Content Marketing Checklist: Your Go-To Checklist for Content
Worried that you’re skipping some important steps when you create your content?
When it comes to creating valuable content for your company’s website, you want to ensure that everything you publish is top-notch. If you want to write consistent, high-quality content, a content marketing checklist can help guide you.
On this page, we’ll provide you a checklist for content marketing so you can continuously publish content that you’re proud of.
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Pre-content creation checklist
Before we dive into the content marketing strategy checklist, first, you need to check off the following items.
[ ] Identify your target audience and what they need
Before you start creating content, you need to make sure that you know who you want to target. Your content marketing plan will fall flat if you don’t create content that specifically caters to those who need your products or services.
So, before you start, look at your current customer list. Who’s most likely to engage with your brand, buy your products, or use your services?
You’ll want to compile a list of common traits amongst your audience, including:
- Buying habits
You can compile these traits and use them to create different buyer personas. Buyer personas are fictional representations of real customers that you can use to help you target new customers.
Once you identify your target audience, you need to identify their needs and what they want to accomplish. Understanding these needs will help you create beneficial content that will inform them, delight them, and bring them one step closer to becoming a paying customer.
So, for example, if you run a clothing boutique, and you get a lot of questions at your brick and mortar store about fashion advice, you could create content that focuses on tips to create outfits for different seasons.
Or, if you get a lot of questions via email about where your clothing comes from, you could create content that outlines the origin of your clothing.
When you understand what type of information your audience wants, you can provide them with more valuable content.
Instead of waiting for your customers to ask you questions that help you determine the direction of your content, you can also send out surveys and questionnaires.
[ ] Determine who’s working on different aspects of your campaign
Next on the pre-content marketing checklist is determining who will work on different aspects of your campaign. When it comes to creating content, you want to ensure that you set predetermined roles for your marketing team to help you stay organized.
Instead of assigning projects as the need arises, settle on pre-determined roles within your team so that everyone knows their role upfront. So, for example, you could assign one person to focus on blog posts, one team member to focus on videos, and a third member to focus on graphics. That way, when you create content, you know who’s working on each type of content — which helps streamline the process.
You can even take your organization a step further by assigning specific topic types to team members as well. So, for example, you may have three team members writing blog posts. If Team Member A has an exceptional knowledge of fall fashion, you may keep them focused on content about fall fashion.
By creating roles for team members, your content process will go smoothly and feel more organized.
[ ] Make sure your site is in top performance shape
Before you launch your content marketing strategy, it’s a great idea to make sure that your website is in tip-top shape. You want your content to rank in search results and drive more traffic to your page, so it’s a great idea to make sure your site is well-optimized before you ramp-up content production.
So, what should you optimize on your site?
Slow-loading sites can hurt your blog before you even launch your first post. If your website doesn’t load quickly, you’ll deter people from your content and potentially drive them to a competitor’s page instead.
Use a tool like Google PageSpeed Insights to see how quickly your site currently loads. Google will give you suggestions on how to improve your site’s load time so users can access your content quicker.
If you don’t have experience with optimizing the backend of your site, you can invest in page speed services from a digital marketing company.
In addition to having a fast loading site, you need a mobile-friendly website. Many people will engage with your content on mobile devices, and if your site isn’t optimized for mobile, you’ll deter these leads from engaging with your content before they can even read the headline.
To ensure your site is mobile-friendly, you need to integrate responsive design. Responsive design allows your website to adapt to whatever device a reader uses. From tablets to smartphones, your site will adjust to the size of the screen to deliver the best experience.
Content marketing checklist: You go-to checklist for content marketing
Once you have the pre-checklist completed, you can dive into the content marketing checklist. Here’s your go-to checklist for creating content.
[ ] Generate content ideas
To create content, you need to have content ideas, which is why this is first on our content marketing strategy checklist. You want to generate a list of industry-specific content ideas that cater specifically to your marketing personas.
Brainstorming topics within your industry help ensure you’re driving the right traffic for your business. You can generate a list of popular topics in your industry or use a tool like Google Trends to see what’s trending for your industry.
So, for example, you can type in a topic like “fall fashion” and see related search queries and topics to get ideas for content.
You can also see what people are talking about on social media in your industry to get an idea of popular topics. So, for example, you may see that wedding fashion is trending, so you might want to create a relevant video on how to dress as a guest at a wedding.
To help you generate the best results with your content strategy, create a list of relevant content topics to get started.
[ ] Set up a content calendar
Once you have your list of topics, you’ll want to plan when you’re creating content for those topics.
That’s why next on your content marketing checklist is to create a content calendar. A content calendar will help you stay organized and ensure that you know when to create, edit, and publish content.
A content calendar will also ensure you spread out your content over time, so you’re not publishing all your content in the first part of the month and leaving users wanting more by the end of the month.
When you set up a content calendar, you only want to plan content for up to a month. Information can change, as well as trending topics, so if you plan too far in advance, you’ll end up wasting time.
To have a strong content strategy, you need to post content often. A content marketing calendar will help you keep track of when you’re posting content and enable you to identify gaps in your content strategy.
[ ] Find keywords to target with your content
Next on our content marketing checklist is finding relevant keywords to target with your content. Once you have a content topic in mind, you need to conduct keyword research to find related terms to integrate into your page.
