What is content development?
Content development is the process of creating content from beginning to end. There are different types of content out there, from writing articles to creating videos, that can bring attention to any business or website. Each process online is slightly different, but putting all the steps together will allow companies to have success.
To be successful with content creation, proper development is essential. It is clear that content is king, but only when appropriately developed. Fortunately, there are some steps people can follow to build content that is beneficial in the short-term and long-term.
Content development steps
Some companies pride themselves on being able to complete every step with content development. Others will only specialize in a few different steps, handing off other parts of the process to someone else.
The truth is, skipping any of these steps could prove costly. If a company can’t handle everything on their own, work on specific actions and find assistance from others when necessary.
1. Initial research/information gathering
Before jumping into any content development, companies need to take the time to research and gather information. Without it, the plan is not setting itself up for success. There is so much data out there in today’s world that it does not make sense to gloss over initial research.
Anyone taking the information gathering process seriously will look at precisely what a piece of content needs before starting. That means examining target demographics, competitors, overall goals with content, and so much more.
There is so much data available these days that it makes little sense not to use it all to make data-driven decisions. It may not always spit out covering the topic a person wants it to, but this is about painting the best picture online and for search engines.
After properly researching topics, it is time to bring it all to life. That includes doing research on the original topic ideas, plus taking a look at just what type of opportunity is out there to cover specific areas for a more in-depth look. Some topics will be more natural to write a lot of content on, while others will need a lot of research and might seem like mostly filler.
2. Scout the competition
It is not always about having the best information, but the best relevant information to stand out in the crowd. To be successful online, content needs to drive clicks in some way. That means looking at the competition and seeing how they are having success with organic traffic. Take what they are doing that works, and try to build off of that as much as possible. The content should be similar in some ways to there, but at an entirely new level.
There are tools out there that will allow people to search any website they want to get a background on how the competition looks. It also helps to explore the most lucrative keywords. Getting knowledge, such as a website’s general profile, domain rating, organic traffic, and more is valuable information to have.
After taking the time to prepare, eventually, there comes a time where it is time to start writing. This process is pretty self-explanatory, but writing for results is different than just writing in general.
It is a process that people are going to struggle nailing in the beginning, but the writing only works with the front page of search engines in mind. That means long pieces that are newspaper or magazine-quality still might not get the job done if it does not touch on the right topics and keywords. The first draft should be about being as informational as possible, seeing just how organically the use of keywords is. Take what other businesses have done as far as content is concerned, and do it in a better (and longer) way.
See Also: Elements of a Perfect Article
The best type of mindset to be in when writing is to think of a potential reader. Not only should a person think about what people are typing out in search, but answer questions so that people feel like they are getting value. There is nothing worse than clicking on the website that promises to answer certain questions and issues, only to come up short.
Certain writers have the process down so much that they can optimize their writing the same time they are doing their very first draft. For others, it makes more sense to optimize after the fact, because this is where a person might slightly alter things to make it more certain friendly.
Search engines love anything from quality readability to a certain amount of keywords. A lot of content writing is going to be about appeasing what search engines like seeing more than anything. There might be some awkward keyword placements here and there to satisfy the optimization, but it is worth it for most in the end.
The good news is that search engines are becoming smarter and smarter, so the need to shoehorn specific keywords into articles is not nearly as bad as it used to be. This allows writers to be a bit freer when they are covering the topics they want.
Another habit people need to break out of when optimizing is to shorten things up. In the days of limited space in newspapers and magazines, many writers were encouraged to be very concise at all times. The internet rewards content creators that provide not only the primary information but additional information as well. Simply put, if there is relevant information that could add to the piece, put it in there.
5. Final checks and publishing
After the optimization is complete, make sure to do one final check before ultimately publishing content. The content developer can lose authority almost right away if there are any glaring errors out there. Also, strive for perfect presentation online, and there are no issues there. Too often, people post relevant content, but the actual presentation is lacking. It makes it difficult for visitors to read, and they ultimately click away and try something else.
Nothing is set entirely in stone on the internet, so feel free to make edits and adjustments from time to time. This is especially true when developing content that might be evolving as time goes on. There is nothing wrong with visiting old pieces and making edits when possible.
There is so much content on the internet that nothing is going to catch on without some promotion. That means making sure to spend time working on outreach in several ways.
One pretty traditional way people have reached others online is to send out new content in an email. Anyone who is on an email list for a business will receive the content, and a certain percentage will view it. From there, people might be willing to share that content with others if they find it interesting. Think of it as one organic way that works in spreading content to others.
More advanced options include something spreading thanks to social media. If the content is catchy and creative, there is a chance of it going viral without even putting in much effort. There is no real rhyme or reason why certain content goes viral, but it is interesting to monitor when it happens.
Is paid promotion worth it? In some instances, there will be companies that pay for promotion if they are trying to get certain results with their content. Maybe they want to target a specific demographic, or they want to grow the brand in general. It takes a lot of extra research to get the most out of paid promotion, so do not just throw money around for no reason.
7. Examine results
After everything has been posted and promoted, the first wave of results with content development is viewable. The step is crucial because people are continually learning about trends and what works for the business overall.
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There are bound to be a lot of tweaks made along the way that will help out. Too many people get discouraged that everything is not perfect the first time, but that is all part of the process. Those who can take what is wrong with the results and turn it into a positive will be the ones who have long-term success.
8. Repeat what works
If part of the process works as planned, do not try to overcomplicate things. Repeat that same type of plan and continue seeing results along the way. It might seem a little challenging for some people out there, but as long as everything is meeting particular metrics, it is worth continuing going down the line.
Not all content down the road is going to be the same, but similar formulas make the most sense. In the end, content development is about being informative and finding a process that works. Most businesses have been using a pretty familiar formula for several years now that works for them. The content creating should never feel reserved for only a select few. While some content creators and businesses help others put out relevant content, this can all work entirely in-house as well.
Shawn Manaher is the founder and CEO of The Content Authority. He’s one part content manager, one part writing ninja organizer, and two parts leader of top content creators. You don’t even want to know what he calls pancakes.