CONTENT MARKETING CHECKLIST
In the age of social media and smartphones, almost all of us, including businesses, are publishers in one way or another, and what good publishers need is a steady stream of content.
That’s easier said than done. So a good place to start is a Content Marketing Checklist. Taking the time to create a solid plan might seem like more work up-front. But, trust me, it will reduce your workload over time and make your content more effective.
The first thing you need to do is establish what you are trying to accomplish.
Most brands that are just starting to adopt content in the marketing strategy often just want to increase brand awareness. Others want to drive traffic back to a website or content hub. Some wants to increase sign-ups or need leads like e-mail addresses or a phone number. And more sophisticated content marketers want to drive an audience along the path-to-purchase and eventually increase their sales or revenue.
So you need to think about the various ways you can help fulfill a goal. It could be with great content thus increasing time spent with brand and raising awareness, using a landing page with a form to fill to drive lead generation or with a click-to-buy function to drive revenue.
TIP: Don’t approach your content thinking “how will this help me achieve X goal.” You don’t want to stifle creativity. It may just be a matter of adding a relevant call-to-action or choosing specific channels to publish on.
Find out who your target audience is. Who do you want to reach that will help you achieve your goal?
Once you figure out your audience, you’ll want to get to know them.
- What types of content do they share? (format, tone, source, length)
- Where online does your target audience spend most of their time? (social networks, blogs, forums, etc.)
- How can you best reach the target audience? (organic social media, advertising, search)
- What are their goals and does your content offer insight that might help them achieve those goals?
- Can the content you are proving help remove their pain points? Or play to their passion points?
These are all questions you will want to answer before you start creating content.
TYPES OF CONTENT
Now that you’ve established your goals and target audience, you should be able to lay out the types of content that will help you reach both.
Here are a few examples.
Goal: Increase brand awareness
You’ll want to create content with a bit of a broad appeal. It should illustrate a brand’s expertise, but be helpful to a wide-range of people. Useful content types will likely include video tutorials, client testimonials and expert blog content.
Goal: Drive to a lead generation landing page
Create content that is detailed and helpful enough that people will be willing to exchange their information for access to what you’re offering. Examples of such types of content are webinars, white papers, toolkits or Facebook Live events. You could also give them an incentive they can’t resist, like contests and discounts.
You will also need to make the most of your content marketing budget. You want to make sure you can actually create content with your available resources and do so on a consistent basis. While your choices are unlimited – videos, infographics, quizzes, listicles, photo journals – your budget may not be.
You also need to decide on a Content Execution Plan or a Content Calendar.
Now you know what you’re trying to achieve with your content, how much content do you need to feed your target audience based on how much content they consume? One video per week? Two blog posts every day? You also need to consider when your target audience consumes content the most.
Most brands work within the confines of their overall marketing calendar. However, depending on your target audience, you can always also plan your content around a regular calendar of events. For example, if you are a travel brand, you may want to publish a significant amount of content before a long weekend. If you are a supermarket and increased sales is your goal, you could publish a series of recipe videos before festive seasons such as Christmas or Chinese New Year to inspire people with new dishes and therefore shop at your supermarket.
Once you’ve planned and created or curated your content, you’ll need to manage it.
One of the best places to do this is a native content hub. Here are some examples:
A content hub centralizes all of your content into a one-stop shop for visitors and thus provides a more interactive and valuable experience to them as they don’t have to go searching for a content piece. A content hub also allows you to provide context around your content. You can highlight your brand’s official content around a particular product, while including third party articles about the same product. This type of context helps add credibility and third party endorsements while keeping visitors on your site. As visitors spend more time browsing your content, a hub will allow you to feature optimized progressive profiling, pop-ups and call-to-actions (CTAs). Showing the right content and CTA, to the right person at the right time will increase your lead conversion rates.
However, content hubs can be a big investment and commitment. Other channels you can use to manage your content include a company website or social media channels like a brand Facebook or Instagram page and a YouTube channel.
No matter how great your content is, how do know people are going to see it? This comes down to promotion or amplification.
Promotion is about driving your audience to your content. The important thing about promotion is to go where your audience is and where you can realistically achieve traction. This ends up being a combination of your available time, budget, and current level of credibility. You need to decide how you will promote your content for maximum reach and effect.
The most important question is where and how do you promote the content to reach your target audience
- social media
- paid, earned, owned media
- Email Direct Marketing (EDM)
- SEO optimization
- display ads
- 3rd party publishers relevant to your brand
- on ground (in-store, partner events)
In general, though, you will need to promote your content across a variety of channels in order to drive awareness and traffic to it.
The only way to really find out what type of content works for your audience is to try different methods and test them.
This brings us to measuring & refining content or performance management. Your content marketing strategy is only valuable if it’s helping you to succeed, and to determine that you need to have a measurement process in place. And the first thing you need to do is determine the metrics you want to hit. Is it page views, engagement up to a certain length of time, click-throughs to your website or content hub, conversion to leads or clicks to buy?
Next, you will need to establish a regular schedule for tracking content performance. The more frequent you analyze content performance, the more flexibility your team has to adjust content as needed, and in a timely fashion.
Set metrics and KPIs that align with your goals to help make sure you analyze your results within the right context.
And finally, get into the routine of compiling performance reports.
- they provide transparency into how your content is performing
- they can also be presented to a brand’s management to prove the value of your content to the business
- they provide easy access to key metrics, which comes in handy when you’re trying to benchmark goals for future content marketing campaigns
It may seem overwhelming to start your content strategy but if you take it one step at a time and write just one sentence for each checkpoint above, you can have a realistic and actionable strategy to get things started.
You can always revisit your strategy later with changes or new information. No matter how fantastic a strategy is on paper, execution will always be the most important part of any content marketing plan. So focus on using your strategy as a stepping-stone toward getting your content out there.
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started” – Mark Twain
- Content Marketing Institute
- Vertical Measures