Content Research and Planning

Writing creative and engaging content is one of the best and most effective ways you can communicate with both potential and past customers. Whether your goal is to acquire new leads, keep in touch with previous customers, or establish your business as a leader within your industry, written content is the way to go.

Not only does publishing good written content help establish yourself and remain competitive but, when you use the right keywords and best practices, it works wonders for SEO and your ranking in search engines.

This is exactly why so many businesses prioritise content writing and invest thousands in it. Since the dawn of search engines, written content has been one of the best ways to be successful online.

This is exactly why so many businesses prioritise content writing and invest thousands in it. Since the dawn of search engines, written content has been one of the best ways to be successful online.

In short, good written content builds your website traffic, trust, and customer loyalty. By creating well-informed quality content, you are helping people make informed decisions about your product or service—consumers like this and are more likely to purchase from you as a result or recommend your products or services to their friends.

Effectively, you empower your readers by providing valuable and high-quality information.

Before you can dive in and begin writing content, it pays to do your research and put a plan in place. This is exactly what I am going to cover here.

But First, A Little About Me

Based in London, I am a digital marketing consultant and website designer. I have been doing this for around ten years and have worked with hundreds of clients based all over the world. The projects I have been involved in have ranged from basic website redesigns for small businesses and planning advanced marketing campaigns for well-known companies. Between myself and my team, we have decades of experienced and have worked with clients operating in all industries.

The purpose of this page is to serve as a basic introduction to the research and planning that is required when you want to produce written content. Whether it be copy for your website or posts for your company’s blog, it is important to have a comprehensive plan in place.

Without a plan in place, you may struggle to produce content that truly resonates with your audience and delivers the results you deserve.

I am also here to help if you need it. Feel free to contact me via email; myself and my team are always here to answer any questions or work with you on your project to deliver the best results, no matter what your resources are.

How I Can Help

Whether you have a simple question or would like to find out more about my services, my team and I are here, and you are welcome to get in touch for an obligation-free discussion.

If you do go forward with my services, we will work closely with you and your business to research, plan, and produce content that will help to propel your business forward and drive growth through organic traffic and sales.

It does not matter what stage you are at, either. If you get to the end of this page and think it all sounds a bit too much, that’s fine. If you decide to have a go at this yourself and then decide you want to utilize my professional services, that is equally as fine.

Me and my team will work closely with you to assess your situation and apply a methodical process, building a content writing plan that will help establish your business and stand tall above your competition and all the noise online.

If you are interested in this or anything else, contact me to find out how my team and I can be of assistance.

Good Content is Important, But What Does This Mean?

It’s easy to say that ‘good content’ is important, but this isn’t helpful to most people. It is very important though; as any professional content writer will tell you, content can make or break a website.

Write brilliant content and you will, over time, generate organic traffic. Copy content from other places or write bad content and you will find that you no longer appear in Google search results. Write too little content and you won’t provide enough information, meaning potential customers will go elsewhere.

It’s a delicate balance that is so important to strike.

I have a whole page dedicated to content writing and I recommend that you read this to learn more about content writing itself. On this page, I am covering content research and planning.

In short, though, good content needs to be included in elements such as:

  • Your landing page and its introduction text
  • Paragraphs on your ‘About Us’ and other pages
  • Product descriptions or service information
  • Calls to action
  • Blog posts and press releases
  • Any content that can be downloaded

… and anything else that involves the written word being hosted on your website. All this contributes to your SEO and search engine rankings.

Deciding What to Write

The biggest problem you are going to face when it comes to content research and planning is deciding what to write about, particularly for newsletters and blog posts. It’s a problem that many companies face and deciding what to write that will both promote your products or services whilst still engaging your audience can be tricky. Both are crucial and whilst doing them simultaneously in the form of written content is tricky, it is far from being impossible.

Lots of companies manage to nail the promotional aspect of content writing, however, they completely fail to make it engaging and not read like a hard-sale. Consumers don’t tend to respond well to being blatantly sold to and written content that does this will not perform well.

When all your blog posts read like an endless stream of promotional advertisements, people will wise up to this and not read it. Over time, Google will wise up too and you may find yourself being penalized by appearing lower down in search results pages.

If you are a company who manufacturers cat products, you will naturally want to write content and blogs that directly discuss the various toys that you make. Often, this approach can lead to content being far too promotional and not engaging enough.

Instead, content that is focussed around the content—for example, a blog post about other uses for your cats’ toys—both promotes your product and provides your audience with value. Although coming up with topics for your blog posts, newsletters, and other written material requires creativity, asking yourself some key questions can help massively.

  • Who is my target market?
  • What has my market research revealed about their online activities?
  • Does my product or service solve a problem?
  • If so, what problems does it solve? How does it do this?
  • How do our products or services fit into the lives of our customers?

The answers to these questions make excellent topics for your written content. Returning to the example of cat toys, some possible blog topics could be:

  • X Must Have Toys for Design-Conscious Cat Owners
  • Simple Tips and Tricks to Calm Your Active Kitten
  • The Best Toys for Indoor Cats

All of these are based around the product, in this case cat toys, whilst not being directly promotional and providing valuable information to cat owners.

Creating content that connects your product to your customer is the type that both promotes your product and is engaging.

