Writing Development Process

Quality in a service or product is not what you put into it. It is what the client or customer gets out of it.

The 7 Quality Checkpoints of Results Driven Content

Struggling to get content marketing results? It’s no wonder. The internet is awash in content. It’s estimated it would take someone 11 million years to read all the content on the web. Blindly pushing out more content won’t help.  In 2021 there are estimated to be more than 8,000 MarTech tools on the market. When your competitors may be using the same tools you are to reach the same audience, it leads to a modern marketing problem: Audience attention span shrinkage. Promotion and distribution is now the easier part of the marketing equation. The harder part is consistently creating original, relevant, and compelling content that holds your audience’s attention for more than eight seconds. Once you have a Content Brief to direct and inform your production, I recommend following these seven steps for the best results. 
      1. Gather project information
      2. Create research plan
      3. Gather research
      4. Structure the content
      5. Assemble the research 
      6. Revise based on goals and audience
      7. Proofread 

1. Project Information

Marketing is cumulative. So, quality is critical. Your words are often the only part of your marketing a prospect sees, at least initially. And you only get one chance to make a first impression. Either your content is creating genuine audience value – or it’s just a bunch of words. Content Brief is a written document that informs and directs content development. If it’s not written, you’re leaving things up to chance. And the writer must guess. Written instructions tell them the who, what, why, where, when, and how behind the content.  A Content Brief lets you develop topic ideas and a Content Calendar.  The more focused your content is on a specific audience for a specific result – the more impact it will have. Content directed at everyone for any reason is like trying to boil the ocean.

2. Research plan

There are two basic ingredients in a piece of written content. There’s the information and the putting together of the information – the writing. No writer simply sits down and starts writing. First comes the research.   The first step is to figure out what research you need. What data? With marketing writing, the primary focus is usually the target audience. What do they want? What keeps them awake at night? What motivates them? What data and information will engage them?

3. Research gathering

Gathering research for a blog may be a matter of reviewing somewhat similar blogs and using the same sources. However, vast quantities of content are released on the internet every minute. Will yours stand out?   Conducting an expert interview lets the writer instantly plug into expert knowledge from anyone relevant to your content. This could be a Product Manager, Salesperson, or one of your customers. 

4. Outlining

The hidden structure of a written piece is what gives it its power. Each type of content has a unique structure that serves it’s purpose. For example, email campaigns and video scripts are structured for persuasion.  Informational content like eBooks may use a step-by-step process structure, or a product comparison. The structure of a White Papers is typically an argument, beginning with an overview of the situation. Content that tells a story such as a case study uses a story arc. A Content Brief can provide clues to the right structure. 

5. Writing

The process of writing is nothing like how most people perceive it to be. It’s more like an assembly job – like you’re building a house. You start with a Content Brief as a blueprint. The research provides a foundation and the outline gives it a structure. The introduction and summary are like the front and back doors. The paragraphs and sentences are the floors and the walls. The headline is the fountain on the front lawn.  Once written, your content is still not complete. The writing is now at a draft stage. It’s at the next stage where the real magic happens.

6. Revising

The goal at the revision stage is to shape the content so it perfectly aligns your goals and your audience’s motivations for reading it. This requires a deep understanding of your target audience.  The process of revising content involves re-reading it multiple times while empathizing with the target audience. This stage alone could be 30% or more of the total work involved. Magazines Editors plan content months in advance. 

7. Proofreading

Proofreading the content is the final step. The proofreader doesn’t need to worry about the meaning of the copy or its impact on the target audience. The proofreading process eliminates distracting grammar issues, spelling mistakes, or sentence structure. This job is best left to professional proofreaders with fresh eyes and advanced degrees in English. 

Give Your Writing More Grip

There’s a lot more to writing than just writing. 80% of the work is something other than the writing itself. A Creative Brief is an essential tool for planning a piece of writing that gets results – not just one that looks and sounds good.  Here again, are the seven checkpoints to achieving results-driven Trailblazer quality copy.
  1. Develop Creative Brief
  2. Identify research sources
  3. Gather research
  4. Outline
  5. Write
  6. Revise
  7. Proofread
Your content is where the rubber hits the road for your marketing. Check my writing portfolio for examples of my best work. Also, check out my book on Amazon – The B2B Marketer’s Journey. It will put you in a competitive mindset for achieving marketing results.

For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through.

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