What Is Content Development?
Bill Gates' famous 1996 statement "content is king" was both fortuitous and succinct. Today, businesses small and large understand that great storytelling, be it a straightforward, well-written blog (like the one you are reading right now) or a dynamic and engaging presentation of graphics and sound, generates sales and creates brand loyalty.
However, while the ROI of great content is widely accepted, the process of content creation is a mystery for many people, especially those who hold a stereotypical view of content creators, editors and managers as twenty-something slackers who are paid to eat junk food and goof off on the Internet all day. Is there really a skill set involved in content creation and development?
Rest assured, our content process here at Signet Interactive involves a little more than consuming diet soft drinks (or bananas). It is actually a several-step process that draws on the talent, creativity and intellect of a diverse group of individuals.
The steps include:
- Getting to know the client
- Creating an editorial calendar
- Client review of content
- Monitoring content for engagement and impact
Here's a deeper look into these steps.
Getting to Know You
Getting to know our clients begins with an initial in-person meeting, but the process doesn't stop there. Our job is to create marketing content that speaks in the voice of each client, and each one of those voices, even among those working in the same industry, has its own distinct tone.
Listening to a client talk to us in person about their products and services is key, as is our asking several specific questions regarding the mission and philosophy behind their business. Ongoing internal meetings allow us to share with each other what we know about a client and continue to coordinate as a team.
Not surprisingly, great content comes as a result of regular communication. The better we know someone, the better we know how to work for them.
Thorough research into a client's industry and services is crucial to developing and writing quality, engaging content in a tone and with language that is convincing. We strive to be the "voice" of each one of our clients.
Our initial research includes:
Industry language and terminology specific to the client
For example, a website for an Oil & Gas client will need to describe several very specific capabilities, each falling under a different service and each providing a different solution for a specific customer target. Potential customers will be searching for key terms, and our site must be ready with those terms, keeping everything accurate and up to date.
The history of a client's business and industry
Many of our clients come to us because their business has grown and they are ready to expand their marketing efforts. Knowing where a client has been, how far they have come and where they want to go helps us better understand their story and future goals.
- Competitors within the industry
Current laws, trends and hot-button issues in the industry
Clients may also provide us with news and updates they feel are relevant to their industry or to their company. Understanding these issues helps us know the client better, and speak to their audience with more authority.
Researching the competition provides a broader perspective of a client's industry and a better understanding of how the client might stand out from the crowd. We also check out industry leaders to see what they're doing right.
Research is an ongoing process, and requires each of us to keep our ear near the ground for news and changes in each client's respective industry.
Creating an Editorial Calendar
Everything we have learned about a client, through one-on-one meetings and our own extensive research, is then condensed and crafted into the copy we will ultimately use for a website, a blog, an email, a LinkedIn post. For ongoing content, like blogs and social media posts, we create a monthly editorial calendar. Some calendars can be very elaborate while others may be quite straightforward. Calendars are often built around talking points that relate to the client's sales goals for that month. As we discover over time what tactics prove to be most effective, we adapt the monthly marketing plan accordingly.
The nuts and bolts of writing great content includes the directives we've all learned from dog-eared copies of the AP Stylebook, but good technique does not guarantee content that tells a story and compels the reader into action. This is where writing becomes an art. Each content writer has his or her own method for crafting prose. Some of us are especially gifted in creating specific types of content, such as banner headlines, blogs or eBooks, but writing for a marketing company ultimately demands versatility and the ability to adopt a wide range of "voices." The process is never boring, and always challenging.
Every completed piece of content goes through a stringent quality assurance (QA) process that includes both client and internal review protocols.
Once a piece of content is live, we monitor it for feedback and impact. There are several measures or key performance indicators (KPIs) we monitor, including click-through rates, time-on-site, contact form completion and pay-per-click (PPC) metrics. We then analyze those KPIs to determine how many leads a piece of content has generated and what we can do to make the next piece of content exceed previous benchmarks. Those KPIs also help us report to the client how well we are doing with our online marketing services.
Signet's Content Marketing Services
Whether we're writing a heavily researched eBook, a 30-day editorial calendar or a 140-character tweet, we strive to create content that aligns with our client's voice and mission. The process of content creation is complex, but Signet Interactive understands the process and how it brings results, be it customer engagement, leads, brand loyalty or sales.
If you have questions about how great content can benefit your business, contact us today.