By Melanie Graham

You and your team have recently decided to venture into the world of content marketing. You’re ready for the challenge and excited to see the results.

Then, the question hits you: How exactly do we develop and execute content?

Getting a content development plan off the ground can be daunting. But, as with many large projects, it’s easier to tackle once you break down the steps needed to get you to the finish line.

There are differing opinions on the stages of content development – some see it as three steps, while other argue there are five or more. Here’s how we like to break down the process:

  1. Determine your goals for the content.

Before you start writing, creating, or recording, you need to identify your organization’s marketing goals. What are you hoping to achieve with this content? Make sure to prioritize these goals and use them to guide each piece of content you create.

This is the point when you also need to determine your audience. Who are they? What kinds of problems do they face? Craft your content to fit the needs and concerns of your readers, viewers, and potential customers.

  1. Plan your content and your team.

Once you have your goals in place, it’s time to outline the type of content you want to use and create: videos, photos, blog posts, etc.

When determining the content type and channel, remember to keep your audience in mind. For example: If you’re aiming for a scientific or research crowd, maybe a white paper is the best delivery method. And if most of your audience is patients, you may want to consider a blog post or an infographic.

This is also the time when you need to figure out what resources you need to execute your content. Who should make up your team? You may need writers, videographers, designers, programmers, or photographers. Your team size and resources may dictate the amount of content you can create, but that doesn’t mean it will be less effective. If you keep your goals and audience in mind, your small team can still make powerful content.

3. Create

Now that your goals are in place and your team is together, it’s time to create the content. Regardless of the type of content you’re creating (blogs, videos, or photos), remember to keep an editorial calendar as you’re planning and developing your content. The editorial calendar can help keep the workload organized and make sure deadlines are on track.

Read more: 5 more tips for a successful editorial calendar.

  1. Execute and distribute.

Once your content is completed, it’s time to publish it to your various channels. At this stage, it is crucial to have a distribution plan in place; know which channels will feature what content and when that content will go live. Keep in mind that content should morph and adjust depending on the channel it’s on; don’t over-saturate your audience with identical content on every platform.

You will also need a social media plan in place to help broaden your content’s reach. Remember, “Content is fire, and social media is gasoline.” As you did with your content development, keep in mind the audience for each social channel. The language and approach you use for Facebook will likely be different from Twitter and LinkedIn.

Read more: Avoid these social media mistakes.

  1. Measure, measure, measure.

With your goals in mind, keep track of your content’s performance throughout its lifespan. The metrics you track will vary depending on the goals of your content and overall marketing plan. Use tools like Facebook Insights and analytics from Google, Twitter, and YouTube.

Make sure you are paying attention to what is working and what isn’t, and adjust your content accordingly. Nix the content that doesn’t work or re-shape it, and put more resources behind your successes.

Bonus round: Reduce, reuse, recycle.

After putting so much effort into your content development, it would be a shame to see it have a short lifespan. Reusing and recycling can help reduce the amount of time you spend on content in the future. Think about other channels where a piece of content might work, or a new way to present the information you’ve already gathered. For example, break a video down into small chunks for social media, or create an infographic from an informative blog post.