Is your business doing content marketing right? Use this checklist to find out

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Is your business doing content marketing right? Use this checklist to find out

Many solopreneurs are frustrated, because they’re putting a lot of time and effort into their blogging and social media activities, and don’t seem to have anything to show for it.

If that sounds like you, take a look at Taylor Moore’s content marketing checklist. What steps have you been missing?

Janet

Practically every business does some sort of content marketing these days. Still, many will say they’re not seeing any significant results from it. But how is it possible that they’re doing everything right and not getting any results? The truth is – there might be a (big) difference between what a business perceives as “right” and what really works in content marketing.

1. Have you defined your content strategy?

Like any other kind of marketing, content marketing will not work if it’s not properly planned. It simply isn’t enough to decide to create a blog or post something on social media from time to time. Without a clear and documented content strategy, your content marketing efforts could end up doing your business more harm than good.

Even a bad content marketing strategy is better than no strategy at all.Click To Tweet

Even if your strategy is bad, that’s still better than having no strategy at all. Why am I saying this? Because having a bad strategy at least allows you to gradually figure out what is wrong and to try to find a better solution. However, if you have no strategy, you’ll just keep on doing the wrong thing – most likely unaware of the fact that it’s wrong.

2. Is your content outstanding and are you writing for your audience?

Everybody knows that good content forms the cornerstone of content marketing. The question is: is “good” good enough today? With so many businesses out there doing content marketing, even with good content it has become increasingly difficult to grab prospects’ attention and make them notice your brand. The only way to do that is by creating outstanding content.

The only way to make prospects notice your brand is by creating outstanding content.Click To Tweet

Some of the characteristics of outstanding content are: it is in-depth, factually correct, engaging, focused, unique and truly valuable. Most importantly, your content should always focus on the topics that are of interest to your audience, even if they’re not strictly related to your core business. Remember: if readers can’t relate with it, they probably won’t even care to read it.

3. Are your headlines compelling?

You only have a few seconds at the most to attract the attention of your Internet audience.Click To Tweet

Even if you’ve created and posted a superb piece of content, you only have a brief moment, a few seconds at the most, to attract the attention of Internet audience. So, in order for your content to make the first impression, your headlines need to be compelling.

Don’t use catchy slogans in your headlines if they have nothing to do with your content. This is done way too often, but it doesn’t really achieve anything. Audience quickly figures out that the title doesn’t match the content and simply moves on. Your headlines need to clearly and honestly communicate what your content is about and how readers can benefit from it.

Examples of the most successful headline formats include the so called “number headlines” such as 10 Ways to Write Content Your Audience Will Love and “how-to’s” (e.g. How to Connect With Your Customers).

4. Are you promoting your content?

The “if you build it, they will come” attitude is one of the most frequent reasons why content marketing campaigns fail. After you’ve created content, you’ve actually done only half the job. Don’t assume that, just because your content is exceptional, Internet audience will find it and engage with it. It’s quite the opposite:

Your content will only go as far as your efforts to promote it.Click To Tweet

To create an effective content promotion strategy, find out where your audience spends their time online and how they like to consume content. This will help you decide which promotion channels to focus on (e.g. social media and newsletter). You can also consider pitching your content to bloggers or influencers in your niche and ask them to share it with their audience.

5. Are you tracking the success of your campaigns?

Content marketing is a long-term marketing tactic and it naturally needs to change and adapt over time. But how can you be sure the changes you make will improve your content marketing campaigns, not set them back? That’s possible only if your decisions are informed and based on data. In the words of an old saying: “What gets measured, gets managed”.

Track your results so you'll know what changes you should make.Click To Tweet

Unfortunately, there is no single metric that can give you a complete picture about the performance of your content. Instead, you will need to identify a set of key performance indicators (KPIs) you will systematically track. They can include views, shares, click through rates (CTRs), conversions and more.

