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developing content
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Rob Dietrich, Senior Content Manager
July 31 2019

Developing Content: 5 Things to Know

Just the other day, Dan described me to a client as one who salivates over a good piece of content needing to be written. For whatever reason, that description stuck with me (am I that slobbery?)- But the more I think about it, the more I realize he wasn’t that far off! I do get pretty excited over crafting a good story for readers, with all the juicy details arranged just right for maximum impact and “a-ha” moments. And I love digging into a new topic that I haven’t written about before- reading what other people have to say about it, speaking with established experts that know it all too well. Then there’s that moment when you finally dare to think you know enough to pull off a story. I still get a charge every time all the pieces suddenly line up.

If you too are a content creator like me or looking to dive into developing content for your business, here’s a few things I suggest you consider before you make that leap.

Know Your Sources

I have built an entire career writing about industries, products, and processes about which I know very little (at least at the get-go). Over time, and through years of work, I familiarized myself with each of them. Sometimes enough to be able to pull off a piece of content without much research. But having a good source I could refer to for information about the topic was always absolutely crucial to my success. Whether it’s a website, person, or collection of documents, without a good source, it can be very hard/ impossible to ever get a piece of content off the ground.

Know Your Audience

This step will help you develop the right tone in your content. Before you begin writing, be sure you know very well the target audience to whom you’re writing. What is their knowledge of the topic? Are they an informed, long-time client looking to keep up on industry best practices? Or are they a new customer searching to solve a problem they’ve never dealt with before? If your topic is technical or advanced in nature, and your intended reader is uninitiated, it might require some skillful distillation of information so that your content hits home. Or, if you’re writing to experts, doing your homework to learn the appropriate industrial phrases and jargon can make your tone sound like it knows what you’re talking about.

Know Your Keywords

Before you start writing, it’s essential to know your keywords for several reasons. First off, it helps you organize your content- making sure you touch on and address all the necessary points. Second, what good is a piece of digital content if your intended readers can’t find it?

Know Your Word Count

How long do you have to establish your credibility, develop your ideas, make your case, defeat the counterpoint, or educate your reader about the topic? Long-form content lets you take your time, easing your readers into the subject, going off on tangents where applicable, providing several examples to back up your arguments. But with shorter pieces of content, you might be required to adopt a news style of writing- getting quickly to your point and cutting out the fluff.

Know Your Deadline

I’m convinced that procrastination is an essential component of the creative process. Letting an idea bounce around in the back of your mind as you work on other projects until it’s fully formed can help your writing exponentially. But even a perfect piece of content is useless if you miss your deadline. Knowing how long you have to complete your work can help you strike a balance between letting the idea marinate and doing the writing. And if you don’t have a deadline, set one. Sometimes it takes a sense of urgency to help force your idea out onto the page.

So there you have it. Hopefully, these tips help you develop the content you’re looking for. But if you need more help, don’t be afraid to reach out to us!

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