When you get into the habit of creating valuable content you’ll find that there are no end of ideas you can come up with for your blogs, newsletters, guides etc. But which ones should you invest time, money and effort in, and which should you reject?
Valuable to your business (in line with the business goals); valuable to your clients/customers (helps them solve their challenges) – that’s the balance you’re looking to strike with your content every time.
Here’s a quick checklist to use when planning your content to help you decide whether your ideas are worth spending time on. This ensures you focus on the stuff that’s really worth investing in, and stops your website (and your audience’s inboxes) getting bloated with worthless junk.
Does this content idea have legs?
IS THIS CONTENT VALUABLE?
|1. Does this content have a clear business goal? Are we clear why we are creating it?|
|2. Does our audience crave this content? Does it answer a real question/solve a real challenge for a real person?*|
|3. Does this content fit with the story we want to tell? Is it in line with our message? Does it further our cause?|
|4. Is it unique? Different enough from other content we have created? Not repetitive?|
- If the answer is a firm ‘no’ to any of these questions, then park the idea. The content will not be valuable.
- If your answers are a resounding ‘yes’ then use the further questions below to help you refine the content, to make it as valuable as can be.
*NB: Create every piece of content with a real person in mind. Who are you creating this piece of content for? If you’re not motivated to send it on to someone having posted it, it’s not worth writing. That’s the acid test.
Does the idea need tweaking to make it more valuable?
CAN WE MAKE THIS CONTENT MORE VALUABLE?
|1. Is the content ‘surprisingly useful, human or entertaining’? Does it go the extra mile to make the reader think, laugh or teach them something new?|
|2. Does it strike the right tone? i.e. Does it live up to the ‘Help, don’t sell; talk, don’t yell; show, don’t tell’ mantra?|
|3. Is it in the right format – for the audience and for the subject matter?|
|4. Is it set at the right level for the audience? Not too basic or too complex?|
|5. Is it focused and concise? Not too specific; not too broad? No longer than needs be?|
|6. Is it actionable? Does it have a clear next step and call to action?|
|7. Is it shareable? Visible social share buttons?|
|8. Is it tagged and labelled correctly? So it gets found on our website and in search?|
|9. Does the design hit the mark? Does any imagery add value to the piece? Does it fit the brand?|
|10. Is it easy to read? Is the formatting and layout logical, consistent and clear?|
- If you can answer ‘yes’ to these questions then you’ve done all you can to make sure your content is on track.
- If the answer is ‘no’ to any of these questions, then we’d recommend some rethinking and editing to get it to make the valuable grade.
Try this checklist out at your next content planning meeting. We hope it helps you to focus on the really valuable stuff this year.
P.S. This checklist is one of the resources from the second edition of our book. Plenty more tools and resources in the Valuable Content Marketing book. Take a peek.
Other content we think you’ll find useful:
- How to create meaningful content in a sea of ‘meh’
- Planning your content? Start with the why
- How to pinpoint your content sweet spot
- Yes, but what IS valuable content!