Three-Step Checklist for Producing High-Performing Content, Every Time
Quality content is the key to attracting attention to your small business.
Of course, content isn’t the only thing that makes a business successful, but it is a powerful, cost-effective way to boost traffic and the best tool for building a loyal, motivated audience. A strong content marketing plan is essential for every small business owner. Still, many entrepreneurs feel intimidated at the prospect of producing a piece of quality content and end up missing out on the increased leads, higher rankings, and higher conversion rates driven by content marketing. The benefits of content marketing are within reach of every business owner, and with a few simple steps, you’ll be producing content like a pro in no time.
The Power of Good Content
From the moment you began your business venture, you've been creating content. You may not have written it all down, but there has been a stream of content creation going on behind the scenes of everything you do. What's the purpose of your business? Why was it worth the risk? The answers to these questions are evidence of the great content you created for yourself. Somewhere along the line, your inner narrative was attention-grabbing, compelling, and authoritative enough to convince you that you were ready to become an entrepreneur, and you were going to be successful.
Good content is the foundation of a successful business.
When you start a job with a new company, you'll usually receive company literature during your orientation to teach you more about the business. This informative literature helps you acclimate to the new environment and serves a dual purpose as compelling content to new employees if it's written well. New hire orientation material highlights the company's best qualities to help new employees get excited about the work. This is the business’ first opportunity to integrate the new employee into the company culture and encourage them, with a mission statement, goals, and philosophy, to believe in the work they’re tasked to do. Good new hire orientation content produces motivated and enthusiastic employees.
In both internal and external communications, your business’ success is tied to your ability to produce good content. Use the following checklist as a roadmap to communications with customers, employees, vendors, and industry peers, and your content is guaranteed to hit the mark every time.
Three-Step Checklist for Creating High-Quality Content
Value is first on this list because it's the most crucial step to creating compelling content. Your audience needs to see the value in your content before committing to giving you their undivided attention.
When you’re creating marketing content, you want to generate traffic, increase sales, drive engagement, and attract more people to your business, right? To reap all those content marketing benefits, offering value to your audience must be your primary goal. Step into your audience’s shoes and ask yourself, “Is this content valuable?”:
Does it teach me something?
Is it entertaining?
Does it solve a problem?
Does it spark an emotion?
Does it benefit me?
You don’t have the time or money to publish content with no audience value, and your audience doesn’t have the time or patience to waste on zero-calorie content. If you can’t answer yes to at least one of these questions, the content isn’t ready. Go back to the drawing board and reevaluate your content with value in mind.
Envision each piece of content you produce as a vehicle capable of taking your audience from your content to the place of your choosing. The most obvious location to transport your audience is to a landing page, website, or product page for your business, but keep an open mind when exploring how you can encourage unique actions with your content.
Every piece of content you publish is an opportunity to motivate your audience. What do you imagine them doing after consuming your content?
Do you want them to click a link?
Do you want to provoke a thought process or emotion?
Do you want them to comment on or share the content?
Do you want them to feel a connection with your brand?
After you ensure your content is valuable to your audience, increase the value for your business by clearly defining how you can capitalize on your audience’s attention. Create a strong call-to-action, and map out the next step you’d like them to take.
Every time you communicate with your audience, you have an opportunity to remind them why your business is worth their attention, trustworthy, and valuable. Your messaging, tone, and voice should be consistent throughout your content strategy. Meet your audience’s expectations with content that showcases your business’ unique qualities. Offer high-value content that encourages them to keep returning for more. Consistently raise the bar and increase your connection with your audience by listening to their feedback and meeting their needs.
Content continuity depends on a solid content strategy and schedule for production. The communication channel between you and your audience is the most important tool you will cultivate as you grow your business so, think of every piece of valuable content as a building block. Your job as a content marketer is to pave that road, erect clear signs to direct traffic, and reinforce the integrity of the infrastructure, so your audience feels safe and supported as they travel.
There are no shortcuts to creating compelling, high-performing content, but this checklist can help guide you as you become more comfortable with content creation. Consult the three steps when creating both short and long-form content until you develop a habit of asking: is this content valuable, does it transport my audience, and is this message consistent with my brand culture, vision, and voice.
How do you ensure your content is valuable to your audience? Do you follow a specific checklist to keep your content on track with your brand culture? Tell me in the comments below, and don’t forget to check out these tips to help you keep your audience interested with content that tells a story.