested, contracted, or simply something that you chose to write about. Regardless, the first thing you have to do is go through the brief.

This is the foundation on which you will build your article. It consists of a list of specifications that need to be followed to the letter.

Want more? Have a listen.

Here is what the brief should look like:

  • Title: the title of the piece.
  • Topic: the topic that this piece will cover.
  • Word count: the total amount of words that it will contain. As a general rule of thumb, especially for contracted pieces, it is ok to go slightly over the keyword limit (by 50-100 words), but never under.
  • Keywords: the keywords or key phrases that the piece will have. This is mostly for contracted pieces and ones that need to adhere to SEO rules.
  • SEO: search engine optimization. Something commonly encountered in contracted articles, it is a set of rules that need to be followed by the piece of content in order to determine where and when it shows up on the results page of a search engine. These rules are fairly simple to follow, and they are generally requested by the client.
  • Tone: this is how the piece needs to sound when read. A popular choice is friendly because it appeals to the most demographics, however, in some cases, you will need to adopt a more serious and professional tone.
  • Demographic(s): this is the type of users, readers, people, that the piece of content will have to appeal to.
  • Due date: this is the deadline for the piece.

It is also at this stage when you ask all the questions that you might have for the person contacting you, or requesting this piece of content.

Step 2: Research

Once you have the brief, and every question you have about the piece of content has been answered, you need to start doing your research.

In order to write meaningful content, you first need to research your demographic. You will need to see exactly what they have to deal with, what appeals to them, and what their interests are.

This will help you tailor the content to be as useful and as attractive to them as possible.

Next, you will need to research the actual subject that you will be writing about. You will need to check every single detail, piece of information, and aspect of it.

Start off with simple searches on Google, and expand your search to academic sources, experts, and even publications.

While you are doing your research, make sure to take a lot of notes. Focus on strict information and data, and overall important aspects of that particular subject.

Remember not to get too carried away with your research, otherwise you risk missing the deadline.

Step 3: Organize yourself

Once you’re done researching, it is time to put everything together and get ready to write.

Start by organizing your notes in a proper order and creating an outline for your piece of content. This is usually a very straightforward thing — just break it down into the main ideas/points and create a basic structure.

This is when you choose how the subtitles are arranged in the article, where every bit of information goes, and how the content will look.

Once that is done, create a small timeline for the piece. The idea is to figure out how long it will take you to write it. Although writers generally have impressive writing speeds, for meaningful content, you will want to take your time and write it properly.

Step 4: Writing the piece

Now it is time to get to it and actually write.

Ideally, if you have done your research and organized properly, this will not be difficult at all.

Remember to structure the sentences properly, in the manner dictated by the tone itself. Keep sentences relatively short — as a rule of thumb, you don’t want to go over 30-35 words per sentence.

Don’t try and write as fast as you can, otherwise, you will often find yourself getting stuck. Find a relaxed rhythm in which to write and always allow a few extra minutes every now and again to think about what you re going to write and how it is supposed to sound when read.

A very important thing to specify here is that you should make a habit out of not making many changes at this stage. A few changes here and there, maybe a word or 2, maybe a sentence is fine, but nothing more than that.

Step 5: Editing

This is where all the changes take place and the piece of content is brought to its final form.

In order to deliver meaningful content, you will need to pay very close attention to this step.

Start off by reading the content yourself at least twice. This will help you understand how it will sound to a reader. Mark down the sections where you don’t like how it sounds or how it reads, and simply change them.

Make sure to not make too many massive changes, otherwise the content will sound nothing like what it was intended to. As a bonus, you can ask a friend to read it as well in order to get another opinion on it.

Once the piece of content sounds the way you want it to sound, it is time to proofread it. You can go about it yourself word for word, use a spell checker (which is usually built into the text editor), or use proper proofreading software.

To make sure your content is of the highest quality, you will want to use all 3 methods.

Then you will need to check it for plagiarism. This is because although you wrote the content yourself, there is always a chance that somewhere on the internet, someone wrote the same thing.

This makes your content plagiarized and will generally not show up on search engine results. You’ll be in violation of trademarking and intellectual property laws, as well as be rejected by clients or publishers.

There are a lot of ways to check for plagiarism, with many free tools available to you online.

Step 6: Delivering/Publishing

Once everything is done, and the content checks out, then it is time for the final step: delivery and publishing.

Make sure to adhere to the wishes of your client if contracted for the content, in regards to rights and pretensions. Also be open to changes that might be requested by your client.

If the content is for your personal blog or website, make sure that it is in tone with everything else on that website, and that it does not go against the very principles of it.

In conclusion

Writing meaningful content is not exactly difficult, nor is it easy. The general idea behind it is to make sure that you invest the necessary time into it.

This means doing more than enough research, learning as much as you can about the topic, writing the piece properly, editing it accordingly, and making sure that everything checks out.

It takes a lot of practice and a lot of experience to write meaningful content, however, once you’re used to it, you will find that people will generally start turning to you for their writing needs.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

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About Eugene Kalynk

Eugene Kalnyk is a Marketing Specialist at Setapp, the first Mac app subscription service which gives access to hand-picked apps for every job on your Mac. He loves writing about Marketing, PR, SEM and Productivity, and help readers solve their problems. Meet him on Twitter.

 

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