Checklists can be a game-changer tool in the hands of your audience

Checklists can be some of the most useful and rewarding kinds of content your marketing team can produce to help and engaje your target audience. When well planned and executed, they have great potential to become high converting and shared by your leads. So in this article we’re gonna check out how you can design a useful checklist and avoid frequent mistakes – therefore making sure you end up with a valuable tool for your visitors.

Three baby steps to start on the right track

The first and obvious check you must tick before you start designing your own checklist is to make sure the checklist you are about to create is useful for your audience. Choose a subject which your audience really needs helps with. Are they trying to figure out a way to reach a hidden treasure you know the map for? Great. Work on that.

Secondly, base your checklist on information you in fact know a lot about. After all, it’s crucial that you know the way to the hidden treasure if you want to draw a map to it, right? Your checklist must show people what they have to do to go from where they are all the way to where they want to be. If positive, go ahead!

Thirdly, master your own field and do your homework. Research, study, talk to others. Be humble enough to question your own knowledge and look for the answers you need.

Checklists Do’s and Don’ts

Keep in mind that checklists are not guides. They are tools designed to help experts into dealing with complex tasks, establishing priorities, checkpoints, making teams work better. They do not intend to make anyone successful on the respective task, without previous knowledge, just by following the steps.

On top of that, have in mind some characteristics of an ineffective checklist:

– It tries to describe every single step and becomes too long, tiresome;
– It’s made of imprecise or irrelevant topics – it turns brains off;
– It’s made without practical knowledge in the area.

And pursue the features of an efficient checklist:

– It’s clear and genuine;
– It’s practical;
– It’s concise and complete.

Note that if you focus on the efficient features of the checklist you are building, you will automatically avoid the ineffective aspects.

The expert’s steps

With these guidelines established, let’s take a look at the 6 steps proposed by the surgeon and writer Atul Gawande’s on his best-seller “The Checklist Manifesto“:

1. Determine a definite scope for the checklist

2. Distinguish “DO-CONFIRM” from “READ-DO” checks:
– DO-CONFIRM: Checks after tasks are done
– READ-DO: Carry out tasks as they are checked off

3. Keep it short. Focus on “killer items”, the steps which are most critical to skip and sometimes overlooked.
– This is the biggest challenge when designing a checklist, balancing briefness and effectiveness.

4. Wording: objective, simple and familiar to professionals

5. Form: ideally suits a single page, free from unnecessary colors, easy to read

6. Test and simulate. Then go back to the start and correct possible gaps or unnecessary steps.

Look for honest feedback

It’s all done and you’re happy with the final result, finally. Ok, that’s great, but you designed a tool for the use of others and you don’t want users to be disappointed or fail on their task because of a drawback on the checklist, right? So keep modest, invite some experts, colleagues and potential users to take a look. Talk to them, listen to their replies and get back to work.

Repeat the cycle as many times as necessary and believe me, it’s worth it. As mentioned at the begining, a well designed, effective checklist can be one the most engaging and rewarding pieces of content on your content library.

Now you know how to do it, get down to work and good luck!