Picture this: you are part of a small marketing team tasked with managing a corporate blog, creating case studies and eBooks, making videos, recording podcasts, writing articles, researching and creating reports, writing and sending a newsletter, boosting website traffic, building the subscriber base, communicating with influencers, and building the brand. Since there are so many moving parts in the mix, there is a good chance that you will make a mistake. Marketers are human after all.
While there is a movement for the “Good Enough Revolution,” it should not be confused with sloppy execution. Over the past few months, I have paid attention to the content marketing efforts of several companies and have seen the following mistakes (including some from my own company!):
- Typo in a piece of written content
- Using the wrong information in a video
- Including too many uhs and ums in a podcast or video
- Hyperlinking to a broken link
- Using grammatical errors
- Sending out duplicate emails
Some common mistakes in content marketing efforts should not happen. I am not writing this article to explain that mistakes are ok. Mistakes, whether they are as small as a typo or as large as forgetting to cite a source, should be avoided.
So do I suggest you do that? My company has a small team that is focused on eliminating the silly mistakes we sometimes make, and the main tool we use are checklists to reduce and eliminate our mistakes.
Checklists can serve as an excellent tool for quality control at every stage of the content creation process. Each content marketing “product” will most likely require a separate checklist. Once you have an agreed-upon checklist anyone in the team or company can participate in a review step without training or explanation.
So what are some tips for creating good checklists?
The Checklist Checklist
Your checklists should have the following:
Definition of valuable content
It is important to define exactly what makes each type of content valuable to make sure you are creating information your audience will eat up. If the content is clearly defined within the checklist, this is a great start to ensuring that your piece is up to quality standards.
Explanation of audience or target persona
For a piece of content to be truly successful, it should speak to a specific persona or audience. If this is clearly defined in the checklist, you will be able to uncover pieces of content that are potentially less engaging to your targets.
Necessary formatting specifications
This area of the checklist refers to simple components such as headings, image size, type of image, placement of image, font size, etc. If you run a corporate blogging program, it is nice to have a checklist detailing what each of your employees can do within their blogs to maintain a consistent design across all posts.
Fair use guidelines
Fair use guidelines become very important if you are summarizing any content within your strategy. Here is the four-part test used by the copyright office:
- The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes
- The nature of the copyrighted work
- The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
- The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work
Quality control and review steps
For some pieces of content (let’s say a report or eBook), it is essential to have more than one person review to ensure the content is perfect. But other types of content (say, a blog post), may not warrant a high level of scrutiny. The point is to define the number of review steps in the checklist so you can be comfortable with the quality of your content. It may even make sense to specify exactly who you’d like to review the work and for what purpose.
Common mistakes to look out for
The most important thing about making mistakes is learning from them so you don’t repeat them. If you happen to make mistakes or identify them during the review phase, put a special note in your checklist so you don’t make the same mistake twice!
Checklists can be a great tool (and sanity check) for busy marketers. Do you have any tips to share?