Content marketing success: 8 steps for creating winning content

Content marketing success: 8 steps for creating winning content

11 minute read

Content marketing success: 8 steps for creating winning content

11 minute read

Content marketing success: 8 steps for creating winning content

Catherine McNally

GatherContent Contributor, Writer
When it comes to generating leads, building engagement, and improving customer relationships, content marketing is one of the most powerful tools you can turn to.

Table of contents

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6.
7.
8.

If you’re just building your strategy or already have one, adding a content marketing checklist can greatly benefit you. The content marketing checklist ensures every member of your content team knows which tasks to complete in what order and what they need to do to ensure each piece of content meets quality standards.

Let’s walk through each step of our website content checklist and learn how to use it to increase your sales and engagement.

8-Step content marketing checklist

Use this content marketing checklist to make your content creation process efficient and create great content for every stage of the customer lifecycle:

  1. Understand your audience and their needs
  2. Create or update your content marketing strategy
  3. Map out your inventory with a content audit
  4. Plan out content ideas
  5. Create your content
  6. Optimize your content for UX and SEO
  7. Promote and distribute your content across channels
  8. Analyze content performance and optimize where needed

1. Understand your audience and their needs

Getting to know your target audience is key to creating effective content. And it’s a task you should revisit often, since your audience likely changes over time.

But understanding your audience doesn’t mean you can simply recite back the number of followers you have on TikTok. Instead, you need to dig in and learn more about their needs, pain points, goals, and what motivates them, among other characteristics.

You’ll also want to get a grasp on the words and phrases they use, since speaking their language can help your content reach and resonate with your audience. All of this information helps you create customer personas or a summary of your ideal customer.

Tools to use

  • Surveys: Ask members of your audience to answer open-ended questions to learn their likes, dislikes, industries, pain points, and more.
  • Blog and social post comments: Check for comments on your existing content to gather intel about your audience and questions they may have.
  • Interviews: Chatting with your existing customers is one of the best ways to learn how they make purchasing decisions, their needs, and how they talk about their pain points. Alternatively, you can interview anyone in a customer-facing role, such as your sales or customer support reps, to learn if they’ve gained any of this info from your customers.

2. Create or update your digital marketing strategy

Your content marketing strategy helps you make sense of how people find answers to the pain points your content addresses and what questions they’re asking. Content strategy is a three-pronged approach, says Rebecca Steurer, content strategy director at Critical Mass, in a webinar with GatherContent.

Your strategy should help you organize your content on your site, structure and present content on each page, and ensure each content marketing campaign is properly published and distributed in the right channels.

Your content marketing checklist should include your content strategy, which notes the types of content you should ideally publish for the Attract, Engage, and Delight stages of your customer’s lifecycle.
Source: HubSpot’s inbound marketing strategy highlights different types of content that work best during the Attract, Engage, and Delight stages.

Along with strategically matching the best content with different stages of your customer’s lifecycle, you’ll want to consider whether your audience engages with certain types of content more than others. HubSpot’s latest State of Media & Content Planning report found that survey respondents pay close attention to the following types of content the most:

  • Videos
  • Social media posts
  • News articles
  • Research content
  • Online classes or educational content

Of course, your audience may pay attention to different types of content. This is why it’s critical to get to know them and their preferences in step one.

Tools to use

  • Competitor analysis tools: Dig into your competitor’s strategies by analyzing their website traffic, distribution channels, and how often they publish. Sites like SimilarWeb and Crunchbase can help you uncover this information.
  • Editorial calendar: A key part of any successful content marketing plan is a content calendar, which helps you plan what content gets published and when. An editorial calendar is especially useful for planning content marketing campaigns and email marketing initiatives where you have multiple pieces of content getting created at once.
  • Keyword research tools: Don’t forget, you can use keyword research tools like Semrush and Ahrefs to check out which keywords your competitors are targeting.
  • Content strategy template: Use a template, like this one created by Lagom Strategy founder Liam King, as a jumping-off point. Templates can help you consider strategy angles you might not have thought of at first and help you pull all of the information you need into one cohesive document.

3. Map out your inventory with a content audit

Before you jump ahead of yourself and start planning new content, you should take a look at the content you already have on your website, Facebook, YouTube, and anywhere else you might publish. Auditing your content not only tells you what you’ve already published, but it also helps you flag top-performing content (and under-performing content) as well.

Knowing what your most valuable content is, including which topics and content types hit home with your audience, can help you more strategically plan new content. It also helps you spot content gaps or areas where you need to cover topics more thoroughly or create more content for customers who are ready to make a purchase.

Learn more: How to perform the perfect content audit for your brand

Tools to use

  • Content audit spreadsheet: Using a spreadsheet ensures you consistently log the same criteria and answer the same questions while auditing your content. This can help you compare past audits to see how much progress has been made.
  • Website crawler: A website crawler like Screamingfrog can easily scan your site and pull relevant details for your content audit. Crawlers can also flag issues like broken links, missing metadata, and more.
Good to know: A spreadsheet can keep each content audit accurate and consistent by noting which criteria to track. Download our free content audit spreadsheet template to get a head start and ensure accuracy with built-in formulas.

