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I began my marketing career as a writer, doing what all good writers do: crafting copy that told the unique stories of my clients to the audiences they hoped to reach. So when I first heard the term “content development,” I equated it with little more than good (and plentiful) copywriting.

It didn’t take long for me to learn, however, that content development — when done properly — is far more than good copy. It is a powerful strategy that allows a brand to tell its story and attract customers across multiple media.

It’s important to note that content marketing and content development are far from being new. In the 1890s John Deere launched a customer magazine called “The Furrow” that is still in print today. Rather than being an overt advertisement, the magazine educated farmers about the new technologies emerging in their industry and how they could improve their businesses. By providing key information in an engaging way, the company generated goodwill among its target audience that likely ensured their products would be considered when the time came to make an equipment purchase.

Today, content development takes many forms, especially online. It includes not only well-written and focused copy that comprises your website, but also visual elements such as photos, graphics, slideshows and videos. Articles and blog posts, properly repurposed, can be incorporated into the site, shared across social media channels, potentially used for online press releases and utilized as part of email marketing efforts.

Developing good content takes time and requires an investment of time and/or money. But, as with other investments you make in your business, it has the potential of paying for itself in the form of increased business when it is done well.

Just over a year ago, one of my work colleagues began forwarding emails to me from Billings-based Technical Edge Consulting. As someone who herself assists in developing multimedia content for our agency, she was impressed with the type of articles included in their monthly email newsletter, called TEC Minutes.

Following the John Deere model established more than a century ago, Technical Edge includes informative posts about technology geared toward business owners in their emails and on their site. Rarely do their newsletter columns reference their services directly. Instead, they share ideas that may improve productivity, highlight new advances in networking or give hints about making specific technology-based tools work better.

All of the articles produced by Technical Edge are housed on its website as part of its blog. This provides two benefits: First, it brings readers to the site where they can explore its archived articles and learn more about the services the company provides; Second, these frequent updates always ensure that their website has updated content — a key component in ensuring good SEO (search engine optimization). Technical Edge also takes its content development one step further by placing links on Facebook and Twitter, allowing it to be viewed by an even larger audience.

Taking the time to develop good content and then distributing it through the right channels should be a key part of your company’s marketing plan. To learn more about what kind of content may benefit your company most; how to utilize a content calendar; and how to go about the day-to-day execution of content generation and distribution, feel free to contact me at info@kineticmg.com. In the meantime, if you’re looking for a great tech partner, consider contacting Mike and Bart Haskell at Technical Edge Consulting. They can be found at www.techedge.biz.

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