11-Point Content Marketing Checklist Proven to Boost Your Engagement
According to a CMI’s 2018 B2C content marketing survey, 86% of B2C marketers think content marketing is a crucial strategy, and 91% of B2B marketers use content marketing to reach customers. Still, the content marketing failure rate is relatively high in both B2C and B2B segments.
The core objectives of content marketing are to build trust, crush objections, and make the buyer’s journey flow as frictionless as possible. Conversions will flood in if you can meet these objectives. You can use the following checklist to make those goals time-bound and measurable.
One of the chief reasons businesses fail in content marketing is that they aren’t consistent with their content production and dissemination. They try something a few times and then quit. To ensure consistency and help businesses boost their content marketing engagement, we have compiled an 11-point content marketing checklist. Make sure you have it pinned near your desk.
Here is the checklist you can use to ensure success in your content marketing campaign:
1. Do You Know Your Target Audience?
You cannot succeed at content marketing unless you know your audience and their needs. To create valuable content for your audience, you must first understand their preferences, interests, habits, and needs. These insights will also let you know the kind of content they would like to consume.
According to HubSpot, 44% of the content marketing failure rate is linked to not creating content aligned to buyers’ needs. But before that, you must conduct a survey or do some market research to know your target audience.
Tools You Can Use To Know Your Audience
You can use Google Analytics or other tools such as Moz Pro or Kissmetrics to know your audience.
It will help you retrieve the following information about your customers’ demographics.
Demographic details of your audience you may get through tools like Google Analytics:
- Job title
- Monthly spending pattern
- The kind of information they like to see
- Their pain points
- Their emotional triggers
Interest reports generated through Google Analytics
The Interests report will help you get an idea of the online habits of your audience. This report can further be divided into three reports:
A. Affinity Category: This report highlights the general interests of your website visitors in terms of their hobbies and activities they enjoy. This is the top of the funnel, so you can use it for publishing informative content to increase brand awareness.
B. In-Market Segment: This is the next stage in the sales funnel, which corresponds to the purchase intent and the “consideration phase.”
C. Other Categories: It groups users according to their browsing habits and what else they are surfing, so you can understand their inclinations.
To get these reports. Go to the Audience section in Google analytics and click on Interests.
These insights will help you understand:
- The type of content your audience likes and shares
- Communication channels they use
- Their buying habits and buying cycles
This information will act as the foundation of your content marketing strategy.
Here are a few other ways to take the pulse of your audience:
A. Take a Survey
Take a survey using tools like SurveyMonkey and get the following details:
- Audience demographics
- Their desires, passions, lifetime objectives and goals, sources of motivations, and how much they are willing to pay to solve their problem
- Use both open-ended and closed-ended questions to know how your prospective customers think
- Ask questions that allow them to open up
- Know their biggest fears
- Questions about what would they do in case of an emergency
B. Perform Competitor Analysis
Use competitor analysis tools such as SEMrush, or SpyFu to find the keywords your competitors are using. It would help if you also find the channels they are using to reach out to their audiences and distribute their content. Try to find out which social channels they are using and what kind of engagement and response they receive when they share their content, such as blog posts.
C. Visit Niche-Related Forums and Facebook Groups
The best way to know the views of your customers is to visit niche-based forums and social media channels such as Reddit, Facebook groups, and Quora.
You can also try LinkedIn forums. Use the search term “forums + (name the niche)” and enter it into the LinkedIn search field.
You’ll find numerous forums and discussion boards associated with this niche. However, you should make sure that the particular forum is active with engaging content and people are actively responding to the comments. On LinkedIn, you may find that there are forums where there is no activity for a long time. It would be best if you did not waste your time on those forums.
How to Know Your Audience Using Alexa?
To understand the needs and expectations of your target audience, you need to know their buyer persona. You can easily do it through Alexa using the following steps:
A. Go to Alexa.com>>Type in your site URL>>Click the “Go” button.
B. Scroll down the results page to check the audience demographics and other engagement metrics such as bounce rate, daily pageviews, and visitor insights.
C. Here you can find the ratio of male and female visitors, information about their education, and the average daily time spent on the site.
It will help you to build buyer personas. You can create a content strategy for these personas.
2. Do You Have a Predefined Content Strategy?
Make sure you have a robust content strategy aligned with your customers’ expectations.
These are the crucial insights that you get from the surveys about the needs of your audiences. These insights will help you in creating your content strategy.
- Audience Statistics
- Age range
- Engagement via (Social channels)
The action steps you need to build a strategy:
A. Sign up for the Leading Blogs in Your Niche and Follow Them on Social Media
To save time, find out the keywords your competition is ranking for. It is essential to know the relevant long-tail keywords that drive meaningful traffic and are also responsible for conversion and top. The best way to do it is to sign up for the leading blogs in your niche and regularly monitor the keywords they are using. These can be both short-tail and long-tail keywords. You can also follow them on social media to see the terms, phrases, tone, and keywords they are using.
B. Spy on Your Competitors for Blog Post Ideas
Explore more blog post ideas related to your niche using BuzzSumo and social monitoring and listing tools. Plan your content to attract, engage and build lifetime relationships with customers.
