How Long Does It Take To Write a Quality Piece of Content?

This is probably the multi-million dollar question: just how long does it take to write a quality piece of content for your blog or article?

If I’m being really honest, I don’t think there is any right or wrong answer… Obviously, it depends on the length of content that you want to write and also how many graphics and statistics you’re going to insert in the post.

What I can do, however, is tell you how long it takes me to write a quality piece of content.

If I know quite a lot about the topic already, I don’t really sketch it out, I normally just sit and write.

I don’t stop for breaks, I don’t stop for editing, there could even spelling mistakes; it really doesn’t matter, I just continue to write, especially if I know the topic like the back of my hand.

I very rarely make reference to anything, I just write and then I believe the best way to actually edit is afterwards.

What will change the time it takes to write a piece of quality content is keyword research – the writing, proof-reading, editing, the flow, optimising and then revision.

Topic and Keyword Research

When it comes to the topic and research, you need to find out which keywords you’re going to use.

You don’t necessarily need to spread these all the way through your article, but it is very important to know for other (SEO) and search engine marketing.

So, how do I go about researching keywords?

Here’s the quick (shortened) version……

My first plan of attack is doing a quick mindmap around my topic.

The video below shows an example of me using Mindmup for content discovery.

You can also use the exact same technique and software for the initial keyword discovery too!

Next, I go the easy route and see what Google says when it comes to related keywords to my topic:

This can be done easily by typing in the MAIN keyword or topic and then seeing what Google brings up for related terms.

For example:

puppy pictures screenshot showing example of related keywords

When I typed in the keyword “puppy pictures” into Google, when I scroll to the bottom of the page, you can see related keywords.

I save these into a notepad file for future reference.

There are many more ways to find keywords, but this is a quick example to give you a general idea…

So, how do I do research on a topic that I know a little bit about?

The first thing I do is perform a Google search and open up several tabs of different articles that I can read and do some research on.

I don’t actually copy any of these,but I like to have a read, make notes, etc. Whether it’s in text form on your computer or a pad, simply write it down – whichever suits…

I very rarely do any research anywhere else, maybe look at a few YouTube videos or even go into some slideshares as well, just to see what people have written, but that’s kinda the bulk of my research on the topic.

What I will say is, there are very few content-writers who will sit down and write 1000-1500 word content without doing any research, so I’m afraid this is why I say, sit down, take a few hours out and make sure the content writing that you’re going to do is allocated for this specific point in time.

It’s not something you can rush and it’s not something you can do in parts – you really need to set time aside to do this.

Actually Writing The Content

One of the reasons a lot of people struggle with content writing is the research part. They don’t realise just how long it takes, especially if it is a topic they don’t know very well and, trust me on this, I can see where they’re coming from!

I’m very busy – I run two companies and obviously, I represent/do a lot of marketing for others and I haven’t got a lot of time, so sitting down and doing research for some blog content is really, really difficult for me.

That’s why it’s best to set aside some time to actually get this done. On average, I’d probably set aside around two hours to get a blog post done. That’s the research, making notes and then sitting down and writing the content.

Now, I have been writing for quite a few years but if you’re new to writing content for your blog or company blog, you really need to know your buyer persona.

Who are you actually writing the content for?

This is a really important aspect of content-writing because if you don’t know your buyer-persona, you don’t really know who you’re talking to.

For example, if you’re talking to 18-24-year-olds, the language you would use is different than if you were speaking to somebody between the age of 50-65. So, find your buyer persona before writing your content.

Check out the video below on how to actually find who your buyer-persona is using Twitter before you start writing your content.

Here’s the link: Using Twitter To Find Your Buyer Persona – Small Business Marketing Tips Friday 7

You can also see a short marketing video I made describing my process of finding a buyer persona:

Another way of finding your buyer persona is using Google Analytics.

The easiest way to do this is to  install Google analytics (GA – if it’s not already installed) and follow the instructions below. I talked a little about this in our local SEO audit guide.

Here’s a snippet from that post:

“Constructing a buyer persona sounds like high-level complicated stuff, doesn’t it? However, (stick with me here) even if you’re a small fledgeling business running as a one-man band, you can still create one. In fact, by doing this you’ll be streets ahead of your competition since there are large companies out there that aren’t even doing this!”

Sometimes referred to as “marketing personas”,  a buyer persona tells you what prospective customers are thinking and doing as they weigh their options to address a problem that your business/services resolves.

In essence, this is your “ideal client” for the business. Knowing this will help you shape your whole sales funnel, customer service, product development and even help your client choose you and your business over a competitor. Trust me, this is powerful stuff!

So, how do you create a buyer persona? Good news, I’m about to tell you…..

Simply ask the right questions from the right people.

If you are a small business, using Google analytics will enable you to start collecting demographic information on website views on your website. This is a great place to start and some of the results might even surprise you. Grabbing these stats will help you build a basic picture of your clients.

You’ll be able to gather stats like:

Are they male or female?
Do they have children and if so, what is the average?
What is the average age?
Where do they live?

If you are a larger business, then compile a questionnaire that asks existing clients:

BACKGROUND:
Basic details about persona’s role
Key information about the persona’s company
Relevant background info, like education or hobbies

DEMOGRAPHICS:
Gender
Age Range
HH Income (Consider a spouse’s income, if relevant)
Urbanicity (Is your persona urban, suburban, or rural?)

Once you’ve carried this out, you’ll have a much better understanding of the type of phrases and keywords they will use to find your product or service.

Tip: Once you have carried this out, you’ll also know how to write the content on your website and what type of language, buzzwords and mannerisms to use.

