The checklist below follows my presentation on content marketing for small teams. Marketers can use this checklist as a best practice ‘cheat sheet’ for content creation and tool for evaluating the success of a campaign. You can use this to help map out a strategy for the year, and/or for each individual content piece created.
While this is mainly for long-form written content, it can also apply to other content types like videos, podcasts and galleries. Whatever format you are working in, make sure that:
- your content is relevant to your brand and your target audience
- it is high-quality
- it reaches the audience it is aimed at
- you identify ways you can improve your research, production and promotion.
This approach is flexible, which is ideal for small teams that have varying budgets, capacity and expertise. For example, money isn’t the only factor that correlates with content quality. While it can make an help, there are ways you can improve the quality of your content simply by ensuring a clear structure.
Define why you need content, what your brand wants to say and to whom.
- Set your content marketing objectives
- Define your brand values and mission
- Map out what you know about your target audience (start with why people need your product or service and break this down as far as you can. If you have multiple audiences, tackle them one at a time)
- Use your map of audience interests to research relevant topics online
- Define the topic or topics you want to create content for
- Define the essential components of that topic (what is everyone else talking about) by reviewing top ranking pages
- Create your content in the medium most relevant to the topic.
Make your content engaging using a clear structure, style and formatting, and imagery.
- Include an introduction to the topic
- Include clear section headings (often defined during the research phase)
- Break up block text with pull quotes, bullet points and/or infoboxes
- Add a call to action (making sure you have first sold your brand and shown its relevance to the interests of your target audience)
- Make your content visually engaging using photography, illustration and/or graphics.
Reach your target audience using internal, social and paid channels.
- Include content in existing client/customer communications (such as a newsletter)
- Share content with staff
- Share content with external stakeholders (peers, partners, influencers)
- Post organically on social using existing hashtags that are relevant to your topic (only create your own hashtags if you have an engaged and active audience)
- Comment in relevant social media groups and on forums, ensuring your comment adds value to the discussion (do not post a link only)
- Use existing paid channels where appropriate such as display network and paid search
- Research paid social targeting options and boost posts where relevant (even if you start only with a small budget).
Evaluate the relevancy, quality and visibility of your content to understand what you achieved and how you can improve.
- Did you achieve your objective?
- Was your content relevant to your brand?
- Was your content relevant to your target audience?
- Could you have made your content more engaging?
- How could you have reached more people with your content?
- Could you have spend less money on production and more money on promotion?