Don't start creating content before answering YES to all these questions!

Content marketing checklist

So you've decided to invest time and money in content marketing. Great move! You will soon join the thought leaders in your industry.

But before you write (or draw or record) the first line of content, take a few minutes to go through this checklist.

Are you serious about content creation?

Is it just a momentary creative urge or are you in for the long run?

Remember that content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. You won't see any tangible results in the first few weeks of your creative process.

In a speech he gave in 2015, Joe Pulizzi reminded us that it takes on average 15 to 17 months before you can reap the benefits of a sound content strategy.

So you'll have to be patient.

Do you have the right resources in place?

All too often, content creation is considered as a side hustle by top managers.

They're rather ask an intern or a junior to piece together a raw infographic or write a few blog posts than properly invest in a content team, or at least in a professional copywriter.

The internet is a huge garbage bin filled with crappy content that nobody reads. If you want to cut through the noise, you need to bring in the right people and give them the time and tools to express themselves.

copywriter creating content

Orbit Media recently surveyed content professionals and came up with the following stats: in 2014 it took a professional writer an average of 2h24' to write a good blog post. In 2018 it was 3h28', fully dedicated to the task.

Which means that, despite their focus and training, even professional writers need a lot of time to produce quality content.

So you won't beat them with a half baked plan. Keep that in mind.

Have you done your homework?

Have you defined the persona of your target audience, their pain points, questions and aspirations? Here's a great checklist by Velocity Partners.

Who are they (role, seniority)? Where do they work? What are their issues (you could solve)? Where do they hang out (on- and offline)? Which other options would they consider? Why would they choose you?

Have you determined your sweet spot, at the intersection between your customers' pain points and your authority in the field?

sweetspot content creation

Can you fill in the blanks in this definition?

{insert your company name} creates content to attract
{insert your target audience}
so they can {insert their desired outcome} better.

Have you shortlisted the issues you will address?

To choose the right topics, you can try to lick your finger, hold it up to feel the direction of the wind but it won't get you far.

finger content creation wind

There are plenty of advanced tools which can help you spy on your competitors' strategy (and on your own website traffic) to pick the right keywords which will answer your audience's burning questions.

You can start by simply using Google Keyword Planner (free with Google Ads) and the suggestions of the Google Search Bar. The questions prominently displayed in the search results on page 1 are also a good indication of potential long tail keywords.

Have you defined a sequence of content pieces (multiple touch points) which will accompany your prospect along their buyer's journey, from awareness to decision through consideration?

buyer s journey content creation

Have you picked a format and a channel?

You could start shouting all over the place creating all types of content, from blog posts to videos and podcasts, all at the same time.

But in the initial phase of your content strategy plan, it's much better to stick to one format on one channel, e.g. long form blog posts on your web site OR videos OR podcasts OR infographics, in order to build your authority with a clearly identified programme.

Jay Baer (Convince & Convert) advises to approach content creation like a TV network, producing a mix of binge-worthy, regularly scheduled and one-time shows. A great tip!

jay baer content creation strategy tv network

Note: there's so much competition in the written form that it would be worth considering video as your preferred format, if you can afford the investment in talent and production (do not forget to caption your videos on social media channels).

If you prefer to write blog posts, use visuals in the body of your text, which will also help in SEO (with the right alt tags).

Moreover, before you dive into production mode, consider how you will atomize larger pieces of content further down the road to optimize the ROI of your content strategy.

Try to focus on evergreen content which you'll be able to update and re-distribute / re-purpose on multiple occasions.

Have you considered interactive content experiences?

Content doesn't have to be a passively consumed piece of media.

You can also craft interactive experiences, which can be as simple as a quiz or a price calculator, using tools like InvolveRiddle or Calconic.

They're a great option to help your audience solve some of their issues.

Is your publishing / automation stack ready?

Where will you publish your content?

Do you have access to your company website CMS?

Is your CMS properly configured or is it some old-school rusty beast?

There are options to create a blog on a subdomain of your site, using a dedicated publishing platform (Ghost, WordPressPublii,...), to allow the content team to express themselves freely while respecting the brand guidelines of the mothership.

There should be appropriate calls to action distilled in your content pieces, recording valuable data in your CRM (using automation pivots like Zapier or Integromat) and, with the approval of your readers, tracking pixels properly set up to enable retargeting on multiple channels.

Think about leveraging interactive formats (forms, bots,...) to create an engaging conversational experience.

Your basic automation stack should be ready before you start publishing content, with a clear view on the expect outcomes.

Are you ready to invest MORE time in content promotion than in content production?

Research and creation can already seem overwhelming. But it's only the tip of the iceberg.

To be effective, your content strategy should allocate even more time (and money) to promotional efforts: manual outreach to influencers, organic and paid distribution on social networks, retargeting campaigns on display networks, repurposing of your main pieces in snack formats for other platforms (e.g. long blog to captioned video), etc.

 

If you think that publishing a blog post on your website and sharing the link once on Linkedin will suffice, don't even start.

If you're stuck at any stage of your content marketing plan, don't hesitate to reach out, I'm ready to help.

 




Comments