Performing Your Research

Knowing what to write alone isn’t enough, unfortunately. You need to also spend time doing research into your target market, competitors, keywords, and more in-order to develop a good understanding of what you are up against.

The exact nature of your content research heavily depends on your product or service and what industry you operate in. However, there are five key things that you need to look at. If this doesn’t make sense just yet, don’t worry. As you begin to do your research, come up with ideas for your content, and get the ball rolling, it will all start to become clear.

1. Look at Your Competitors

It is likely that your competitors have a blog or some other form of written content and looking at this can uncover some valuable information. From their blog, you can see what’s popular, what’s less popular, what has previously sparked discussions in the comments or has been shared on social media.

One thing not to do, however, is to blatantly copy content. This will do nothing other than harm your reputation and have you penalized by search engines.

2. Look at Your Target Market

You should have already performed target market research and will have lots of data as a result. Return to this data and see if you can leverage any of it to think of written content that will resonate closely with these people.

What is your audience interested in? What websites do they visit? What do they buy online? Where do they spend their time? What do they read, watch, and interact with?

3. Decide Which Keywords to Target

Keyword research—something I have already covered in-depth—is a vital part of content production. In a nutshell, tools such as Google Keyword Planner can help you see what terms people are searching for online that relate to your product or service. With this information, you can incorporate keywords into your content and rank for them.

Keywords can work wonders for written content. However, it is important to use them properly and not stuff your blog posts full of them. I recommend reading my page on it.

4. Use the Right Tools

There are many content planning tools that, when used properly, can make what is sometimes a time-consuming and stressful process a lot easier.

Tools such as Dynomapper, Coschedule, Slickplan, Bubble.us, and even Google Docs are all very valuable in their own. Even if you are working alone to produce a content plan, having the right tools behind you to produce mind maps, note down ideas, and schedule content production keeps you on the right track.

5. Look at What’s ‘Trending’

Turning to social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and even Instagram is a great idea, particularly if your product is highly visual or interactive.

Social media platforms are the perfect place to find out what, if anything, is trending within your industry, what customers of your competitors or saying, and how people are responding to the digital marketing efforts of others. Can’t find a trend? Why not try to start your own? Content and a great product is exactly how you do this.

Start Planning for Content Production

When you have done all the above and are ready to begin working on content production, it is best to put a plan in place rather than dive in and begin writing.

With a plan in place, you can answer key questions such as “when should I publish content?” and the big one “how much content should I be publishing?” It is the latter question, in fact, that causes the most problems for businesses that have just began writing content.

The answer, as is usually the case, is that it depends.

The one-size-fits-all approach is one that only fits a very small number of things. Unfortunately, content production is not one of them.

One way to know how much content you should be putting out there is to only write what is essential. By that, I mean setting aside excess content in-order to ensure that there is enough room for only what your audience is really going to value and engage with.

When you start producing content regularly, you will get a natural feel for what’s right, what’s not, and how much content is too much. By focussing on what’s essential right at the start, you tactfully avoid overwhelming your audience and being viewed as a spammer.

Getting Organized

With all this together, you should be able to generate a whole load of ideas for blog posts, newsletters, and other pieces of content. The next step is to simply get organized and start setting aside time to write and produce your content.

Creating a content calendar, particularly if your content is going to be blog-heavy, is the best way you can get organized and ensure that you are publishing a mixture of different content types in the right places at the right times.

If you are using WordPress or any other mainstream content management system, take advantage of the scheduling functionality that allows you to upload your posts to your blog, do all the editing and optimization, and then schedule it to go live on a time and date specified by you.

With content production, organization is key. If you fail to get organized and blindly pursue content writing and production, you will struggle to see the results that you deserve. Whilst it is important to produce content that is of a high-quality, it is just as important to ensure you are posting the right things in the right place at the right time. This can only be done when you are properly organized and adopt a methodical approach.

When Should I Consult a Professional?

With content research and planning, you can easily do it yourself, however, by utilizing professional services such as those of mine and my team, you get the job done quicker and start seeing results roll in.

As a digital marketing consultant supported by a team of specialists that includes marketers, content writers, and website developers, you get a comprehensive service that looks at your needs in context and explores all possible avenues to deliver the very best results for you.

Consulting the professionals isn’t always necessary, though. Just like much of what we have already discussed, it depends highly on your needs alongside your skills, circumstances, and written ability. You are the only person who can assess this.

There’s no reason why you can’t research and plan your own content, though. There are plenty of resources and tools out there that can help you with this. Additionally, as you begin to do your research and learn more about your industry, you will find that thinking up content becomes second nature. It is taking the first steps that is the hardest part.

If you are looking for a faster solution and would like to see the best results possible, contacting a professional like me is always your best and wisest option.

As a business operator, your time is valuable, particularly if you are currently experiencing growth or have other projects in the pipeline. Obviously, your time is therefore better spent on these and, in circumstances such as these, outsourcing makes perfect sense.

If you would like to learn more about content research and planning, have any questions, or would like to find out how my services could help you hit the ground running, please get in touch for an obligation-free chat.

I also recommend checking out my blog and other areas on my website to learn more about content, web design, SEO, and everything else that matters to your website.