No matter what some people might think, content creation isn’t a chaotic process where you put random words on paper and hope for the best. Instead, it’s a meticulous action meant to provide tangible results.
Having a good content development strategy is crucial, given the enormous competition in the digital marketing world. Putting out mediocre pieces simply won’t cut it, as they’ll never help you reach the top of search engine results pages.
In this article, we’ll talk about the importance of content development and how to execute the process. Read on!
What is content development?
As the name implies, content development is a process that includes ideation, research, and content creation. The term can refer to just about any type of web content, including videos and images, but most marketers use it for articles.
In most cases, you need several employees for this kind of job. Aside from a content writer, you’ll also need a marketing manager, an editor, and an SEO expert. Depending on the quality of a post, you might also employ graphic designers and other visual content creators.
Here’s what content development entails:
- Content strategizing
- Keyword research
- Article planning
Before you start researching keywords, you need to decide what this piece of content needs to achieve. Most pieces on the web are made to increase online visibility and draw potential leads. However, you can also use content to inform users about the company, provide various instructions, and directly sell products.
Content development roles
We briefly touched on roles, but let’s go into a bit more detail!
Here at MiroMind, we have a dynamic team that handles all content writing. We have a well-polished strategy that guides us during all daily activities. When looking for new topics, we first perform keyword research, and then we consult with the writers as to how to approach things. Once the article is finished, it goes through rigorous editing and optimization, followed by promotion.
However, not all companies follow this design. In many cases, companies rely on several providers to create one piece of content. For example, they might create a strategy in-house, but then they hire a person to write the piece and another team to promote it.
Having too many cooks in the kitchen often backfires. Not only will there be some issues in terms of the direction, but the team might also struggle to communicate with each other. Whatever the case might be, your task is to create cohesion between employees so they can work at maximum capacity.
Furthermore, whenever creating a piece, you need to consider how it will affect end users and search engines. You need to put out incredible content development efforts just so this piece can see the light of day. Besides that, you should also consider how search engines will react to this article.
How do you benefit from content development?
Having a good content strategy is vital when creating content. Not only will this help satisfy the needs of a target audience, but it will also make everything go smoother. It allows you to adjust articles according to search intent while optimizing them for Google and social media platforms.
Here are the main benefits of a good content marketing strategy:
· Faster turnaround
Although it might sound that having a complex strategy will increase the time needed to create content, it’s often the opposite. With a meticulous content development process, you create a list of content ideas and perform extensive keyword research before writing articles. As a result, you don’t have to backtrack as much as you would otherwise.
· Better optimization
The main reason we use the development method is so we can create high-quality content. Among others, catering to our users provides much better search engine optimization results. A normal content development process presumes the use of Google Analytics, Google Search Console, AhRefs, Surfer SEO, and all these other tools.
· More consistency
Planning your content in advance makes everything more predictable. As long as you have a reliable, hard-working team, you’ll know exactly how much time it takes to write, publish, and promote each piece. Among others, a robust content development process also presumes the use of an editorial calendar for managing your day-to-day activities.
· Easier internal collaboration
When you’re creating website content piece by piece, it’s much easier to track progress. Editors, writers, and other content developers are on the same page, focusing on a single task. This is especially true if you’re using team collaboration tools such as Trello.
· Increased profitability
Of course, by using optimal business processes, you can get much more bang for your buck. If your existing content development process helps team collaboration while reducing delivery times, it makes sense that the entire endeavor will result in more money.
All in all, using an effective content development process is vital for any company. If you want to improve your overall content marketing, you can always consult with the MiroMind team!
10 Steps of content development
Given that content development is such a meticulous process, it’s best to create an actionable strategy beforehand. Here are the steps you need to take to do this thing properly:
1. Create measurable goals
Creating a blog post for the sake of having something on your site is the last thing you want to do. Instead, you should first decide the reasoning behind the content. Are you looking to increase organic traffic? Do you want your article to go viral on social media?
