Content Marketing Checklist to Follow in 2018

Content marketing strategy is the foundation of success in digital marketing. It aligns all your content campaigns and content pieces in one direction. It ties in all your efforts for maximum effect.

It is different from content plan which only details the content topics, timelines and actions to be taken. Content marketing strategy on the other hand, answers broader questions of how you will achieve your marketing goals through content marketing.

An effective content marketing strategy must answer fundamental questions before directing and content creation actions. Without answering these clearly, your content marketing strategy will fall flat and simply fail.

But once you have done this groundwork, you can easily come up with content that is valued by your audience and brings in leads and customers regularly.

So here is the checklist of questions to make sure you are on the right track for your content marketing strategy.

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1. Do I have a Clear Objective?

Answering the ‘why’ before setting out to do content marketing (or anything really) is important. ‘What’ and ‘how’ you build your content depends on your purpose of content marketing. Your reason could be to get leads, attract traffic or simply build a brand authority online. Whatever the goal, it must be SMART.

  • S – Specific – clearly defined and narrow enough
  • M- Measurable – quantified if possible
  • A- Achievable- has to be realistic
  • R – Relevant – relevant to your business and overall marketing strategy
  • T – Timely – have a timeline

An example could be “Getting 50,000 unique visitors to our site by this quarter end.”

Once you have a clear objective many other decisions such as content topic, target audience, content format, etc., become clear.

2. Do I Know my Audience?

 You cannot come up with a content strategy without knowing who your audience is. Everything you do has to appeal to your target audience, so if you don’t know them you are pretty much shooting in the dark.

You must know your visitors/ readers/ customers like the back of your hand. Ask yourself if you can answer these about them:

  • What are their pain points?
  • What are they searching for?
  • Where are they searching for it?
  • What is the buyer’s journey?
  • What are their hopes and fears?

Yes. These are intimate questions and you should know your audience intimately.  Without knowing this you risk building content that nobody even wants to read.

3. Does my Plan have Visual Content?

Every content strategy is not the same and in fact should be different depending on your business. However, visual content is form of content that must be a part of every strategy today. It’s too profitable to leave out or ignore. After all, video content will make up 80% of all traffic by 2019.

This means that your content plan must have infographics, videos and images in it. Visual infographics not only explain your point easily they are also more fun and are shared 3x times more than any other form of content.

Video platforms like YouTube are also turning out to be a good source of website traffic. It is a great way to attract new visitors and get them curious about your offering. So invest in video channels early on and pay attention to video search optimization.

4. Is My Content Optimized for Mobile?

 Mobile traffic is another trend that is here to stay for good. More than 60% of traffic not comes from mobile and so your content must be optimized for mobile audiences.

With Google Hummingbird update it has become even more important that content creators serve the mobile traffic first.

This means content built for small screens, shorter attention span and competing with continuous notifications from other apps.

To make the most of your time your headlines must be grabbing and content length just right to hold attention. Content should also be scannable with bold headings and big fonts.

5. Does my Strategy have Feedback built into it?

 Content marketing is an ongoing strategy and does not end at publishing content. There is the whole process of moving visitors along the funnel and growing your loyal following online. All of this requires continuous monitoring and feedback from audience.

Your strategy must be flexible enough to make changes too. This does not mean changing your purpose and objectives that we mentioned earlier, but the ways to achieve them can change.

For example, you make see that influencer marketing is not working as well with your audience and decided to concentrate on email marketing only.

Of you may decide to concentrate on lead conversion rather than on lead collection.

All of this is only possible if you are listening keenly to your audience. Data on visitors, email subscribers and conversions will also give you insights into what you need to improve upon.

6. Do I have the Resources?

 One of the major factors impacting your success in content marketing is the long-term commitment you have for it. Content takes time to show returns and cannot be done with a short-sighted vision.

If you do not have the right resources for it, you will run out of fuel and patience to succeed at it.

You must ask yourself what resources you need to implement your content marketing strategy. Usually this includes staff time, skill training, budget, effort and management support.

For medium and large sized companies, management support becomes very important. This is because great content requires inputs from all departments and a decent budget.

