Winning Content Marketing Strategy Checklist with Brand Examples [Updated 2022]
To improve your chances of finding the right leads for your business, you need a proven content marketing strategy checklist that can help you ensure you tap into all available opportunities to market your brand to the right people. The challenge, however, is developing a framework for effective content marketing strategy when your company is just getting started or you don’t have much experience in the field. Here, we are going to give you some tips on how to make a winning content marketing plan by asking a few common questions to help you get started.
How Content Marketing Strategy Checklist Can Help?
Digital content marketing is the concept of increasing the visibility and awareness of your brand online through marketing strategies such as blogging regularly, social media marketing/posting, video production, and search engine optimization (SEO).
It is important to take the time to develop an actual Content Marketing Plan that lays out the techniques you will use to market your business through content (both written and visual), and how often you will use them. Content marketing may also involve email campaigns, blogger outreach, and affiliate links on other websites as part of a content marketing campaign.
Among the secrets to a successful content marketing campaign involves not only creating content consistently but also having pillar content that serves as the cornerstone or foundation for future digital content creationas it continues to generate traffic or leads long after it was first published, such as a free ebook, guide, or template.
How to make a winning digital content marketing strategy: 8 steps in checklist to success
There are a few steps you have to follow if you would like to put together a sound content marketing plan for your company. You should begin by answering these questions:
1. What is the purpose of the digital content marketing strategy you use?
Would you like to increase the awareness of your brand, for instance? Do you wish to increase the number of visitors to your blog? Are you looking for more leads? The objective might even be more specific, such as increasing sales of a particular product or service, or increasing followers on a particular social media channel.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that whatever your goal is, it should be as concrete as possible – the SMART principles (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, Time-bound) will help, but the Content Marketing Institute/MIT Sloan recommends using FAST (Frequently Discussed, Ambitious, Specific, Transparent).
2. Which strategy would be most effective in achieving your goal?
The content channels you want to optimize are the ones you have in mind. The first thing you need to consider is what kind of message you want to convey and who your target audience is.
The thing is, if you really want to start ranking for low-competition keywords, you need to develop a blog strategy that centers around those keywords (long tail and query-based – that is, asking the right questions that relate to the topics – tend to work better).
In order to increase social engagement, a mix of different types of content, such as polls, competitions, and discussions are going to be vital to your plan.
As part of your chosen strategy, you will need to consider your target audience, because there is no point in creating blog posts for your target demographic if they traditionally engage on social media.
3. Who is the target audience for your project?
Essentially, there is not much point in pursuing a content marketing strategy if you are pitching it to the wrong crowds. There is no doubt that it is important to identify who are the people you want to see and read your content. Here are a few questions to help determine who your target audience is:
What is the best person to discuss my business with?
What topics would interest them?
How can they help me solve my problem or answer my question?
You usually take the step of knowing your target audience at the branding stage for your business. However, it’s possible that you may have a wide audience base and are looking to target a specific segment to market a specific product.
4. Do I need to publish new content regularly?
The answer will depend on what type of content you are looking to produce more of. As an example, it’s usually wise to post on your blog weekly at a minimum, or twice a week at the very least. This is because more frequent posts encourage Google’s spiders to crawl your site more regularly, in turn, making your site more likely to be indexed faster. The article by Neil Patel provides a good overview of how Google indexes and crawls sites.
You should publish social media content at least six times a day throughout the day if you are actively involved in social media. As opposed to web content which is more static, social feeds are constantly being updated, so you want to make sure that you maximize your chances of being visible on social media. Likewise, your posting times should be tailored around the times of the day or week when your audience is most active.
5. Should you perform a content audit?
Even if you’ve already been publishing content for a while, performing an audit of your existing content can give you a good insight into where your strategy stands, how it can be improved (an update to a post might be all that’s needed) and where the gaps are. As a result of this, it can also provide you with some insight into what works and does not work with your audience so that you can launch your campaign immediately.