Here are some of the most popular content pieces that BuzzSumo returned for the search query “home renovation ideas.”
C. Constantly look for ways to attract traffic
Conduct research to know what businesses are doing to attract traffic and boost their brand authority. How are successful organizations engaging their customers using content marketing techniques?
How Orbit Media Uses Content Marketing to Attract 60k Visits per Month on Its Website?
Orbit Media is a web design and development agency with a killer content strategy. They attract nearly 60,000 visits per month, that too entirely from content marketing.
Here are the salient features of the content strategy:
A. They use original research and write comprehensive and well-written guides.
B. They send surveys to thousands to bloggers to conduct original research and get firsthand insights
C. They curate this data into statistics and generate reports
D. They transform this data into branded images, charts, and stories
E. The original research earns thousands of backlinks
Key Takeaway: Original research as a content strategy surprisingly boosts a brand’s authority.
3. Is Your Content Data-Driven or Plain Storytelling?
Data-driven content helps in establishing your brand as an authority. It shows that the content you have created is not just a fancy piece of prose, but well-presented information that is backed by data received from authentic sources. So, it is something you can rely on, and it will help you grow your audience.
Another thing you can use is attention-grabbing and powerful headlines that compel people to read further.
A. Make Sure Your Content Is Engaging
Data-driven content with attention-grabbing headlines will not work if your content is not engaging. It will only increase the bounce rate on the page, which can be disastrous for your website’s SEO and search engine rankings.
B. Make Sure Your Content Connects With Audiences
Make sure that your content connects with your audience. It’s essential to make a lasting impact to boost conversion. Be careful not to be overly emotional.
It’s not necessary to write your own story either. You can use your client’s story but write it in such a compelling manner that it connects with people and encourages them to take the desired action, which is the whole purpose of content marketing.
Google Using Data-Driven Content Marketing
Google is a market leader when it comes to producing branded data-driven content. As the dominating global search engine, Google has a vast amount of increasing data every day. Google uses this data-driven content for different buyer personas in various formats.
Here is how Google uses real-time data-driven creatives to serve ads that seamlessly link external data to Google solutions.
How do Real-time data-driven creatives work?
A. Google collects indexed data on fast-changing external factors (such as meteorological data)
B. This data is collected on the Google Cloud Platform
C. It is then linked with Google’s ad serving systems through Google Marketing Platform
D. The ad platform serves variable ad creatives
E. The ads are considered the most suitable according to the data on the consumer’s environment
Image Source: Think with Google
Spotify, the music streaming and broadcasting app, is a master at customization and data-driven content marketing. They use data to send customized content and emails to their customers.
They use their customers’ account details and their data on breakout artists to determine whether these users were early listeners of a now-popular band or artist.
They use data from millions of streams to target users who are in the top 1 to 15% bracket in terms of usage. These data-driven content marketing techniques pay off in huge ways for Spotify.
Here is how Spotify uses bug data to create custom content for its users.
4. Do You Have a Time Management Strategy?
Most agencies waste a lot of time while creating and distributing content is repetitive processes. If you have a time management strategy in place, you will first make a plan for ideation, production, and distribution of content and then allocate tasks to your best-fit staffers. It will save a lot of time in back and forth and unnecessary delays because of chaos and confusion negatively influencing the workflow.
To effectively manage your time and workflow, follow these tips:
A. Allocate Tasks
Streamline your processes and allocate tasks to your team members for a smooth workflow. If you don’t do this, a lot of time is wasted because of confusion, vague description of tasks, and resulting chaos.
B. Assign Time for Each Task
If you assign time to each task, it prevents unnecessary delays as work expands to fill the time available for its completion.
C. Have Pre-Written Scripts
If you have pre-written scripts for routine communications, it will save a lot of your time. So, before you launch your content marketing campaign, make sure that you have all the weapons in your arsenal to execute repetitive tasks and achieve a flexible workflow. You should have clearly defined tasks so that you can allocate them to your team members. It will help you measure their performance and monitor the entire workflow.
5. Do You Create Content For Different Stages in a Buyer’s Journey?
Your content strategy needs to be tied to a broader goal. However, if you are unable to figure out that goal, it’s challenging to identify your target audiences and measure the success of your content marketing campaign.
Components of a Sales Funnel
To understand those goals, you must be familiar with the buyer’s journey or the sales funnel. It has been defined in the following steps:
At each stage of the buyer’s journey, you should serve your target audience the right content that specifically talks about their needs. These needs severely differ and evolve at each stage.
So, if you have a defined content marketing strategy, you’ll achieve the results, but if you are publishing one-off articles without a plan and a target audience, you’re unlikely to get any closer to your goals.
Let’s have a look at how you can figure out the needs of your target audience to formulate a content strategy.
A. Audience Statistics: Conduct a survey and try to know as many things as you can about your target audiences
B. Age Range: The age range/group of your target audience
C. Niche: The industry they belong to (especially in the case of B2B clients)
D. Competitors: Who are their competitors
E. Engagement Via: List the social channels you can use to engage them
F. Needs: What are they looking for? What are their pain points? Use social listening to know more about your prospective customers.
