March 30, 2016

Spring Cleaning Checklist for Content Marketers

For many people, the arrival of spring brings an unfettered urge to wash the windows, clean the closet, and deep-six the dust bunnies. Metaphorically, though, it’s a time of heavy duty cleaning that can translate to just about any endeavor—including the business world.

For marketers, why not use it as a time to get your content marketing house in order? Take a long, hard look at your company’s practices and see how they line up with the best practices in the checklist below. If the checklist items aren’t easily identifiable in your own content marketing methods, it might be time to make a clean break and start anew. However, if you see something you think could use improvement, there’s no better time to toss your old strategies clear out the window.

Market with a mission. Traditional marketing relies on a clearly stated business mission that defines the purpose of your business, your products and/or services and your business principles, so why should your content marketing be any different? Without a content marketing mission statement, the content you develop will be all over the map, without a clear reason for existence. Content marketing is not about your products and services, but about what you stand for, and how that stance impacts the customer. Have you clearly documented that point? A company that sells communication solutions is a company that supports and empowers people’s need to connect in a variety of ways. All the content produced should, in turn, support that mission, or it’s time to go home.

Use a multichannel or omnichannel content strategy. The beauty of marketing today is that consumers can be reached everywhere, but are you really taking advantage of that fact? Content marketing is now evolving from multichannel—communicating with customers across channels—to omnichannel, interacting with customers at a multitude of points and in a variety of ways.

Content marketing that takes advantage of omnichannel strategies provides informative messages on a website, posts intriguing stories on social media, crafts engaging text messages to pique customer interest, and follows up on purchases via email. Instituting an omnichannel strategy requires a thorough understanding of the customer experience as it pertains to your company. To find out what that’s like, take a walk in your customer’s shoes. What barriers arose? What was especially useful? The key to success here is truly understanding your customer.

Provide adaptive, personalized content. Truly understanding your customer means creating content that reaches everyone. One size no longer fits all. Different people need different things—show them you understand; show them how you can help.

Adaptive, personalized content does a better job at reaching wide audiences because it is information that’s constantly changing, being tailored to specific readers for delivery in specific ways. Some content is written for print, some for websites, some for social media outlets. Who are your potential customers, and what kind of content would engage them? Where can you best reach them? Think “choose your own adventure” applied to the customer experience.

Storytelling, not selling. Content marketing isn’t about the sale; it’s about cultivating relationships with customers. Stories are inspiring and have the power to evoke a range of human emotions. What better way to spread your message, potentially converting readers to clients? Good stories are similar to good business tactics, in that particular problems must be resolved. Your content marketing should strive to do the same. As a brand, how does what you stand for solve a problem? How can you demonstrate that your company is trustworthy, reliable, and transparent? Don’t tell just any old story—it must be compelling enough to affect people’s perceptions, and hopefully make them want to share those perceptions with the rest of the world.

Ultimately spring cleaning is a ritual that, if put into practice, brings peace of mind and promotes productivity as the year continues. If you’d like further assistance in implementing a content marketing strategy tailored to your business, consider reaching out to a content strategy vendor.

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