Content development is a crucial component of any well-rounded content strategy. After all, the blogs, videos, case studies, infographics, and other pieces of content you create are the basis for building a better connection with your audience and selling your products or services.
But in order to make sure your content strategy is cohesive and effective, you need to put some effort and time into your content development process.
This step-by-step guide is going to take you through the content development process and help you create a comprehensive content development plan for your business.
1. Research Your Audience
The first step to creating good-quality content is understanding who your audience is. If the content you produce doesn’t resonate with your target consumers, they will lose attention and you will lose sales. Researching your customer base will ensure that the content you write matches their interests and offers solutions to their problems.
Consider creating buyer personas that contain demographic and behavioral information about your ideal customers and get an idea of who they are. Ask yourself questions like:
What are their interests, desires, and intentions? What problems are they trying to solve?
You can also take things a step further and use Facebook audience insights. This tool allows you to access demographics (such as gender, age, location, and job role), as well as purchase history and information on what pages they like.
2. Do Research to Collect Information
Know who your main competitors are and take a look at their best-performing content. Find out what the sites are doing right in terms of content marketing and where they could do well with some improvement. There are many tools that can help you with competitor analysis, such as Content Explorer by Ahrefs which shows you best-performing pages, including domain rating, word count, and backlink profile.
You should analyze your current content in order to figure out how it is performing and identify opportunities for improvement. Some of the important elements to review include traffic, search engine visibility, content length, posting frequently, etc.
You can even start your keyword research at this stage, using tools such as Moz Keyword Explorer and SEMrush.
3. Plan Your Content Strategy
Planning your content production allows you to keep everyone involved in the content development process stay on the same page.
Take some time to think about how much content you should produce a month. Will you focus on creating blog posts or other formats such as infographics and videos? This is where the information gathered during competitor analysis can be helpful. How much content are they creating each month? What formats do they prefer? What is their average article word count? Hubspot research found that companies that publish more than 16 posts a month generate 3.5 times more traffic than those that publish less than four.
For the best results, consider creating content calendars, plan across topic clusters, and assign responsibilities for each task. Diversify content formats in order to cater to the needs of different audiences and funnel stages.
4. Start Writing
Speaking of catering to your audience’s needs, that should be the first thing to take into consideration when writing your content. Because no matter how well-written your content is, if it doesn’t appeal to your audience, it will go unnoticed.
While researching your audience and building your buyer personas, find out your customers’ interests and include them in your content development plan. Providing answers to frequently asked questions, addressing customer pain points, product use cases, or industry news are all good bases for creating content that appeals to your customers.
However, successful content can’t only resonate with readers; it should also appeal to Google and other search engines.
In order for people to be able to find you online, your content has to rank high on SERPs and be developed following SEO best practices. Include the keywords you want to rank for throughout your content, the meta title, and meta tags. Format your content with H1 and H2 tags, and avoid fluff content and keyword stuffing as this will have a negative impact on your SERPs rankings.
Be sure to follow content writing best practices, such as analyzing keyword density and checking grammar, and work on improving your content’s performance by adding lists, using descriptive headlines, and, of course, compelling visuals. Research has shown that when people hear information, they are likely to remember only 10% of it three days later, but if that same information is combined with a relevant image, people will retain about 65% of the information three days later.
5. Promote Your Content
Your work isn’t done after you write, optimize, and publish your content. The reason behind the promotion isn’t just to get more eyes on your articles; it can also result in more backlinks, which are very important for SEO because they signal to search engines that another resource finds your content valuable enough to link to it.
For best results, you might want to consider outsourcing your link-building campaigns. A well-thought link-building strategy will help ensure that search engines can see your website’s value and rank it higher in SERPs, but getting high-quality backlinks requires a lot of time and effort. Hiring an experienced link-building agency is a great option to help you save time and money, send referral traffic, improve search engine rankings, and more!
There are many ways to promote your content, but the most obvious is social media. Considering the fact that there are 3.78 billion social media users worldwide with an average of 2 hours and 25 minutes spent on social networks a day, it’s safe to say that social media is a great way to draw attention to your content, gain views, engagement, and reposts. You should also consider republishing platforms and email outreach.
6. Analyze and Repeat
Content development is never over. It’s a constant process that begins again right after it ends. That’s why you should never stop auditing and monitoring your content. The digital marketing world is constantly changing and you can miss changes in the search volume of your targeted keywords or lose your rankings.
Analyze the results to determine what worked and what didn’t. Did the content you create help you achieve your marketing goals? Can you identify where you went wrong? If so, what can you do to improve? For best results, go beyond Google Analytics and use advanced content analytics tools like Content Audit and Post Tracking.
Once you have answers to these questions, apply the successful tactics again and try something new in the cases where your content failed.
A strategic and well-planned content development process will help you a great deal with planning, organizing, implementing, and publishing your content. Having such a process will not only save you money, effort, and time, but will also help you reach your marketing goals, drive sales, and boost revenue.
If you don’t have a content development process yet, the steps in this guide will help you build one from scratch. If you already have a process but it could use some improvement, start by looking for weak points in your strategy and use the instructions in this article to make your process more efficient.