Writing Development Checklist

7 Steps to Writing Compelling Content

Planning vs. Writing: What's the Difference?

Have you ever struggled to write an article? Are you relieved that we now have artificial intelligence to do the work for us? It natural to assume that writing it’s quite difficult. You sit down in front of your laptop and your mind goes blank. While it does take a lot of skill to be a great writer, that’s hardly the whole truth.

The truth is, the success of a piece of writing starts with a great topic idea. Then you must create a plan. In fact, most of the work involved in writing a piece of content has nothing to do with the writing itself. Here’s a breakdown of all the work involved: 

      1. 30% – Find great topic ideas
      2. 30% – Create a content plan
      3. 5% – Create a plan for gathering the research
      4. 15% – Gather the research
      5. 10% – Write the content
      6. 5% – Revise the content
      7. 5% – Proofread the content 

1. Find great topic ideas

The topic idea is the starting point of a piece of content. It’s the point you are making. Making points that engage your readers comes from understanding their information needs. Know them well, and your content will almost write itself. A big part of knowing your reader, is understand their buyer’s journey. They have many questions throughout their journey. And they have different types of questions at each stage.

A good approach to finding the best topic ideas is think in terms of the questions buyers are asking. Brainstorm for topic ideas and group them into question categories. Then develop the best ones.

1. Create a content plan (Known as a Creative Brief)

If you read a piece of content and get value from it, you’ll want to read more. So, your content must be of high quality to make the right impact. And this means having a plan

A Creative Brief (of Content Brief) is a short document that directs and informs the development and usage of your content. There must be clear instructions on what is to be created. You cannot leave anything up to chance. A written brief explains where, who, how and why behind your content. Since good content takes time to produce, it’s important to plan it in advance by creating a Content Calendar.  

2. Make a research gathering plan

There are two basic ingredients in a piece of written content. There’s (1) the information and (2) the putting together of the information – the writing. No writer simply sits down and starts writing. First comes the research. Some of the strongest B2B content and copy is data driven storytelling based on credible research. 

The first step is to figure out what research you need. What data? With marketing writing, the primary focus is often the target audience. What do they want? What keeps them awake at night? What motivates them? What data and information will engage them?

3. Gather the research

Gathering research for a blog may be a matter of reviewing similar blogs then using the same sources. But this can also lead to stale unoriginal content.   

Paid research in the form of statistics, graphs and other exhibits will get better results. Another form of effective research is expert interviews. Interviewing lets a writer instantly plug into expert knowledge from anyone relevant to your content. This could be your CEO, Product Manager, Salesperson, one of your customers or an industry expert. 

5. Do the writing

The process of writing is nothing like how most people perceive it to be. It’s more like an assembly job – like you’re building a house. You start with a Content Brief and the research to form a blueprint. Then the outline gives it a structure. 

The headline is like an address that tells the reader they are in the right place. The introduction and summary are like the entrance and exit to the content. The paragraphs and sentences are the floors and the walls that provide direction. 

Once written, your content is still not complete. The writing is now at a draft stage. It’s at the next stage where the real magic happens.

6. Revise the writing

The goal at the revision stage is to shape the content so it perfectly aligns your goals with your audience’s motivations for reading it. This requires a deep understanding of your chosen audience. 

The process of revising content involves re-reading it multiple times while empathizing with your audience. This hinges on the information provided about the target audience in the Content Brief. This stage alone could be 30% or more of the work. 

It can take weeks or more to reflect on what has been written and make adjustments. This is why a content calendar is necessary. Professional magazines editors sometimes plan their content eight weeks in advance. 

7. Proofread the writing

Proofreading the content is the final step. The proofreader doesn’t need to worry about the meaning of the copy or its impact on the target audience. The proofreading process eliminates distracting grammar issues, spelling mistakes, or sentence structure.  


There’s a lot more to writing than just writing. Writing is simply a matter of assembling the research into the outline. 75% of the work is something other than the writing itself. B2B content needs strong credible research to be effective. If you want to create B2B content that has impact, then the entire process must begin with a Creative Brief. 

Here again, are the seven checkpoints for achieving results-driven Trailblazer quality copy.

  1. Find great topic ideas
  2. Create a content plan (The Creative Brief)
  3. Make a research gathering plan
  4. Gather research
  5. Write
  6. Revise
  7. Proofread

Your content is where the rubber hits the road for your marketing. Check my writing portfolio for examples of my best work. Also, check out my book on Amazon – The B2B Marketer’s Journey. It will put you in a competitive mindset for achieving marketing results. 

The possibilities are endless for creating inspiring, results-producing content. They are limited only by your imagination, and you can always do better.

There is no such thing as the perfect meal; one can always do better.

About Trailblazer Writing

Trailblazer Writing helps you create your own unique marketing success formula (your version of the Michelin Guide). This may include coaching for your marketing team. Or, Marketing Consulting for CEOs including support with Content Writing, Podcasting, Public Relations, and Social Media Marketing Management.