Your complete guide to content development

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Content is king - this is something every marketer has heard during their career.

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It has been many years since this quote was made famous, but it still rings true today. We believe that it is even more important today than it was a few years ago. With Google’s algorithm constantly evolving to ensure readers get the best content out there, it has never been so important to take your content development seriously if you want to stay relevant. 

There are many types of content out there that you can focus on; however, when it comes to developing a strategy that works, we believe having a set idea and goal of what you want to do and achieve is extremely important. 

Creating authentic content is critical

If there is one thing we know, it’s people can tell when they are being sold to. You need to provide real, raw, and carefully developed content made for your product and your audience. 

Let us take you through the ins and outs of content development and how you can ace this in the coming new year.

What is content development? 

To make things simple, content development is your process of creating content for your brand or website from beginning to end. Imagine a production line at a factory -  that is the goal of your content development plan. As an added bonus to general content development, content marketing is known to bring in three times as many leads as any traditional marketing counterpart and can sometimes cost more than 60% lesser than those traditional marketing efforts. 

There are a few stages to go through before you create new, shiny pieces of content:

  1. Your overall strategy: Who are you writing for? What problem are you solving? What is your Unique Selling Point and your brand persona? 
  2. Content creation: This is when you go out and create content briefs and strong, compelling content.
  3. Proofreading and optimization: Content is something always evolving and you can always improve upon. Proofreading the content is necessary and optimizing it for SEO is also extremely important so search engines can find you. 
  4. Publishing and distribution: After the content is completed, you should publish your article and ensure it has a proper promotional strategy so it gets a jumpstart in traffic sources leading to the page. 

Ensuring you have plans for each stage is extremely important. Always close the loop of content development. A lot of content creators miss out on one of these steps and this is why they might not be able to extract the most out of their content. 

Why content marketers need to know everything there is to know about content development

Content development is extremely crucial for multiple reasons. As a content marketer, diving deep into the world of content development is one of the first things you will need to master. 

Establish expertise

When you are seen as a dedicated content creator surrounding your brand, you will be known to your readers and Google as an authority on the subject. The more content you create and the more problems you help to solve, the better your positioning to customers. 

Increase brand awareness

Brand awareness is one of the most important things a business needs to build or maintain.  You need to get yourself out there and in front of potential customers. With quality content, you will increase traffic being sent to your website. Thus, more people will know of you and in the long run, it will be much easier to convert them. 

Turn traffic into customers 

Usually, a potential customer needs a few touchpoints with your brand before deciding on purchasing. The more quality content you create, the more authoritative you seem. Couple this with creating content that will help them convert, you turn your traffic into buying customers.

Top three questions to ask before starting your content development plan

Question 1: What are you trying to achieve? What is your goal?  

This is easily the most important question you will ask yourself before you start the overall strategy. 

Are you trying to convert people immediately? Are you writing a branded piece? What does your brand want to be known for? 

Question 2: Who is your audience? 

Knowing who you are creating content for is also critical to know before you start your content development journey. Learning who your customer is and how to speak to them is important so you target the right people. The better your targeting and messaging, the better your conversion rates. 

Question 3: How do I track these pieces of content?

This is a question a lot of people forget to ask or answer. When you create a content development strategy and execute it, the one way to see if it works or not is to track it. 

Will you have a sign up form at the bottom of the article? Or, are there UTM links? If your goal is to get leads, have you set up a way to collect those leads? Do you have Google Analytics set up on the page? 

All of these questions will need answers to ensure you know how well your content is doing. And if it’s not doing well, then you will be able to see that and tweak it to improve. But without this data, you will be working in the dark. 

Step-by-step content development strategy: Your personal how-to

So how do you start your content development strategy? Here is the life cycle you’ll need to follow: 

  1. Set your goals and your why
  2. Establish the results you want to achieve
  3. Understand your audience
  4. Determine the channels for content distribution 
  5. Research and create content briefs 
  6. Create a content plan or calendar
  7. Write the content
  8. Promote through distribution channels
  9. Measure and analyze results
  10. Improve and reiterate

Having this process down and documented is extremely important so nothing falls through the cracks. Over 63% of businesses do not have a properly documented content development strategy and this can cause issues in the long run. 

Have a process set and stick to it. This will help you long term and to keep track of what your audience enjoys and reciprocates to. 

Top online tools for content development strategy

There are so many tools out there for content marketers. Here are some of our favorites: 

Content research

Ubersuggest: From famed Neil Patel, Ubersuggest is a free online tool for keyword research. 

Buzzsumo: Simplify your life with Buzzsumo, as it gathers all of the best posts based on popular keywords. Learn what your audience is actually interested in. 

Content creation 

Grammarly: No time to get a proofreader? With Grammarly, you will be able to check your sentence syntax, use of nouns and just plain old spell check.

Quora: Known as one of the biggest forums in the world today, use Quora to find the most pressing questions being asked in your industry to generate content you know people want answers to. 

SEO 

Yoast: If you’re using Wordpress, Yoast is a plugin must. Rate your content’s readability and SEO-ranking whitestill editing your content. This way you can be sure that your content is SEO optimized and ready for the search engines. 

Results tracking and analytics

Google Analytics: Measure page views, traffic sources, bounce rates and more with Google Analytics. Make sure your website is a listed property on Google Analytics and get cracking with those numbers. 

Google Search Console: Another great tool for analytics that ensures you get a full view on your pages with regards to ranking, SEO and page issues.  Index your pages and submit site maps via Google Search Console so that you always stay relevant. 

Bonus: Earn extra, passive income with your content 

Since you are already going to be creating this content why not diversify the way you make money? Join Awin as a publisher to partner with the leading brands and use your traffic to earn more income by generating sales by featuring Awin advertisers’ products and services in your content. With $915 million earned by affiliates in the past year, as an Awin partner you can look to monetize your content and join other publishers reaping affiliate marketing success.

Creating and developing content is a long-term plan, diversifying the way you use it is extremely important so you are always looking at additional ways to get your brand’s name out there. 

Content development is simple but effective when done right 

Content development is necessary in the current digital marketing climate. Having a proper content development strategy ensures you stay relevant and stand out among the pack. Take advantage of white spaces in your niche or industry and help your audience by giving them the content they need. 

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