There are plenty of other examples and templates you can use to build your buyer persona.

Note: If you have only recently installed GA, you may need to wait a few weeks before you can start to analyse any of the data, unfortunately.

You also need to know which stage of the journey your buyer is at, as well. If they are at the beginning stages of the topic that you are talking about, the way in which you write is very different to writing for somebody who actually knows (in detail) what you’re talking about.

If they are in the beginning stages, you need to go through things step-by-step, but if they are further along that journey, you can literally use bullet points and just speak in a little more detail than the bullet points raised.

Proof Reading & Editing

So, there are a few things I do when I’m writing content.

I try to write in the same place/location.

Why?

You don’t want several distractions when you’re writing. Going to a new location every time means there are many thousands of new things to look at and analyse. This is really bad for your concentration and getting stuff done.

I know sometimes you look at Youtube videos and you’ll see articles where people say they’re writing in a coffee shop or the library but the problem with this is, even if you’re writing in somewhere like a library, there are still a lot of distractions.

There are things you’ve never seen before, there are people that you haven’t seen for a while, you might see somebody that you know, noises, pictures on the walls, etc.

There are so many different distractions that it is always best to write under the same writing conditions and in the same location that you normally would. The reason for this is, you basically know where everything is and there’s nothing new to pique your interest.

You’re pretty much guaranteed that there isn’t really going to be any major distractions, so you can sit down and really concentrate on writing quality content.

The amount that you’re going to write is going to be different from the next person. If you’re just starting out, I’d consider probably writing a 500-word blog post.

This is great for practice and really good to get you started, but what you want to try to do is to practice as fast as you can to write 500-word blog posts and then what you want to try to aim at is 1500 words per post.

This is because statistics show that long-form content, (content over 1500 words) generally works better for search engines like Google and is more likely to be shared by the people actually reading your content.

This isn’t something you can to rush, take as much time as you need when you’re learning to write content for your company blog.

The Flow

When you have a flow, when you start writing and lots of ideas come your way and there many things that come into your mind, just keep writing.

Don’t worry about editing, don’t worry about bolding, Italics, any underlining, any spelling mistakes… When you’re in the flow, just write!

The reason you do this is, there is a small window when you’re in the flow, so if that’s the case, just write as much as you can when you have that feeling.

From time to time, I take about 10-15 min breaks when I come out of the flow.

I recommend that you take a break, get away, go and have a coffee, make any calls, check emails and then come back to do some more content writing.

I know for many this will be really difficult, but it is the only way I have found I can actually get this done in a decent time!

After you’ve written your content piece, it needs to be spell-checked. I personally use Grammarly (I’ll put a link to that in this article).

Here you go: www.grammarly.com

If possible, try to download Grammarly because it’s free. (It comes in both free and paid versions).

The free version is fine if you want to do some simple editing, simple spelling and grammar check. But, a word of warning! It doesn’t always get the grammar right, so just double-check. If it doesn’t sound right, don’t use it. On average nine times out of ten, it does get it right, though…

Sounds good to me.

What you need to do is use a proofreader. If you’re not very good at grammar or editing things yourself, hire a freelancer on websites like Fiverr or Upwork that are willing to do proofreading for you.

I’m quite lucky, I’ve got a proofreader in our office who can do this for me. However,  if you haven’t got someone in the office to do this or don’t have the time, you’re best off outsourcing to one of the websites I mentioned earlier.

Before you publish anything, proofread it and get it edited – I can’t stress this enough!

Optimising for Search Engines

I mentioned keywords earlier on in this article and, one of the main reasons I mentioned keywords is the fact that you need to optimise your content for search engines.

I don’t think you need to spread keywords all the way through your article like a maniac but it’s a good idea to know what people are searching for and that you can use – you need to know what people are searching for so you can optimise for search.

I’ve written several articles previously regarding what we call “voice search”. When you’re writing your content, you need to have voice search in mind, because, in the very near future, this will be the main way of people search for content and hunting for answers to their questions.

I also did a video about voice search recently:

Amazon Echo or Google Home are just some of the devices people will be using more of in the future.

More and more people these days are carrying out voice searches.

What you need to do is find out in the beginning stages what sort of questions people are asking so that when you write your article you can put these questions into headers.

This is great for Google search and it’s also great for voice search too!

Don’t forget to accompany each header with an image, video, infographic etc. This makes the content relevant in all searches including images and is further reinforced if you add an alt tag to the image.

This is a small description to explain what that image is all about to both the reader and also the search engines when they crawl your webpage.

There’s a lot more we can put in the article with reference to optimising for search, but this isn’t the article to explain it in…

Maybe I’ll write something later this year on this topic?

Just remember, doing the simple things that I’m talking about like making sure your questions are in headers, adding images in content and making sure alt tags are present is a great foundation for all SEO.

Revisions

Last, but not least, making revisions to your content.

Once the content has been written, proof-read and edited, the next part is making revisions to the content.

This is one of the most favourite things people like to do once they have written their content.

Have a look through your article because there are things that you might want to change and this is the time to change them before you hit that publish button!

Final Thoughts

So, that’s it, how long does it take?

On average, it takes me 2 hrs to write a quality piece of content from start to finish, from research, to proofreading and editing and then making any revisions needed.

It might take you longer depending on where you are in your content journey. But, this is how long it takes to write a quality piece of content.

Are you writing content for your company blog at the moment?

How long does it take you? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

About the author

Des Dreckett is the Marketing Director of XenMediamarketing.co.uk: a writer, blogger and a paid media specialist. Writing content to help you grow and build your business.

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