Since content marketing has turned main stream this year I thought a checklist for new content marketers would be prudent. If you’re going to take a stab at content marketing you’re going to want to make sure your blog contains certain elements in order to maximize branding, exposure, sharing, lead capture, subscribers, engagement and usefulness. Not all blog platforms are created equal or are inbound marketing ready. As a matter of fact, just yesterday I helped a client decide on a commenting plug-in for their blog. They’ve been attempting content marketing for five months without a working commenting system or sharing buttons. The below checklist identifies those blog “must-haves” that will maximize your chances of being successful utilizing content marketing.
Does your blog have a title? It may not seem like a big deal, but there are several reasons you should title your blog. The first and obvious one is branding. The title should help brand your company or website. The second and not so obvious reason is that your title will show up in your subscribers' RSS reader. Whether your subscribers use iGoogle, MyYahoo or something else, your blog is competing with every other blog your subscribers subscribe to. Your title will help make it stand out in the crowd.
One of the main elements of content marketing is content distribution. Obviously, the content marketer will distribute their content via social media and bookmarking. However, it is critical that you make it easy for your readers to share and distribute your content. Sharing buttons have the potential of increasing your distribution efforts tenfold or more!
Not all of your readers wish to subscribe via RSS. In fact, adopters of RSS only represent 17% of internet users. Give your fans an alternative subscription method. Let them subscribe to your content via email.
The whole point of content marketing is to monetize. Whether monetization is in the form of brand equity building, lead generation or affiliate marketing, calling your visitors to take an action is critical to measuring your blog's ROI.
Today’s internet world is a social one. Make sure you have your brand’s social media links on the blog. Some blog readers will prefer to engage with your blog on social media. Don’t alienate your readers.
Your readers will turn to your blog as a resource if you are truly helping them solve their problems with your content. Make sure you have a categories section that contains broad descriptive tags. Some blogs do this with a word cloud while others do it with a section. Either way, make sure you don’t inundate your readers with too many tags.
Always tell your readers what to do next when they’re done reading your post. This can be in the form of an ending paragraph or a call to action graphic. You may want to encourage them to leave a comment or download something. If you captured their attention long enough to read your post you have the right to ask them to take an action.
While some of your readers will prefer to engage with your blog via social media, most will prefer to leave a comment. If your blog doesn’t have a commenting plug-in then blog engagement will be virtually nonexistent. Many content marketing campaigns use comments as a metric for measuring success. Without a comments plug-in engagement will be virtually impossible to determine.
If you can check all of the above boxes for your blog it is ready for content marketing. If not, you have some work to do still. Content marketing has proven very fruitful for us and if you execute it properly it will be fruitful for you.
Image Credit: Adesigna
Tuesday, April 12, 2011 @ 1PM EDT, 10AM PST
Join our guests Troy Rumfelt, President, and Mike Gingerich, Marketing Director for TabSite, a Facebook application by Digital Hill Multimedia, to learn how to build leads with Facebook.
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