The 10-minute content strategy checklist

One key element of Dan Norris’s Content Machine is the 10-minute content strategy. Designed more for start-ups and those entrepreneurs who have – as he admits of himself – a tendency to “wing it”.

As Norris says: “When you are on your own, you might get by with a ‘make it up as you go approach’. If you want to build a real long-term machine, you need to remove yourself from the process at some point. You need to define a strategy and then build processes around it.”

Essentially there is a need to examine the entire content platform necessary. A breakdown of this strategy, plus worksheet, is provided on Norris’s site. It highlights the current fashion to attach a timespan to achieving what you want (usually in days, sometimes in hours but never in weeks). It also contains some simple suggestions that would help to provide any missing focus to a content campaign. While we wouldn’t necessarily advise you to spend only 10 minutes on a strategy, here is a summary of his plan.


If you are setting out to create a blog or content platform with a steady stream of traffic, what will it look like? What will it be about and who will it reach?


What editorial values will the content be built around and how will they be incorporated? How much of this will come from yourself and how much from the audience?


It could be writing, design or even tone of voice; think about where your inspiration should come from. It might be from your direct competitors or the New Yorker… anywhere.

Strategy comment

If you don’t have a high-level description of your blog, get one now. It can always be refined later. But getting it down on paper will provide a framework for consistency.


How will the blog be different from what is already out there? If you can’t answer this question, clearly and in a sentence, then maybe it’s time to go back a stage and think again.

Unfair advantage

Your business. What is it about your business that gives you an unfair advantage? According to Norris, if you don’t know now it will become clear as people start engaging with your content.


Look at existing influencers within your sector. Establish a connection with the people who are capable of pushing your content to the people you want to read it.

Call to action

You want people to sign up or engage with your blog. But how are you going to encourage them to do this? To start with, think about giveaways such as an e-book or even just a sign-up to an email newsletter. Providing value is the best way to bring people on board.