The Epic Content Cycle: 10 Steps to 10X Content [Infographic]

The Epic Content Cycle Infographic

It’s the holy grail of the blogosphere — highly sought after but rarely achieved.

We’re talking, of course, about “epic” content.

Creating it, though, feels like an impossible mission for many bloggers — beyond the reach of all but the most elite writers.

But in reality, you don’t need epic skills to create truly remarkable content, just a reliable process. One you can follow time and time again to create posts that cut through the noise and rescue your readers from pain and frustration.

The following exclusive infographic is your ultimate visual guide to the epic content cycle. It’s a proven blueprint for creating content that’s ten times better than the competition.

So here they are, the 10 steps you must follow to “10X” your next post:

Click on the image below to see a larger view:

The Epic Content Cycle Infographic

Resources

Embed This Infographic On Your Site

Are You Ready to Join the League of Epic Writers?

Despite what you may think, you don’t need to be an elite writer to create an epic post. You just need to follow the right process.

By understanding the epic content cycle, you can create content that transforms your readers and catapults you toward your goals like making money as a blogger.

So make this infographic your guide and go out and publish your first truly epic post.

Then take a moment to do a happy dance.

And return to the start to do it all over again.

And again. And again.

About the Author: Sonia Thompson is a content marketing strategist who loves roaming the streets of foreign lands. She’s on a mission to help you develop and execute the right strategy for your business so you can get the customers you want and keep them coming back for more. Grab your free list of 40 resources that show you in-depth how to implement the 10 Steps to 10X your content.

143 thoughts on “The Epic Content Cycle: 10 Steps to 10X Content [Infographic]”

  1. Hey Sonia,

    Content creation requires many steps. The infographic is showing everything which is required to craft an attractive article.

    Keyword research is always the best part. The idea of the blog post can be brought up by reading the blog comments and more.

    Focusing on the main points of the article is necessary. You can’t explain each and every detail.

    Narrowing the article according to your blog makes it even more readable.

    Thanks for sharing this informative infographic.
    ~Ravi

    1. Hey Ravi – you are right, there are a ton of steps involved with creating great content that adds value for your audience. And within each of those steps there are a ton of sub-steps.

      But knowing all the things that work together makes the process go a lot more smoothly.

      Glad you liked the infographic! 🙂

  2. Thank you for a hand-holding session. Much appreciated. It is frustrating to spend hours on a post and get meager connection and then have a friend post something like, “So glad I get to eat Top The Tator again” and get a zillion likes and shares.

    1. My pleasure Gail!

      And I totally understand your frustration with agonizing over a post with meager response – so following a process for how to prevent that is soooo helpful!

  3. Infographics are definitely like the Holy Grail for those of us publishing virtually – and just as rare and difficult to produce the perfect material! Thank you so much for helping us cross the most difficult bridges and make effective material for our audiences. Your time and effort are much appreciated, Sonia!

  4. Sonia, this post is timely. I just made up my mind to start creating epic content for my websites and clients. Creating epic content is not an easy task, but it is worth it any day. It is useful for natural link building as everyone will like to link to it, bringing in enormous traffic and helping to rank in search engine results in the long run. Thanks for this awesome infographic.

    1. Hephzy – I’m so glad you made the decision to move forward with creating remarkable content. It will definitely pay dividends for both you and your audience. 🙂

  5. Sonia, first ever infographic on Smartblogger and a great one – we don’t expect anything less anyway 🙂

    Just a quick point, in my experience with blogging and having known the importance of headlines, do you not think that in real life, “headline” selection and the final fix of the wordings can/should be left till the very end?

    Your thoughts welcome. Cheers. Off to share with my audience as well.

    1. Hey Ahmad – you bring up a good point.

      I’ve played around with both approaches – doing the headline earlier, as well as writing it at the end.

      And I’ve found it best to do the headline earlier in the process, at least a working headline, because it helps with organizing the flow of the rest of the content.

      In addition – it helps you to make sure the content of the post “delivers” on the promise of the headline – when you know what the headline is in advance.

      Once the post is complete – I do go back and see if there are ways to improve/refine the headline even further – but that isn’t the first time I think through it.

      Thanks for commenting and sharing 🙂

  6. The info contained herein is wonderful *BUT* the Infographic-Format SUCKS.
    The font size is too small for comfortable reading.

    This deserves an Article-Format with Subheading, Bullet-Points, etc. so it can be used as a Resource.

    1. Hey WallyWiki,

      Thanks for your comment. Sorry the font size was a challenge. We just had so much information to cram in!

