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

The internet is awash in content. It’s estimated it would take someone 11 million years to read it all. Even if your content does get noticed, you only get one chance to make a first impression. And then, will they give it any serious thought? 

Covid-19 has only accelerated the already growing self-led digital B2B buyer’s journey. If you’re not in the game, your competitors probably are. Well-planned content is a critical part of staying ahead of the curve – but so is the quality of your content

Content quality is easy to overlook. It’s easy to lean on strategy and distribution and cut corners on content quality. But B2B marketing is cumulative. Better content quality leads to better long-term results. And you’ll spend less on marketing in the long run. 

So, what is the definition of good quality content. I believe there are seven essential quality checkpoints for creating engaging valuable content. 

      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 needs
      7. Proofread 

1. Project Information

If you read a piece of content and get value from it, you’ll want to read more. Are your prospects getting value from your content? Your content must be of high quality to make the right impact. And this means having a plan

Content Brief is a short document that directs and informs and the development and usage of your content. There must be clear instructions on what is to be created. You cannot leave anything up to chance. A written brief explains the where, who, how and why behind your content. Since good content takes time to produce, it’s important to plan it in advance by creating a Content Calendar.  

2. Research plan

There are two basic ingredients in a piece of written content. There’s (1) the information and (2) the putting together of the information – the writing. No writer simply sits down and starts writing. First comes the research. Some of the strongest B2B content is data driven storytelling based on credible research. 

The first step is to figure out what research you need. What data? With marketing writing, the primary focus is often 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 similar blogs then using the same sources. But this can also lead to stale unoriginal content.   

Paid research in the form of statistics, graphs and other exhibits will get better results. Another form of effective research is expert interviews. Interviewing lets a writer instantly plug into expert knowledge from anyone relevant to your content. This could be your Product Manager, Salesperson, one of your customers or an industry expert. 

4. Outlining

The hidden structure of content is what gives it its power. Each type of content has a unique structure that serves it’s purpose. Email campaigns and video scripts are structured for promotion. White Papers sets out to prove an argument for newer products. 

eBooks often describe a step-by-step process or how-to information for mid-funnel prospects. And a case study is structured for storytelling and persuasion. It’s also important to use the right images. A Content Brief can insights about what images to include

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 entrance and exit. The paragraphs and sentences are the floors and the walls. The headline is the address so readers they are in the right place. 

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 with 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 hinges on the information provided about the target audience in the Content Brief. This stage alone could be 30% or more of the work. 

It can take a weeks or more to reflect on what has been written and make adjustments. This is why a content Calendar is necessary. Professional magazines Editors typically plan their content eight weeks 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. 

Create Irresistible Content

There’s a lot more to writing than just writing. 80% of the work is something other than the writing itself. B2B content needs strong credible research to be effective. If you want to create B2B content that has impact, then the entire process must begin with a Content Brief. 

Here again, are the seven checkpoints for 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.

There is no such thing as the perfect meal; one can always do better.

Joel Robuchon, Chef (Winner of 31 Star Michelin stars) Tweet
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