Whatever the case might be, make sure it goes well with your overall business and marketing goals. Of course, all of us are trying to increase the number of leads with our web posts, but you have to go a bit deeper than that. Here are a few things that content can help you with:
- Increase overall traffic
- Drive more social media traffic
- Increase the number of highly-qualified leads
- Generate more shares and links
- Increase authority within an industry
- Help generate partnerships
In most cases, content can achieve several things at the same time. For example, if your main goal is to reach the top of SERPs, your piece will likely go viral on social media and draw a lot of links.
On the other hand, there are also situations where you’re just looking to generate links. A good example of that is link-baits such as roundups, infographics, and controversial content. Although these pieces won’t necessarily generate leads, they can improve the overall power of your blog.
Lastly, if you want your pieces to make sense, they need to adhere to SMART goals. In other words, they need to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Anchored. Even if you have a great idea, the piece might flop if you publish it at the wrong time or if your business goals aren’t realistic.
2. Perform audience research
Most businesses inherently know what their audience is looking for. Depending on the industry and the product, they might cater to different social and economic classes. All of this is taken into account when creating articles, as it will affect how you’re addressing the public.
You can do audience research during the early stages of planning or once you find relevant, related keywords. Whatever the case might be, you should always be aware of what the readers are looking for from a certain blog post. This is a crucial step, given that user experience metrics are now more important than ever.
So, what are the things you should pay attention to?
- Age, sex, nationality, religion, and other demographic data
- Professional goals
- Economic and social status
- Optimal pain points for that target audience
- Decision-making during purchases
- How they react to influential third-party sources
One of the better methods to go about things is by observing what your competition is doing. They already have an established brand voice that speaks to the target audience. This is especially true of top performers.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you should be complacent during audience research. You need to be very serious about the whole process, as it can affect everything else you do during content marketing. Ideally, you should use various SaaS to extrapolate data about your readers and how you can sway them to your brand.
3. Perform topic research
Now that you have the basic setup, it’s time to perform keyword and topic research. During this phase, you’re looking for the best phases to pursue. For a keyword to be considered beneficial, it has to fulfill several requirements:
- It needs to have decent traffic potential.
- The phrase should be easy enough to rank.
- Furthermore, the phase should be relevant to your business and overall strategy.
- The phase could potentially serve as a part of a cluster.
Keyword research is important for just about any piece of content your post on your blog. However, there are certain situations where you should capitalize on short-term trending topics or social media fads. So, while keyword is a necessary part of the process, it’s not something you’ll always do.
Aside from using popular tools, there are a few other ways to find good topics for your blogs:
- Analyzing what your competition is writing about.
- Check popular news outlets for ideas.
- Tracking social media and forum chatter.
- Writing about upcoming topics that still don’t have a high volume but are expected to increase in relevancy in the future.
- Finding topics that might not have the best volume or difficulty but can help fulfill your business goal (high linkbait potential or high conversion potential).
Nowadays, there’s much more emphasis on content clusters as a viable search engine strategy. Although these groups of articles might not be ideal for certain goals, you might still benefit from the high traffic they provide. These clusters are a bit more complex, so we’ll dedicate the next section to them.
4. Create topic clusters
If you’re looking to rank a difficult keyword with high volume, there isn’t a better way to go about things than creating topic clusters.
Basically, clusters are groups of articles/posts that you interlink together. Your main goal is to rank a single high-traffic page while using all other pieces as satellites. The smaller satellite pieces are used for linking to the main article and increasing its relevancy.
The main page, also known as the pillar page, should tackle a general topic such as “What is SEO?” All other pieces linking to it should detail other things regarding the topic. And while smaller pieces can also drive traffic by themselves, the main reason behind their existence is to enrich the pillar page and provide a better user experience.
Another type of cluster is funnels. In this particular case, you’re not focusing on a single page. Instead, you’re trying to guide a visitor from less converting, general pieces to specific, highly converting articles.
For example, your TOFU (top of the funnel) page can be “What is SEO?” Your MOFU (middle of the funnel) page can be “What is link building?” while your BOFU (bottom of the funnel) can be “How to do HARO outreach?”
As the person goes through the funnel, they gain more trust in your organization. Eventually, this trust can help convert them at the end of the funnel and turn them into paying customers.
