Content marketing can be overwhelming especially when you’re in the initial phase.
From defining what content format to target, how often to publish content to building your content promotional plan, there are so many activities to perform.
That’s why it’s easy to get distracted from the fundamentals of content marketing shared below.
Introducing the 13- point content marketing checklist
In this guide, you’ll get a 13 point content marketing checklist that will help you set the foundation of your content assets.
Let’s get started →
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💡 1. Write down your content marketing mission statement
Some of the reasons how writing down your content marketing mission helps:
- It gives you and your team one clear direction to proceed.
- Your documented strategy will force you to align every piece of content with the business goal.
- Helps you craft better content as everyone in the team is aware of the audience (buyer persona)
In fact, 65% of successful content marketers prefer documenting their strategy, based on the CMI survey, 2019.
How does the content mission statement look like?
Content marketing mission statement addresses the core audience, what value will be delivered to the audience, and what benefits the audience will get.
If you have never written the mission statement, I urge you to take a moment and write it down for whatever service/product you offer.
For reference, you can use the following template →
[Your Company Name] is a place for [Your Audience] where they get [What Does Your Product/Service Offer] to [What Benefits Your Audience Get].
Here’s the content mission statement of my weekly newsletter:
ContentMarketingVIP is a weekly newsletter for content marketers where they get actionable content marketing insights, free resources, and the latest updates to get leads, drive traffic and build a loyal audience.
In fact, I have used this content mission statement on the landing page so anyone can get an overview of what to expect.
“Content marketing is developing and delivering marketing that people actually want…that is actually helpful to their jobs or lives. It’s marketing without marketing. When so many individuals and businesses are rebelling against advertising, content marketing is, perhaps, the only marketing left.“— Contributed by Joe Pulizzi (Founder of Content Marketing Institute and thetilt)
Relevant article: Mobile Content Marketing Guide 2021
💡 2. Claim your social profiles
Social media is one of the best ways to build a two-way communication channel with your audience. Hence, having an online presence on different social channels (especially the ones that your audience use).
But one common issue you may face is ‘your brand name is already taken by someone else.’
Though you can’t do much on this, you should be claiming all the social media platforms as soon as possible.
Even if you are not active, you should claim all of the social profiles (at least popular and relevant ones)
Some of the examples are Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, Reddit, Quora, About.me, etc.
Be consistent with all of your social media profile images
Try to use the same display picture for every social channel. In that way, audiences from different channels can recognize you or your brand easily.
💡 3. Start newsletter ASAP
You don’t want to spend years and tons of money to build an audience on a platform that you don’t own.
Consider KFC (there are many more) that built an audience of millions of Facebook fans over the years. As Facebook changed their algorithm, their post on Facebook hardly reached 1% of their total audience.
That’s why building your content assets on rented land has never been a good idea.
So, what to do instead?
Look at the below chart where Joe Pulizzi (Godfather of content marketing) ranked content platforms based on their value, called a Yay to Boo scale.
One of the best ways to build your audience without relying on any third-party channel is a newsletter.
“An email newsletter is the only place where people—not algorithms—are in control.”— Ann Handley (Best selling Author of Everybody Writes)
Here are few things to consider →
- Have a long-term goal and start building your brand newsletter.
- Never send emails from your brand name. The business founder could be a possible option.
- Set an engagement goal, not the number goal.
[Having 10k subscribers is useless if people rarely read the stuff you send. Consider sending more educational content and less promotional email. Once you build the trust and minimum viable audience, you can then focus on monetizing the audience in a various way]
Recommended reading: An Expert guide on starting, growing and monetizing your newsletter
💡 4. Content upgrades
One proven way of increasing the conversion rate for email sign-Up is a content upgrade.
Content Upgrade is a type of content that supports your main content.
For example, if someone reads your article on nutrition guide, then at the end of the article you may offer a nutrition checklist or a mini-course on nutrition to get people to opt-in for your email list.
The reason it works so great is because the content that you’re offering is super relevant to the main content.
If lead generation is one of your goals, then you should definitely try using content upgrade/ lead magnets specific to the web page.
“What CAN you offer that gets people to fork over their email address?
The Content Upgrade.
It’s a simple strategy that instantly increased my conversion rate from 0.54%. → 4.82%.— Brian dean (Founder of Backlinko) on how effective content upgrades are
Make your lead magnets/ content upgrades as specific to the page and context as possible.
💡 5. Set up Google analytic goal
Perhaps the most underrated content marketing tool is Google analytics.
It is free and easy to use to measure the effectiveness of your content. That means there shouldn’t be any excuse for measuring content marketing performance.
Make sure you’ve done the basic optimizations like Goal conversion, site search tracking, creating different views in GA, etc.
The below image shows the funnel visualization that shows the conversion path and also the percentage of exits of users per step.
In case, you want to learn how to set a goal conversion is Google Analytics, refer to this article.
Or, watch this video and set up your Google analytics in 52 clicks →
💡 6. Build your authority on a specific topic
In Google’s quality raters guideline, it is mentioned about considering the authoritativeness of sites.
To be known as an expert and authoritative in a specific field, guest posting is one of the ways to consider.
