I have a fear of writing.
It started in middle school, and got worse in high school when the English teachers would treat me like a moron. (No offense to English teachers! I’m probably sensitive and remembering it wrong.)
Then, in Freshman English 101 in college, my professor gave me a D on my first long-form 20 page research paper. He worked with me through drafts in his office hours — see I knew that I wasn’t a great writer so I worked harder and asked for help.
Funny thing: he must’ve never thought about telling what I needed to improve in all those office hour sessions. He did tell me I should drop the class after I earned that D, which I did.
We learn two things from this:
- Apparently, I hold a light grudge against the English Education Complex.
- If you think you’re a bad writer, I’m probably worse!
I get questions about content everyday.
Here are some that people asked in my Facebook Group:
- How do you come up with ideas for informational, non-affiliate content?
- How long should content be?
- How do you find good writers that research well?
- How do you find writers that know the topic?
- What does a content manager do?
- How do you find an editor?
- How do you fire a virtual assistant or writer?
- How long do you wait before improving and iterating existing content?
And, so many more…
This is the start of a 3 part series. I’ll cover the eight questions above and many more.
There will be free webinars, too. I’ll be sharing ideas, strategies, and checklists that people could package up and sell as a course. But this will all be free so enjoy the ride.
Does Content Really Matter? Or is it all about links?
Niche Sites must have content, of course!
But how important is the content?
I can tell you that I’ve personally seen sites making over $10k per month with pretty poor content. The Project Go White Hat Site is just one example.
How did the Project Go White Hat niche site make so much with:
- Not much content (about 45 posts),
- Poor quality content?
That site made a lot because it got a lot of traffic.
It got all that traffic because of great rankings pushed by powerful backlinks.
You can focus on content or backlinks — or a blend. The blend gives you the most flexibility and versatility.
Clearly, content matters even when you have super powerful backlinks.
Better Content = Higher Conversations = Higher Revenue
Here’s one more example in favor of content and the Keyword Golden Ratio (learn about KGR on YouTube).
I added about 200 new posts to a site from June to October 2016. It took a lot of time and work (and I’ll tell you exactly what I did in parts 2 and 3 of this series), but it paid off BIG.
A $4,000 investment in content increased the value of the site over $135,000 (estimated), and the monthly cash flow by $4,500 per month on average.
Now, I’ve convinced you that content is worth while. Now what?
- Part 1 will cover writing content yourself and preparing to hiring a writer, a virtual assistant, to do the writing for you.
- Part 2 will cover hiring a writer or a service.
- Part 3 will cover scaling your content. Using a system is essential, and I’ll share mine.
Writing Content Yourself
This is how most people start — it’s how I started — because it’s cheap and reduces the monetary risk in starting a site.
Here are TWO methods that you can use to create content. Both can fit in the template of the Perfect Amazon Review, which you can see here in a new tab.
The FAQ Method
I started using this method on my first Amazon Affiliate Site because I chose a product that I didn’t know anything about.
It goes like this…
- Write out questions that you have about the niche, product line, or topic in general. If you don’t know anything about it, then it’s really easy to ask questions. The questions serve as an outline for you and help you keep from getting overwhelmed. Here’s a video on YouTube I created using a free tool called Workflowy to outline.
- If you need help getting ideas, you can check on what other people ask about.
- Check out forums on the topic. Forums are filled with questions and usually have “sticky posts” with general questions. Example: Home Brew Talk’s Beginners Beer Brewing Forum
- Read user’s manuals for the products. Most manuals are free to download and have a FAQ or troubleshooting section.
- Skim Books on the Topic. It’s good to get away from the laptop sometimes, so head out to your local bookstore or library. There are books on everything, and you can get some great ideas from the smart people that wrote books. If you can’t get out, here’s a great hack: Go do dummies.com (publishers of the “Dummies” guides) and see what they have to say. Here is the Homebrewing Beer page.
- Go look up the answers to the questions.
- The questions are usually great long tail keywords so you should format the questions as subheadings in your post. That’s H2 or H3 in html.
You can always add more Q&A to the post and add more.
