Content marketing is a hot topic of discussion in almost every marketing organization.

As business buyers and consumers continue to tune out the increasing noise of product promotion from brands, content marketing is being called out as the answer to the declining response rates and increasing costs of outbound marketing.

But hey, change is hard. And many organizations are struggling to keep up with the new rules of the digital age.

Remember that life is short and you may only have one shot at helping your organization implement the kind of transition it needs.

So here is the content marketing bucket list to help you prioritize where you should start. What would be first on your list?

  1. Identify how much traffic your website gets from “early stage” keywords
  2. Calculate how many of your leads come from inbound sources
  3. Calculate the cost of content that never gets used
  4. Empower a formal Content Strategist to lead your content marketing efforts
  5. Prioritize your key buyer personas and their content needs
  6. Audit your content relative to your buyers’ needs and identify any gaps
  7. Assign content gaps to your subject matter experts
  8. Establish a content curation strategy
  9. Create a non-promotional and dynamic content destination for your business
  10. Create an editorial calendar for your content publishing
  11. Create content by buyer stage
  12. Identify your top social influencers by topic
  13. Start a formal thought leadership program
  14. Integrate your paid, owned and earned media activities
  15. Establish a social listening platform (keywords, measures, baselines, a listening tool and templates)
  16. Conduct buyer research to identify the top challenges and channels for each persona, by stage
  17. Train your employees on the art of storytelling
  18. Identify your content conversion paths
  19. Define a strategy to test and create visual content (photos, slideshare decks, videos, infographs, etc.)
  20. Finally, stop the waste and just create great content!

Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below and follow the conversation on Twitter,  LinkedInFacebook or Subscribe to the B2B Marketing Insider Blog.

About Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner is the Vice President of Global Marketing for SAP where he leads content strategy and serves as the managing editor of the company’s award-winning Business Innovation thought leadership blog site. He is also the author of B2B Marketing Insider, a contributor to Forbes and a frequent speaker at industry events covering topics such as marketing strategy, social business, content marketing, digital marketing, social media and personal branding.  Follow Michael on Twitter (@BrennerMichael)LinkedInFacebook and Google+ and Subscribe to B2B Marketing Insider by Email

15 Comments

  1. Brian Rice said…

    Hi Michael

    Great post. I would move “establish a listening platform” from #15 to #1. By listening first you can achieve the following:

    1. Identify the core themes that your target audience cares about which will help guide your editorial calendar

    2. Identify your share of voice in comparison to your top competitors against your core topic areas which will help you determine the areas that require more effort/support

    3. Identify the communities in which your target audience participates which will help you determine potential opportunities for participating/syndicating to draw them back to you or the type of content your audience prefers to consume

    4. Identify the your brand advocates as well as industry influencers which will help you extend the reach of your content (assuming you have a solid engagement strategy)

    I would also add creating content syndication strategy to the list (i.e. how will the content be distributed via social channels and/or reposted in other communities).

    • Michael Brenner said…

      Thanks Brian, listening, keyword and buyer research really are the first steps. You are completely right! And thanks for the great additions.

  2. Brian Rice said…

    In addition to the the keyword research part of SEO, I would also add building an internal linking strategy. So many people create good content but then fail to tie the content together via internal links. It is not only great for SEO but helps improve the user experience. Your post is a great example of the proper way to do this using the right keyword/phrases that are linked to relevant content.

  3. Bhaskar Sarma said…

    I would suggest establishing a tone,voice or theme that sets a brand apart from the competition. While the content has to provide value to even register as a blip on the radar of prospects, a unique voice and a human touch helps brands connect with content consumers emotionally (as an aside, I am not comfortable using the term content consumer. Is it me or am I just weird?).

    And while Michael did write about testing in the context of visual content IMO testing has to be integrated into the entire content creation process, across all stages and all types of collateral.

    • Michael Brenner said…

      Thanks Bhaskar. Agree completely: add unique point of view and test everything! I am also not a big fan of that term but I know what you mean.

  4. Brenda van der Steen said…

    Great post and comments. I’d also add that establishing a messaging roadmap is a critical first step to ensuring that the content created has consistent messaging across each deliverable. Some must haves: specify target audience, stage in the buy process, customer challenges mapped to solutions and what it means to your customers to solve these challenges.

    • Michael Brenner said…

      Thanks Brenda, great point on having a messaging road map. It is very important to start with a unified set of messaging themes and customer topics, hopefully based on some research.

  5. Barrett Rossie said…

    What a great post and comments. Thanks Michael, Brian, Bhaskar and Brenda. I have a lot of work to do.

    So, when will this be available as an ebook? :-)

  6. Nick Stamoulis said…

    I’d say creating an editorial calendar is the first place to start. It’s important to keep your content organized. If you don’t have tasks outlined it’s easy to procrastinate and then it never gets done!

  7. Dan Blumenthal said…

    Love the first 13. Nothing wrong with the rest. Just the first 13 really resonate with me. Thanks for helping me focus.
    Dan

  8. Carlos Llerena said…

    Awesome/huge bucket list. Can not wait to see your next post. Im not even half way there.

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