In this era of information and technology, e-commerce is booming. And unsurprisingly, one of the biggest components of advertising your company online is well-written content—because that’s where the communication begins. Content development can make or break a company. It helps your consumers understand your business better and draws traffic organically.
This article will try to address the components of content development and how it can help your business.
What is content development?
Content development is defined as the process of strategic planning, organization, and execution behind content creation and propagation. It is essentially the amalgamation of all the processes, from start to finish involved in creating content for a website. Web content includes infographics, blogs, images, sounds, videos, and other content.
Phases of online content development
There are primarily two phases of content development which are:
- Search visibility
- Content posting frequency
- Content length
- Top linked content
- Top landing pages
Planning and strategy phase
The content analysis should give you an idea of what exactly is working and what isn’t. Content development has an immense amount of trial and error involved. So, it’s always advisable to try out a couple of things to figure which content development and management strategy work for you. This style of interpretation of data needs to continue before every planning phase.
How to complete your Content Development process?
Your content development needs a robust process that keeps you organized and on track to hit all the predetermined goals. To get there, you might have to come up with a multi-step process that works for the scale of your business. Here are some common developmental steps to get you started:
- Collect information
Before proceeding with content creation, you need to collect information regarding your competitors, target audience, and website goals. You gain insight into the topics that can possibly be covered, which have the highest chances of engaging with your readers.
- Conduct an analysis
After collecting all the information you need, conduct an analysis of all that you’ve gathered. Look into your key competitor’s content- their back-link profile, length of the pages, etc. This gives you a chance to outrank them in SEO.
In this phase, start off with developing a content calendar that helps you to stay on top of things. Content development can thus go on smoothly. We’ll pick this part up a little later in the article.
- Produce content
Get to writing and create content that will appeal to readers. Keep in mind the needs of the consumer while drafting articles. The research will tell you what kind of content is doing well in the market space, so try to produce more of that specific type of content.
- Optimize your content
When you’re done drafting content, move over to optimizing it and then publishing it. Look for things like word count, keywords, readability, and other items that improve your SEO scores. Readability comes down to multiple factors like the use of passive language, transition words, and, more importantly, how easy it is for an average person to read.
You’ll also be required to create meta descriptions that function to summarize the purpose of your article within 140 characters. Tags can also a long way in improving your brand visibility.
- Focus on content promotion
Publishing isn’t where the story ends as far as content development is concerned. You need to promote your content using backlinks and social media posts. Make use of email marketing to reach out to people and get them interested.
- Review and process
Review your marketing processes to evaluate if your posts are reaching the intended audience. If you’re unhappy with the results, tweak your strategy so as to produce desired results. Continue to use a similar process for all future content.
Why should you start with online content development?
Online content development provides several benefits to a growing business. Let’s break them down and take a closer look at each one of them.
1. Attracting potential customers to your website
Well-written content can help attract potential customers to your website on a frequent basis. When you create content and push it out to readers, they continue to visit your website more. This helps them create an emotional investment with your brand.
Insightful content written with the needs of the daily user in mind is sure to be well-received. It instills in customers a sense of trust, making them believe your business is a legitimate operation. Trust then translates to paying customers naturally.
2. Providing free and useful information to your readers
Customers like the idea of free and useful information. When they’re able to connect with the content you’ve produced, they’re more likely to follow your web pages. The chances of them sharing the same content among their friends and family also go up dramatically. All of this is integral to your brand value.
3. Connecting with your users with engaging content
Content development opens up a world of possibilities. Well-researched content can help form a bridge between you and your customers. Your readers can now engage with you through comments on a blog post, likes, and comments on images/videos in social media pages or in some cases, direct messages.
Audiences feel heard, and help them feel like they’re part of a growing community. This is a unique way for businesses to understand the needs of the target audience. You can now design a product or create a service using this valuable information.
4. Developing thought-leadership for your company
Thought leaders are essentially individuals who can have a positive influence over your business with their market insights. They offer guidance to blossoming businesses to achieve success. Online content developmental strategies can help your business achieve this coveted status.
You’re given the opportunity to draw from past learnings and put them to good use to ensure that such mistakes are minimized in the future. This means that you can establish your business as a thought-leader in the field of your interest. Continue to listen to your audience and keep producing relevant content to help you stay on top of your game.
5. Helping your sales team tell your story more convincingly
Well-intentioned online content dev strategies can help your sales team narrate a compelling story around your brand. This can add a human layer to your business, something that users look forward to.
Think of Hallmark that bases its brand around positive affirmation and sending in messages of hope in times of uncertainty. Dove is yet another company with a strong brand message of body positivity with its content turning viral.
