The 7 stages of the content lifecycle

Ever wondered what happens behind the scenes of that killer blog post you just read or the video you couldn’t stop watching? Get ready to dive into the magic of the content lifecycle – the 7 crucial stages that turn your wild ideas into digital gold.

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Lucie SimonovaPublished on Aug 21, 2023

Whether it’s a captivating video or an article you just had to read until the very end, every high-quality piece of content goes through a few critical stages that help turn mere ideas into a masterpiece.

From brainstorming to hitting that "Publish" button with confidence, we’re spilling the beans on how to master each step of the content lifecycle. Ready to level up your content game?

1. Forming the ideas for your content

This stage is all about unleashing your creative beast and letting those ideas flow. The brainstorming stage is the perfect time to discuss different concepts, explore trends, or dive into your audience’s preferences.

Don’t be afraid to go wild with your ideas. No matter how vague or outlandish they might seem, remember – this is where you lay the groundwork for content that’ll make your audience stop scrolling and start engaging. 

Because the best ideas often strike when you least expect them, it’s a great idea to keep a notebook (either a physical or a digital one) on hand. That way, you won’t need to run off during a coffee break with your colleagues unexpectedly to try and find a sticky note to jot down a content concept and will be able to enjoy your favorite hot beverage in peace.

No idea where to start with this stage? Here are some tips which can help you start gathering engaging ideas that will turn into killer content.

Look at your customers’ current needs

By taking a closer look at your customers’ pain points and desires, you’re opening a treasure chest of content ideas. What challenges is your audience facing? What solutions are they seeking? Are there any trends or topics buzzing in their world right now? 

When you tailor your content to address your customers’ needs, you’re not just providing valuable information – you’re building a bridge of trust between you and your audience, leading to a long-term relationship where they’ll keep coming for more.

Do keyword research

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have a crystal ball that tells you exactly what your audience wants to read, watch, or learn about? Well, doing keyword research can help you achieve exactly that.

By using tools like Google Keyword Planner or SEMrush, you can uncover those golden words and phrases that people are actually searching for. Think of it as taking a peek into the minds of your audience – you’ll discover their burning questions and deepest desires. These keywords are like breadcrumbs leading you to content ideas that are not only relevant but also in high demand.

Deep dive into industry trends

Keeping your finger on the pulse of what’s hot and happening in the industry can spark plenty of content ideas that resonate with your audience. Whether it’s a new technology, a buzzworthy hashtag, or a shifting consumer preference, these trends can be the ideal starting point for your whitepaper, video, or social media campaign.

By staying plugged into industry news, attending webinars, and engaging with thought leaders, you’ll make sure never to sleep on these nuggets of insight that you can transform into captivating content.

Do a thorough competitor analysis

Putting on a detective hat and diving into a thorough competitor analysis can give you a sneaky peek into what’s working in your industry. By seeing what’s resonating with their audience, you’re getting a front-row seat to the content that’s hitting all the right chords.

Maybe they did a how-to guide that went viral on social media – how about taking a similar concept and making it even more engaging with interactive elements? Be careful, though! It’s okay to get inspired, but make sure to never copy and paste – plagiarism is not a good look.

2. The importance of a content strategy

Before diving into crafting that captivating content, let’s pause for a second. There’s a crucial pit stop that’s often overlooked but could easily make or break the whole process – content strategy.

Creating content without a solid strategy is like embarking on a journey to an unknown destination without a map. Think of your content strategy as a trusty navigation system, guiding you through your audience’s needs, business goals, and market trends.

It should never be about posting random content and hoping for the best – instead, it’s all about knowing who you’re talking to, what they’re truly interested in, and what they desire. When creating your strategy, be sure to set clear goals, choose the right platforms, and plan out what kind of content to create and when. 

A solid content strategy will set the tone, keep you on track, and ensure that every piece of content you create will serve a purpose that’s aligned with your brand’s mission.

3. Creating content within the right CMS

Finally – time to start creating! But where do you bring your ideas to life? Deciding on where you create and manage your content matters just as much as the content itself. Opting for headless CMS here could be a lifesaver, and here are several reasons why.

Content hub

With a headless CMS, you can manage your articles, videos, images, and other assets in a single source of truth. No more jumping between platforms or drowning in different tools – just content that’s always on brand and on time.

With workflows in your content hub, you can manage the entire lifecycle of your content, from creation to publication, while maintaining quality and consistency.

Workflows can provide a structured path for communication and collaboration, making sure that everyone is on the same page and can contribute their expertise at the appropriate stage. Read on to learn how workflows can help you in other stages of the content lifecycle.

Omnichannel delivery

In today’s digital landscape, people engage with content on a variety of platforms and devices – from websites and mobile apps to smart TVs and wearable gadgets. Traditional CMS can tie you down here, but headless CMS will set you free to unleash stellar content across different platforms without breaking a sweat. 

Omnichannel delivery

With omnichannel delivery, you’re meeting your audience where they are, increasing your chances of engagement and conversions. It also ensures that your content will look and feel the same across different touchpoints. Whether someone visits your website or interacts with your mobile application, they should recognize your brand’s identity and messaging.

