5 steps to effective content publishing (+ free publishing checklist)

5 steps to effective content publishing (+ free publishing checklist)

6 minute read

5 steps to effective content publishing (+ free publishing checklist)

6 minute read

5 steps to effective content publishing (+ free publishing checklist)

Afoma Umesi

GatherContent Contributor, Writer

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Content publishing is the bread and butter of many marketing teams—after all, 97% of brands using content marketing as part of their marketing strategy. But is your content publishing process effective?

A poor content publishing workflow can lead to small and large mistakes that undermine your content strategy, harm your brand’s reputation, and hinder your content performance.

We’ll take a closer look at what content publishing entails and what you need to do to publish content effectively.

What is content publishing?

Content publishing is the process of preparing written, visual, audio, video, or other marketing content formats to be shared with the public. Content marketers publish content to connect with their target audience, promote their product or service, and drive sales and revenue.

While the most obvious part of content publishing is hitting “publish,” the process starts much earlier to ensure that this new piece of content is of the highest standard. Building a strong content creation strategy is the first step toward publishing content the right way.

How often should brands publish content?

There’s no universally agreed-upon content publication frequency, but it is generally understood that more optimized content leads to better rankings on search engines and more website traffic. Still, there are other factors to keep in mind.

Here’s how Alisa Meredith, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Semrush, puts it:

"It depends on your resources, of course! It also depends on your competition, your industry, and where your leads and sales come from. Frequency is never the most important consideration—quality is."
Alisa Meredith
Senior Product Marketing Manager, Semrush

Ultimately, for most brands, publish quality content at least once a month. If it’s possible to publish 2-4 times monthly, even better. Regardless of how often you decide to publish, the key is to ensure that all published content is of high quality by using a thorough content publishing process.

With high-quality content, brands see improved click-through rates, more social shares, and more conversions than they would if they just published for the sake of publishing.

What do you need to publish content effectively?

We asked a few experts for their must-haves for effectively publishing digital content. Here are some of the most frequently mentioned components of a well-oiled content publishing machine.

Content calendar

An updated content/editorial calendar is essential for effective content publishing. Here’s what Kate Wojewoda-Celinska, Content Manager at Spacelift, says:

"You need to have a content calendar in whichever format you prefer. For me, the most effective are simple tables in Google Sheets. They include a list of upcoming pieces of content with an author and a checklist of completed and upcoming stages. The calendar doesn’t necessarily need to include strict deadlines, but it helps to have everything well organized and easy to work on."
Kate Wojewoda-Celinska
Content Manager, Spacelift

Your content calendar shows which content pieces are in the production queue so you and your team can prepare for them. A content calendar offsets the mental load even for one-person content teams and helps keep you organized.

Screenshot of GatherContent content calendar example. For the month of July, we can see several color-coded tasks listed under each day of the week. The colors correspond to teammate headshots outlined in a matching color, to show the tasks have been assigned to specific people.
GatherContent’s content calendar makes content publishing easier
Meet GatherContent’s Content Calendar: An easy way to stay updated with your content plans. You can sync the content calendar with your work calendar, schedule content, add assignees, color code projects, or filter by personal projects to focus on your tasks alone. Download our free editorial calendar template.

Content optimization process

Once you have a content calendar, the next step is knowing how to optimize content for publishing.

Content optimization is the process of priming content to reach specific goals regarding search engine optimization (SEO), accessibility/user experience, inclusivity, calls to action (CTAs), and overall brand alignment.

Here’s how Will Yang, Head of Growth at Instrumentl, optimizes content for SEO:

"Optimize the content for search engines by including relevant keywords and phrases. For example, if we're writing a blog post about grant writing tips, we'll make sure to include keywords like 'grant writing' and 'tips for grant writing' throughout the post. We use Semrush to find relevant keyword phrases, but there are many other useful SEO tools out there."
Will Yang
Head of Growth, Instrumentl

You can optimize for other goals by:

  • Adding alt text to your visuals for blind or visually impaired users
  • Adding internal links to prior published content
  • Using inclusive, gender-neutral language
  • Varying your CTA formats by using buttons and anchor text

Another great way to speed up content optimization is by using templates. This outlines the flow of each content piece using placeholders so writers can add relevant information such as headings, calls to action, and images in a consistent format.