Conclusion:

If you’ve been experiencing problems with your content marketing, but haven’t been able to figure out why, we hope you find this checklist useful. It can help you identify potential issues that could be obstructing your content marketing success and give you a good idea about how to solve them. Remember: when done right, content marketing can be a very powerful tool.

Image courtesy of DigitalRalph on Flickr, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Gravatar mystery man

Taylor Moore is a freelance copywriter with a passion for small business and retail marketing. For more talk on content marketing, conversion optimization, branding and customer service, follow her @taylormtweets.

Gravatar mystery man

Taylor Moore is a freelance copywriter with a passion for small business and retail marketing. For more talk on content marketing, conversion optimization, branding and customer service, follow her @taylormtweets.

17 Comments

  1. Avatar Sabrina Quairoli on January 16, 2016 at 9:29 am

    Great tips on content marketing. I think the most difficult tasks I encounter in my business and my clients’ businesses, is that we don’t do enough to promote the content to really bring in in front of the people who will benefit from it most that involves research, research, research and of course trial and error. I do this for others as a service but fall short doing it for myself. I plan on changing that this year. Thanks for sharing.

    • Avatar Taylor Moore on January 18, 2016 at 7:08 am

      Thank you for your comment, Sabrina! I’m so glad you find the tips useful!

      I feel that neglecting content promotion is really becoming a chronic content marketing problem. So much time and energy is invested into content creation but, as you mentioned, what good is that content if it’s not distributed and brought in front of people?

      There are so many fantastic, high-quality resources out there that haven’t received any shares at all and are slowly dying out. I see this all the time when I do research for my articles. And while a random passer-by like myself might find their way to the resource, I think we would all agree that doesn’t make any difference if the piece is not strategically promoted.

      From your personal experience (and a unique perspective), what do you think is the main reason for neglecting content promotion?

  2. Avatar Jamie Steele on January 16, 2016 at 11:18 am

    I am working on a content strategy. It sure is a process. Thank you for sharing these questions to ask yourself. It will help me stay on track and hopefully create a plan I can follow. I usually just wing it, but I want that to be different this year. Thanks for the great post!

  3. Avatar Jill Robson on January 16, 2016 at 11:30 am

    I really need to step up my game on this one, and I have put a content strategy together this year for the first time. I am looking forward to seeing how well it works.

    • Avatar Taylor Moore on January 18, 2016 at 3:14 pm

      That’s great, Jill! I wish you a lot of success with it!

  4. Avatar Seana Turner on January 16, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    So true about only having a few seconds to grab the reader’s attention. When you think about it, this reality is pretty amazing. We make decisions so quickly these days. I imagine I probably miss some great content by giving content such a cursory glance, but it is honest to note that this is the speed at which we travel these days.

    • Avatar Taylor Moore on January 19, 2016 at 9:49 am

      Yes, it’s really incredible, Seana! I even came across one article which said our attention span has become less than that of a goldfish! lol

  5. Avatar Erica Duran on January 16, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    Headlines are soooooo important. I often spend more time on the headline than the article itself! 🙂

    • Avatar Taylor Moore on January 19, 2016 at 9:59 am

      I’ve heard that’s what all the greatest copywriters and journalists do! 🙂

  6. Avatar Hilda Rodgers on January 16, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    These are great questions to ask myself… especially the 2nd one! I always have to remind myself who I am writing for so I’m sure what I write will be helpful.

  7. Avatar Debbie on January 16, 2016 at 7:09 pm

    Good article! It’s the basics that get us where we need to go.

    • Avatar Taylor Moore on January 19, 2016 at 9:52 am

      Thank you, Debbie!

  8. Avatar Sarah Soboleski on January 16, 2016 at 7:41 pm

    This article coincides nicely with a planning webinar I attended earlier this week. I like how promoting and tracking are listed as these are things I need to work on (among many!).

  9. Avatar Janet Barclay on January 17, 2016 at 10:27 am

    I’m glad you all enjoyed the article. When Taylor approached me with her idea, I knew it would be a hit!

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