As more people install ad-blockers or 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 content marketing is an entirely different strategy when compared to traditional ad-based copy it seems that there is always more stuff to learn and manage.
Not only is the beleaguered marketer forced to come up with new content ideas every day, they also have to stay on top of finding the best ways to share it.
It’s easy to skip over part of the process without even realizing and it’s why content marketers need a checklist
Checklists take the guesswork out of complicated tasks and get all of the details straight so no steps are missed.
Many professionals scoff at the idea of checklists as they have 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 busier, and professionals are forced to deal with more complex issues and take on more responsibility, checklists have become a vital tool to get through the day.
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 their increasingly complex tasks down to ensure the effectiveness of their campaigns.
There are 5 key areas in an effective content marketing strategy. If you don’t want to miss a single step then a checklist is highly recommended; create your or you can download the one I use by using the sign up form below. Here are a few ideas on what to include if you’re creating your own:
1. Research and Planning
This 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 that are getting searched for.
- 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 your list of points as the foundation for your post.
2. Writing Phase
Forget a lot of the stuff you learned in school. Paragraphs should be short, with no more than two or three lines. This ensures lots of white space on the page to break up the text (use 75 – 100 words as a rough guide).
- Place an image after every 300 words or so.
- Make use of subheaders to break up the article into logical bites of information.
- Your title will go into a H1 tag, then use H2 HTML tags for subheadings.
- Bullets and lists are also an excellent idea to improve the reading experience
- Link out to other relevant sources (other sites, or your own internal posts).
- Use Grammarly to check your work for errors.
3. Optimize Content for Search Engines
To get your posts to rank for relevant keywords you need to tell the search engine bots what your article is all about. This is where using good keywords for your title come in handy as the bots use these to gather ranking data on your article.
Sprinkle the keywords throughout the text as well; just don’t cram it full of them or it may get tagged as spam.
Length is also regarded as an important aspect of your article’s ranking ability, but this is open to interpretation. 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 (rarely) this is just over 700 words, but most times the article ends at well over 1,000, and sometimes reaches way beyond that.
I wouldn’t post a blog article that is less than 500 words. Your readers will appreciate more detail so give it to them.
- Write as much as you need to convey everything you want to say. The more detail the better but aim for over 1,000 words.
- Use SEO keywords in the title.
- Use the main keyword in at least one H2 header.
- Try to get the major keyword at the front of the article title and in an H1 tag.
4. Create Graphics For More Shares
Graphics are an important part of your content marketing strategy. People love pictures and having pictures will get you more shares.
Personally, I get really disappointed when I want to share a post and it doesn’t have any attractive graphics.
Statistically, a post without graphics has little chance of gaining any traction on my social feeds, so I’m extremely unlikely to share it.
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 735 wide x 1102 high. You can go higher but I wouldn’t go too much wider.
Don’t go silly on the height as you want to keep your pin to a size that fits nicely on a mobile phone or tablet. Pinterest is 70% mobile traffic so you definitely want to make the most of it.
The top of my post is where my Twitter graphic will go. It 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 newsfeed.
Towards the bottom of the article, I will insert a Pinterest image. I use the HTML codes you can find here to shrink the image to a suitable size for the post, but share as a full-sized graphic on Pinterest.
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.
- Insert click to tweet quotes throughout the post
- Infographics are well liked but don’t bring in much traffic so use sparingly
- Turn the article into a slideshow or video with voiceover for Slideshare and YouTube.
5. Promote, Promote, Promote
Now that you have created your masterpiece and displayed it proudly on your blog it’s time to get some eyeballs on it through promotion.
- Consider a PPC campaign through Facebook ads or a LinkedIn sponsored update to get the article off to a running start.
- Create buzz by talking about your post in relevant Facebook and Google+ communities.
- Create a discussion in LinkedIn groups and include a link to the article.
- Post your article as a status update on your personal profile on LinkedIn as well as your LinkedIn company page.
- Share the article on as many relevant Pinterest boards as you can get your hands on. Use your tower image for increasing shares and repins.
- Share on Twitter using the custom image you created.
- Post the article to your Facebook Fan page.
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.
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