Style guide

Once content is optimized to meet business goals, the next step is proofreading or reviewing the piece. Most brands rely on an editor and a content or brand style guide to do this.

David Bitton, Co-founder and CMO at DoorLoop, highlights why a style guide matters:

"A defined style guide ensures the consistency of all published content. Readers can become distracted by inconsistent content, which can give the impression that your business doesn't take content seriously. A style guide directs your content team toward a communication style that is distinctive to your company, ensuring that your brand's personality and voice remain consistent."
David Bitton
Co-founder and CMO, DoorLoop

A comprehensive content style guide makes editing content for publishing and flag any inconsistencies easier. However, a style guide should not be too overbearing. Otherwise, it stifles creativity and deters teammates from following it meticulously. An effective style guide is a resource to consult, not just a rulebook to follow.

Content publishing checklist

Everything we’ve covered so far is crucial to publishing content successfully, but it can be easy to lose track of all the to-do’s. Hence, Stephen Jeske, Senior Content Strategist at MarketMuse, recommends having a content publishing checklist.

"I always use a checklist specific to the kinds of content being published (e.g. blog post, video, guide, white papers, etc.). Without a checklist, you run the risk of overlooking the myriad number of details that go along with publication."
Stephen Jeske
Senior Content Strategist, MarketMuse

Human memory is fickle, and we make mistakes even with processes we could run in our sleep. A publishing checklist gives you a second chance to review all the steps and ensure that nothing has been missed.

Good to Know: GatherContent lets you include a publishing checklist for each piece of content so that writers and other teammates in the publishing workflow can confirm that every post fulfills all essential criteria before publishing.

A screenshot of the GatherContent platform's pre-submission checklist. Items include: Double check that you've included all details from the content brief; Check your grammar, spelling, and punctuation with Grammarly; Confirm there's no extra tracking code on internal links; Run your draft through Clearscope in the Google Doc for at least an A-.
Build in a simple publishing checklist on GatherContent

Content distribution plan

After ticking off all the items on your checklist and hitting “Publish,” the next step is content distribution. Whether you're creating podcasts, video content, or blog content, it’s essential to have a content distribution strategy independent of organic traffic and SEO.

Some popular and impactful options include sharing on social media platforms like LinkedIn, TikTok, and Twitter. You can also distribute content to subscribers via email newsletters.

Remember that the best distribution method will vary based on the type of content to be shared. For example, while an ebook might lend itself to use as a lead magnet, a podcast episode may be better distributed as audio snippets on social media or a video upload on YouTube.

Our 15-step content publishing checklist

Ready to publish? We’ve prepared a quick checklist you can reference before you send each article live on your company’s blog. Some of these items may not apply based on your specific content, publishing tools, and publishing guidelines.

  1. Edit for grammar, typos, and brand style
  2. Review post headlines and titles
  3. Add a meta description
  4. Add appropriate URL slug
  5. Design visual assets, if necessary
  6. Check post layout for readability
  7. Align center all images
  8. Add alt text to images
  9. Add internal links to related content (within the new post)
  10. Verify the post's category
  11. Add internal links from pre-existing posts to newly published content
  12. Write social media copy for content distribution (we use click-to-tweet with content snippets)
  13. Set up distribution plan
  14. Preview post
  15. Schedule or publish post

To set up an efficient content publishing workflow, you’ll need to build a content publishing checklist to remind your team of the vital steps. Grab our 15-step content checklist to get started.

Expedite your content publishing workflow with GatherContent

Content creation is inextricably linked to content marketing. But with so many balls in the air, content publishing can quickly become chaotic. A content calendar, style guide, publishing checklist, and content distribution plan will help.

