As ad-blockers grow in popularity or people just become blind to advertisements in general, more marketers are handing over the baton to content marketing in order to stay in the marketing race and continue to attract customers.
Because creating a content marketing strategy is an entirely different system when compared to traditional ad-based copy it can seem like you always have a learning curve to struggle against.
As a busy marketer, you are no doubt tasked with creating new new content ideas every day. Plus, it's almost impossible to stay at the top of your game if you aren't constantly seeking out new platforms to showcase your material.
Yes, content marketing is a tough gig, but it is an increasingly vital part of any digital marketing strategy.
If you're busy running your business, you could consider outsourcing your content production. There are tons of professional writers earning a living on Fiverr, and providing excellent content at affordable prices.
What's The Answer to Creating A Content Marketing Strategy?
It’s easy to skip over part of the process without even realizing, which is why content marketers need a checklist.
Checklists take the guesswork out of complicated tasks and get all of the processes out in the open so no steps are missed.
Many professionals scoff at the idea of checklists because they are of the mistaken belief that their profession is far too complex to break down into a simple list.
Atul Gawande, a prominent surgeon, M.D., and author of ‘The Checklist Manifesto’ would strongly disagree. Gawande’s book was born out of a belief that as life becomes more complicated, and professionals are forced to deal with more complex issues and take on more responsibility, checklists have become a vital tool.
So, if doctors and surgeons the world over are ticking off tasks to save peoples’ lives then content marketers should also be able to break down their increasingly complex tasks into more manageable bite sized chunks.
There are 5 key areas to pay attention to when creating a content marketing strategy checklist. If you don’t want to miss a single step then a checklist is highly recommended. Checklists are easy to create so let's get started.
What to Include in Your Content Marketing Strategy Checklist
1. Research and Planning
The research and planning phase is where you jot down the nuts and bolts of what you want to say.
Good keywords are the first step to laying down the foundation for great content so get this sorted first.
Go to Google keyword planner and search for keywords related to what you want to discuss in your content. Use your favorite keyword planner tool to really dig down and those keywords which will make ranking easy.
Type your keywords into Pinterest and dive into pins with high repins to find the keywords the pinners used.
Do the same with Twitter – type your keywords in and pay attention to the tweets getting the most shares and likes.
When you have a list of keywords type them into Google and see what’s ranking.
Create a list of points as the foundation for your post headings using the top performing keywords.
2. Writing Phase
Forget most of the stuff you learned in school about how to lay out your text. Paragraphs should be short, two or three lines is plenty. You are after a lot of white space between the text to make it easier to read.
Use the following as a guideline for organizing your text:
3. Optimize for the Search Engines
Keywords tell the Google bots what your article is about, which will help rank your content when people search for those phrases.
Sprinkle the keywords throughout the text, but not too many as your content won't to read well.
There's an ongoing debate about whether short form or long form material does better in the search engines. Many bloggers will tell you 2,000 to 2,500 words are essential, while others say 1,000 to 1,500 words are plenty.
I personally don’t pay much attention to length; I just write until I have said everything I need to say. Sometimes, this will be just over 700 words, but most often the article ends at well over 1,000, and sometimes reaches way beyond that.
However, I wouldn’t post a blog article that is less than 500 words. Readers appreciate a little more detail than that so make sure your content covers the subject matter enough to be worthwhile reading.
Write as much as you need to convey the message. The more detail the better, but aim for at least 1,000 words.
Put your main keyword as close to the beginning of your H1 title as possible, and use it in at least one H2 tag. A good rule of thumb is to mention the primary focus word in the first paragraph, and in the first sentence if you can manage it.
4. Make Your Content Shareable with Graphics
Graphics are an important part of your content marketing strategy. People appreciate pictures and having pictures will get you more shares. I know I'm always a little disappointed when I find great content and there's not a picture in sight to help make it stand out on social media.
Statistically, a post without graphics has little chance of gaining any traction on social feed.
I know it’s a pain but each article should have a variety of graphics to fit into the preferred formats of the various social media sites.
Twitter works well with a graphic that is 1024 wide by 512 high, while Pinterest is great for skyscraper style graphics – most of my Pinterest images are 600 wide x 1200 high. You can go higher but I wouldn’t go too much wider.
Don’t go crazy on the height as you want to keep your pin to a size that fits nicely on a mobile phone or tablet. As of this writing Pinterest traffic is made up of 70% mobile visits, so you want to optimize their experience as much as possible.
I will use the top of my post as my Twitter graphic and will include the title of the post or at least a very close variation of it.
I’ve found that the Twitter image can work well for Facebook as long as the text isn’t too close to the edge. If it is, Facebook may cut off some of the title when it displays the image in the news feed.
At the bottom of the post I will add an optimized image suitable for Pinterest, but I hide it with CSS code. When someone clicks on the Pinterest share button, the image will be displayed
Depending on the length of the post I will create a few extra images to scatter throughout. The images break up the text and make the article a little more interesting to read.
Create images with the title of the article to promote sharing on the social media channels.
5. Promote Everywhere
Now that you have created your masterpiece and posted it on your blog it's probably feeling a little lonely. Don't sit around waiting for people to find it, get it out there and circulating by promoting it on as many platforms as you can. Here are some strategies you can use to start bringing in traffic right away.
Follow the steps above, and you will have all of your bases covered for producing great content and getting it in front of the people who need it the most.
Leigh has been working as a professional content creator for the last 7 years, providing unique, engaging articles for web sites and blogs. His educational background is in web development, marketing, and IT, which provides him a broad range of experiences to draw from in his writing. Leigh's content strikes the fine balance needed to give your human readers an engaging article, while also providing the search bots what they need for correctly ranking your site. Leigh prides himself on providing excellent customer service and always enjoys meeting and working with new clients. Contact Leigh today for all your content needs.