Content development is a tough game to play since rules change faster than you can say “Google Algorithm.”
Without a plan, staying competitive becomes an unmanageable challenge.
To orchestrate a workable content development plan, you need to consider a variety of factors, including:
- Search engine optimization
- Marketing channels
- Customer’s needs
- Marketing goals
Writing high-quality blogs or filming top-notch videos isn’t enough. You need to know when, where, and how this content must work to help you achieve your content marketing goals.
Let’s take a closer look at designing a stellar content development plan for your business.
What is Content Development?
Typically content development consists of two parts:
- Content planning — making plans on how to use the content to achieve current marketing goals.
- Content creation — creating highly valuable content.
Another aspect of content development is reworking existing content. If you’ve been producing content without a workable plan, it’s possible to rework it to suit your current goals.
While it may take a while, reworking is usually less expensive or time-consuming than creating new content.
You can also rework content for different marketing channels. For example, a blog can be restructured to become a social media post or vice versa.
To create a viable content development plan, it’s imperative to find a balance between planning, creating, and reworking.
Create an Editorial Calendar
The key to creating a perfect content plan is actually planning before developing. An editorial calendar is the starting point of your content development plan. With it, you create a transparent timeline for your content posting and figure out which channels to use for publishing.
A strong editorial calendar can help you categorize writing material and ensure the transparency of new content. In short, the calendar shows your team where to go and how to get there. It should include the following:
- List of content pieces that need to be published according to your digital marketing strategy.
- List of team members responsible for creating and publishing content.
- Timeline for content creation and publishing.
- A list of channels to deliver your content.
Even if you don’t have any content yet, you can still create a calendar based on your marketing goals. It can help you figure out the type and volume of content your team needs to create.
Choose Content Types
While a huge variety of content types exists, it doesn’t mean you have to take advantage of all of them to be successful.
Before giving your content developers an assignment, you need to figure out which types of content work for your target audience.
This can depend on various factors, including demographics, buyer behavior, actions on your website, and more. When creating a buyer persona, marketers can identify the best content types for your audience.
The types of content you choose for your content marketing strategy also depend on your current marketing goals. For example:
- Blogging — excellent for building relationships with customers and improving SEO.
- Longform content (e-books, whitepapers, guides) — great for increasing brand awareness, proving expertise, and generating leads. These pieces also make stellar lead magnets.
- Case studies — helpful for establishing thought leadership and pushing the buyer down the sales funnel.
- Infographics — excellent for creating a following on social media thanks to a high sharing potential.
- Video — great for powering up brand awareness, generating leads, and establishing authority.
- Web content (landing pages, pillar pages) — imperative for improving conversions, generating leads, and capitalizing on PPC marketing.
To simplify your content strategy, you can divide your content into groups:
- Written content
- Visual content
- Video content
- Interactive content
This can help you manage the workflow for your content developers and allocate the marketing budget accordingly.
When developing a content development plan, pay special attention to UGC (User Generated Content). While your content creators aren’t behind this piece of content, your content publishers need to know what to do with it.
Even if you are working with influencers to create UGC, you can repurpose this effective content to appear across different channels.
Based on the information gathered about potential customers, you can identify the core topics for your content.
For example, if you are a marketing agency, the topics you want to cover are:
- Social media marketing
- Influencer marketing
- Marketing automation
Meanwhile, a flower shop’s content would be revolving around planting, seeding, watering, blossoming, and the like.
While some of your content is bound to discuss something other than the core topics, content writers must keep them in mind.
Pro tip: Different types of content may be necessary at different stages of the sales cycle.
Systemize the Content Writing Process
Once you have a clear idea of what content types you need, you need to systemize the content development process. This involves:
- Making sure all content creators know the content plan.
- Allocating the necessary budget for developing quality content.
- Outsourcing (if needed) content writing to bloggers, influencers, freelancer writers, writing agencies.
- Creating a template for different types of content if needed.
- Working out a plan for a/b testing different content variations.
When systemizing the content writing process, it’s imperative to pay attention to developing proper guidelines for content writers. They can include:
- Writing voice, style, and tone (should be consistent across all pieces)
- Buyer persona’s pain points to address
- SEO requirements
- Definitions of high-quality sources
While you are defining guidelines, think about what makes the content you write unique. It can be anything from a unique opinion on certain subjects to the humorous tone taken by the writers.
Pro tip: To strike the uniqueness chord, you may need to check what your competition is doing.
You should also consider taking advantage of the right tools for your content development process. In fact, online tools like Ahrefs, Moz, SEMrush, AnswerThePublic, etc.) can be extremely helpful not just for content development but for other marketing efforts as well.
Identify Content Distribution Channels
Just like with content types, many companies struggle to write content for all available channels, including:
- Social media platforms
- Guest blogs
- Paid ads
To figure out which channels you need to develop content for, you have to revisit your content marketing and business goals.
For example, when it comes to SMM, a B2B company would focus on creating more content for LinkedIn than for Instagram. Meanwhile, to achieve retention goals, a company would stress email marketing over PPC.
If you are focusing on producing more backlinks, you could channel your best content to guest posting. When you need to generate more leads, you would focus on paid ads.
The choice of content distribution channels heavily depends on your marketing budget.
If you have a sufficient budget to post content on a big variety of channels, including PPC and paid social ads, you need to structure content development accordingly.
Pro tip: Keep in mind that with a huge variety of channels, content repurposing can become your best cost-cutting weapon. As a matter of fact, 71% of marketers say being able to easily repurpose & track content assets is important.
Keep SEO in Mind
Content is the pillar of your search engine optimization strategy. That’s why it’s imperative to pay special attention to it when designing a content marketing plan.
Many aspects of content development depend on how well your SEO team gets the job done. From keyword research to backlinking tactics, you must keep SEO strategy in mind when developing content.
Content developers and SEO experts have to work together when creating and publishing content. You should arrange smooth communication between these specialists to make sure your content works as planned.
Create a Solid Approval Process
Once the content is created and ready to be published, it needs to go through the approval process.
This process starts with content creation, continues with the review, revisions, and SEO optimization, and ends with publication.
Many companies make the mistake of creating a complicated approval process that keeps them from publishing content timely. This approach is also costly.
Consider simplifying the process as much as possible while keeping tabs on the content quality.
- Add content approval to your comprehensive editorial calendar.
- Separate content development from content approval.
- Make content approval easy (through teamwork tools).
Your goal is to publish valuable, error-free content as fast as possible. Design a clear approval workflow and make it transparent to your content development team.
Your content development plan is only as good as its results. To understand how well your content marketing tactics are working, you need to implement analytics.
When designing a plan, include analytics tools that can help map the progress of your content and show how it affects the rest of your marketing strategy.
Define metrics that demonstrate your content’s performance. You would need to decide which ones relate to your current marketing and business strategy.
Track your content’s performance across different channels to gain valuable insight and adjust your future content development tactics.
Streamlining Your Content Development Plan with Welcome
A solid content development plan is the key to the success of your marketing campaign. When writing and publishing high-quality content, it’s imperative to keep other aspects of your marketing strategy in mind.
With Welcome’s content marketing platform, it’s possible to design and implement a highly efficient content development plan. From SEO and keyword research to content-centric analytics, you can manage all your content marketing efforts in one place.
Ready to give it a try? Get started with a free Welcome account today!