You can give the Q&A Outline to a writer to go research and answer the questions.
Next is RPM, my favorite technique, and it’s what I used for the Project Go White Hat Content improvement.
The Research Paper Method
Here’s what you do for the Research Paper Method (RPM):
- Research Phase
- Search Google for the main topic of your content. Normally, that’s the keyword phrase or the title of your article.
- Spend 1 – 2 hours reading about the topic. Check out Wikipedia entries, read material from the manufacturers website, read the top blogs on the topic.
- You’ll be an expert (relatively speaking) after researching for that long and have a good idea what to include in your content.
- Log 2 – 5 of the resources to reference later.
- Note: You may be thinking, “I can reader it faster and 1 – 2 hours is too much.” I recommend spending time on the research because it lays the foundation for the content. If you do a bad job on research, the whole process is impacted.
- Outline Phase
- Create a half to 1-page outline. It should be pretty short.
- Refer to your references to get an idea about how to organize the information. You shouldn’t copy them and shouldn’t need to, but you can see what works in their content. Manufacturers tend to do a MUCH BETTER job than bloggers or other niche sites.
- Don’t try to write the content in the outline. Just write out the main idea for each of the paragraphs and sections.
- The goal is to have an outline that’s good enough so a freelance writer can write the content. If you give them the reference material, then it’s a simple job for a competent writer.
- Writing Phase
- Ideally, hire a writer. I use Upwork and you can get my templates here. If you provide the writer with the outline and references, they’ll be able to save a lot of time and they’ll appreciate the extra details.
- If you write the content yourself, then you can use the outline to write the content. Since you outlined what you want in the content, it’s much faster to put your thoughts into sentences.
- Regardless of who writes the content, be sure to edit. Even if the writer edits their own work, I expect a few mistakes from a freelance writer. Depending on your team, you may have a dedicated editor – that’s what I do.
A lot of people are perfectionists. They might hold off publishing content because they don’t think it’s good enough yet.
They might be scared of making grammatical errors and being called out on it. (People call me out all the time because I make mistakes often, like most people.)
Here’s the thing perfectionists don’t realize (not yet anyway):
You can improve you content over time.
That means you can (and should), for example, develop an outline for a post using the FAQ method with just five questions. Answer those five questions and publish it.
Then, add five more questions and their answers in two weeks.
Then, add five more questions and their answers in another two weeks.
There’s no rule that says you have to publish it all at once. And looking at your content as a work in progress is freeing — less stressful. That’s exactly why Five Figure Niche Site students launch their sites with 10 pieces of content, not 100 pieces of content like other courses teach.
Or, if you go with the RPM method, you can outline your core content that you deem as essential.
Then, add one more individual product review each week for the next five weeks in that post. By doing that, you can launch with a 2,000 word post and add another 2,500 words at your own pace.
PMP – The Project Manager Breakdown
I’m a Project Management Professional (PMP), and a skill I have is taking a complex process and simplifying it.
If you just breakdown the steps, the complexity goes away.
You’ll notice that the two methods for content are underwhelming and simple. Don’t make it harder than it needs to be.
It’s almost always better to remove complexity. And hiring writers is a great way to remove complexity by getting out of the details but that’s in part 2.
In PART 2… HIRING WRITERS
- My Super Power – Who woulda thought it was HR?
- How to hire writers and ACTUALLY get great content.
- How you can hire if you’re not a native speaker?
- Creating Style Guidelines for consistency.
- Firing freelancers when it doesn’t work out.
What questions do you have about outlining or writing content?
Have you used the FAQ Method or RPM?
How did it go?
References and Further Reading
- Writing Content for Niche and Authority Sites
- Keyword Golden Ratio on YouTube
- 10x Niche Site Value in 2-steps
- Project Go White Hat, Part 1 – Just read them all. 🙂
- My YouTube Video using Workflowy to Outline
- Sign up for the FREE WEBINAR here, where I’ll demonstrate FAQ & RPM. It’s Thursday, August 3 at 10 AM MT. There will be a replay so just sign up if you can’t attend live.