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Content Development and Copywriting, Meet the 21st Century

Written by Gabriella Sannino   
Wednesday, 28 July 2010 14:55

Welcome to the twenty-first century, where content is king and content development is all about strategies and relationships. Stop thinking like a content pusher! Rather, be a creative breath of fresh air, using words to show products and expand on their features.

A good content strategy requires such a variety of tasks that it’s impossible to gather “what goes into a good content strategy” under a single action. Developing a strategy isn’t as simple as “write it”. The list of tasks require experience and, most importantly, time, in order to better understand what and why you’re doing what you’re doing. You can’t just skip from the initial process to reaching your target audience and have good things happen.

Developing a content strategy

Now, content strategies and copywriting aren’t new; these disciplines have been used since before the beginning of the Internet without much hoopla or fuss. In fact, they’re less of a new field than a method of transposing “traditional” approaches to strategic communication techniques. The common denominator between digital media covers is the online editorial strategy, which is still the user interface.

The Great “C” Word

All digital market/media devices and techniques are there to provide intermediary, friendly functionality for the user. These user-friendly interfaces fill a gap or solve a communication problem. For years, a handful of evangelists tried to educate advertisers on the need to streamline their production of content and carefully reflect this in their online editorials. Their approach wasn’t marketing per se, but communication – the great “C” word.

Where does content development come in, though? First, you have to define what constitutes basic content strategy versus content development. For instance, a copywriter deals with the strategy of each piece of content. They decide the tone of an article, and how the article will lead to the end sale. A few of the aspects that clearly define a content developer, on the other hand, are product knowledge, research, understanding a keyword analysis and time management.

What are the two ultimately going to accomplish? Here’s a hint: a useful marketing strategy has to use content development in order to get a message across many platforms of communication media.

Creating a Competitive Advantage – Keeping Consumer Needs in Mind

Let me remind you that this is the 21st century. We have online marketing campaigns, PPC campaigns, creating an online presence and various other marketing methods. Because of the great demand for content such as newsletters, blogs and landing pages, professional copywriters have to be that much more effective to justify the client investment.

To be effective, you can’t just write what the client wants; you have to meet both the needs of the client and the needs of the audience. Because expectations are changing, we – as professional copywriters – have to change how we sell our services and products online.

Today, what sets top SEO copywriters and successful content strategies apart from the rest is staying focused on the consumer. Great copywriting depends on the ability to think from a customer’s point of view and understand their buying cycles and best interests.

For example, when developing a content strategy, you can’t decide what you’re going to do just by skimming over the statistics of immediate consumer needs. You have to think about what the long-term goals of the buyer are.

Content Strategy and Facilitation

Listen when the buyers are talking to you (i.e. what are they saying in forums and blog comments) about the products or services. Capture that information and apply it to your content development strategy.

The best copywriters have to take the content strategy and use it to become facilitators. You not only have to build a relationship with the client, but you somehow have to create a perceived partnership with the client’s customers. The original selling relationship has to become a little something more.

A top copywriter keeps all relationships active and growing. You continually create and engage with the content you submit. Your readers are being persuaded to be involved in a process; they begin to believe that you have the answers to their problems and become engaged in a written conversation.

Keeping and eye on the bottom line

Your motivation to reach this point with your copywriting skills is simple. It costs much more to sell to a new customer than to retain an existing one. The more money your client is spending on using various means to attract new customers, the less money you’ll be making through your copywriting services. Likewise, if you’re writing your own copy for your business, the stronger your skills get, the less you’ll have to spend on other marketing techniques.

The best content development strategy should be focused on a two-way conversation, not a sales pitch. Top strategies have copywriters actively developing their listening and information gathering skills. Strong copywriters learn what questions to ask, which lead to the answers they need, which gives them better information to complete the buying process. They engage customers with questions that need well thought out answers, build curiosity and help them find their underlying needs.

Content development should focus on creating a profitable bridge between the buyer and seller. Thou shalt not sell and disappear. Cultivate the audience, so the consumers build trust in the brand, product and/or services.

In conclusion, many businesses never really seem to have an objective plan for content. It seems that much of the copy available is based on “I just write it”. However, the primary objective of all copywriting and content development is to gain business. In order to reach this objective, your goals and the steps to achieve them must be thought out, clearly defined and focused on building long-term business to consumer relationships.

Gabriella Sannino About the Author - Gabriella Sannino is the owner/operator of Level343, a copywriting & SEO company. She specializes in depth analysis, hard data, strong copy and tested SEO techniques to bring traffic and conversions to business websites. Her passions in brand building through social media, marketing techniques and writing strong copy that converts are all part of the strategy. You can also catch her on Twitter - you can also learn more about her HERE


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