You’re about to write a new piece of content—exciting stuff! How unfortunate would it be, though, if you spent all that time and effort for nothing? That could very well be the case if you don’t intentionally approach content creation.

What do I mean by this? Here are seven questions you should be able to answer before writing any new piece of content (based on data from the Content Marketing Institute’s 2018 B2B Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends Report):

Question 1: Will I make this content fact-based and credible?

Almost all (94%) of marketers take this into consideration when creating content. Always quantify your statements with fact-based details. Also understand the delicate balance between absolute and supposing statements. In the wrong context, absolute statements can appear harsh and unwelcoming. In this same vein, supposing statements can be mistaken for uncertainty (and that can tarnish credibility and thought leadership).

Question 2: How will this content impact the overall experience a person has with my organization?

72% of marketers keep this top of mind when creating content. The goal here is to create content that supports the end-to-end customer journey. So, consider the breadth of every piece of content you create. Just as you might ask yourself how many outfits you can create using one piece of clothing, you should consider how one piece of content can be used across the entire organization. For example: breaking down a white paper into snackable graphics, a sales guide, or FAQ information on your site.

Question 3: Am I prioritizing quality over quantity?

This is a no-brainer, right? Not for the 30% of companies that still don’t prioritize this when creating content. We no longer live in an age of black hat SEO where content is ranked solely based on search engines. You’re writing to actual people, so you need to make sure your content matters to them.

Question 4: Is this content geared toward my audience, or my brand?

Is this content self-serving, even inadvertently? Be honest with yourself. Your content should first and foremost deliver real customer value and solve real issues they face.

Question 5: Is this content differentiated from my competitors’ content?

Surprisingly, almost 40% of companies don’t prioritize this when creating content. Before you write any piece of content, do a quick Google search to see if your competitors have tackled the same subject. If yes, how did they go about doing so? The goal is to push the limits of possibility with your content, not regurgitate the same information. Otherwise, what value are you really delivering?

Question 6: Is this content being provided to the right person at the right time?

This is similarly a struggle for 40% of companies today. Just as you should contextualize your content, you should contextualize its delivery. Consider, for example, a pop-up message that a prospect sees after visiting a product page that promotes a related white paper (“How One Brand Used [Product Name] to Save Millions”). The goal is to maximize value while keeping the conversation going.

Question 7: Is this content part of a consistent content creation plan?

As mentioned above, consider the breadth of this piece of content. How can you consistently create more content from it? Do you plan to create more content after? Is this piece of content part of your brand’s larger narrative? Remember that your content strategy should have a red thread. Only 58% of companies currently prioritize this.

Okay, now you’re ready to start writing. And…go!

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