Creating powerful content for a website is all about providing quality information so viewers can make an informed decision and decide for themselves if they want to continue looking at the company’s webpage or if they’re interested in handing over some of their hard-earned money. So, how does one get to this point? How does the company decide which content is created and how the viewer even finds it in the first place? We’re going to take you through the seven-step content development process in a simple guide because, unfortunately, it’s not as simple as pulling an idea out of the air, creating content, and then hoping the right person stumbles across it.
Step 1: Do your research
Step number one for content developers is to do your research – and we mean really do your research. Collect as much information as possible on anything related to that particular niche. Analytics and on-site data are going to be your go-to for this initial research and Google Analytics and Search Console are going to be your best friends. Know your online competitors, create content that targets your audience, look at current and past performance when developing content. Find out what the website’s doing right in terms of content marketing and where they need help picking up the slack. You can even begin your keyword research here, using tools like SEMrush as well as backlink analytics and domain authority.
Feel free to ask the client as many questions as you see fit – what are their marketing objectives? What are they hoping to achieve? In what period of time? Consider their expectations and see if they match up with what you’ll really be able to achieve in that time frame.
Step 2: Analyze the information
Now that you have an abundance of information, focus on analyzing what you have and applying it to keywords. Your content strategy should center around keywords and compiling a list of them early on is important. Ask your client for a list of keywords and phrases that they feel best to describe their business and create the content they’d like to focus on.
Taking a look at your competitors’ top-performing content is important at this stage and there are tools available to help you do that. Ahref’s content explorer shows you a website’s top-performing pages, including the content’s word count, domain rating, and how many domains link to that particular page. This is huge when deciding whether or not you should compete with competitor's website content or if you should try another angle.
Once you’ve used the above methods to compile your list of keywords and narrowed down and ranked them using tools like SEMrush, you’re ready to move onto the next step.
Step 3: Plan your strategy
Now that you have a list of strong keywords, plan your strategy. How much content should you focus on putting out each month? How many blog posts? Infographics? This is another situation where looking at your competitor’s success is helpful – how much content are they producing a month? What’s their average word count? You may decide to put out four 1000-word articles per month or two 3000-word articles. When it comes to which keywords to focus on first, always choose keywords with decent search volume without a lot of high competition. With any marketing plan, it’s important to start on a smaller scale to boost your client’s domain authority and backlink profile and then you can start to focus on higher ranking keywords with more competition.
Step 4: Write
Now comes the fun part – write! Use your keywords and other research to come up with a title that is likely to be searched. Then, write the highest-quality interesting content that you can. Think about what you would want to read if you were in the audience. Include interesting facts and case studies. Put some personality into your articles – anything to make your content a little different from your competitors.
Although you’ve likely already decided on the desired length of your articles at this stage, keep in mind that the longer the content, the better. Content can be a great link building strategy. Web content with 3,000 to 10,000 words attracts the most backlinks so you and your client can decide whether or not content of that length fits in with their business goals.
Step 5: Editing, SEO and publishing
Now that your content is complete, focus on putting on the finishing touches – editing, search engine optimization, and publishing the content. Before publishing, make sure that the content is appealing to both search engines and your audience. Focus on the format, readability, and the insertion of keywords and related keywords. Use your favorite search engine optimization tools and strategies to fill in any holes you might be missing. Once you’re sure that you’ve covered all of your SEO bases, it’s time to publish.
Step 6: Take to social media
Although social media is not the only way to promote your content, it’s certainly a great way to draw attention to it as quickly as possible. If we take a look at social media statistics, there are 3.2 billion social media users in the world with an average of two hours and 22 minutes spent on social media per day, per person. A quick post linking your new content to your company’s social media platforms could be the best decision you make when it comes to promoting it.
Step 7: Analyze and begin again
Now that you’ve published your content, analyze the results. What worked for your audience and what didn’t? What did this content achieve to help propel your client towards their marketing goals or why did it result in little to no hits? Content creation is a constant learning process and your work is never done. It’s not an issue of creating a few articles for a client – you also need to constantly analyze what worked, where you went wrong, and what you can do to improve. Once you have a definitive answer, apply those techniques again or try something new.
So, there you have it – our seven-step content development process. You may have a different process in terms of what tools you prefer to use or what order you wish to go in but whatever you do, break it down into steps. Plan out your strategy carefully and be confident before you implement it. Your clients are relying on you to do your research and provide the best possible outcome you can, regardless of whether or not you have to go in, make some corrections, and try again.