Stepping Up Digital (Part 3): A Content Marketing Checklist

Woman staring at laptop screen in office setting

As you continue to explore building your brand through digital marketing, it’s important to have a content marketing plan. In this article, we share 6 effective tips.

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If COVID has driven your business online, you may suddenly be conscious of all the warts in your website, apps, email programs and/or social media. Maybe you’re contemplating a digital revamp. If you are, this “Stepping Up Digital” series is meant to you help you tackle that project.

In this series so far, you’ve learned from my colleagues why it’s important to audit your digital assets and to set clear goals for improvements. Next comes content planning. Your digital content needs to be relevant, searchable, and compel action.

Here are key questions to help you launch effective content marketing:

  1. Are your messages on-brand? Content should support your larger brand strategy. Make sure you first clearly define your organization’s brand promise, competitive claims, rational benefits, emotional rewards, and personality. As part of our marketing mix, we offer a Brand Workshop to help clients define their brand. Messaging and tone will grow out of this foundation. A clear brand architecture will keep all content cohesive and “ringing true,” whether it’s sales, collateral, a website, or social platforms. Here’s the framework we use:

Brand Hierarchy Graphic

  1. Does your content guide a journey? In a website, content drives navigation, and navigation drives design. Organize content in a way that leads customers through an intentional journey. At DKY, the web designer and content writer plan navigation hand-in-hand, mapping logical journeys that lead to desired discoveries and actions. For ADM Farmer Services for example, DKY created authoritative pillar pages with related content that’s easy to find and consume.
  2. Are you using keywords? Keywords are a crucial part of your content strategy. To make your content searchable, utilize a keyword tool and find the most relevant search terms that your audience is be likely to use. Avoid buzzwords or insider terms like “value oriented” when your searchers will enter the word “cheap.” Understanding the role of keywords can be complex, but a good start is this recent blog by my colleague Tim Karlberg.
  3. Have you balanced data and stories? Brain research shows that emotions play a huge part in purchasing decisions, even in the business-to-business realm. We tend to make choices with our gut, but then use evidence to justify or confirm a choice we’ve made. This means you need a mix of content that appeals to both right and left brains. You’ll want to substantiate your claims with the strongest facts and data you can collect, but then also put a human face on the argument with case studies, testimonials, and profiles
  4. How will you stay relevant? Gone are static websites that are basically digital brochures. Approach your site as a publishing platform for dynamic news, stories, and insights that continue to accumulate and add value. Build in a blog or newsroom that you can frequently update, then leverage those posts with email, text, or social outreach. Discipline your content engine with an editorial calendar that commits to topics, authors, and publish dates. Start small and build. Once you’re in the groove of interviewing subject matter experts for regular blog content, it can be a fairly easy progression to a podcast or video series.
  5. Who’s your editor? It’s probably clear by now that you need a good storyteller on your marketing team. Hire or partner with someone who can serve as content editor-in-chief, such as a public relations pro or a freelance brand journalist. These folks (speaking from personal experience) are wired to watch industry news and help your organization stay relevant with timely content. Their ideas can also be leveraged in pitches to the media.

Digital content is truly king in marketing now. You have the power to be your own publisher, engaging and deepening relationships directly with customers. Our integrated digital team at DKY would love to help get your content, social media, inbound marketing, and website all working in concert.

For more on the social side of your digital upgrade, stay tuned for the fourth and last blog in this series – Stepping Up Digital: Socializing Your Brand.

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