This will help your site to improve the E-A-T information and also build your domain authority.
Here’s what you should be doing as a beginner:
Write more for others, less for your own site. Also, try to be a guest on podcasts, get interviewed.
In the beginning, publish more articles for authoritative sites than your own blog. This way, you’ll also get to reach a large potential audience.
Not familiar with EAT in SEO?
Check out this guide and learn what is EAT and how to prepare your brand for it.
💡 7. Make your LinkedIn profile updated
LinkedIn could be your first choice to build a professional network in your niche. Whether you want to reach experts or influencers or even invite guests for your article or podcast, LinkedIn is a great platform to get started with.
This is why you should give some extra attention to your LinkedIn profile. An informative and credible profile makes your chance higher of getting influencers to work with.
If done right, influencer outreach can help you a lot in the initial phase. And, updating LinkedIn will help you to stand out and leave a positive impression on experts/influencers.
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💡 8. Build topical relevance
Pick a few broad topics that you want your brand to be known for. Then try to cover every question regarding that topic.
For example, a store selling protein supplements may focus on sub-topics like:
- Protein supplement buying guide
- Types of protein
- Best protein supplement brands
- What are the side effects of taking supplements?
Start your process process by finding one or multiple broad topics that you want your brand to hold authority for.
Next, create in-depth articles covering questions regarding the topic.
This is one of the ways of telling Google that your site holds authority in this specific niche.
Here’s a complete guide on creating topical relevance and topic clusters to build brand authority.
💡 9. Investing in custom visuals totally worth it
Invest time in adding real charts, diagrams, graphs, infographics, customized images within your articles.
This helps to:
- Make your content stand out in the crowd
- Earn organic links
- Get social shares as well
- Reduce your bounce rates
- Enhance user-experience by making the content more scannable
Use tools like Canva, crello to create customized charts, graphics for your articles, thumbnails, etc.
💡 10. Outreach influencers for contributor quotes
Collaborative content marketing is perhaps the most underrated and misunderstood way of getting attention, building credibility for your brand.
The easiest way to get your content shared and linked by industry experts is by asking for contributor quotes.
Here’s how to get influencers →
Step 1. List Of Contributors
Create a list of influencers (relevant ones)Easy way to find influencers who are more likely to contribute to your article?
Look for author profiles of popular sites on your niche. You’ll get a list of people who are regularly contributing on different sites & access to their social media profiles.
Step 2. Outreach
Reach out to them with an easy-to-understand message. Here’s what I mostly used for my outreach →
Step 3. Follow Up
Even if they don’t reply to your first message. Follow up at least once.
Step 4. Share Your Article
Instead of sharing your post URL, try to add a featured banner showcasing their profile/image.
Step 5. Build A Relationship With Influencers
Building relationships with influencers is much more valuable than getting 1 link or social share from them.
Keep in touch with them.The same process I used to get in touch with industry experts like Larry Kim, Rand Fishkin, Sanjay Shenoy, Melanie Deziel, some others.That’s all.Hope you’ll give this try and.See you next time.
The below image shows the correlation b/w the popularity or visibility of experts and the effort required to get them into your content.
💡 11. Promote, promote, and promote
Most content marketers follow this process:
Find content topic → Create good content → Share on social media + email list → Again find content topics
The problem with this approach is you’re not letting each content get most of the surface area.
Consider promoting your articles, videos again and again. It’s not going to hurt your brand at all. Instead, you’ll see benefits like:
- More traffic to your site
- Earned links
- Social shares
- More signups
💡 12. Start with small, start serving a small community first
One of the effective ways to find content ideas, in the beginning, is not to use any tools, but to talk to real people within your niche.
Facebook, LinkedIn groups, Reddit are great ways to connect with your audience.
Focus on building a small community for your niche (even 10 people) and create content specifically for them- this helps you create better content and earn the trust.
Once you’re done with satisfying their needs move on to the next 100 and then next 1000, and so on.
💡 13. Have patience
“If you need immediate results with your marketing, do not do content marketing. Go interrupt people. Go buy advertising”– Joe Pulizzi.
Don’t start if you don’t have at least 12-18 months to invest without getting any positive ROI. Accept the fact that you’re not going to see a huge difference within the first years.
It takes time and if your brand believes in building an asset that you can monetize in endless ways in the future, then content marketing is the right solution for you.
These 13 tips will not only help you invest in long-term assets but also make your team unite to create content that your audience cares about. Even for an intermediate content marketer, this checklist may help you to identify the leakage from your content marketing strategy.
Let me know if you have any questions regarding the topic. I would love to help you.
Reminder: One of my recent projects is Content Marketing VIP, a weekly newsletter for content marketers with the aim of delivering actionable insights, free resources, important updates.
If this is relevant to you, consider joining the content marketing newsletter
Rafiqul is a content marketing practitioner with 3+ years of practical experience. He spends most of his time helping businesses to build a loyal audience with content marketing. You’ll find him sharing SEO, Blogging, and content marketing tips on his blog. His research and review of SparkToro were praised by Rand Fishkin. In the free time, he loves reading books and playing football.