Google uses your target keywords to determine what your pages are about and to determine how relevant any one page is for a specific search query. That said, you’ll have a hard time ranking for the keyword “fall fashion” if you don’t use it anywhere in your content.
However, more isn’t always better — especially in the case of keyword usage. You don’t want to keyword stuff, but you do want to include your keywords in places like title tags, meta descriptions, and throughout your content.
Keyword research will help you identify relevant terms to help your content rank in search results for topics that mean the most to your business. You’ll want to choose a core keyword and three to four supplemental keywords.
As you conduct keyword research, you want to focus on long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords contain three or more words, like “fall fashion trends in 2020.”
These keywords are better for your content because they drive more qualified leads for your business. If someone is searching for “fall fashion trends in 2020,” you know exactly what users are trying to find.
On the other hand, if someone searches “fall fashion,” the search intent is less clear, and they could be looking for trends, advice, or fall clothes. When you choose more specific keywords, you help drive more qualified traffic to your page.
By generating a list of keywords for your content, you’ll help your content appear in relevant search results.
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[ ] See what content already exists
When you have a content topic set and your keywords selected, you’ll want to see what content already exists. Knowing what content is already out there surrounding your target topics helps you get an idea of what’s already ranking and what you can do to outperform your competition.
When you have your key term, conduct a quick Google search to see what content exists. You’ll want to look at these different pieces of content and see what information your competitors cover. You can cover similar information, but you’ll also want to find a way to offer something unique to your audience.
So, for example, if you’re writing “fall fashion trends for 2020,” you may notice that your competition only focuses on shirts and pants. So, to help you stand out, you may go beyond the shirts and pants and include shoes and accessories as part of your lineup.
By seeing what already exists for your chosen piece of content, you can help elevate your content and take it a notch above your competitors.
[ ] Pick your content formats
Next on your list of content marketing tasks is to pick your content format. You can use a variety of formats for your content.
Some formats include:
You want to use a variety of formats to keep your content engaging for your audience. Some users will prefer to read blogs over videos and people who want to download guides instead of listening to a podcast. Using a variety of formats keeps your content fresh for your audience.
Additionally, you may find some content works better in a specific format than others. You must look at each content topic individually to figure out the best way to deliver the content.
[ ] Make sure content is readable and understandable
The next item you’ll want to check off your content marketing checklist is your content’s readability. Readability mainly applies to your written content but making your content understandable is critical to all content.
You can produce great content, but it won’t matter if your audience can’t read it or understand it. For that reason, you need to create content that your audience will engage with and enjoy.
First, make sure your content is readable. Making readable content involves tactics like:
- Using headings to break up text on your site and make it skimmable
- Using bulleted lists
- Using images to break up the text
Second, make your content understandable. You can create great content, but if your audience doesn’t understand your content, it will go to waste.
To make your content easy to understand, break up your paragraphs into two or three sentences. It will help make it readable and will also help make it easier for readers to understand your content. If someone reads a 7-sentence paragraph, they probably won’t remember what they read.
Additionally, you’ll want to nix jargon from your content. While jargon makes you appear like an authority in your field, it can be detrimental to your audience if they aren’t experts. You’ll want to go easy on the jargon to ensure your audience understands your content.
As for videos, you want to ensure that the audio is clear so people can understand the content. If you’re using a speaker, make sure they annunciate and again, refrain from using too much jargon.
[ ] Make sure your content is search-engine friendly
When you create content, your content must be ready for search engines. Your audience will find your content in search results, so it’s critical you use search engine optimization (SEO) to optimize your pages to appear in results.
You can create SEO-friendly content by:
- Integrating your core keywords into your content
- Making your title tag and meta description the proper length
- Ensuring your site loads quickly and is mobile-friendly
- Making sure your content matches search intent
- Ensuring your visuals are optimized and scaled
When you create SEO-friendly pages, you’ll help your content rank better in search results and drive more valuable traffic to your content.
[ ] Proof your content
Once you have your content created, the next most crucial thing on your content marketing checklist is to proof your content. You must proof your content to ensure you’re putting out the best possible version for your audience.
If you’re creating written content, you’ll want to take the time to read through it and ensure that the information is accurate and written clearly. You’ll want to have someone else on your team look at the material to give a fresh perspective.
You’ll want to follow a similar process with videos. Have someone watch your videos before publishing to ensure that your video flows smoothly, has great audio, and has a clear picture.
Proofing your content will ensure you’re delivering error-free content to your audience.
[ ] Share your content
You put in all the work to create excellent content, now it’s time to share that content with the world!
You want to share your content with your audience so you can boost traffic to your site and earn new leads for your business.
[ ] Determine the metrics you need to monitor
Once you launch your content, you must monitor it to ensure you’re driving valuable traffic and leads for your business. You want to determine which metrics you’ll follow for success.
You can monitor metrics like:
- Dwell time
- Pages visited
- And more
When you know which metrics you’re tracking, you can start monitoring your content to see if you’re driving the results you desire.
Check everything off your list with WebFX
Now that you have a content marketing checklist, you can see how many content marketing tasks you need to complete to create successful content. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by this list, you can rely on a content marketing expert to help you with your campaign instead.
At WebFX, we have over a decade of experience in creating valuable content for our clients. Our team of over 250 marketing experts will help you create content that drives results. In the past five years alone, we’ve driven over $2.4 billion in sales and over 6.3 million leads for our clients.