Content is just information and whatever you want to write about, chances are you're not the first. Demand for content is surging, and with information accessible literally at the tip of our fingers, there's an excess supply, making it more challenging to get noticed and produce profitable results.
So in order to do that, you need a system that will lead to predictable results so that your content can stand out from the rest. So if you're a blogger, freelance writer or do any type of content writing, keep watching because I'm going to walk you through a step by step framework to engage your audience, satisfy search engines and as a result, drive consistent traffic and hopefully revenue. Stay tuned.
All right, so first, let's set the record straight. Whether you're writing for your own site, or for a client, you should have two objectives for your content. Number one, the content should drive traffic to the site. And number two, the content should engage those people so that they'll turn into customers or be pushed further down the sales funnel. So with those two objectives in mind, let's go through a simple four step process to achieve both of these goals.
The first step is to write about topics people are actually searching for. Most people like to write about topics that excite them. And while that's all well and good, these posts often have a short shelf life. For example, a few months ago, we published an article on how to start a link building campaign fast. We talked about systematizing, automating, scaling, and all sorts of exciting things. At least for us.
And immediately after publishing, we promoted the post to our social media followers email list and spent a few $100 on ads to amplify the content. As a result, we had a huge spike in traffic with 1000s of visits over the first few days but soon after, the traffic faded, fast, and today, it gets next to no traffic compared to our other posts. And while this post wasn't created with search traffic in mind, we knew that it would create a textbook spike of hope and flatline of note. And that's what happens when you create content that no one's searching for.
Now, when you create content around topics that people are searching for, then you get the opposite effect - free, passive and consistent traffic that usually grows over time. To find topics worth creating content on, you'll need a keyword research tool to A) identify search demand and B) understand traffic potential on the topic, which is the total amount of monthly search traffic you could get if you were to rank high for the court.
So let's say we have a site on DIY home improvement tutorials. To find keywords to target I'll go to ahrefs keywords explorer and search for some keywords broadly related to the topic like Home Improvement kitchen and living room. Next, I'll go to the questions report. And as you can see, there's quite a bit of search demand around these topics, as you can see from their search volumes. And this topic on how to paint kitchen cabinets seems like a promising topic for our DIY home improvement site.
Now to find the traffic potential of the topic, hit the SERP button and look at the traffic column. As you can see, the top ranking page gets over 37,000 monthly visits from Google every single month. So this topic checks both boxes. Now it's important to note that I've skipped a few steps here in the topic selection process, the main one being assessing ranking difficulty, but this tutorial is on content writing. So instead of expanding, I'll add some links to our keyword research tutorials in the description. Alright, so at this point, we have a topic to tackle but just because you have a topic it doesn't mean you should write whatever you want. Remember, our goal is to rank at the top of Google so that you can get consistent traffic.
And this leads us nicely into the second step, which is to assess the type of content Google wants you to create. Google's job is to deliver the most relevant results for any given court, and they do a pretty good job at this. So naturally, if you want to rank for your target topic, then you need to know the type of content Google will rank for that query. This is called search intent, which tells us about what searchers are looking for when they key in a query. The easiest way to do this is to just search for the query you want to rank for and look at the top ranking results. And the three things you're looking for are content type, which can be blog posts, product pages, category pages, or landing pages, content format, which can be how-to guides, step-by-step tutorials, list posts, opinion editorials, reviews, or comparisons. And the last one is content angle, which is basically the unique selling point of the top ranking pages.
So looking at the top 10 results for our query, how to paint kitchen cabinets, you'll see that all of the pages are blog posts, so that will be the content type you should use to as reformat the top two ranking pages are how-to's, which will be step-by-step tutorials. And for content angle, there isn't really a definitive one. From my experience matching content type and format are critical to rank at the top of Google. But angle usually isn't as important, unless there's a clear theme among the top ranking pages.
Alright, the next step is to create a data driven outline. Content is like a puzzle. There are a lot of different pieces and it's tough to assemble without some kind of framework. Outlines are like the edge pieces of the puzzle. They have to form the base and all you need to do is fill in the missing pieces. They also help make sure you're including all critical points worth communicating on the topic. And from an SEO perspective, it can help you satisfy the algorithm and the audience. The way Google determines a page’s placement in the search results is algorithmic, meaning you can't pay to rank at the top of Google and your friends that work there can't move your site to the top. Their technology is able to understand words and the context they're in. And the more context you give to search engines, the better your chances of ranking high.