      If you click the image you should get a slightly bigger version which you could zoom into further with your browser.

      But we’ll think about adding a PDF download which just contains the text, but in a larger font.

      Cheers,

      Glen (Managing Editor)

  7. A true infographic breaks down information in a visual way. This is just an article with colored background and images of a guy working on each step. Not an infographic. Sorry. Better luck next time.

  8. Hi Sonia

    This is great – a really clear and actionable process for researching, creating, publishing and promoting epic content.

    What a brilliant first infographic for Smart Blogger – I’ve just shared it on all my networks 🙂

    Cheers!

    Loz

  9. Sonia, I think your infographic is wonderful! You nailed the 10 steps! Especially enjoyed the insight on #1 about pain points. For example I tried googling {topic} “struggling to” site:{someblog.com} and instantly saw some real pain points people face now.

    Sharing this and keeping it as a reference for when I create.
    Thanks again, Sonia!
    -John

    1. Thanks John! Step 1 is soooo important because it lays the foundation for the rest of the steps in the process.

      Glad to hear that you put it to the test and saw some results. 🙂

    2. What a fantastic search. I followed your formula and brought up articles for a search I’ve been interested in that did not pop up before. Thanks John!

  10. You’ve done it again Sonia! Another wonderful post!
    At last we have an infographic on Smart Blogger 🙂

    Thanks so much for the infographic. I really love the look and design.

    Iyiola.

  11. Hi Sonia,

    Loved the infographic. Loved the content too, and think the steps could easily be utilized by people trying to create free resources for their websites, and as give-aways to encourage people to sign onto an email list.

    I particularly like Step 2, and the examples of how to narrow down topics. Specificity is a challenge for so many people!

    1. Hey Valerie – yes, specificity can be a realy challenge. Often because we have such ambitious goals with what we want to accomplish with a single post.

      All the best to you with your epic content creation efforts. 🙂

  12. Right on point Sonia,

    And your infographic is brilliant.

    When it comes to crafting epic blog posts, everything boils down to research, research, and research. Unfortunately, that is the part I can’t outsource.

    1. Hey Jabinang – glad you enjoyed the infographic.

      I’m curious – why can’t you outsource the research? Of course it does take a well-trained and knowledgeable person to help you find what you need. But it is possible.

  13. Very nice job!!
    I personally enjoyed the images – a very refreshing change – they were really cute. They were extremely relevant and actually created an enjoyable story line for your post.
    Please keep up the great work!

  14. Hi Sonia,
    Just a quick but sincere thank you.
    I am a visual person so appreciate the extra help an infographic gives in embedding useful info into my little brain.
    So glad you interrupted your roaming of foreign streets to help us out (what an interesting life you must lead!)
    So glad to see your continued success – thank you, Sonia.

    1. Zarayna – thank you, for your lovely comment. It’s always great to hear from you 🙂

      Like you, I am visual – am I’m always thinking in terms of pictures and diagrams and drawing things out, so this was helpful for me too!

      And yes – life when traveling around definitely brings lots of interesting experiences, but I love it!

  15. Infographics aren’t dead!

    Great work Sonia – identifying paint points is SO CRUCIAL yet so frequently neglected. If you don’t know what keeps your audience up at night, how can you possibly relate or market to them?

    Cheers!

  16. Great infographic Sonia. One of the best post about content creation process on the internet.

    When I tried to imagine infographic on SmartBlogger it looked just like yours.

    I don’t love infographics with tone of numbers but this format (infographic + story) resonate with me 😁.

  17. Awesome infographic, Sonia! This one is going in my “epic resources” folder. It’s where I keep great stuff (like Headline Hacks) that I want to reference over and over again.

    Thanks for breaking such a complex issue down into a simple step-by-step process… and then making a gorgeous infographic out of it!

    I was planning on starting an epic post tomorrow, but I think I just might start today. 😀

    1. Hey Stephen – thanks so much for stopping by and commenting.

      You’re already pretty experienced in creating epic content, but glad to hear you’re gonna get started on another one today! Keep me posted on how it goes for you. 🙂

  18. Hi Sonia, hats off to – if I understand correctly – to the first ever infographic at smartblogger, the design, the colors, etc. – definitely cool.

    Being a first makes it particularly cool – because it not only leaves room for improvement but actually begs for it. Your first will make every reader’s first a better first, including my own – is my prediction.

