10 Point Checklist for Content Marketing

pruneau
Paul Pruneau President, Teamworks Communications, Inc.

Posted on November 12th 2012

10 Point Checklist for Content Marketing

Content marketing is the new buzz that marketers and businesses are flocking to address the dramatic changes that have taken place in how to promote a product or service on the Internet. The idea is simple: Consistently create, publish and broadcast content that your prospects will find engaging and valuable (That’s easy, right?)

With so much noise about this transformation underway and how to address it, I share these insights from the 2011 Content Marketing Conference which I recently attended in Berkeley.

1. Avoid you, you, you!

When it comes to your content, forget the chest pounding and hard sell. If you think people are interested in you or your needs, it’s time to revisit your thinking. Today, more than ever, it’s about WIIFM (What’s in it for me!). So you better frame your content around the benefits and the value that you’re going to deliver to your prospect or customer.

2. Be clear on where you’re going

As Joe Pulizzi of Junta42reminds us, successful Content Marketing falls into 2 basic categories. A. Content that is relevant, informative and educational B. Content that shows prospects a good time through entertainment So, if you want to be noticed, shared, remembered or acted upon, decide how to approach content creation with these two categories in mind. It will help keep you on track and hopefully deliver better results.

3. Focus on what hurts

If you’re going to create content that others will share or engage with, it better be relevant to your prospects. And relevance is determined if content addresses an issue or pain point that your prospect is dealing with and would like to mitigate or overcome. If you’re unsure or unclear on what your target customer’s pain points are, get some input and gain some insights by creating a survey, create listening posts on your stream, setting up Google Alerts or actually doing field research with interviews and a structured questionnaire.

4. No conversions without a CTA

This is so obvious, yet it’s amazing how frequently it’s overlooked by so many. It gets to the heart of direct marketing and the essential techniques for furthering the selling cycle of a product or service. For every post or content asset that you create, be sure to integrate a CALL TO ACTIONto guide the prospect or customer to what you would like them to do next.

5. Forget the message and logo police

It’s time to change the Marketing Department from the message and logo police to continuous producers of content. And as anyone in these positions knows, that is so much easier said than done. Letting go of the old and moving to new technologies and media that meet the needs of customers may involve new cultural, skill-set, and thinking techniques that are not necessarily aligned with the current competencies in many organizations. But like all change, some will find it painful and others liberating as marketing continues to transform like never before.

6. Have a unique POV

Come from and be clear on what you stand for and what makes your brand different. The best way do that is to do the rigorous work of defining a value proposition that is meaningful, relevant and supportable by what you offer. Ensure that this proposition considers a personality that is unique to you and reflects what inspires others to turn to you for a solution.

7. Get it scheduled and get organized

Continuously creating and broadcasting content is a formidable task. So start by breaking it down into manageable activities and parts. For example, create a CALENDAR that organizes all of your content creation activities into subject matter, media, and resources responsible for execution. And always consider how to leverage your investment in a piece of content to get additional reach and pass along by taking one piece of content and turning it into many. For example, your blog interview could turn into an ebook, a SlideShare presentation or a series of short topic posts and even a podcast.

8. Reach for engagement

With all of content that is being produced at a mind boggling pace, there is one component that has a higher value above all others. It’s QUALITY—and it consists of the subtleties of story telling, language, design, nuance, timing, editing, coloration and visual impact that can turn the ordinary into extraordinary. When in doubt, invest in the effort to make it great because you increase the opportunity to extend the reach of your content through others who will share it with their communities.

9. Collaborate, communicate and evaluate

Collaborate with your sales force and align your efforts with theirs to ensure that the content that you are investing in furthers a defined and predictable selling cycle that has the goal of turning prospects into customers. Do a competitor test and evaluate what your competition is doing that is effective, memorable and worth considering for your brand.

10. Persistence has its rewards

Do it! Do it! Do it! as Peter Caputa from HubSpot likes to say. Getting it done is more important than thinking about it. Study after study is now recognizing that consistency and frequency of creation, distribution and optimization of content is the single best practice that drives traffic, promotes conversion and fosters engagement with your audience.