5. Find the ideal content type
Depending on your overall strategy and the specific keyword you’re pursuing, you’ll have to use short or long-form content. Here are some of the most common types of content people make for their websites:
- Ultimate guides (ideal for pillar pages)
- Shorter blog posts (good for satellite pages and less relevant posts)
- How-To guides
- White papers and studies (usually go in downloadable PDF format and are great for building brand awareness and newsletter lists)
- Image and video-focused posts (good for certain link-building strategies)
- Expert roundups and interviews (good for certain link-building strategies)
- Product reviews and comparisons (excellent for generating leads and sales)
As you’ve noticed, we didn’t want to talk about product pages and websites’ main landing pages (About Us, Contact Page, and Homepage). There belong to different categories and aren’t necessarily a part of the standard content development process.
When talking from the perspective of search engine optimization, it’s always better to create longer articles. However, this won’t be suitable for every post. In fact, going overboard with the word count might even hinder a post’s ability to rank in search engines.
6. Create content briefs
Given the competitiveness of the online space, it’s necessary to provide your writers with content briefs. These outlines would guide them during the creation process, pointing out things that are necessary for an optimized copy.
Every company uses a different methodology when making briefs. However, one common thing for all of them is the inclusion of keywords. These phrases are necessary for optimization, helping search engines establish what’s the content all about. Anyway, here are some of the things that a content brief might consist of:
- Keyword list with required repetitions
- Word count
- Title and subheadings
- Links to internal sources
- Writing style
Among others, a content brief provides additional information about the audience and the company’s requirements. This makes it an invaluable document for new employees and external writers.
Nowadays, it’s a common practice for content writers to handle most of the on-page SEO. Aside from taking care of the article, they might have to add meta descriptions and images and perform WordPress optimization.
7. Write the piece
After all of that, it’s finally time to talk about the content creation process.
If we set aside optimization, user intent, and keywords, here are some other things you need to pay attention to:
- Make sure that article is enticing enough for your target audience. Aside from speaking their language, you need to use all the tricks in the book to retain their attention.
- Your sentences should be shorter (up to 25 words). The same goes for paragraphs (60 words).
- Every section of the article should consist of no more than a few paragraphs (up to 4 paragraphs and 200 words).
- Add bullet points and numbers whenever you can.
- Spread images across the post. Even if you’re using stock photos, make sure they’re somewhat relevant to the topic.
- If possible, always try to explain things in your own words. Using standard definitions might sound good, but it’s even better to have a unique writing style that would help build followership.
- Use CTA and mentions of the company when it makes sense. Explain how you can help tackle the problem and build confidence in the brand.
MiroMind creates articles with the company’s goals in mind. We never create generic posts, and instead, we try to give the brand a unique voice that would separate it from the crowd.
8. Edit the post and perform post-optimization
While creating a piece, there’s a good chance you wrote a lot of stuff that doesn’t make sense afterward. Only by rereading the post can you notice certain logical flaws. Nevertheless, it’s always advisable that another person goes through your writing so you can hash out any issues along the way.
Speaking of which, it’s nowadays common to use tools such as SurferSEO to improve your content scores. Software such as this tells you how many words an article should have and what phrases to include. Some of the tools can even help you by generating AI text.
So, even if you think your post is finished, there’s a chance that the tool will tell you to add another 200 or 300 words to it.
9. Promote the article
Links were always considered the best external ranking factor. As such, the rule of thumb is that you need to perform an outreach after every written piece. However, as this would cost you a lot of money, we suggest that you simply share the post on social media and be done with it.
Link building is fantastic, but you should only do it for pillar pages and certain strategic pieces. In the end, there’s no point in paying for guest posts for articles that have limited traffic potential. That being said, promotion is one of the crucial steps of content development, but you won’t do it in all situations.
10. Monitor the progress and update
If you’re certain that a post is well-written and optimized, there’s no point in creating a new one on the same topic. This can only lead to content cannibalization while also wasting your precious resources. Instead of that, we suggest that you periodically go back to your old pieces and perform content updates.
Article monitoring is a crucial step following article creation. It’s especially important for content that is underperforming or needs to be updated because of new findings. Not only can these small changes make the article more relevant, but they can also extend its utility.
If you’re struggling with content development, make sure to contact MiroMind today! Our digital marketing team has experience with all sorts of industries and content types, and we can definitely provide results for your brand!