Using a Content Creation & Delivery Checklist To Maximize Promotions
By Mike Hauben, Editor, JewelryEcomm.com
Everything you do online begins with content – period. Needing to create content that people actually want to read is how marketing has been for centuries. Today, it’s just different. The stories that people share are done so on social media and Google. There are very few things that will hinder a company’s success online more than a poor content delivery strategy.
Because of these things, we need to take our content planning and distribution very seriously. Though, it’s sometimes easy to forget all the steps we need to take to make our content a success! This is way it’s important to have a “Content Creation & Distribution Checklist”. This is a very simple document to reference each time you create a blog post or other piece of shareable content. It’s just a checklist to have on hand so you don’t forget any crucial steps while distributing your content.
Of course, every company is going to have a different checklist based on the type of content they plan on creating, how they plan on promoting it, and what it all entails. But, here are some key things I would consider when planning your CCDC.
1. Brainstorm Topic
The first thing you need to consider is the topic you’re writing about! When businesses don’t do well online, there can be a number of factors. However, regardless if your product and pricing is fantastic, it’s quite possible to fail online simply by not sharing anything that people want to read about and click on. You really need to put an enormous amount of thought and care into this, and think like a newspaper editor.
Sometimes you’ll simply want to write about topics that you know your audience will love to read. For example, I know that the readers of this website are jewelry professionals looking for marketing and e-commerce advice. That makes my job a bit easier, because I know what types of topics our audience needs. It may, however, be a bit harder for you. You can literally write about any topic in the world that you think will attract your audience. Maybe it’s an article about a charity you support. Maybe you’re showcasing a new line. You have a lot of options.
So while sometimes winging it is a great idea, you can also do some in-depth keyword research. This typically requires some kind of SEO software like Moz or Ahrefs, but you’ll be able to use this software to brainstorm topics and see what types of things people are searching for online. Keyword research is an enormously powerful tool, because it literally tells you the types of topics people are searching for online, and allows you to evaluate your promotional content in an intelligent, strategic way.
Regardless if you plan on deciding content topics on your own or plan on doing serious keyword research, brainstorming your topic is always the first step.
2. Content Distribution Strategy
You’ve decided on your blog post’s topic. Great! The next thing to consider is how you plan to promote it. There is a serious difference in psychologies between the different social media platforms. For example, Instagram isn’t really a place for articles – that’s a Facebook strategy. So you need to consider what social media platform is best for your content.
Typically, when you’re spending time producing a well-written piece of content, it will be a blog post on your site or really nice page on your website that you then promote through Facebook, because that’s the best social media platform for content like that. But you need to think about these things in advance, whatever your content is.
The next area to leave space for on your CCDC is formatting considerations. We want to format our content in a way that Google can find and list our article. Otherwise, what’s the point?
Of all the things I’ve learned over my 15+ years as a digital marketer, nothing opened my eyes to the power of well-formatted content. It’s widely known that formatting blog posts properly is one of the most important factors for Google listing your articles, and therefore your site.
For your CCDC, it’s important to write down all the SEO-formatting tricks you know. This means using “title” and “header” tags properly, as well as internally linking your other content. These are complex topics that require their own articles (you can find some on this site) because they’re extremely detailed. However, when I refer to SEO-formatting, I’m referring to the way you write and publish your blog content. The way you format your content plays a serious role in how findable your content is.
4. Linking & Tagging Strategy
Now that we’ve written an SEO-friendly piece of content, we want to make sure we include links to other sources. This is exponentially increase the reach of our promotion, but will also help Google understand the context of the page.
Google treats links as currency, and uses links to evaluate the trustworthiness of your page. If I were a shoe company and Nike posted a link in their blog to something on my website, Google would have enormous respect for that because they know Nike is an authority in shoes. Using links properly in your content will not only help Google understand the content on the page, but they’ll also respect using links that are beneficial to your users. This raises your SEO rank and you’ll be listed higher in Google search.
There are two types of links you can include in your blog posts. The first is internal linking – this is when you link to a similar piece of content you’ve written on your site. By linking similar pieces of content throughout your site, you’ll help Google understand how to navigate (and list) your website.
The second type of links are external links. External links are links to other pages that help Google understand the topics you’re writing about. You can link to an authoritative source and other sources can also link to you. There are lots of ways to “receive links” – people adding a link to your content in their blog post, sharing your content on social media, etc. That’s why writing worthwhile content is important. The more people who share and spread that post online, the more page authority your article will have in the eyes of Google.
Naturally, this is going to be an important part of your CCDC, so make sure to write some ideas down for this category.
5. Promotional Formatting
As an editorial/resource website, our promotional formatting is likely very different than yours. But it’s the same principle. In our blog posts – besides just writing the blog – we need to make sure to credit the correct writer, add any ads that are required, add an opt-in form for our newsletter, etc. This is when we add all the other stuff that our website platform doesn’t do automatically. If you’re a retail store, maybe this means remembering to add a promotional graphic or “related products” under the article to get people to browse your inventory after reading your post.
Whatever your sales goal, you should remember not to pressure your reader too much into a sale. It’s way better to simply be really informative and helpful. The point of your content is to show long-term value and brand building instead of slamming then instantly with ads. However, it would be really silly not to consider your bottom line when planning your content.
If you’re trying to grow your email list, for example, don’t be afraid to add an email list opt-in form to your page. Just do it tastefully.
6. Promotional Execution
This is where you’ll outline your budget for this piece of content in your CCDC. Publishing great content is dandy, but it won’t do anything if you’re not promoting this content. Unfortunately, this usually means spending money.
The effects of a well-formatted SEO post may take a year to pay dividends. So we’re formatting content for the long-haul, but we need to also promote our content for immediate results. This is typically done through social media and email.
Did you know that Facebook only shows your posts to approximately 2% of your audience? It’s true. That’s how they make money! They expect you to to pay money (in the form of an ad or “boosted” post) to promote your posts to a wider audience. It’s a bit annoying to realize that social media is not free. However, it’s the necessary game we must play to effectively reach our audience.
Make sure to include your budget for this piece of content in your CCDC. You may have no budget for it at all – simply posting it and hoping the post gains wings and spreads through reach and shares sometimes works. But that can’t be your only strategy. If you want to succeed on social, it will require a budget. For pieces of content that you think are really great and will attract a lot of eyes, it’s smart to put a few bucks into the post and promote it wider.
Does your marketing team use a CCDC in your content planning? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!