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The SMB Content Marketing Checklist Cheat Sheet by

content     marketing

Introd­uction

The Content Marketing Institute reveals there has been a 10 percent increase in business to consumer (B2C) marketers who document their content strategy over the last year (37 percent versus 27 percent). What's more, 48 percent of B2C marketers meet with their teams either daily or weekly to discuss their content plan. In order for small business (SMB) owners to keep pace with the compet­ition it is imperative that they are equally as strategic as their big-brand counte­rparts -

Take Inventory

Begin by taking a look at this year's content. What type of campaigns garnered positive results and which were virtual flops? When taking inventory of previous initia­tives, look at the content of each campaign as well as the format and channel it was distri­buted in.

For example, did infogr­aphics resonate better than videos? Did lists work better than inform­ative topics in email campaigns? Did Facebook posts get more shares at night?

Scope Out the Compet­ition

The compet­ition can be a big inspir­ation. Research, however, must go beyond a compet­itor's blog. Don't forget to look at email campaigns (this is why it's a good idea to sign up for your compet­itor's email list), social posts, video content and more.

For instance, did the compet­ition have success with a social contest? How often did they create videos? Did their blogging rely on contri­butor posts?

What Does Your Audience Want?

Audiences leave clues everywhere about the type of content they prefer, but it's up to marketers to discover them. One channel sure to offer useful insight is social. Simply type in busine­ss-­related keywords on networks like Twitter to find out what consumers are talking about, then create content around those topics. Moreover, look to frequently asked questions that could be repurposed into an inform­ative blog post.

A pet store owner who gets a lot of inquiries about the best way to remove pet stains from carpets, for example, may want to consider writing a "How To" article on the topic
 

Content Marketing

Brainstorm

After conducting the aforem­ent­ioned research it is time to brains­torm. Think about new content ideas, angles, formats and channels, and don't forget that some content can be repurp­osed. In the previous example of a "How To" article for removing pet stains, the business owner could repurpose the topic by creating an instru­ctional video, and/or making an email campaign that features the products needed for the process.

Create a Content Calendar

It's time to put ideas on paper and create a content calendar for 2016; and don't forget to take holidays and company celebr­ations into consid­eration when making one. Keep in mind that while it is important to fill out the calendar as completely as possible (espec­ially the first quarter), it is also necessary to leave a little room for flexib­ility, as campaigns may change as the year progre­sses.

Assign Tasks

Once the content calendar is created, it is time to share it and tentat­ively assign tasks to team members. This makes each colleague aware of what is required of them so they can start brains­torming ideas for their assign­ments.

Track Results and Re-Eva­luate

To truly succeed in 2016 it is important to track results as the year ges forward. By reviewing campaign results each quarter, marketers can contin­uously optimize their strate­gies. Don't know what to track? Check out this list of 29 essential content marketing metrics at wsm.co­/ba­sic29.

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