If the seriousness is not driven from top-bottom then nobody in the company is going to support you with information, time and feedback.

The Bottom Line

Content marketing strategy is the glue that holds all the content making activities and gives your plan a direction. You must set your purpose clear before you set out to make any content.

Researching your audience is essential as it answers questions on what content to create, how to create and where to promote it.

Visual format, mobile optimization and feedback loop as some of the other things to complete the checklist on content marketing strategy.

Who is a Content Marketing Manager? What does he do?

If you have created content or worked on digital marketing you may have come across the role of a content marketing manager in your agency. In this post we will share the role of content marketing manager and what he/she can do to grow your business online.

But first it is important to understand how content marketing fits into digital marketing.

How Content Marketing Fits into Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is a channel of marketing to build an online following for your brand on the internet. This could be through website traffic, email subscribers or YouTube channel followers.

Whatever the platform, the aim is to build brand awareness and convert visitors into leads and customers. Email marketing, social media campaigns, content marketing etc. are all part of digital marketing.

Content marketing forms the foundation of all digital marketing, since it is content that gives value to your visitors and converts them into your loyal audience, followers and subscribers. Content consists of text posts, infographics, videos, audio podcasts etc.

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No matter what strategy you use digitally, good content is always going to be essential for it to succeed. For example, email marketing will require regular content that your subscribers find relevant and helpful. Without helpful content nobody will open your emails and they might even unsubscribe from the list.

Content marketing manager is someone who creates high quality helpful content with the aim of growing a loyal audience online. There are many activities and processes that form part of creating content. Let’s see what these activities are to understand them better.

Scope of Work

Content creation starts with researching deeply on the target audience. Understanding reader’s pain points and building content around it is essential to create relevant content. Without this, you risk putting out content that no one is even interested in reading.

Content managers can build on it if this information is already available with marketing department in the form of buyer personas and target market studies done.  If not, then it is the content manager’s job to find out about their audience.

Converting knowledge gained on target audience into a content strategy is the next step. This involves setting measurable targets (growth in subscribers, increased CTR, increases conversions etc.) and developing a plan to achieve this. There are two parts to this-

1.Content planning – involves building a plan that details what content topics should be covered, in what format and on what channel. For example, a content manager may choose YouTube for educational videos or write a long form content on the blog.

Here the content marketing manager decides everything down to titles for the blog to the timeline for completion of each content piece. This plan has to be flexible enough to change in response to audience, market and competitors.

2. Content Plan Execution – This is the process of executing the content plan. Activities involve writing, video production, social media posting, sending emails and audience engagement. There is team of writers, video production, social media manager etc. that the manager must work with.

Lastly, content marketing manager must monitor content performance parameters and come up with ideas to continuously better the content. Feedback and customer engagement is an important part of successful content strategy.

Roles of a Content Marketing Manager

Roles of a Content Marketing Manager

As you can see the scope of content marketing manager’s role is big. It stretches from research to project management and more. Therefore there are many roles and duties that he or she must deliver on.

  • Manage Team

A content marketing manager has to manage a team of writers, SEO specialist, video producer and social media manager. Depending of the size of the company some people may take on multiple roles.

It is advisable to have a team doing all of this as managing all of this by one person is very difficult for a brand. Some start-ups may start with only person for content but if you want to run campaigns that have a big impact then you will have to grow your team.

So he/she must also have management and leadership skills to manage a diverse set of people.

  • Content Strategy

As mentioned above setting a content strategy and plan (both are different) is the role of content marketing manager. This strategy must fit well with the overall marketing strategy of the company (offline marketing) and the business goals.

This requires someone who has experience and far sighted vision for the brand. This is why it is advisable to have someone with a good amount of digital marketing experience as a content manager.

  • Project Management

Implementing content plan requires project management role. Not everything will go as planned and there might be hurdles like delay in content completion, video production, negative feedback by audience. Content marketing manager has to be quick to make changes in such a case. He or she has to make sure all the projects within the plan are working in coordination.