GatherContent makes it easy to set up and build all these components into your content publishing workflow. With our content templates, content calendar, and collaboration capacities, you never have to leave the platform. Our integrations make it easy to publish to a content management system seamlessly.

Wanna give it a go? Sign up for GatherContent.

Content publishing is the bread and butter of many marketing teams—after all, 97% of brands using content marketing as part of their marketing strategy. But is your content publishing process effective?

A poor content publishing workflow can lead to small and large mistakes that undermine your content strategy, harm your brand’s reputation, and hinder your content performance.

We’ll take a closer look at what content publishing entails and what you need to do to publish content effectively.

What is content publishing?

Content publishing is the process of preparing written, visual, audio, video, or other marketing content formats to be shared with the public. Content marketers publish content to connect with their target audience, promote their product or service, and drive sales and revenue.

While the most obvious part of content publishing is hitting “publish,” the process starts much earlier to ensure that this new piece of content is of the highest standard. Building a strong content creation strategy is the first step toward publishing content the right way.

How often should brands publish content?

There’s no universally agreed-upon content publication frequency, but it is generally understood that more optimized content leads to better rankings on search engines and more website traffic. Still, there are other factors to keep in mind.

Here’s how Alisa Meredith, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Semrush, puts it:

"It depends on your resources, of course! It also depends on your competition, your industry, and where your leads and sales come from. Frequency is never the most important consideration—quality is."
Alisa Meredith
Senior Product Marketing Manager, Semrush

Ultimately, for most brands, publish quality content at least once a month. If it’s possible to publish 2-4 times monthly, even better. Regardless of how often you decide to publish, the key is to ensure that all published content is of high quality by using a thorough content publishing process.

With high-quality content, brands see improved click-through rates, more social shares, and more conversions than they would if they just published for the sake of publishing.

What do you need to publish content effectively?

We asked a few experts for their must-haves for effectively publishing digital content. Here are some of the most frequently mentioned components of a well-oiled content publishing machine.

Content calendar

An updated content/editorial calendar is essential for effective content publishing. Here’s what Kate Wojewoda-Celinska, Content Manager at Spacelift, says:

"You need to have a content calendar in whichever format you prefer. For me, the most effective are simple tables in Google Sheets. They include a list of upcoming pieces of content with an author and a checklist of completed and upcoming stages. The calendar doesn’t necessarily need to include strict deadlines, but it helps to have everything well organized and easy to work on."
Kate Wojewoda-Celinska
Content Manager, Spacelift

Your content calendar shows which content pieces are in the production queue so you and your team can prepare for them. A content calendar offsets the mental load even for one-person content teams and helps keep you organized.

Screenshot of GatherContent content calendar example. For the month of July, we can see several color-coded tasks listed under each day of the week. The colors correspond to teammate headshots outlined in a matching color, to show the tasks have been assigned to specific people.
GatherContent’s content calendar makes content publishing easier
Meet GatherContent’s Content Calendar: An easy way to stay updated with your content plans. You can sync the content calendar with your work calendar, schedule content, add assignees, color code projects, or filter by personal projects to focus on your tasks alone. Download our free editorial calendar template.

Content optimization process

Once you have a content calendar, the next step is knowing how to optimize content for publishing.

Content optimization is the process of priming content to reach specific goals regarding search engine optimization (SEO), accessibility/user experience, inclusivity, calls to action (CTAs), and overall brand alignment.

Here’s how Will Yang, Head of Growth at Instrumentl, optimizes content for SEO:

"Optimize the content for search engines by including relevant keywords and phrases. For example, if we're writing a blog post about grant writing tips, we'll make sure to include keywords like 'grant writing' and 'tips for grant writing' throughout the post. We use Semrush to find relevant keyword phrases, but there are many other useful SEO tools out there."
Will Yang
Head of Growth, Instrumentl

You can optimize for other goals by:

  • Adding alt text to your visuals for blind or visually impaired users
  • Adding internal links to prior published content
  • Using inclusive, gender-neutral language
  • Varying your CTA formats by using buttons and anchor text

Another great way to speed up content optimization is by using templates. This outlines the flow of each content piece using placeholders so writers can add relevant information such as headings, calls to action, and images in a consistent format.

