Essential Content Marketing Checklist for Small Business Owners
Step 1: Define Your Goal
Your content marketing goal could be to engage existing customers and convert leads to new customers through the content you have produced. You could be producing content to build brand awareness, and you could be doing it to build trust.
You could also be doing it to strengthen customer relationships. But, you must first ask yourself why you want to develop a content marketing checklist for your small business. What do you want your business to accomplish? How will producing content help you grow your business? Know your goals before you begin planning.
Step 2: Know Your Audiences’ Needs
Now that you know what your content marketing checklist goals are, you will need to identify your audience’s needs in order to successfully reach them. A tried and tested method for identifying your audience’s needs is developing buyer personas.
This is a quick representation of your ideal customer. If you can find out the demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals of the type of customer who is most likely to find your product or service offering a viable solution to a problem they have, then you can produce relevant and valuable content for them. When you speak the language of your target audience, you build credibility and authority.
An easy way to identify these needs is to create surveys. Start the survey by collecting basic demographic data, such as the age, address, educational background, occupation, and income level of the respondent. Next, you will want to find out what their hopes and dreams are. You should then proceed to gather information about their pain points. End by asking them what products and services they would like to see you offer. You should have both open-ended and close-ended questions.
Step 3: Choose a Content Management System
You must have a system in place through which you can manage your content. This can be as simple as an Excel sheet or as complex as the best software solutions currently on the market, depending on your needs. If you are a small business, including the three vital parts of content management listed below should be enough until you expand your operations.
They are content creation, content publication, content analytics. There are many content management systems on the web that lets you plan, produce, publish, and measure your results all in one place. You must use your content management system to create and maintain a flexible workflow by planning your content schedule at least a few weeks in advance.
Next, each team member must be assigned specific work responsibilities and given deadlines to follow. Make their lives easier by having a content management system that comes equipped with many templates that can easily be customized to create content quickly. Lastly, you must analyze your results. Key content marketing metrics to look out for include lead quality, sales, website traffic, engagement on-site and on social media, and SEO ranking.
Step 4: Utilize Proper SEO in Your Content
Here are some basic rules you have to follow if you want to be taken seriously in the content marketing world. The number one rule to remember is that keywords are key! You really want to create engaging content, you have to find the right keywords.
You have to identify the terms your target audience is searching for and then make sure that those keywords are present in the pieces you have created. While you should definitely make sure to include keywords in the content you are creating, you must not focus on them so much that you are sacrificing the quality of the information that is being presented to potential consumers.
It is important for search engines to find you, but it is even more important that website visitors leave one of your web pages feeling satisfied with the content they have just absorbed. Your content must be naturally compelling. The aim should not be to manipulate visitors by using a lot of keywords. Rule number two is to include title tags. The title tag is what you can see at the very top of your browser.
Remember that there are many other techniques you can use to make SEO friendly content for your website. Instead of creating content that is just 50% generic keywords, a more subtle and impactful way to use keywords is to simply incorporate it in your title tag. Rule number three is to include meta-descriptions. These are short, competing descriptions of each content piece. It acts as your website’s ad copy. This greatly increases traffic. The optimal length of a meta-description is 50 to 160 characters. The optimal format is a compelling description that intelligently uses keywords.
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Step 5: Make Your Content Readable
Rule number four is to tag properly. Use the proper heading levels. The main topic should be your first level heading, and your subtopics should be heading level two. Rule number five is to use the right font, which is easy to read but reflects the personality and tone of your content. The sixth rule is to include visually appealing images. Your content should be tailored to fit the medium you are using to convey it.
If, for instance, you intend to post your content on social media, you should post links to articles and blog posts on your social media channels instead of simply posting the content piece because social media users will not be interested in reading long-form content. Infographics, interactive content, photos, videos, contests, and giveaways do well on social media because they focus on conversation and engagement.
If, on the other hand, your preferred medium is email, your aim should be to use a newsletter template that you can customize. Email marketing gives you the scope to directly send your content pieces to your target audience because chances are that they have signed up to receive it.
Your content marketing checklist should, therefore, be as follows:
- Did you define your goal?
- Did you determine your target audience?
- Do you have a content management system in place?
- Did you optimize your content for search engines?
- Is your content readable?
Once you can tick mark each of these, you are ready to publish and manage your content!