  • Cross-functional collaboration

There are many functions a content manager has to work with. In fact there is no department that will not come in contact with content team .They have to work with products team to understand the product/service, collaborate with marketing team to work within branding guidelines and customer insights.

The more people content marketing manager works with, the better will be the content created.

  • Initiating Marketing Campaigns

Marketing campaigns give a boost to your online audience and increases brand recall.

Content marketing manager proactively launches online marketing campaigns. This could be influencer marketing campaign, email campaign, social media giveaways or live webinars. He is responsible for generating new ideas and testing them out too.

 Putting It All Together

Content marketing manager is responsible for making a content strategy and executing it to grow online audience. Their role starts from studying the target audience to developing valuable and relevant content for them.

For this they manage a diverse set of team and collaborate with almost all functions to come up with content that converts visitors into leads and customers.

Why Hire a B2B Content Marketing Agency in 2018

B2B businesses are excessively talking about the need for a content marketing agency today. Hiring a content marketing agency is like having a support for your in-house team. They extend your resources and help you save time to focus on other activities.

Here are some important reasons why you need to hire a B2B content marketing agency in 2018:

1. Limited Internal Resources

One of the most important reasons to look at hiring a content marketing agency is limited internal resources. Most companies have a small content marketing team, who while being highly qualified don’t have enough time to prepare and execute a comprehensive content marketing approach. The content marketing agency helps to fill these gaps.

2. Sharing Your Story

Most B2B owners know that they do not have an interesting story. But not sharing the story at all gives these B2B businesses an impersonal, boring, and functional image. A content marketing agency focuses on the story you have and shapes it into an appropriate marketing strategy. It allows you to connect with your target audience keeping their perspective in mind.

Specialists at a content marketing agency understand what communication appeals to the target audience. They explain how your services can offer solutions to make their lives simpler. With the right story and right marketing strategy, you carve your own niche and establish a relationship with the people.

3. A Team of Specialists

Words play an important role in painting a picture of your business. Even if you offer something boring, content marketing experts have the acumen to prepare it interestingly.

When you hire a content marketing agency, you work with a team of specialists who are skilled in a particular area. They are constantly involved in the task of creating content and understand the target audience’s expectations well.

4. Produce More Content

Content marketing today means constantly churning high-quality blogs and articles. Small B2B teams cannot keep up with the pace of content development required to meet industry demands.

A content marketing partner not only assists you with the preparation of a suitable strategy for your brand. It decides on the types of content you require to reach your target audience. Finally, it also produces this content for you in your voice creating a dialogue with the audience.

5. Updated with the Current Trends

When working with an agency, you are certain that the experts are aware of the latest marketing trends. Internal content marketing professionals have a knowhow of what’s happening in the industry.

Agency specialists, on the other hand, also understand what’s working in different industries with increased exposure. They work on client campaigns on a regular basis. They understand the pros and cons of every tool that is implemented and only choose to use the best.

6. Vendor Relationships

For the success of a comprehensive B2B content marketing strategy, it is vital to use different channels, software, and tools. This way campaigns produce the right results. Owing to their nature of work, content marketing agencies have ongoing relationships with different vendors.

 When a company hires a content marketing agency, it can leverage from the bonds that these agencies have with third-party vendors. Establishing connections with several different types of vendors on its own can be difficult, especially for a B2B small business.

7. Cost-Effectiveness

This may sound contradictory but is true. Establishing an internal content marketing team will require employees with various skills. It will also require subscriptions for different software for campaign management.

Even if you hire the various positions at entry level, you will be spending much more than what you would with an agency. Therefore, when you compare salary costs with retainer fees, you will definitely want to pay the retainer fees.

8. Lead Generation

Last but not least, B2B content marketing agencies help to drive and track leads. They concentrate on every lead that is generated and ensure that you do not miss out any. They have the right software to measure deliverables and map the output they have reaped from different efforts.

Hiring a B2B content marketing agency is advisable for most B2B firms today. It eases out the process of creating content allowing in-house teams to focus more on sales and customer service. Firms can focus on their growth projections and improve revenue goals without hiring specialist employees for these fields.