The easiest way to find critical talking points is to look at some of the top ranking pages and see if there are similar sub-topics. For our topic on how to paint kitchen cabinets. The top two pages both talk about choosing the right paint, preparation, priming the cabinets, painting the cabinets, and so on. So add these commonalities to your outline at subheadings. Another thing you can do is use Ahrefs content gap tool to find common keyword rankings between the top ranking pages. This can help you find more sub topics as well as jargon that might be relevant in adding context. To your post. Just enter the top two or three relevant ranking results in the top section and then run the search.
As you can see, people are looking for the best paint for cabinets, they want to know how to refinish them. Some are specifically looking for white cabinets and so on. Don't worry about stuffing these keywords in your post. But if you see something that could act as a subheading, it might be worth adding to your outline. Just focus on writing something that is succinct and actionable. This will humanize the post and help you to focus on what matters most, helping readers.
Alright, the next step is to create a click-worthy headline. A headline is important because it's what stands between you and a visitor. Its main job is to convince people to actually click on your result. Then it's your content’s job to keep them reading. Now if you struggle with writing good headlines, here are a few simple formulas you can use. Take a screenshot before I start filling in the blanks for our home decor. Say how to professionally paint kitchen cabinets in under an hour. Seven proven ways to decorate your home on a tiny budget 10 simple ways to renovate your home on a shoestring budget, 10 reasons you're unhappy with your home decor. Now it's important to note that while clickbait headlines might produce more clicks, keep in mind that if your content can't deliver on the headlines promise, then it'll do more harm than good.
Alright, the next step is to write a killer intro using the ADA formula. The introduction is arguably the most important part of your content. Its job is to hook your reader, tell them they're in the right place and convince them to keep reading. Fortunately, there's a tried and tested formula you can use called Ada, which stands for attention, interest, desire and action. Let's write a sample intro for our article on how to paint kitchen cabinets.
The first line should be dedicated to grab your audience's attention. So something like you don't have to be a professional to paint beautiful kitchen cabinets. This breaks a common belief the reader might have and thus grabs their attention. The next part is to pique their interest. You can do this with stories, interesting facts, or anything else that might help connect with your audience in a personal way. So let's add to our intro. But the surprising thing is that 99% of homeowners still choose contractors which can cost up to 20 times the price of a DIY solution. This line adds an interesting fact that also communicates that they'll be unique by doing it themselves and they'll save a ton of money.
All right, next up is desire. This part is meant to show the reader how your content can solve their problem. And one of the best ways to do that is by showing them proof so let's add on. In fact, we spent just $100 on materials, and we now have our dream kitchen. Finally is action. This can be done in the form of a LET'S GET STARTED type of line. Or you can enhance the user's experience using something like a table of contents. So if I were to add on to our intro I might say let's walk through the simple five step process to get your kitchen looking like a million bucks.
Alright, let's move on to the next step which is to make your content actionable and easy to digest. So your outline should act as a nice skeleton for your post. And to add meat to those bones. You need to do two things number one, you want to make it as helpful as possible, meaning if someone searches for how to paint kitchen cabinets, then they should be able to successfully do that with the help of your content. This will all come down to your knowledge and expertise on the subject. And number two, you want to make it easy to digest and when and this comes down to your communication and writing skills. The best tip to make your content digestible is to keep your thoughts as succinct as possible.
For example, if you're writing a step on choosing the right paint for your cabinets, you might say something like the color you choose is up to you. However, there are five things you need to consider depending on the type of cabinets you have, and add a list of five bullet points. Compare that to something like color is a powerful thing. It can affect your emotions, so choosing the right paint is a critical step. According to a 2018 study. Red is a very emotionally intense color. Think about fire and blood …intense. This doesn't really help the user solve their problem. It just sounds like you're trying to convince them to paint their cabinets red. As for readability, you can do things like use headings and subheadings, avoid walls of text by writing in short sentences and short paragraphs and images if it helps clarify or visualize a point and use transitional sentences like as you know, however, and also which can help improve flow.
Now after you've written your content, I highly recommend getting someone to give you unfiltered feedback. This is something we do at h refs for every single piece of content we publish, whether that be a blog, post landing page or video. It helps us to always put our best foot forward and deliver no fluff content that we hope will help our readers and viewers.
Now the content aspect is a very important part when it comes to SEO, meaning if you can't get your content right, then you probably aren't going to rank high for any meaningful keywords. Also, there are times when you'll nail your content, but you still can't rank. This often comes down to the level of competition, which usually boils down to quality backlinks. Now I won't go into assessing the ranking difficulty of a topic or how to build backlinks to your pages because we have quite a few tutorials that go deep into these topics. So I highly recommend watching those. If you enjoyed this tutorial then make sure to like, share and subscribe for more actionable marketing tutorials. And if you have any questions, leave one in the comments below. I'll see you in the next tutorial.