    Questions that popped up as I read (as opposed to looked) through it:

    – Why 10 ways – why not 9, 11 or 1?
    – Proven. Where’s the proof, the testimonials?
    – Don’t need epic skills to create remarkable content? Sounds to me as in you don’t need epic skill to play tennis like Roger Federer :-]
    – Infographic – why even use the term? Nobody knows what it is. Words are (infographics), and pictures are (infographic), too. When it’s a guide, roadmap, strategy or method, why not call it by its name?

    I feel these are valid even natural questions – I better keep in mind for my own good.

    Overall, on the process infographed itself, 80% of it belongs not in content creation, but in positioning (target market, avatar, etc). It’s not something you want to repeat with every article – if you live in the hope of finding sleep in between. If it takes (10?) steps to write, and another 10 to write epically, just to get started, the output risks to be epically low. I should know :-]

    🙂

    1. Hey Beat – thanks for stopping by with your comment.

      When I started working on this one – I wasn’t looking for a certain number of steps. We just spent time mapping out the process, and 10 is the number we landed with.

      The thing about processes are – if you follow the steps as indicated, the results should be replicatable – despite your level of expertise. And I’d say the steps are proven because if you look across the web – there are tons of articles and examples touting the benefits (some with case studies) highlighting the benefits of following these steps. All are not included here of course – but there’s plenty of evidence. 🙂

  19. Very Neil Patel… 😉

    Hopefully, you guys will figure out a uniquely SB style… but from a content perspective and “content value”… it’s a solid graphic… I mean it is… don’t take what I’m about to say as taking away from that…

    Now here’s what I didn’t like…

    Font size… ouch. It’s an infoGRAPHIC not a microfiche… I mean this one isn’t as bad as others I’ve seen… and I get it was all this “good stuff” you wanted to cram in there… but draw more… write less… or simplify the topic more…

    I know that’s super hard… been there…

    Finally viz SB’s style for future ones…

    … characters viz. a “Yoast” type illustration of Jon and the rest of you would definitely be killer… 😉 I’d love to see Marsha “Yoastized” as a comic… 🙂 (And Glen for that matter…)

    I mean you guys (and others that contribute) are part of a pretty grand narrative that could be entertaining in the infographics of the future…

    All in all tho – super solid… good job.

  20. Love the infographic! I, too, am a visual person, so this really helps.
    If only there was some way to print this out so I could pin it on my bulletin board. If anyone can figure out a way to fit all that info on an 8.5×11 AND keep it readable, let the world know!
    Since that’s probably not going to happen, putting this in some printable form (slide? pdf?), so I could print it up as a usable worksheet would be fab.

      1. Karen Heaster

        It doesn’t need to all fit on ONE sheet. If it were able to be broken up to print on multiple sheets it would be wonderful. I thought at first it was laid out to fit that way, but never could find a way to print it. That is very disappointing as I tend to print and keep the good stuff in a three-ring binder. This will disappear into the netherworld of electronic circuitry and be unavailable for future reference. Bummer!

  21. Love the infographic. Totally bookmarking and pinning it. The style and design was so cute (tickled me to see the guy polish the paper). The font though is really triggering I see. Despite the hundreds of infographics out there with similar size though. lol people… get over it and zoom in! Or make your own, like Sonia did.

    MORE INFOGRAPHICS and ARTICLES FROM SONIA K THX

  22. Hi Sonia,

    I would say that it is an excellent infographic post. You have consolidated all the valid points to craft the epic content; nothing is missed.

    Doing keyword research, having an eye on the competitor, focusing on the single topic and adding better information that our rivals are indeed needed to generate the content that can go viral on the web.

    Thanks for the valuable information in the picture format, it was a good visual treat. Keep your good work.

  23. LOVED the story-telling format of the infographic and the cute illustrations!! Great job Sonia!!

    Also, spot on with all the 10 steps outlined… The best part is that once you start doing these 10 steps repeatedly, they go by pretty fast and don’t feel like a ton of work…

    Oh, and I have to thank you for the great tip on saving all post links in a spreadsheet for future reference! Brilliant!! I’d been pinning them to a secret board but it was getting too distracting 😉

    Thanks Sonia!

  24. Hi Sonia,
    Great post! I am right now searching for a write. I am building a real estate website and need content. Your post just hits all key points. I would like to ask you what software did you use to compose your infographic? It looks great!

  25. Such a nice and Epic Content Cycle guide, really enjoyed the whole Infographic. This is a complete and step-by-step guide on how to create epic content cycle, I am impressed on how you made this awesome Infographic, also impressed that the guide in this infographic was also awesome. Thanks for sharing, will try to implement these strategies 🙂

  26. Very nice article!!
    I personally enjoyed the infographic, a very refreshing change. They were extremely relevant and actually created an enjoyable story line for your post.
    Please keep up the great work!

