This Content Creation guide will take you through the step-by-step process used at Hudson Valley Public Relations to create the best content for our clients. If this is your first time writing content for a client, it is strongly recommended that you go to their website and read their recent blog posts to familiarize yourself with the tone and voice that is used for that client’s audience.
The steps are as follows:
- Research the Topic
- Write your Article
- Edit / Desktop Publish
- Plagiarism & Readability Check
- Upload to WordPress
- Optimize for SEO
- Distribute on Social Channels
- Analyze Metrics
If at any point you get stuck or are not sure what to do next, Andrew and Dan are available at any time for questions – just simply call/text or send us an email.
1. Research the Topic
When researching content, our clients’ need sources that are trustworthy and reputable. The best resources can be found on .gov or .edu sites, however you are not limited to those. There are many reputable websites that don’t fall under those two domains. You can also try checking your school library’s online database for research papers to pull supporting data. Our clients are experts in their respective fields, so when taking the responsibility to write for them, we need to come up with expert material.
When taking notes during your research, you want to get into the habit of writing all your notes on paper. Never copy and paste text from an article into a Word document or directly into WordPress. Text sometimes carries code with it when it is copy and pasted and can set off red flags when run through a plagiarism checker. To keep material 100% unique, taking notes on paper will prevent any unintentional plagiarism.
2. Write your Article
With your notes in front of you, you can start to write freely without worrying about plagiarizing. When writing, stay consistent with the existing material on the site. There is usually a specific tone or style we use for each client. Think about how the audience would react to the writing of the article (i.e. Humor may not be appropriate when talking about medical conditions).
Remember that when writing content, you are selling the client’s brand message. Write your article so that it helps the client reach their goals. Are they looking to inform people of a new type of product or service? Then try and talk about that new service indirectly in your article.
The length of each article should be at least 500 words (for SEO purposes). There should be enough material there that people learn something from the reading. Be specific and don’t fluff the article with redundancies. Your audience is large when publishing content online. Sometimes the reader won’t know much about the topic, but on the other hand, professionals or even the client may be reading the material. Keep it a decent length and very informative.
The internet today is full of existing content and a lot of it isn’t very good. What I mean here is, you want to create an article that captures the reader’s attention. Our objective is to get people’s attention and familiarize them with the client’s brand. Many people tend to skim through articles so give them a reason to stay a while by creating a story within the article. For example, HVPR wrote a series of articles for a legal recruiter with the theme ‘Confessions of a Legal Recruiter,’ where general recruiter topics were told in an honest, humble tone.
3. Edit / Desktop Publish
Add relevant images or graphs to your copy that support the material. This also keeps the article interesting and engages the reader. Blockquotes display the most important information so readers that skim can still retain the message articulated throughout the article. A full page of text can sometimes be daunting, so don’t be afraid to add a relevant image in between two big blocks of copy to ease the reader’s mind.
Blockquotes display the most important information so readers that skim can still retain the message articulated throughout the article.
Give your content structure with headers, (H1, H2, etc.). These headers are how you organize the content on a page and how search engine crawlers know whats important. Adding a higher header can make subject lines more prominent so reader’s don’t get lost in “paragraph” copy.
Always reread what you write and check for proper grammar. Use Andrew and Dan resources for editing content. If you need another pair of eyes on your work, we are happy to help.
4. Plagiarism & Readability Check
Be safe, not sorry. Run your article through this plagiarism checker to make sure it is 100% unique. As long as you wrote your notes on paper and type your article from scratch you should be getting 100% unique every time. Its best to check either way.
Make sure the audience can also read what you wrote with ease. Not everybody online can read at a college level. Therefore, an 8th-10th grade reading level is preferred. Even the big publications like the NYTimes write their articles at a middle to high school reading level. This helps it appeal to all types of audiences and makes it quick and easy to process mentally.
5. Upload to WordPress
If your content is 100% unique, you can safely copy and paste your work onto the WordPress Site. When you sign in you want to add a new Post.
What you need to know:
- When writing an article, save your progress frequently by hitting ‘Save Draft’ on the upper right. Do not hit ‘publish’ until you are completely finished with your article. You can also hit ‘preview’ at any time to see what your article will look like on the client’s website.
- After adding a title, WordPress will automatically create a permalink for you. It will appear under the ‘title’ box after you’ve written your title.
