There are three steps in content development – content strategy, content writing, and content marketing. All three are equally important and must be executed in a way that is beneficial for both you and your audience. Meaning, your audience receives valuable, actionable content and in turn you gain new leads, turn leads into clients, and keep your clients satisfied.
The first step, content strategy, sets the foundation for the content creation process. We often compare the content development process to the process of building a houseEveryone needs their own content strategy, and here a few steps that we follow.
4 steps to developing a successful content strategy
1. Discover – Before you can create your content you must know what your goals are who your target audience is. Are you targeting your ideal customer or new customers? Are you targeting politicians, stay at home parents, teachers, consumers, or other businesses? The entire content development process relies heavily on your audience. Many companies have several audiences; for example, their clients and their employees. In that case, you will need a strategy for reaching each audience.
2. Type of content – In this step you must ask yourself which type(s) of content is best suited to reach your target audience(s)? Would your audience respond best to blogs and white papers or online videos? You are not limited to which kind(s) of content you use, but you must first know which types will be the most effective and influential. Our strategy is to develop several different types of content, market them, and see which ones were most successful for our or our client’s audience.
3. Brainstorm – Brainstorming is a great way to get your thoughts out in front of you so that you can decide your message, topic, title, hook, or angle. Some common methods of brainstorming include free writing and webbing.
- Free writing – Get a pen and a paper and just start writing. Anything that comes to your mind, write it down. Free writing is a great brainstorming activity for all types of people and projects.
- Webbing – This is a method I think most of us have been using since second grade. Not only is it an easy way to get your ideas out, but it’s also really fun. Start out by writing down your main point and circling it. You then create bubbles around your main idea called supporting ideas or information. Your web can be quite extensive; thankfully (unlike in second grade) there are many websites and apps you can use to create these webs (also called mind maps) on your computer, phone, tablet, and online.
There is really no right or wrong way to brainstorm. Use one method, use them both, or come up with your own; just find what works best for you.
4. Create a plan – Now that you have all of your foundational information you can create a plan of action. There are hundreds of different ways to create a plan – to-do lists, sticky notes, databases and programs, editorial calendars, step-by-step processes, and more. Your plan should include your overall message, topics you want to discuss, and a way to measure your results. While SEO is not as important as creating high quality content, it also needs to be part of your plan.
It is crucial to develop a content strategy that works for your company. It may take a while to get it right, you may make frequent changes to it, and it will probably be trial and error for a while, but once you have it the next two steps will come much easier.
Content strategy is crucial in setting a solid foundation for the content development process. One of our specialties at Castelazo Content is strategy. When you work with our team we will help you develop a strategic plan that works for both you and your audience.