  27. I didn’t find the comment section on this post so I’m writing the comment here https://smartblogger.com/how-to-be-unforgettable/
    Damn this post gave me goosebumps for the first time in my entire life I found a blog which really makes me realize things i don’t i feel like finding the author who wrote that and giving a hug to that person for the first time in my life i am really inspired to write . I don’t know after reading this article i feel like i wanna read lots of books and i will from now on .

  28. This is awesome, after reading this post anyone can create a good infographic just by sticking to the 10 points.

    Although I want to add that if we find out bloggers or link creaters point of view on the infographic topic we can modify it accordingly. Then in step 10 promotion this infographic will be easier.

  29. Great Infographics are the awesome way to teach & learn as it is easy to grasp. Content is unarguably the most dominant force in in world of SEO. Creating a great content will definitely become easy for all those who are reading this blog post.

  30. KaZooks! (sorry ’bout the language) I’ve never looked at negativity * so positively! “Find a need & fill it” I’ve heard before. Solving problems & getting paid for it. I’m gonna go out today & look for what’s wrong with the world.. (so I can help fix it). You gave me a new word: Poblish–polish before I publish. Am I content with my content?

    * “Life is like photography. You take the negative & develop”.–unkwn

  31. Dumb question… Is there any SEO DISadvantage to re-publishing a post on Medium in full? Should I truncate it there and link back? Should the whole post with links in tact go to Medium?

  32. Marsha, your contents are really awesome and i really love reading them. I follow all your advices and frankly speaking, you are my idol, Thanks a lot and best of luck

  33. Hey Sonia,

    A lot of bloggers, especially me, really appreciate you putting this infographic together. Some of us need a visual and simplified view of crafting an epic post. This will be a great guideline for me on future posts.

    Thanks for sharing Sonia!

  34. I have been blogging for a few years and here is another example of a great tool that has identified things that I really need to think about during the creative process. Really good infographic and will use it for my future posts – Thanks

  35. Hello everyone!
    Finding ideas to blog about is also as I important but no great than mastering the website monetization procees.

    Here I mean,it is good for you to learn website content writing ,but you can not live just by writing without monetizing in order to make your blogging life easier.

    Thank you very much for the post

    1. Hey Ndayishimiye – everyone will need to evaluate their own goals when it comes to their blog. For some it may be monetization – and for others it may be more intrinsic rewards.

      Either way – the strategy is essential. But no matter what – creating 10X content will help you reach your goal for sure. 🙂

  36. Hey Sonia,

    I could never find out what site I could possibly go to to create a robust info graphic. Could you name a few infographics sites I can use to create a few good infographics and put them on the website? 🙂

    Thanks a million!

  37. Just when you think you’ve seen all the tools – boom! smartblogger delivers again with another list I cant resist. Workflowy?? How have I never heard of this one?

    Thanks for the great article. Now its time to go take action!

    Cheers,
    Devin

  38. Thank you for the post. This is a very informative and entertaining (dare I say epic?) infographic. It is so easy, as a content writer, to get hung up on word counts and deadlines. I completely agree with you about having a small, clearly defined theme for your post and polishing it until it becomes something that people would cut out from a newspaper and hang on the fridge. Those types of articles are rare and valuable in the age of clickbait.

    1. Nelle – you’re so right, it can be easy to get caught up in just getting something ready to publish on time. But it’s good practice to take a step back and think about your goals – and how each piece of content fits into it.

      Then that will help you create the space you need to create something that is worthy of the title “epic.” 🙂

  39. Hey Sonia,
    It is really amazing of what you have. It is very helpful, the way you explained is very easy to understand. Since creating a high quality content is a rooted problem in blogging, this post helps every blogger to kickstart the best content writing.
    This will act to be the perfect guide
    Thanks for sharing
    Great Stuff!!

  40. Excellent Post. thanks for sharing. You gave me a few ideas to apply with my upcoming posts. I think conducting one’s research might just be the most important, from there content creation gets a little easier.

  41. Thank you so much smart blogger for this great article. i have lauched my blog and am looking forward to having many contents.

  42. Hi, Sonia!
    Your post is truly epic, and it’s bookmarked for easy reference on my computer. You did such a great job of distilling every step. I especially like the four U’s. My other favorite gift from you is at the end where you give all the reference links for every step. You clearly want to help us create epic work! Thank you so much!

  43. I think that writing content online is more than just writing. You also need to know a bit about marketing so that you know that your content appeals to your target market.

