In our work, we often face the following problems:
- Lack of good writers on the market — there are very few authors who can write great content.
- Long training process — it may take years to teach a person to write great content.
- Low speed of work — writing a single good article can take more than a week.
We tried solving these problems using a competence matrix, onboarding, guides and coaching, but we didn’t manage to achieve the desired content quality from authors.
Eventually, we came to the conclusion that we need to create a detailed “specification” for a writer in a way it is made in IT companies at the beginning of a project. With requirements at hand, writers are more likely to create great content.
So, what should a direction (spec) for a writer include?
Table of contents in Kaiiax direction
- Focus keyword
- Suggested title
- Buyer persona
- Structure suggestions
- SEO keywords
- Internal links
- Additional requirements
- Guides and rules
Let’s have a closer look at each of these points.
The focus keyword is the most important key phrase we want our article to be found by in SEPR. The article heading should include this keyword.
The writer should have a good understanding of the search intent behind this keyphrase, or, in other words, the main goal the user pursues while searching this key on search engines. This brings a need to specify the search intent in your direction.
For instance, if we want to write an article for a key request “regression testing in agile”, the search intent can look like this:
🔍 Search intent: A user wants to understand how regression testing fits into Agile methodology.
🕵 Read more about search intent: Understanding Search Intent for Content Writers
A formulated title helps a writer to understand the “angle” at which the content should be written. This “angle” sets the tone for the content and helps make it different from other articles on the same topic.
Here is the formula for an effective title:
📌 [Focus keyword] + [Promise] + [Some hype]
You need some hype to interest your reader.
Examples of good titles from our projects:
- Microservices Architecture in Banking: What’s the Fuss About?
- A Non-Boring Guide to How UX Research Is Supposed to Work
- Regression Testing in Agile: 10 Signs You’re Doing It Wrong
- Mobile Learning Design Principles: Let’s Steal Them From Social Media
- Conversational UI: How to Create а Brisk Human-Machine Dialogue
Resources for inspiration:
It is important for writers to understand who they write content for. Companies with in-house writers usually have a document where all the main Buyer Personas their marketers work with are listed. While writing a TA (technical assignment) for in-house writers, you need to know who these personas are, their backgrounds, understand the challenges they face, and the way they make decisions. If your TA goes to a freelancer, the information about buyer personas should definitely be in your direction.
As a rule, we add a photo and a name for a persona, their position, the problem they face, a brief psychological profile and what has happened in their lives before they started looking for solutions to their problems, main blockers that stop them, the desired outcome, their attitude to your service and the main objections that hinder making a purchase.
A CTO / COO / PM who wants to improve the software development process in their team and is looking to discover “the right way of doing things.”
Brian is an analyst by nature. He always searches for reasons and causes and has the ability to think about all of the factors that might affect a situation. If something goes wrong, Brian knows that there could be a number of factors behind a problem needed to be revealed, analyzed, and eliminated.
At this point, their existing team doesn’t have the required skill set to build an effective regression testing process and they need a professional QA team to help them out.
Brian’s regression testing process has been working quite well for a while when the delivery team failed to meet project deadlines accusing the QA department of delaying the builds. Brian has no doubts that his QA team is doing their best, and knows that the problem is in the way their regression testing process is organized.
Brian’s software development team lacks the expertise in building an efficient Agile testing process and can’t pinpoint the problems on their own.
Regression testing doesn’t impede the ability of Brian’s team to deliver software on time.
Attitude to testing
For Brian, testing isn’t about time-wasting. It’s an instrument that can help him ship high-quality software.
When looking for a QA testing partner, Brian is concerned about their approach to work and transparency.
This part of the direction includes:
- Job to be done — the perspective from which you can see the reader’s current situation, their problem, and the reason they want to solve it.
[When _____ ] [I want to _____ ] [so I can _____ ].
Example: “When I’m developing software, I want to know how regression testing should properly work in an Agile context, so I can improve my QA process.”
- Direction — format and contents of an article. For instance: “We need to write a blog post in a listicle format that provides revelation to the reader that they misunderstand Agile regression testing and show what the right process should look like.”
- Company expertise — some information about the company we can include in the article to increase the credibility of our expertise in readers’ eyes and “sell” our brand. For example, for an article about regression testing, we can add examples of your testing strategy, our test plans, and test cases, and also tell stories about how we changed the regression testing process on our project.
Here we specify the structure of the article. The structure includes:
- Intro idea
- H2-H3 subheadings
- What should be inside each part of the article and references for information
- CTA - where the reader should go next
To understand where the reader should go next after reading the article, we use content-stage mapping. This tool helps us plan the content according to the five stages of awareness.
Here is how it works:
Read more about planning content according to the stages of awareness mapping:
The section of search queries includes the keyphrases to be added in the article and consists of the following points:
- Main keywords and volume — main keywords and monthly volume on each of them
- People also ask — questions from the section People also ask on the first page of the search results on our main keyphrase.
- LSI — words and phrases Google considers semantically related to the topic
We add a table with the links to other website pages relevant to the topic and anchors (link headings) the writer should add to the article.
Here we add a few useful links the writer can use when writing the article, and an explanation of what the writer finds after following each link.
You shouldn’t overlook additional requirements while writing content. They include the general rules regarding:
- Writing Meta title, description, H1
- Writing an Alt tag
- Writing a URL
- Using external links
- Text originality
- Text length
Guides and rules
To write good content, the writer should observe the rules and standards (house rules) established by the company. At Kaiiax, these rules are expressed through:
- Style guide
- Strategic messaging guide
- Editing Bible
Except for that, we provide extra guides to the direction that help writers do their job:
- How to write an outline
- How to collect keywords
- How to sell the expertise
- CTA examples for blog
Here is an example of our direction: 🌟 Kaiiax content specification example
Feel free to use this structure for your projects 🙌.