So, create a brand statement that aligns with your goals. Ensure that your sales team emphasizes the message. This helps you position yourself as the market leader and consequently boosts sales.
6. Improving the SEO rankings for your business
Following a proven content development and management systems not only helps you stay up to date on market trends but also ensures that you stay relevant in changing times like today. Search engine optimization relies on such constant updates, meaning it’s likely that you get a boost in SEO scores. Search engines generally prefer quality over quantity, picking up content that is the most relevant to your industry.
Here are a couple of things to consider while implementing your content development process:
- Length– In-depth articles are definitely the way to go. They’re helpful to your customers and do better with SEO rankings.
- Relevance– Search engines like Google keep a tab on the frequency of your posts. They’re more likely to look out for newer content and push them across to prospective clients. So, make sure to post regularly and try to update older content.
- Variety– It’s important to produce original content rather than pulling outlines from similar sites and publishing them as your own. Search engines may drop down your SEO ranks if they detect even a hint of plagiarism.
- Engagement– The time that an average reader spends on your website is being constantly monitored. More the time, the better are your SEO rankings. This is exactly why writing engaging content is important.
7. Driving social media strategies
Social media is a big boon to business owners. It allows companies to engage with their target audience in real-time. It can help forge meaningful and long-lasting relationships with your customers. They offer you valuable feedback, which you can then use to optimize the business. Sometimes, it can also result in lead generation as well.
At the heart of a successful marketing campaign is content development. They act as a catalyst to conversations surrounding the product and the brand in general. Sharing of links in blurbs or quotes can pique interest among eager readers, encouraging the consumer to look around for more.
8. Visualizing your goals
Content development gives you an idea of what you’ll be producing in a set period of time and the impact it might have on your business. This can help a company to visualize its goal better as the development strategy acts as the blueprint. During the content development process, you can modify the goals according to the type of content you’re producing.
How to plan a Content Development and Management Strategy?
The primary way to produce strategic content is by discovering content that motivates your target audience. The success of your online content development strategy depends upon how you approach the business situation you’re in. Irrespective of what stage you’re in, there are some core strategies that come in handy. They include setting up definite goals, researching your audience, and outlining the way consumers interact with your content.
Here’s a guide to developing a strategic content development and management program:
1. Determine your mission and goals
Before you can start off with producing content, it’s important to write a mission statement. A mission statement needs to be clear, concise and should give your consumers an idea about why you exist and what you create. This helps to maintain a clear focus regarding the purpose of producing content.
A good mission statement is able to communicate about:
- Your audiences
- The type of content you wish to produce to entice them
- How this type of content can benefit them
Once you’re done creating a mission statement, you need to start with drafting attainable goals. Both short-term and long-term goals help to keep your team focused on producing the kind of content that can achieve those set goals. Some of the short-term goals include:
- Producing content on time and publishing them before the set deadline
- Planning for content beforehand
- Researching about themes that align with the mission statement
While some of the long-term goals are:
- Driving traffic to the parent site
- Creating brand awareness
- Generating prospective clients
- Retention of customers
- SEO success
2. Define your target audience
You need to understand what your audience is interested in, where they read content, and how they process that information before going ahead with producing content. The best way to do this is by;
- Collecting demographic data: Web analytics and social media analytics can provide you with data about consumers. This includes age, gender, education, income, and, more importantly, their interests and online habits.
- Getting customer feedback: Try to understand what the general public thinks about your products. You can then go on modifying the strategies accordingly.
- Creating buyer personas: Give you an idea of your readers and customers, which you can then use to cater to their needs.
3. Choose your content types
Collecting information about your target audience puts you in a better decision to decide the type of content that works. You may have to test it out on your audience before settling down on the content type you’ll be producing. Some of the common content types include:
- Social media content
- Longform content
- Case Studies
- White papers
- Templates and checklists
The choice of the number of content types you want to produce is left to you and the needs of your business. Keep in mind the audience preferences while deciding.
4. Assessing your content
After you’re done publishing the content, your next step is to assess how the content is doing and whether it’s helping to achieve your predetermined goals. This is where content audits come into play. Content audits include logging all forms and evaluating their performance, determining how your content ranks against other competitors and identifying lapses.
Here are some methods to log and access your content:
- Logging your content– Use a URL crawler to log your content from blogs and websites. The URL crawler should be able to analyze page titles and descriptions, create site maps and find duplicate pages in a jiffy.
- Assessing the success of your content– The metrics that you need to pay attention to are the search engine rankings for certain keywords associated with the content you produced, the inbound links, and the total number of times the content has been shared. Make use of position tracking tools to gather this information.
