The content checklist: 7 essential steps

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It’s all about creating engaging, sharable content these days. In the current marketplace, it’s so important for businesses and professional individuals to constantly communicate with their audiences, and done in a focused, strategic way it can be such a cost-effective, invaluable way of sharing new products, news, and deals. This handy checklist covers a few of the key points that could help you maximise your opportunities.

Don’t put the mortgage on social

Think about how much of your content you’ll have full control over – on a self-hosted WordPress page or owned website for example. Publishing to other social sites can be hugely valuable, but if all of your content is dependent on them – known as digital sharecropping – they have the ultimate power over your content, they can change their model at any moment, and as you don’t own the space you’re on, you’re at their mercy.

Carefully consider your content plan

Spend time thinking about exactly what you want to say, and how you want to say it. Writing lots of content just for the sake of it, without strategy and consistency, isn’t effective, so create a solid platform of content you know will engage with your audience. After all, what you say will determine how people view your business, whether they relate to what you’re about, and ultimately whether they choose to deal with you.

Create great ‘must-share’ content

You’ve planned everything thoroughly, have a clear content plan, and feel ready to go. But, if your content isn’t good enough, then you just won’t get the traction your meticulous planning deserves. Think about the headline, does it attract and compel; question whether it’s useful and focuses on real needs; pay attention to formatting (make it pretty); and make it entertaining, at least on some level, which will depend on the topic.

Make sure it’s actionable stuff

Actionable. Ok, sounds good. But what does that really mean? Here’s a brief explanation:

  • it’s simple for users to ask questions and generally engage
  • there’s a strong list of actionable items – for example, explanatory bullet points – appear high up in the content, especially if it’s lengthy
  • include links to relevant, proven, valuable content
  • put in a clear call to action – get them to do something once they’ve engaged.

Don’t underestimate keywords

Research the keywords the people you want to reach are searching for, then tick off a few key elements to make your text work:

  • tailor metadata to accurately describe the page content
  • only use one H1 and multiple H2 tags
  • use links to other pages to increase content value of your content that search engines apply to your pages
  • make sure photos and images have alt tags to make sure they appear in image searches

Build that email list

Getting people to visit your site is great, but it’s just the start. Once they’ve engaged, email is a great way to take the relationship further. It’s more personal, and is more likely to grab them more deeply. Put simply, email is a really strong way to get your audience to take action, and that’s what you want after all. Also – think about the use of email autoresponders to build relationships after initial engagement with your content.

Keep an eye on security

It would be a shame to do all the work preparing a top content strategy, deliver great work, then have it hacked and infiltrated by malware, which could do a lot of damage very quickly. Make sure your web provider has excellent security, or if you think that’s not enough, consider using a recommended service that monitors your site every moment, and lets you know if anything happens.

If you get to the heart of what you represent and want to say, take time creating engaging content that informs clearly and compels people to react – and makes it easy to do so – while maintaining as much control over your content as possible, you’ll be on the right path to making it reap huge rewards.

This article was written by Lee Rowlett on behalf of Ad-Rank Media.

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