Six Steps To Developing Quality Content

Content marketing is all about the creation of content that attracts and engages a target audience. It is one of the primary methods of communication between a brand and their consumers. Creating quality content requires content development, which as the name would imply, is the process of developing content for publication. This process includes: brainstorming, researching, gathering, writing, organizing, and editing.

1. Brainstorm
The point of brainstorming is to build an editorial content calendar in which you find a topic to write on and create objectives for developing your content. Setting objectives for your content development is an integral part of building a successful strategy, as they are the basis for how the success of the content will be measured. The first step is to take a step back and analyze what you want to accomplish with this content. Think about what you want to say, who you want to say it to, and how you want to say it. Once you have established a strategic foundation, it’s time to do some research.

2. Research
Assuming you aren’t already an expert on the subject that you will be writing on, you’ll need to do some research. Start with a broad search of not only your direct topic, but issues and opinions surrounding that topic. You need to get a good feel for what you will be writing about, so you should do enough research to be comfortable with having an extended conversation on the subject. After you do some research on your topic, it’s time to research your target audience. Find out everything you can about them – how old they are, what their average annual income is, what kind of media is most popular among them, etc. This will help you establish how you should be talking to your audience.

3. Gather
Now that you have sifted through that information, it’s time to choose a few resources to base your content on. Keep in mind that these resources should be from a trusted source. You don’t want to base your content around a blog post that a basic Bethany wrote in her bed on a Thursday night in-between handfuls of Goldfish crackers. Your content is only as good as your weakest reference, so choose them wisely.

4. Write
This is the stage of the process that causes most people the biggest problem. It’s been said that we are our own harshest critics, and this could not be truer. Why else do you think so many authors have gone mad in the process of writing a book? They get too close to the subject matter and drive themselves crazy trying to textually compose the perfect picture they have in their head. Before you start writing, you need to compose an outline to help keep you on track. From here it’s time to start writing. Do yourself a favor and don’t stop to read what you have written until you’re done. You should write down anything and everything that comes to mind.

5. Organize
Once the writing is done, it’s time to go back and read everything that you have written. Now, begin to organize this information into general talking points that you established in the outline during the writing process. Once you have blocks of text that are closely related, begin organizing that information to flow better and paint a picture of what you are trying to say about that subject. In general, start by stating a fact, proceed by defending that fact with supportive details, and end by explaining why that fact is important/what it means to the reader.

6. Edit
Editing content is the most time consuming segment of the content development process. It requires you to analyze what you have thus far, rewrite, reorganize, proofread, and slowly begin to manipulate the content to clearly communicate your message in the way you want it to be communicated. Editing requires extensive proofreading, which can be difficult for one person to do effectively. The more you read a document and the closer you are to the subject matter, the more easily you can overlook minute details. Ideally, in addition to yourself, you should have someone else proofread your work. However, this is not always attainable. In the event that you are faced with proofreading and finalizing your copy yourself, resort to the age-old trick of reading your content backwards. This is one of the best ways to catch those small mistakes because you are concentrating on individual words instead of what you wanted the sentence to say.

How do we do it?
At Screamer Co., our content development process starts with a written creative brief, which serves as our outline. This document gives us insight into what we need to say and whom we need to say it to. From here, we establish a tone that we believe will best communicate this message to our audience. Utilizing this tone, we begin to write, always keeping in mind who will be reading the content and trying to tailor our message to appeal to that group of people. Once the writing is done, it’s time for extensive editing and proofreading. Proofreading always occurs in threes. That is, a document is read and marked by three different people before it is edited. Then this process starts all over again until there are no more changes or suggestions for changes to be made.

Creating quality content isn’t easy. It’s an exhaustive process that is the result of many hours of writing, organizing, and editing. But when it’s done right, the content resulting from this process communicates with the target audience in a way that encourages them to interact and engage with your brand.

References:
http://www.theguardian.com/media-network-outbrain-partner-zone/developing-a-coherent-content-strategy
http://contentdevelopment.gpstrategies.com/proc.aspx
http://www.copyblogger.com/strategic-content-development

Is your content effective and appealing? Download our Content “Flowchart” and see for yourself.

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