6. Have You Addressed Customers’ Queries in Your Content?
The chief objective of content marketing is to address customer queries and concerns. To include customers’ questions, especially the FAQs, is also one of the most effective SEO practices.
To avoid the perils of being friend-zoned by your website visitors, you should be ready with the rebuttals to their objections and arguments. To handle this situation, you should compile FAQs and other possible customer queries you think your customers “should ask” and answer them on your website.
It will reduce your time converting the visitors and help you push the customers further down the sales funnel. So, when your sales team interacts with them, it will have to answer fewer questions.
7. Have You Added Visual Elements and Appealing Graphics?
Images dominate 63% of social media, and the trend will continue to rise in the future. According to the Visual Teaching Alliance, 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, which has the power to see images that last for just 13 milliseconds. So, visual content is far more potent than text-based content for grabbing your attention and retention. You can use various websites to find free and paid stock photos. You can edit these pics to use in your blog or social media posts.
8. Are You Creating Shareable Content?
You can write excellent content, but you can’t make sure that it will go viral. But there are a few tried and tested methods that will help you create shareable content.
- Use appealing visuals to grab the attention of your audience
- Use storytelling and personalized content to engage your readers
- Write well-researched, long-form content with data to support your facts
- Evoke emotions with your content
- Research your audience and write what your audience wants
- Collaborate with your influencers to make your content go viral
- Use unique research results and use stunning insights information
How to Write Better Headlines?
Moz conducted a study to write better headlines, and they shared the following tips:
- Use numbers and be specific in your headlines. 36% of customers prefer headlines with specific numbers. For example, “Boost conversion by 50% instantly: Hacks you can implement right now.”
- Address the reader in your headline. “Ways you can multiply traffic by 250%.”
- Write “how-to” articles. For example, “How to write 5,000 words per hour.”
Questions and regular headlines were the least preferred by the users.
To know the trending topics in your niche, you can use tools like Buzzsumo and Ahrefs. You can also pick insights for your next blog topic from the latest book titles on Amazon.com. You can also read customer reviews for these new titles and gather a lot of information from user-generated content about what your audience is looking for.
9. Do Your Openings Grab Attention?
After an attention-grabbing headline, the second most important thing is your article’s opening. Even if you use an attention-grabbing headline, your reader will not likely read your post if the opening is dull and boring. You can use the following tricks to make your introduction enjoyable.
- Start with a story. You can mention a quote in the beginning that reflects the theme or the message of the story.
- Use a teaser and use it to indicate what to expect from the post.
- Use confessions and “before and after” facts in your openings.
- Don’t use a misleading opening.
- Use Data-Driven Content
Modern-day journalists take data from a scenario and use visualization and storytelling to convert it into engaging and meaningful content. Such content becomes popular as it has the trust factor associated with it, so people take it seriously.
You can gather data for your posts, filter your data and use it to articulate your point credibly. Make sure that you tell an exciting story that hooks the readers. To get lots of such data, you can sign up for Google Alerts, and you can also use influencers to mine such data.
10. Have You Optimized Your Post for SEO?
On-page and off-page SEO are essential for a blog because even if you don’t rank high on those keywords, they will help you get found by users and drive relevant traffic. If you use a good keyword tool and make it a strategy to use long-tail keywords in your blog posts consistently, soon enough, you will start ranking on search engines. Tag your post with appropriate meta descriptions that will help you get discovered by Google bots. It would help if you also tried to create backlinks through guest posts and other tactics.
However, while doing on-page SEO, try and avoid keyword stuffing as it might attract the search engine penalty. Experiment with conversational writing, and you’ll be surprised to know that you can create content within a few minutes. Here are a few standard tips to optimize your post for SEO.
If you find it difficult to optimize a vast amount of content with the best keywords that boost conversion, try white label SEO services. These services are cheaper, reliable, audience particular, and executed by trained professionals.
11. Have You Created an Editorial Calendar?
Content marketing is the process of creating content for every stage in the buyer’s journey for different buyer personas. Therefore, to avoid deviating from the content grid, we must have a content calendar. Most bloggers and publishers use a content calendar to not fall behind the schedule and consistently publish on different topics that might be interesting and informative for their audiences. You can create a monthly, quarterly, or even early content calendar and religiously follow it to create content that will help you to increase conversion and engagement on your blog.
A content calendar might include the following information on a spreadsheet:
- Blog title
- Keywords to be included
- Publishing platform
- Targeted date for publishing (Start date, writing completion, quality evaluation, graphics creation, approval, and publishing.)
- Targeted Buyer persona
- Targeted stage in the buyer’s journey
- People the post is assigned to (SEO, writing, Quality Analysis, and proofreading, graphics, and publishing)
It takes a long time to attract an audience who’ll trust you and be loyal to your brand. The key to success in startup marketing is to have a robust content strategy and stick with it. You’ll need to learn and adapt your strategy continually. Content marketing offers tremendous benefits as great content attracts people’s attention, compelling them to take the desired action. The above checklist will make sure that you engage your audience and generate leads. So, make sure you answer customers’ questions, talk about their problems, offer solutions to win their hearts through content marketing.