Seamless integrations

Try to think of your content creation as building a whole content experience that goes way beyond the basics. Want to infuse your content with interactive elements? Dynamic features? Personalized experiences? With headless CMS’s flexible architecture, you absolutely can.

A headless CMS allows you to integrate with a wide range of tools and services, expanding the capabilities of your content and maximizing its impact. By integrating specialized tools, you can get creative and craft content experiences that truly stand out from the sea of content produced every day.

4. Streamlining the reviewal process

The reviewal process is the stage where your content can go from great to outstanding. But be careful – as much as it can help your content shine, the process can also become ineffective and slow you down. The secret is knowing how to streamline the reviewal process so it doesn’t overcomplicate things for you and your team.

Remember us talking about headless CMS being a lifesaver when it comes to managing content? One of the reasons for that is the way it can help your team streamline the reviewal process via workflows. 

In a platform like, workflows enable your teams to collaborate in one place and approve content with ease by setting up roles and permissions. By clearly assigning who’s responsible for what and when they should jump in, you can make sure errors will never slip by your team unnoticed.

Comments and suggestions will also help you remove roadblocks to smooth collaboration. Content creators and editors can leave feedback and solutions to any problem areas right in the platform, making the reviewal process a breeze.

5. Publishing your content

After your content is crafted and approved comes the satisfying feeling of finally hitting that "Publish" button. But publishing your content may not be as straightforward as it seems.

When it comes to content, consistency is key – your audience loves to know when they can expect new content from you! Whether you’re publishing blog posts, videos, or social media gems, try sticking to a schedule that suits your audience’s habits and keeps them intrigued.

Having a lot of content can get disorganized at times. To conquer the chaos, planning and scheduling your publishes might be a game-changer. With a content calendar, you can strategically map out your releases, ensuring a consistent flow that keeps your audience engaged without overwhelming them.

In your busy week full of meetings, brainstorming sessions, and unexpected tasks, relying on just your brain alone to remember what needs to be published and when is a recipe for disaster. In addition, having audiences from different regions that need content published at different times would mean you would have to be stuck to the screen at all times, which is impossible.

By scheduling your publishing ahead of time, you guarantee that your content will go live exactly when needed without any stress. With content scheduled to publish, you can focus on more important things, like coming up with fresh ideas for future content or your work-life balance. Save yourself the stress and let your content go live exactly when it makes the most impact.

6. Using data to assist optimization

It doesn’t end with your content getting delivered to your desired platforms. There’s always room for improvement, and tracking your content’s performance can give you a peek into what’s resonating with your audience and what might need a little tune-up.

Here are some metrics that can help you measure the success of your content:

  • Traffic 
  • Engagement 
  • Conversions 
  • Bounce rate 
  • Dwell time

Let’s take a closer look at these metrics so we can better understand their impact. Traffic refers to the number of visitors or users who access a particular website or a different source. We can then talk about website traffic, social media traffic, or, for example, paid advertising traffic.

According to Sprout Social, engagement rates are metrics that show how actively involved with your content your audience is. These can be likes, comments, shares – everything that shows your audience is interacting with your content.

As Adjust explains, conversions are desired actions performed by the user in response to a CTA. This can include filling out a form, making a purchase, or downloading a resource.

Ahrefs describes the bounce rate as the percentage of visitors who come to your website, check out only one page, and then leave without taking any other action. Dwell time, on the other hand, is the amount of time that goes by between clicking one of the search results and then coming back to them.

With these metrics, you can see what type of content is working and tweak your tactics to keep creating content that delivers the results you’re aiming for.

7. Making your content personal

Making content personal to your audience is the icing on the cake. It’s about going beyond the generic and showing your audience that you know them like a best friend. Because that’s exactly what they want – to be viewed as real human beings rather than a mere number.

From using their first name in emails to recommending products based on their past preferences, personalization is really showing your dedication to creating deep, meaningful relationships with your audience in everything you create.

To show you how crucial personalization is in today’s digital landscape, check out the following statistics. According to Accenture, 84% of consumers are interested in personalized products. What’s more, research by McKinsey shows that 71% of consumers expect brands to deliver personalized interactions, and 76% are frustrated when this doesn’t happen.

This clearly shows that personalization is no longer a nice to have but a must if you want to get a competitive edge. The demand for personalization is already high, and it will only grow higher, so be careful – irrelevant messages and recommendations can quickly discourage your audience from interacting with your brand.

Mastering the 7 stages of digital success

And there you have it – from coming up with genius ideas to giving your content that personal touch, the seven stages of the content lifecycle are your roadmap to success. Remember, it’s never just about creating content – it’s about crafting experiences that resonate, inspire, and drive action.

Would you like to explore the 7 stages of the content lifecycle in more detail? Feel free to get our Ultimate Guide for Content Writers and start creating content your audience will love.

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Written by

Lucie Simonova

I’m a Creative Writer at In other words, I draft and craft stories that people enjoy reading.

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