Content development means to plan, create, produce, and publish relevant content to various digital platforms. Digital platforms like blogs, company websites, or social media pages rely on content to attract new users and keep existing ones interested and engaged.
Understanding how to develop relevant content for your site is a must to develop a successful content marketing strategy. Keep reading to learn more about why content development is important for your marketing strategy and overall business success.
Why Is Content Development Important?
Content development is a necessary step in content marketing. Your audience engagement levels could be damaged significantly if you aren’t able to develop relevant content for your website or social media pages. This is why it’s important to create content for your audience, not for yourself.
Let’s say you own a craft supply store. Ask yourself what type of content you’d want to find when looking at your website from your target audience’s point of view.
Articles on the recent football draft or recipes for the next tailgate — while interesting to you — aren’t relevant to your craft store’s target audience. Rather, they’d probably prefer content on the best art supplies or tips for watercolor painting. With this in mind, you can delve into the content development process.
What Are the Stages of the Content Development Process?
The content development process is where your brand voice is established. Both publishing relevant content and creating a brand voice are just a few ways in which content development is beneficial for your business. Before you dive into more of the benefits, let’s take a closer look at the stages of the content development process.
Conducting research is the first step in the content development process. In regards to what you need to research, well, it depends. If your primary focus is to publish keyword-rich content, then you’ll need to conduct keyword research. If you are inexperienced in keyword research or don’t have the time to master the skill, there are professional keyword research services available to help with this task, allowing you to focus on other aspects of the content development process.
On the other hand, if your goal is to earn backlinks from authoritative, high-traffic blog sites, then you’ll need to research the linkability of an article topic to ensure it’s one that host sites will want to link back to.
Regardless of your content’s intended key performance indicator (KPI), you’ll always want to conduct competitor research, as well. Taking the time to see what content your direct competitors are posting is a great way to see what you, too, should address across various digital platforms.
To piggyback off the example used above, this is where you, the craft supply store owner, should research other online and local competitors. Analyze what kind of content is published across these competitors' websites and compare it with the content you’ve published or plan to publish. Your content should be similar to what they’ve published, but unique enough to where you’re not repeating the same information.
Once you’ve done the research to see what it is your target audience is looking for, then you can move on to the next step in the content development process, topic ideation.
Topic ideation can be a fun, yet sometimes stressful process. Folks just starting their company website or social media pages have an abundance of topics to publish and have a blank slate to start with. In return, others may feel as if they’ve published everything there is to talk about in their industry and are at a standstill.
Regardless of where you’re at in your marketing journey, topic ideation will always remain an important step. Without taking the time to be mindful of what it is you’re posting, you could be at risk of losing the interest of your target audience, thus decreasing your overall level of authority on the matter.
A few ways to populate topics include, but certainly aren’t limited to:
- Optimizing existing content;
- Conducting competitor research;
- Staying current with industry trends;
- Finding content gaps in the market;
- Searching for high-volume keywords to target;
- Looking at your brand from your target audience’s perspective.
You’ll want to use the above tactics to ideate topics that satisfy a variety of areas like audience-focused content, KPI-driven content (like content designed for keyword rankings or for earning backlinks), and content on industry trends.
Once you’ve established a well-rounded set of topics, it’s time to enter the content production process. How you produce the content depends on the digital platform it’ll be published on. For instance, you may consider focusing on producing images and videos for social media posts. This leaves the more lengthy article-style posts for your website or company blog.
The production process requires attention to detail and collaboration with other marketing professionals. A well-rounded topic won’t do your website or your company any good if the supplemental content is lacking in context. You must produce content that thoroughly addresses the searcher’s intent, ensuring they won’t have to seek elsewhere for additional answers.
Be mindful of the level of authority your content has and include several internal and external sources to back up any claim made. Doing so is a great way to show your target audience that the information you’re providing them is true and that they can continue to trust you on the topic moving forward.
You’ve done all the necessary research and you and your team have established and developed relevant topics, now it’s time to distribute them across all digital platforms. Try using a content creation and publishing calendar to get a clearer forecast of what type of content is being distributed and when.
Additionally, you’ll want to promote your newly curated content. Once you’ve published an article to your blog or a post to your social media accounts, you’ll want to take the time to see how you can draw natural attention from your target audience. You may consider paid promotions, or decide to bring in views organically by following the SEO basics.
Content marketing can be tedious. This is where investing in content marketing services can come in handy. Consider allocating these tasks to a qualified third party, allowing you to put the time and energy you’d typically spend completing them elsewhere in the company.
Best Practices for Strategic Content Ideation
As we loosely mentioned above, there are a few best practices to consider for strategic content ideation. Keep reading to get a closer glimpse into what you can do when you feel like there’s nothing left to talk about.
