20 Point Content Marketing Project Checklist

How to Keep Your Content Marketing on Track Every Time

Stellar content marketing requires a variety of different elements, many of which may not be handled by the content creator. Use a content marketing checklist to ensure each aspect of the process is covered before it’s published.

Don’t take my word for it. Dr. Atul Gawande, a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, found that well designed checklists improve outcomes. Dr Gawande’s research showed that checklists helped save people’s lives in hospitals by providing a guide to ensure each of the many steps was taken in the correct order.

Here’s a twenty point content marketing checklist to ensure every piece is as good as it can be.

  1. Goal. What do you want this piece of content to achieve relative to your overall content marketing goals and what metrics will you use to measure its success? Remember, it’s critical to plan your metrics at the start.
  2. Audience. Who is the target reader for this piece of content? Create one or more marketing personas as well as social media personas.
  3. Author. Who will be responsible for creating the content? Is it an internal or external resource?
  4. Due date. When will the content be published and promoted? When is the draft needed? Are there any other factors influencing the content publication timeline?
  5. Title/Headline. What’s your hook to pull readers in wherever they’re exposed to your content? Start with a draft title and improve it after you write the piece. Include a keyword if possible.  (Here are some headline tips)
  6. Categories. Where will you file this column? Does this make sense to your readers? Is the column time specific or is it evergreen or only evergreen for specific holidays?
  7. Content type. What type of content are you develop? Is it an article, tweets, etc? What format details are known such as is it a list, interview, roundup or opinion piece?
  8. Keywords. What are the one or two keyword phrases you’ll focus on in the content? (Here are tips to optimize your content for search.)
  9. Links. What links are you planning to use on your blog or website? Do these drive readers to take actions towards your goal? Is your landing page and related sales process streamlined to achieve your goal? If not, this probably needs rethinking. Also, link out to two or more sources.
  10. Branding. How will you integrate your 360° brand into the content? What voice will be used? Is special formatting or language needed?
  11. Story. Does your content integrate one of your organization’s stories? If so, what information is needed to support this tale? 
  12. Photo/Image. Are there photographs, special graphics or images to be used? If so, who will create them? Have you ensured that you have the rights to use the images? Are they optimized for search?
  13. Placement. Where will the content be published initially? Will it be published on owned media such as your website or blog? How will it be distributed via other channels such as email, RSS and social media?
  14. Related promotion. Does your content require additional supporting advertising? If so, what’s needed? Where’s the budget for it and who will be responsible for making the media buys and other details?
  15. Other additions. Is there anything needed for this specific piece of content?
  16. Content reuse. Have you considered future uses of the content in different formats or for other target segments? Will the content need regular updates? Here’s 56 ways you can reuse your content marketing.
  17. Call-to-action. What do you want readers to do once they read or watched your content? If you don’t give them a contextually relevant call-to-action, there’s a good chance they won’t do anything.
  18. Metrics. Have you incorporated a means to track results from your content marketing efforts? If not, you won’t be able to measure any more than the basics.
  19. Copyediting. Who’ll check the content for clarity and other language issues? Who will fact check the technical details?
  20. Tech support. Once your content is copyedited and uploaded, there are often finishing touches that need to be added or modified.

While the members of your content marketing team know your content marketing processes, it’s useful to follow a checklist to ensure that you haven’t missed any critical steps and have the best piece possible.

Is there anything else that you’d add to this content marketing checklist? If so, what would you add and why?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen


P.S. This article is dedicated to my Content Marketing 101 Class at Content Marketing World 2012.

Here are some related content marketing articles you may find useful.

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/elsie/178565914/s

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  • Manuela M. Matos

    Very good advice, Heidi. Thank you!

  • Pachoman

    I really like the way you take difficult concepts and put them in a simple way!