  44. This is helpful and entertaining to read. It is important to determine the pain points that you are hitting right from the beginning. This is the only way to really create useful content.

  45. Andrew M. Warner

    Hey Sonia,

    Really impressive infographic. And the points are all accurate and something markets should be aiming to do every time they create a piece of content.

    Really great work.

  46. HI Sonia!

    I have been a freelance writer for about two years and I’m entering the second year of a marketing focused blog I launched in 2015. I appreciate the post because I feel it is definitely time for me to move on to the next level. I recently discovered how competitive we all are for our readers’ attention. Since we all know how important the headline is, what do you feel is the most critical element to creating a good headline?
    thanks for the post and please enjoy your weekend.

    1. Hey Jireh – definitely the headline is super important. I’m not sure that I can pinpoint what exactly which element makes a good headline – I think the 4u’s approach is useful.

      I would like to add that the process of generating at least 10 headlines and ideally 25 for each post will really help you get better at writing them.

      Hope that helps! 🙂

      1. HI Sonia,
        Thanks for the suggestions. I had not heard about the four u’s or to generate @ least 10 headlines and up to 25 for each post. I have recently learned that great content deserves a slow and steady approach, instead of trying to rush it just to get something published.

        How long did it take you to find your groove (so-to-speak)?

        Thanks again

  47. iF you want to make money by writing Online, you need to brush up on your writing skills. It’s one of the most central factors to making good money. Set aside some time every day to practice your writing and get yourself a copy of Strunk and White and study it. Reading well-written books by contemporary authors is a great way to learn the difference between good writing and bad writing.

    1. Hey Radhe – all great tips for improving your writing.

      I’ve definitely identified this skill as my “one thing” that I consistently invest time in developing.

  48. Hi Sonia, I like your infographic and I embedded it in one of my blog posts at rzlarchive.com . It is very informative and straight to the point. Thank you for creating such a wonderful guide for bloggers.

  49. Dear sonia ! thanks for this really informative infographic, this blog has really startblogger. I have read some other post also they help me alot. By the way which tool you used to created this. Illustrator?

  50. The infographic was just amazing. I like the fact that it presents information in a logical sequence – and that it reads “like an article,” as one commenter put it. Now, I gotta get to work on putting every step into practice. Thanks a bunch!!

  51. Hey Sonia,

    Really awesome topic and a awesome post about the importance of infographic. Regarding the post studies are now showing that the infographic is more appreciated than the simple text format. Infographic can put 10 times more content to the post and it is really easy and attractive way to describe.

    It is also more effective to understand and is gaining popularity towards the readers and bloggers. You have also use a lot of infographic and this made the post thrilling. A good quality of infographics can raise your website traffic and helps you to gain readers.

    At least in the infographic sector it should has a effort to convince the revisit the website next time also.Thanks for sharing and keep sharing. Have a wonderful day ahead.

    With regards,

    Suraj Kumar

  52. Hey Sonia,

    It’s a really fantastic post regarding this subject. Now-a-days, creating a content is not enough we have to go with several process to make it perfect blog in sea of blog. This infographics really sounds very beneficial for us as well as to newbies in order to enhance experience which can be valuable for achieving goals.

    Good nature of strategy play vital role to get momentum in online marketing of any niche business. Sharing our content on several social media platforms helps us to gain traffic as well as establishment of healthy relationship for our business. Eventually, thanks for sharing your worthy thought with us.

    With best wishes,

    Amar kumar

    1. My pleasure Amar! You’re so right – we’ve got to work harder and smarter to stand out as the amount of content ours has to compete with grows rapidly.

      All the best to you with your blog! 🙂

  53. Brilliant Ms. Sonia!
    Did you craft this infographic all by yourself? It is magnificent and so through. Crazy helpful. I have honestly got a pen and paper in hand and noted it all down – scribbled for 5 pages. You are a marvel!

  54. Hey sonia, I really enjoyed reading this. Honestly, I think it’s soooo amazing. I’ll love to read more of your articles, do you have a means for me to grab more of your content? I feel you’re born to do this. Thanks for this amazing this I know my contents creations skills is going to get better wih this.

  55. Only a virtuoso like Sonia could have crafted such an epic. It’s indeed the holy grail of writing craftsmanship. Whenever Sonia writes, whether for Smart Blogger, Forbes, or Inc., it makes the rest of us come across as lilliputs.

    Hundreds of hours of research must have gone into crafting the masterpiece. It eloquently demonstrates that rather than jump into crafting an article it pays dividends in spades to do the heavy lifting in research first.

    Sonia, I’m ready for your creative writing class.

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