Content marketing is a crucial part of any business. Creating, publishing, and distributing content needs a detailed plan.
Use this content writing checklist to ensure that your next blog post is properly optimized for readers, search crawlers, and your marketing objectives before you publish it.
Define the purpose
The question you need to answer is the purpose of this piece of content.
You should already have your high-level content strategy and clearly defined goals for your marketing actions.
There are three big-picture business goals for the content published online. You want to assign different content types to a different goal:
- Educational (how-tos, guides, books, worksheets)
- Emotional (curated content on industry trends, relevant infographics, blogs about company culture news)
- Promotional (social media content, case studies, whitepapers)
Check out our Content Marketing Strategy Checklist!
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Research your audience
You should have a clear understanding of who you’re writing for. When you know the exact audience of your content, it’s much easier to be direct with your writing.
Look at what you’ve published already and gather more data by talking to people. Your readers are the best source of topics that will be helpful to your audience.
Tools for starting conversations and gathering data:
- Google forms
- Talk to people
Where you can find ideas for hot and trendy topics:
- Google Trends
Assign the keywords
Doing your keyword research is the first step before writing the content. It’s important for search engines to find your content and for people to see the information they expect.
You should choose the most competitive, high-volume keywords in your niche and assign them to headings.
Your primary keyword should appear at the beginning of the article in the first 100 words of your content. The subheadings should include secondary keywords.
Also, incorporate variations of the keyword that clearly define what to expect with this piece of content.
Choose the title that reflects the topic.
Your page title is one of the most important ranking factors. The users see in search results and the browser window tab when they view the page. Google will show the site name in search results.
This is why you want to put your most competitive, high-volume keywords at the beginning of the title and make sure not to overstuff with keywords.
Your title should be readable, clarify the objective of the content, not be overly stuffed, and be click-worthy. Then, head over to Google and type in the main keyword.
See what is currently ranking and, what words are used, in what order. Then, see if any of the page titles catch your eye.
Make an outline.
Making an outline is probably the most helpful tactic in written content creation.
It’s writing your headings and subheadings first, without the actual content. Think of it as creating a table of contents.
Think about what you want to write about and the style and language of your copy. Then, define the purpose and what kind of questions the content should answer.
You can go to Google, type in your primary keyword and go to “People also ask.” Then, you can transform the questions into your headings.
Make sure the headings match the content style. For example, your headings should be short but cover the topic.
Make sure that your headings and subheadings have assigned relevant keywords.
Write in the right style.
Make sure your language is clear and understandable. Using active voice instead of the passive voice will make your content more actionable.
You should also use the language that attracts the reader.
When you can use gerunds, write short and concise content that is easy to follow.
Your content should be of the best possible quality. However, remember to keep it simple. Don’t use overly complex sentence structure or terminology that may lose readers.
Check your content structure.
How you structure your content and tell the story can be one of the biggest reasons users are not staying on the page very long.
Great web content writing is crafting a great story and properly organizing the information to your visitors’ liking.
Be sure your readers won’t feel like you’re missing steps from heading to heading.
However, digital content should be skimmable, so break up big blocks of text. Use as many paragraphs as you can. The paragraphs should be no longer than 2 or 3 sentences.
Make sure you use the headings from your prepared outline. Don’t steer away from subheadings if you think the body text is too long.
Also, make sure the text is appropriate for the content type. For example, the pillar page should be much longer than supportive pages.
Use pictures and videos to break up the structure of your blog post. Nobody likes a wall of text.
Also, visuals add value to a piece of content. They help to illustrate a point, and they catch attention.
There is no magic number as to how many images you should include. It mostly depends on the article and your reader.
As you have already defined your audience, you should know what images would serve them best. Also, choose images representing your brand to tie all of the elements together.
Remember to make sure you have the right to publish media to avoid copyright infringement with digital photos and videos.
Focus on important information
You should always think about the questions your content should answer.
You should avoid keyword stuffing but make sure you include your assigned keywords in both headings, subheadings, and paragraphs.
Your text should align with the headings, so make sure the paragraphs reflect the headings. Writing hooks should meet readers’ expectations.
Don’t hesitate to use bold or lists to highlight the key points of your post. They are also a great way to hook readers’ attention.
After you write the content, proofread the text. Make sure there are no mistakes in it.
SEO should be your priority when writing content. If no one can find you through a search engine, your efforts will be for nothing.
Make sure your business is seen in organic search and that your on-page SEO and readability are up to snuff.
Look for places where you can backlink to your material (i.e., blog exchanges, internet forums) and add genuine value and relevance.
Internal links within the content will keep a visitor on your site for longer. The longer we can keep a user browsing our site, the better the chances of converting them, becoming a fan, and/or returning again.
When you link to other sites that relate to the topic you covered, it shows search engines that you’re an authority on this topic.
However, you should only link to pieces of content that align with the topic.
Other tips for effective search engine optimization you should:
- Choose one focus keyword.
- Utilize a variety of long-tail keywords.
- Put the focus keyword in your H1 Title and at least once in subheadings.
- Make sure there are internal links in your text.
- Fill in your meta description and include keywords
- SEO URLs should be short and include the primary keyword
There are two maintenance tasks after you publish your content: measuring and updating.
Give yourself at least six months to see which distribution channels perform best.
After this time, you should measure your content performance, considering the goals you specified in your idea generation stage.
Collect all the data about your content’s performance and keep an eye on competitors’ content.
Keep monitoring the relevance of the information in your content and respond to all comments and feedback.
Measure your results
After your piece is published, you must continue to create. You must follow up to see whether or not your material is effective before proceeding with future pieces of content. You must calculate the return on investment (ROI) for your content.
Here are tools that help you monitor your results:
- Google Analytics
When content marketing, it’s important to remember that content is never really done. The content creation process doesn’t end when the content has been published -it ends after you’ve measured and updated your content based on its performance. So, for example, if a piece of content isn’t performing well in organic search traffic but performs well in referral traffic (i.e., a social media campaign), you would update the content to reflect this.