Identify and Address Customer Pain Points
To publish relevant content means ensuring you’re addressing consumer pain points — or additional queries they might not have at the time, but may as they continue to research a given topic. Knowing how to identify these notable pain points is a skill on its own, for you have to think like your target audience would.
Utilize feedback from customer surveys to see what it is they’re looking for in a service or blog post. Use content marketing tools to identify the search volume of relevant queries by identifying keywords to determine which ones you should be ranking for as well.
A few examples of customer pain points for your craft supply industry could include addressing topics like knowing how to get paint stains out of fabric or resources elaborating the importance of art courses in education.
Additionally, you can utilize your marketing and sales teams to see what industry trends they’ve noticed your company should be participating in, too. Content development is a group effort, it’s important to utilize the expertise of your peers around you to gain further insight into strategic content ideation.
Examine Industry Trends
Identifying and examining trends related to your industry can help you identify valuable topics to cover within your content marketing plan. One of the best ways to research industry trends is to make use of different search engine tools, like Google Trends, to gain insight into what others in your field are doing to develop, produce, and promote their content.
Industry trends to monitor for a craft supplier could be the trending art tools to use at that time or the best DIY art projects to complete for the season. Remember, this isn’t a time to address your personal opinion about these trends. Rather, it’s an opportunity to discuss how your craft supply store (or any other business) plans to go with the flow of these trends while ensuring to stand out from its competition.
We encourage you to think outside the box and go above and beyond the typical search methods — utilize industry trends discussed in recent documentaries, podcasts, or books to find unique perspectives your target audience may be interested in. There’s no harm in going with the flow if you put your unique touch to everything you create.
Find Content Gaps in the Marketplace
To find a gap in content means to identify an important topic or subject within your niche that isn’t yet covered, but should be. Take the time during the topic ideation phase of the content development process to identify these areas by conducting a content gap analysis. Doing so will help ensure you’re dedicating your time to topics you know your target audience will enjoy instead of wasting time on those they might not find relevant.
Content Ideation Examples
As we briefly mentioned above, there are a few tips to consider when face-to-face with the struggle that can come with topic ideation. Let’s dive into these examples to help you expand your content marketing strategy.
Brainstorm With Colleagues From Other Departments
Make use of the expertise your colleagues possess and collaborate with them during the topic ideation process. Reach out to those in other areas like sales, customer service, or IT departments to help identify valuable content topics. Starting an interdepartmental conversation should happen frequently, even if you aren’t brainstorming new topics — doing so provides you with a deeper understanding of their roles and how they contribute to the success of the company.
Look at Industry News
Take a moment to research recent industry news to identify what other authoritative figures are talking about. Using citations from other industry experts within your content is a great way to show your target audience that you take the time to back up any claims made within your content, thus developing your reputation and allowing them to see you as an authoritative figure as well.
A few ways to obtain industry news include:
- Using online search engines, like Google;
- Participate in client discussions;
- Listen to podcasts in your niche;
- Read LinkedIn posts;
- Use GoogleTrends for more precise analytics;
- Read industry journals, magazines, and books;
- Join niche-specific chat groups.
Remember to look at industry news often and read articles thoroughly to ensure your chosen topic is one you should cover on your site.
Use Social Media for Inspiration
Browsing the internet for industry news can be helpful, of course, but you can go the extra mile by skimming through social media too. You can draw inspiration from your competitor’s social media pages to see what type of content you should be posting too.
However, there are more ways you can be inspired beyond your competitor’s social media pages. See what social media trends you can participate in, like using a trending sound and making it relevant to your niche.
Compare Yourself Against Your Competitors
Another way to help you identify relevant content topics is to see what other people in your same industry are talking about, too. Monitoring industry competitors can help you generate topics that you may not have known your target audience was interested in. Remember to use these topics as inspiration for your blog.
Rather than duplicating their content exactly, see where their content lacks — like whether or not the keywords they used actually satisfy their goal to create keyword-focused content — and use it as an opportunity to cover the topic in more depth and with SEO basics in mind. A competitor in SEO is just as beneficial to draw content ideation inspiration from as a direct industry competitor since the steps they took to curate the content are similar to those that you should take too.
For instance, if competing craft supply store sites are ranking for keywords like “best craft supply store” and “craft supply store near me” then you should aim to rank for these, and other relevant words and phrases, too.
While it may seem time-consuming, following the above steps is crucial for strategic content ideation. Remember you don’t have to achieve these tasks alone. Reach out to other departments and people in the industry or invest in professional content ideation and marketing services to help reallocate the tasks, relieving you from the stress of doing it all yourself.