- To add a photo to your article you will need to upload the photo to the client’s gallery first. You can do this all by clicking the ‘Add Media’ button above the ‘body’ box.
- Make the photo easily identifiable by adding a Title, Alt Text and Description. These can all be the same short phrase (e.g. Graph – voter demographics in Hudson Valley).
- Know the difference between categories and tags. You will need to add both. Whats the difference?
- Some websites require a Featured Image for each article. Ask Andrew or Dan if you’re not sure.
- Some websites require an Excerpt for each article. The excerpt is a brief description of the article that is displayed under a featured image on the website. Ask Andrew or Dan if you’re not sure.
6. Optimize for SEO
Under the ‘body’ box you’ll find an SEO form. It is extremely important you fill this out as it will allow people to find your content on search engines.
- Under the Snippet preview you can click to edit the snippet. Then you will find text boxes for Metatitles, Metadescriptions, focus keywords etc.
- Your Meta title should be no more than 60 characters. Always capitalize key words in your title to make it more clickable.
- Your Slug should already be there. That is taken from your permalink that you created when you wrote your article’s title.
- Your Meta description is a brief and detailed description of your article. This should be no more than 160 characters.
- Your focus keyword is important. Choose a unique word or two that sums up your article. For this specific page, my focus keyword is “Content Creation”. Its in the title, it’s in the body copy, its in the meta title and the meta description. Having your focus keyword in each of these sections is very good SEO.
- The density of your focus keyword should seem natural. Don’t force your focus keyword in every sentence of your article. Having it show up a few times in your article should be sufficient enough. Search engines are smart and they know when you’re keyword stuffing.
– You can now publish your article –
7. Distribute to Social Channels
Once the article has been published you want to start distributing it on social media channels. For distribution, Hudson Valley Public Relations uses Buffer. Each client has its own separate Buffer to prevent any cross posting. There are a few points you need to consider when loading up articles to Buffer:
- Frequency: How many times will the article show? This is different for every social site. Some require only one post others allow for several per week.
- Time: The time of day is important to find out when the client’s customers are on checking their accounts. This can be checked on each individual social media account’s analytics. Note: Some social media analytics don’t record time of day. Just go with your gut based on other social media times.
- Channel: Each channel is different. Some make better use of hashtags than others. Some need a URL in the copy, others don’t. Making sure these are done right is great practice.
- Metadata: Make sure each post, before it is scheduled, has an appropriate Meta-title, Meta-description and Image. There may be times where you need to add these in yourself. Just double-check before posting.
- Schedule: Make a schedule for your post on paper if necessary. Be sure to customize your schedule correctly. Don’t add to queue.
Facebook & LinkedIn
- Only post once on both Facebook and LinkedIn
- Copy and pasting the link will show a preview of the link with image. Once the preview shows up, you can delete the URL from the copy.
- Hashtags are optional. Including them can help but are not used often on these platforms.
- A lot of room for copy, no need to cut down copy.
Twitter & Google+
- Twitter and Google+ allow for multiple posts per week. Aim for 3-4 times per week for 4-5 weeks per post.
- Copy and pasting will only show a preview for Google+. Leave the URL in as Twitter needs the URL in the copy when posting.
- Hashtags are highly encouraged. General hashtags that categorize the post are best. ex. #DigitalMarketing #ContentMarketing
- Twitter allows for 140 characters, including hashtags and shortlink. Buffer will show you if you are over and by how much.
- When posting on Pinterest, you need to choose a board to categorize your post. Board should show when Pinterest is selected.
- Copy and pasting will show a preview and images to choose from. URL can be removed from copy after it has loaded the images. URL will automatically be entered into ‘source’ on the bottom right.
- Hashtags are encouraged as they can be clicked through to search for other Pins.
- Pinterest has a high character limit so you can write freely.
- Instagram requires you to be logged into the Instagram account on your phone in order to complete the post but the initial scheduling can be done on your computer.
- Instagram requires you to upload a picture from your computer. Pictures are recommended to be 600×600 pixels.
- URLs are not clickable through Instagram’s images or captions so you will have to add value to the post’s caption. If the post is for a client’s blog post you can link the blog post in the bio of the Instagram (let Dan know so he can update this).
- Hashtags can clutter the caption but are still searchable when added as a comment so don’t include any hashtags in the caption. Hashtags are added after it is posted.
- Instagram has a high character count so you can write freely.
8. Analyze Metrics
Google Analytics & Social Analytics (will add at later date)