6. What should I write about?
Your content marketing strategy will be based on what the true message of the campaign is. Are you considering promoting your CSR (corporate social responsibility) policy as part of your brand awareness program? What is your purpose in raising interest in a new product or collection? Maybe you are simply looking for ways to distinguish yourself from your competitors by showcasing what makes you unique? By understanding what your message is, you can come up with content ideas for your content across your preferred channels.
In order to keep things interesting, try to switch up what you post and share, especially on social media. Videos, infographics, behind the scenes photo shoots, memes, polls, live streamed events, they all operate to keep the audience engaged.
As an added bonus, if you are trying to increase your leads, you may also want to provide free tools, downloadable files, podcasts, or tutorials. You’ll be rewarded for your content marketing efforts if you offer something of value to your customers, so think about your company’s specializations and ask yourself what you can offer for free. If you are not sure where to start, you can analyze your competitors’ websites to find out what they are doing.
7. What is the best way to publish and manage my content?
It is imperative that you research the best content management system (CMS) for your purposes before you start publishing. There are several companies out there that use WordPress but there are others that make blogging easy for small businesses.
Make sure that your social media accounts are active and ready to go. When you are first starting out it may be a bit cumbersome to try and post on multiple channels so while you’re doing that concentrate on one or two of them.
Also, you’ll need to decide on a blogging schedule. So, take the time to think about how often you want to post new content, who will write it, and how long it should be. There is a good possibility that you will have to provide your marketing team/freelancers with a style guide and policy document to follow. There are a number of scheduling platforms available that will allow you to stack up blog posts or social media posts so that you can have a constant stream of content without burning out.
8. How will I measure my success?
How will you define success to yourself? How will you measure your success? It is crucial to answer these questions. If you want to measure how you are doing in comparison to the goals you set up at the beginning, you will need to do so accurately. Reassess them if they are not performing as expected. In terms of measuring your content marketing plan, you can look at metrics such as page views, bounce rates, social shares, and likes.
You should also set yourself a specific goal and be realistic in your approach so that if, for example, you increase your followers by ten at the end of the first week, but you had intended for them to increase by fifty, you will know if your strategy is working the way you hoped.
Success stories of content marketing
Here are three great examples of content marketing strategies that have proven very successful over the past several years:
1. A successful article-based content marketing strategy
It has been a big success for Adobe in the past and it is continuing in the same vein. They have collaborated with various influential bloggers to create quality content on creativity that is inspiring for both general readers as well as thought leadership pieces on the technology industry more broadly. From the company’s blog, it is evident how committed they are to their CSR policy in the way that they create timely articles about trending environmental topics. To encourage leads, each post ends with a call-to-action asking visitors to try their software for free.
2. An effective social media marketing strategy:
Boohoo is a clothing retailer with a reputation for being completely on-brand and offering everything its customers want through their social media channels. They post constantly, in the form of posts that mix sales-based product content with contests and general celeb-focused posts and memes, making their posts unmissable in their respective followers’ feeds and creating a sense of urgency. What makes them even more effective is that they know exactly who they are talking to (the 16-24-year-old market), are working with influencers and using a conversational tone of voice to position themselves as an expert with that particular audience.
3. A successful brand awareness campaign
It sometimes takes some creativity to get your commonplace product seen and talked about in an oversaturated market, especially if you are in it for the long haul. This was the case for Blendtec, which raised their brand awareness by embracing content marketing. For their “Will It Blend” campaign, they use YouTube to post videos of their blender blending a variety of objects, including iPhone 6 Plus phones, key fobs, and even golf balls! The lighthearted and attention-grabbing nature of this campaign will make it a great talking point and an opportunity to go viral. However, the shock factor also contributes to Blendtec gaining exposure as a contemporary and daring competitor that is happy to demonstrate the quality of its product as well as its durability.
Steps to take
If you want your content marketing efforts to be properly supported by a plan, it is imperative that you devote the time and attention they deserve. To help you take your planning to the next level, download a few good content marketing strategy checklist templates you can use if you are interested in learning more.
As you know, your content is supposed to work hard for you, so although it sounds like there are a lot of steps to get started, once you find a content strategy that works and hire writers who are passionate about promoting your business, this shows and encourages more engagement, traffic, and leads.