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The Content Writing Process I Use for Every Client

Behind the Scenes, Writing Tips

I was on a client call the other day, when I heard the kind of words that make a service provider blush.

My client was talking to an SEO agency they’d recently hired, and we were on the call together to figure out our new workflow.

As he introduced me to them, he said things like, “We love her.” “Her content is so detailed.” “She gets us.”

It made my heart so happy to know that a client really benefits from and enjoys the work I do!

But you might be surprised that a few short months ago, I was a total beginner to their industry and products.

So how did I go from knowing absolutely nothing to writing content for this client with detail and authority?

That’s the focus of this article.

I’ll walk you through my entire process, from setting the overall blog strategy, to researching and planning a post, to writing and finalizing a post for publication.

And if you’re asking, “Do you use AI?” I’m disclosing all those details too. (Hint: I don’t use AI for generating drafts, but I sure as heck use it for other stuff!)

Now, without a great strategy, blog posts will fall into the void. So that’s where the whole process starts.

Part #1 – Strategy

Before I can write for any client, I must know a few things:

  • What does this business want? I want to know all about you—your vision, values, the products you sell, the customers you serve, and your current goals. I want to know how you’ve been marketing your business, how much traffic you’re getting, and how much of a following you have. 
  • What’s going on in the industry? It’s important that I write from an understanding of the industry as a whole. Things like, who else is in this space? Who are the big players? What makes your business stand apart from the rest? What other products or solutions are out there? What are the trends? Who else is ranking for your keywords?
  • Who is your customer? Who is buying from you? Why do they buy? And why do they choose you? What are their ultimate goals and desires? What are their big problems and questions? What’s stopping people from buying your products? Where do these people consume content online?

I talk through these with my clients and make sure I understand the big-picture view of the industry, the customers, and the company’s place inside of it all.

This helps me to plan and write posts that will move the needle toward the client’s goals, whether that means more thought leadership, more sales, more leads, or all of the above.

? RELATED: Is a?Blog the Right Move? 9 Benefits of Blogging for Business

After this, we put together the perfect mix of content in the content calendar.

If the client wants more search traffic, we put together an SEO-focused calendar. If the client wants to engage their current audience more, we put together an audience-centered calendar. It’s usually a mix of both.

We also nail down important points like: Who’s going to check the content? Who’s going to post the content? How are we going to promote it to get the most reach?

It takes some time and thought, but it’s so important. And once the strategy is set, it’s time to start creating content.

Part #2 – Research & Planning

At this point, I’m zooming in to look at the very first post I plan to write for my client.

I’ll look at the keyword or topic that’s written into the content calendar.

Then I’ll pull out my content brief template (which you can download for free at that link) and start planning the post.

At this point, I’m looking for three main things:

  • What’s the reader hoping to learn when they come across this post? What’s their ultimate goal or search intent?
  • What’s already been said about this topic?
  • What’s the client’s standpoint on this topic? (All good writing takes a stand!) And what’s a unique perspective or extra value we can add to the conversation?

Having these three pieces ensures that our piece of content will be more complete and more valuable for the reader than what’s already out there. (Which is always the goal!)

When I’m working with a new client, this requires a ton of research. I do things like:

  • go through the client’s marketing materials
  • read top blogs in their niche
  • watch YouTube tutorials
  • read customer reviews

Anything I can get my hands on to better understand the client, industry, and customer.

For SEO research, I use Ahrefs and good ol’ Google Search to see what’s ranking, what questions are being asked, and how posts are structured.

I like to make a general outline and choose a headline that I know will stand out to the reader.

? RELATED: 8 Business Blogging Mistakes & How to Fix Them

This is usually where I’ll start using AI, if it’ll make my life easier.

I’ll go into my premium ChatGPT account and:

  • Ask for some headline ideas to spark inspiration for my own
  • Ask for a description of the target persona and what they might be thinking or feeling as they approach the topic
  • Ask for a simple explanation of difficult concepts I want to write about

After I’ve filled out the brief, I have a general idea of how I want to structure the post.

Then it’s time to write.

Part #3 – Writing & Editing

I usually write blog posts in order from start to finish. (Just a personal preference.)

I keep my research and argument in mind and start typing the content off the top of my head.

After that first pass, I go back through and add in research points, strengthen my arguments, and generally make it sound better.

I like to read my posts aloud or use text-to-speech tools to hear how they sound.

The goal is to make the writing flow and sound natural, as my client is making a well-organized presentation.

Then I use Grammarly and ProWritingAid to proofread and polish the text.

Then I finalize the piece:

  • Adding internal links to other related content and related pillar posts
  • Adding images, either well-chosen stock images or custom graphics made in Canva
  • Running the whole thing through a plagiarism checker so it won’t get flagged for duplicate content

Now let’s talk about using AI for writing and editing:

I have some strong opinions on this.

First of all, I will never use AI to generate a draft and call it my own.

I have big problems with companies who generate text with AI, make a few tweaks and publish it as their own.

AI writers aren’t writers. They’re summarizers.

AI doesn’t have a point of view or any experience in your subject—all it can do is make up stuff based on what other people are saying. That’s a recipe for terrible content.

But it can:

  • Give you a quick idea of what’s being said in the industry
  • Provide words and imagery you can riff on in your own content
  • Suggest where to make content better (based on what’s already out there)

So that’s how I use AI (specifically ChatGPT) in my own writing process. Always for idea generation or summarizing other existing content, never for the actual writing.

(Big caveat here: If the client has sensitive information, like product launches or other announcements, I will NOT put that info into ChatGPT or any other tool that trains on the data.)

Making Sure Every Client is Happy

After I’ve polished the piece of content so it shines, I’m ready to send it to my client.

They get to make as many edits as they like until they’re happy. (It’s usually one or two tweaks at the most.)

And when I’m new to a subject, I’ll ask someone from inside the company to review the draft and make sure it’s correct.

Then it’s ready to post and measure results.

So there you have it! My full writing process from start to finish. 

This is something I’ve put together and perfected over 7+ years in freelance writing, and I’m still tweaking and improving every day.

I hope you enjoyed this little snapshot into my working process.

If you’d like to work with me as your dedicated content writer or strategist, head on over to my Work With Me page to see the ways we can colloborate.

And with that, I hope you have an amazing day ?

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