- Identifying gaps in your content– Try to look for keywords that are related to your niche, but you haven’t yet still targeted. Produce content that has a chance of ranking better on searches.
5. Tracking the consumer’s journey
Measuring a consumer’s journey can prove vital in improving your customer services. Each interaction a customer has with your brand ranging from a brand inquiry to a reaction on a social media post brings them closer to your sales and marketing funnel. The experience of one customer can vary from another, but all of them go through the same steps. The common four steps that ultimately lead to customer loyalty are:
- Awareness– A customer becomes aware of your products and services
- Consideration– They look for options and come to understand their needs better
- Decision– They choose a solution that they believe can address their problem better
- Customer loyalty– Consistent customer services and an overall positive experience can lead to this stage
6. Figuring out the best distribution channels
An improper distribution system can spell doom for your content which in all likelihood isn’t going to reach out to the intended audience. So, it’s pertinent for you as a business owner to understand the different types of distribution channels. They are:
- Email distribution– Email newsletters sent on a per-week or monthly basis can help drive traffic to your website. This can be a decisive step in building brand awareness. Since there are already subscribers who’re aware of your brand, the process of scaling up becomes easier.
- Organic social media distribution– With features like live streaming and stories getting added, social media channels are an exciting space to market your services. Facebook is currently the leader in terms of daily active users, but Instagram is catching up quickly with the highest concentration of users aged between 13 and 29 years. On the other hand, LinkedIn is a viable platform for B2B businesses. Partner up with influencers to increase your visibility.
Be sure to list down the pros and cons of the different distribution channels before deciding on a single avenue.
7. Use a content calendar
Content calendars help you to stay ahead of deadlines and remain organized from start to finish. Tools like Google Calendar or Trello can track dates, the type of content, authors, and the promotional channels of your choice. Remember to keep an online repository for all the work that is still yet to be published.
How to make the most of your content development and management strategies
Here’s a list of tools that can be used to better manage your web content:
- Research tools: Content marketing research tools can give you insight into how you’re faring against your immediate competitors. These tools allow you to see and understand metrics like backlinks, shares on social media pages, and influencers reacting to your content.
- SurveyMonkey: This allows you to create your own surveys for your all-important consumers. They help gauge the sentiments of the customers.
- Google Analytics: It makes it easier to track your goals like product purchases. You can also set up behavioral events, like scroll-depth.
- Google Calendar: Helps you keep track of deadlines and stay on top of things. You can schedule meetings and share the same calendar with your team so that everyone’s on the same page.
- Keyboard Everywhere extension: This useful tool gathers keywords from search engines. So, now you’re in the loop of the search terms that are trending. You can also look at volume metrics to understand them better.
- Pocket: A free extension that delivers personalized content to your device, reducing the time you would have otherwise been spent on research. You can also save the posts and come back to them later.
- Note-taking tools: It is a digital file cabinet and an effective project management system. Evernote is a popular choice among brand owners.
- Trello: Uses cards like tasks, shared files, notes, projects, and other features to help your team work together better and be able to hit deadlines.
- Social media data mining products: Rates your pages’ social outreach and suggests ways to improve it.
Who uses content development, and what does a content development team comprise of?
Professionals across various industries like science, film, education, fashion, and others make use of content development. Online content has become the key for businesses to reach a wide group of audiences. Here are a few examples of positions that regularly create content for consumers:
- Web content developer: A content developer is responsible for creating a company’s website, developing an effective strategy, and conducting market research using web analytical tools.
- Project Manager: Help oversee the production of content, ensuring that everything runs smoothly.
- Director of content: Collaborates with managers to make sure that every piece of content produced lies in line with the vision of the brand. They also review data to track if the content is engaging with customers.
- Content Strategist: A marketer who has an astute knowledge of content creation, social media outreach, and search engine optimization to grow a brand’s content.
- Video content creator: Creates visual content that provides information to viewers for strategic reasons.
- Content marketing managers: They distribute content across multiple web channels to increase your brand awareness. As a result, there’s more user traffic redirected to your site, which is then leveraged for sales.
- Social media content developer: They specialize in creating content for different social media channels to create a sense of community between you, our ardent followers. This helps them stay emotionally invested in your brand.
- Bloggers: They create written content for your website in the form of blog posts, long-form articles, and other forms of web content. Bloggers also make use of analytics to address the gaps within the business.
Most businesses today rely on content development to tell their stories effectively to large groups of people. Companies benefit by engaging with customers directly and putting the feedback they receive to good use. Brand awareness gets boosted, and as a result, there’s more traffic directed towards the website. So, it’s all the more important for businesses to start looking at effective content development strategies that work best for organizing, implementing, and publishing web content.