Content development is an important aspect of any freelance writer, marketer, and online business owner's life. Here's how to create the ultimate content development plan and optimize your desired results:
Start With an Outline Template
The most important aspect of any effective content development plan is the outline template. Without a template to work with, you risk overlooking an important piece of information or a promotional opportunity when creating your actual content. Your template should be basic, but it should outline all possible aspects of your projects so that it can be used with a variety of different types of content projects. The idea is to outline basic topics to brainstorm and develop without in-depth instruction. This will give you the freedom you need to customize the template depending on the type of project you're working on. Any aspects of the template that aren't needed for a particular project can just be ignored.
Design an Editorial Calendar
Once you have a template to work off of, it's helpful to design an editorial calendar to follow for a few months at a time. Commit to creating three to six months worth of publication plans so you can see at a glance how many pieces of content you need to create within a given period. As long as you commit to consistently following it, your editorial calendar will help keep you on track and ensure that you're publishing your content often enough to have a positive effect on your virtual presence.
Start by deciding how many pieces of content you want to publish or plan to write each week, and then figure your expectations into your editorial calendar by assigning the intended content to specific days within your calendar. You can then use your editorial calendar to see exactly what needs to be published and when on a whim.
Create Engaging Content Topics
Every piece of content you schedule to publish on your editorial calendar needs an engaging topic and a few interesting key points to accompany it. If you have the time, create your topics as you design your editorial calendar so that all you have to do is write and publish the content as deadlines approach. Otherwise, you'll want to create topics as far in advance of writing the content as possible, so you have an opportunity to reflect on the themes before you sit down to write. The following three tips should help you create high-quality topics that your readers can appreciate
Do Some Social Research – Pay attention to social media, competitor websites, public forums, and product reviews to determine what topics might interest your readers.
Get Specific – Drill topics down to a particular idea that will draw your target audience in and provide them information that can immediately take action on.
Consider Search Engines – Do a little keyword research when choosing topics to ensure that they'll get the attention you desire and that the competition isn't too fierce.
Know Your Subject – Make sure that you are well-versed about any subject you cover in your writings. If you don't know much about a topic that should perform well, take the time to do some research.
Turn Niche Topics into Viral Content – If you're writing for an obscure niche, expand your opportunity to reach new prospects by figuring out how to turn your topic into a viral publication. Scan the headlines and social networks to find a hot topic that can be tied to your topic and then spin the piece to draw a wider range of readers or consumers in.
Stay on Top of Your Deadlines
Intention only goes so far in the content development world. If you start to fall behind on your editorial calendar, you risk thwarting your content marketing and publication efforts overall. Whether you write for your own business, you're a content marketer, or you freelance for a living, your audience expect to your content published on a consistent basis. The bottom line is that consistency creates customer loyalty and maximizes your overall profits when all is said and done.
Don't let missed deadlines drag your career success and income potential down – use pen and paper, your phone's Google calendar, and your Outlook program simultaneously to keep track of everything if you have to.
In the end, these tips and tricks will help you develop excellent production and publication habits that catapult your overall success to the next level.