Style guide

Once content is optimized to meet business goals, the next step is proofreading or reviewing the piece. Most brands rely on an editor and a content or brand style guide to do this.

David Bitton, Co-founder and CMO at DoorLoop, highlights why a style guide matters:

"A defined style guide ensures the consistency of all published content. Readers can become distracted by inconsistent content, which can give the impression that your business doesn't take content seriously. A style guide directs your content team toward a communication style that is distinctive to your company, ensuring that your brand's personality and voice remain consistent."
David Bitton
Co-founder and CMO, DoorLoop

A comprehensive content style guide makes editing content for publishing and flag any inconsistencies easier. However, a style guide should not be too overbearing. Otherwise, it stifles creativity and deters teammates from following it meticulously. An effective style guide is a resource to consult, not just a rulebook to follow.

Content publishing checklist

Everything we’ve covered so far is crucial to publishing content successfully, but it can be easy to lose track of all the to-do’s. Hence, Stephen Jeske, Senior Content Strategist at MarketMuse, recommends having a content publishing checklist.

"I always use a checklist specific to the kinds of content being published (e.g. blog post, video, guide, white papers, etc.). Without a checklist, you run the risk of overlooking the myriad number of details that go along with publication."
Stephen Jeske
Senior Content Strategist, MarketMuse

Human memory is fickle, and we make mistakes even with processes we could run in our sleep. A publishing checklist gives you a second chance to review all the steps and ensure that nothing has been missed.

Good to Know: GatherContent lets you include a publishing checklist for each piece of content so that writers and other teammates in the publishing workflow can confirm that every post fulfills all essential criteria before publishing.

A screenshot of the GatherContent platform's pre-submission checklist. Items include: Double check that you've included all details from the content brief; Check your grammar, spelling, and punctuation with Grammarly; Confirm there's no extra tracking code on internal links; Run your draft through Clearscope in the Google Doc for at least an A-.
Build in a simple publishing checklist on GatherContent

Content distribution plan

After ticking off all the items on your checklist and hitting “Publish,” the next step is content distribution. Whether you're creating podcasts, video content, or blog content, it’s essential to have a content distribution strategy independent of organic traffic and SEO.

Some popular and impactful options include sharing on social media platforms like LinkedIn, TikTok, and Twitter. You can also distribute content to subscribers via email newsletters.

Remember that the best distribution method will vary based on the type of content to be shared. For example, while an ebook might lend itself to use as a lead magnet, a podcast episode may be better distributed as audio snippets on social media or a video upload on YouTube.

Our 15-step content publishing checklist

Ready to publish? We’ve prepared a quick checklist you can reference before you send each article live on your company’s blog. Some of these items may not apply based on your specific content, publishing tools, and publishing guidelines.

  1. Edit for grammar, typos, and brand style
  2. Review post headlines and titles
  3. Add a meta description
  4. Add appropriate URL slug
  5. Design visual assets, if necessary
  6. Check post layout for readability
  7. Align center all images
  8. Add alt text to images
  9. Add internal links to related content (within the new post)
  10. Verify the post's category
  11. Add internal links from pre-existing posts to newly published content
  12. Write social media copy for content distribution (we use click-to-tweet with content snippets)
  13. Set up distribution plan
  14. Preview post
  15. Schedule or publish post

To set up an efficient content publishing workflow, you’ll need to build a content publishing checklist to remind your team of the vital steps. Grab our 15-step content checklist to get started.

Expedite your content publishing workflow with GatherContent

Content creation is inextricably linked to content marketing. But with so many balls in the air, content publishing can quickly become chaotic. A content calendar, style guide, publishing checklist, and content distribution plan will help.

GatherContent makes it easy to set up and build all these components into your content publishing workflow. With our content templates, content calendar, and collaboration capacities, you never have to leave the platform. Our integrations make it easy to publish to a content management system seamlessly.

Wanna give it a go? Sign up for GatherContent.

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