So what techniques and methods have you found that are delivering the best results? Please share them with us so that we can include them in our checklist.

pruneau

Paul Pruneau

President, Teamworks Communications, Inc.

As founder and president of TeamworksCom, (Teamworks Communications, Inc.), Paul Pruneau develops brand strategy and creates content to express customer value with integrated online and content marketing solutions to help businesses succeed. To learn more about Paul and TeamworksCom, just visit his blog, follow him on Twitter, or connect on Google+ or LinkedIn.

See Full Profile >

Comments

Joel Pinto
Posted on November 13th 2012 at 7:13AM

Thanks for the post. Truly appreciated. What I see so far is that many business continue to believe content marketing is just another name for publicity or press releases when it´s not.

Sharing :-D

francobucci
Posted on November 13th 2012 at 3:08PM

Great article and I agree with all the content. As I read through your post it began to occur to me that the issues raised are extremely important for SMEs. Small businesses really need to take a look at themselves to realise what it is they actually offer their clients? They need to review their business model in order to engage with their audiences. Selling a product is no longer an easy thing to do in the modern world of the internet. Creating a USP is no longer an easy thing to do online where there are so many offering so similar a product or service. Price advantage helps but is not a guarantee of success as lower margins may not equal higher profits or profits at all.

So yes,  there are many things to consider when using content management but the small business must be sure their business model is robust and actually has something to offer or else the huge investment in terms of man hours will be a total waste.

francobucci
Posted on November 13th 2012 at 3:08PM

Great article and I agree with all the content. As I read through your post it began to occur to me that the issues raised are extremely important for SMEs. Small businesses really need to take a look at themselves to realise what it is they actually offer their clients? They need to review their business model in order to engage with their audiences. Selling a product is no longer an easy thing to do in the modern world of the internet. Creating a USP is no longer an easy thing to do online where there are so many offering so similar a product or service. Price advantage helps but is not a guarantee of success as lower margins may not equal higher profits or profits at all.

So yes,  there are many things to consider when using content management but the small business must be sure their business model is robust and actually has something to offer or else the huge investment in terms of man hours will be a total waste.

pruneau
Posted on November 19th 2012 at 5:53PM

Franco,

Thanks for your comment.

As you so clearly point out, developing a USP that is actually sustainable and supportable for the long term is quite a challenge today.

But a component of that USP may have to include how brands connect and interact with their customers and prospects. And I think that is where content marketing can play a vital role.

LoriJ_VA
Posted on November 13th 2012 at 6:48PM

I would say that the talking about you, you, you is important when you are sharing about something that resonates with your audience.  So if you are saying buy my thing, attend my webinar because I'm special, that's boring.  However, if you're saying I understand, I'm just like you that is very different.  Personally, I like the feeling that I am getting to know the person at a company I follow on a deeper level.  For example there is this one guy who always talks about sitting down and getting a cup of tea with him and he talks about what he's drinking today.  That makes me feel like I'm not just reading stuff but about to be drawn into a conversation.  Another blogger that I really like and will do just about anything he suggests is always talking about his wife and daughters but not in a my family is more special but just in a "as a guy with 5 daughters' way. 

I think being a real person is what the 'you talk' should be all about.

Talking about being consistent is where I struggle quite a bit in my own business because I've become very busy with writing content for others.  But like you said marketing is changing and writing content is blowing the marketer's classic job description out of the water.

 

pruneau
Posted on November 19th 2012 at 5:52PM

Lori,

Loved your comment "...marketing is changing and writing content is blowing the marketer's classic job description out of the water."

Couldn't have said it better. And I agree with you 100%!

Best to you.

Ramya
Posted on November 14th 2012 at 5:57AM

Hi Paul...Nice article. Thanks For sharing it. It would be really helpful the business that are completely rely on online marketing.

Kent Ong
Posted on November 14th 2012 at 2:37PM

I think you should say "Avoid me, me, me!" rather than Avoid you, you, you!

pruneau
Posted on November 19th 2012 at 5:51PM

Kent,

Thanks for your comment Kent.

You might be right. But I chose not to use the 1st person.

I thought it might be a more arresting sub head.

Cheers :-)