Content Marketing Must Have Checklist

12 Elements Your Content Marketing Needs Now!

60% of marketers plan to increase their content marketing budget in 2012 according to research by Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs. This growth is largely attributable to the fact that content marketing supports building brands, acquiring leads and retaining customers.

Marketers’ biggest content challenge is producing content that engages prospects and customers during the purchase process. As a marketer, how can you ensure your content marketing effectively meets your needs?

To help, here’s a twelve-step content marketing checklist that’s a must-have tool in your content marketing arsenal.

  1. Determine your business goals. How will your content marketing fulfill these needs? Do various objectives need different content?
  2. Understand the target audience you’re trying to reach. Is it your core users, the decision makers, the influencers, investors, employees, the public? To this end create marketing personas for each group complete with names to ensure you really understand their needs and talk to them as if you know them personally.
  3. Create an editorial calendar. Decide when you need content across your marketing and communication strategy. What drives your business’ content needs? Think season and product changes. Assess your content needs at each point in the purchase process including awareness, engagement, purchase, post purchase and advocacy, so you can create content efficiently while addressing targeted segments in a contextually relevant way.
  4. Create strong headlines to entice readers. To grab your prospects’ and customers’ attention, craft killer headlines. Without these hooks, the chance of getting your content marketing read is greatly diminished.
  5. Infuse your brand into your content. Go beyond slapping a logo on your content. This means being able to differentiate your information from other content providers by how it’s written and presented. (Here’s a branding/design checklist for content marketing and blogging to help you.)
  6. Integrate search optimization into your content. Focus each piece of content on a keyword phrase. Also, incorporate links to other content on your website and/or blog and link out to other sources where appropriate.
  7. Add other media formats. Content isn’t just words on the page. At a minimum, include a photo to capture their attention because people are visual beings. Include video, audio, presentations, and e-books as appropriate. Associate related text and keywords for search engines.
  8. Get help developing content. Think broadly across your organization. Include employees, suppliers, guest experts, customers and the public.
  9. Guide readers to take the next step. Don’t assume visitors will know what you want them to do after they check-out your content. Include a contextually relevant call-to-action. Don’t except them to jump in and purchase, although be prepared to close the sale once they’re satisfied they’ve got the information they need.
  10. Check grammar and presentation. At a minimum, get a second pair of eyes to review content. Even better, use a professional copywriter since this reflects on your brand. Also get additional tech support where you need it.
  11. Socialize content to provide opportunities for engagement. At a minimum, include social sharing buttons. Don’t overlook making it easy to print out your content and email as research shows that these options expand your reach.
  12. Measure results back to your goals. To this end, incorporate tracking in your content with a tailored promotional code. Also, ensure that your analytics can capture this information before starting your campaign.  (Here’s a chart of content marketing metrics.)

Content marketing is effective at persuading customers to buy products by supporting their purchase and post-purchase needs. To ensure optimal content marketing performance, each piece of content must be checked for the twelve elements above.

Is there anything else you think should be added to this content marketing checklist? If so, what would you include and why?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

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