4. Plan out content ideas

Brainstorming new content ideas can be really exciting, but make sure you don’t plan willy-nilly. Instead, refresh your memory of who your audience is, what they need, their pain points, challenges, and motivations.

Checking back in with your audience’s profile helps you plan out the right content that will attract, engage, and delight them.

One way to do this is to find out where your audience already consumes content and the types of accounts and people they follow. Take a look at some of these accounts' most popular topics, then decide whether a blog post, video, or social post on the same or a similar topic would make sense for your goals.

We searched for the most engaging articles and social posts about the “ethics of AI” and Buzzsumo reported that the top three were articles from NBC News, VentureBeat, and Google.
BuzzSumo lets you discover the most popular social media and blog posts related to your topic or keyword. This can help you pinpoint topics that may also engage your audience.

A word of caution, though—don’t simply copy the same content your audience already engages with. Instead, add to the conversation by providing more data, information, or your company’s unique angle on it.

Tools to use

  • Social media: Check out social accounts your audience already follows to see what types of content and which topics they engage with most.
  • Google Search: Toss your primary keywords into Google and see what competitor content already exists and how you can improve on it.
  • Buzzsumo: See what topics and distribution channels are performing the best for your competitors.
  • Exploding Topics: Keep your eye on industry trends and plan out content around topics that are top of mind for your audience.
  • AnswerThePublic: See what questions people are asking about your primary keywords or topics, then plan content that provides the answers.
  • Quora: Search for your topic on Quora and you’re bound to find not only questions but also answers that may spark some content ideas.

5. Create your content

Next, it’s time to revisit your content strategy to remind yourself of the content types you want to create and the channels where you want to distribute them. Then, pair those content types and channels with the ideas you brainstormed in step four to create an editorial plan.

This might take the form of a content calendar so your team and any stakeholders know what to expect and when. A content operations platform like GatherContent can help you easily plan and track your content production from idea to draft to stakeholder review.

Content templates can also improve your production efficiency and ensure your editorial team is meeting quality standards. A good content template also takes into consideration your audience, search engine optimization (SEO) research, and the goal of the content.

Tools to use

  • GatherContent: Keep your content production flowing smoothly—even when outside teams are involved—with a content operations platform like GatherContent.
  • Google Docs: A Microsoft Word alternative, Google Docs makes writing content and collaborating easy. It’s also widely used, so if you’re writing for clients, you don’t need to worry about changing document extensions so they can be opened.
  • Grammarly: Give your content a quick edit with Grammarly, a free tool that highlights typos and suggests grammatically correct alternatives to words and phrases.
  • Copyscape: Plagiarized content is an easy way to tarnish your reputation and ruin your search engine rankings. Don’t risk it, and use a tool like Copyscape to double-check the integrity of your articles.
  • Content templates: Keep everyone on the same page with content templates that identify goals, audience needs, and even on-page elements.

6. Optimize your content for UX and SEO

You can make your content more engaging to your audience by optimizing it for user experience (UX) and SEO.

Optimizing for UX ensures your content is accessible by all and provides an easy, comfortable experience. It involves best practices like:

  • Understanding how people read online
  • Ensuring your on-page text is legible
  • Making sure your copy uses plain language and targets an 8th-grade reading level
  • Using an inverted-pyramid writing style where the main point is at the top
  • Adding images and diagrams to help explain complex topics
  • Not teasing readers but instead meeting their expectations right away
A screenshot of an Apple Watch product page shows how the reader scanned in a “lawn-mower pattern,” moving from left to right, then dropping down a line and scanning right to left.
Source: Nielsen Norman Group studies found that people read in a “lawn-mower pattern” when content is presented in distinct groups. This screenshot of an Apple Watch product page shows how the reader scanned from left to right, then dropped down a line and scanned right to left.

To optimize for SEO, you should first understand the intent associated with the keywords you want your content to rank for. The intent could be informational, transactional, or navigational—sometimes also referred to as low, medium, and high intent.

It’s also a good idea to scope out your competition to see what type of content they’ve created to target the same keywords. Then, consider what your audience wants from content written around this topic and keywords.

Optimizing for SEO generally involves these best practices:

  • Writing for people, not search engines
  • Using target keywords in headlines and subheads
  • Avoiding keyword stuffing, or adding keywords where they don’t feel natural
  • Adding links to other related content on your site
  • Using metadata to tell Google what your content is about

Tools to use

  • On-page SEO checklist: An on-page SEO checklist can help you build and optimize content for search engines. It usually includes recommendations for keywords, headlines, links, and readability.
  • Hemingway App: This free tool analyzes your content and assigns it a readability level. To keep your articles easily understandable, you should aim for an 8th-grade reading level.
  • Clearscope: An SEO content analysis tool like Clearscope can help you spot missing keywords, FAQs to add, and subtopics that competitor content covers so your articles are ready to rank at the top.
  • Hotjar: A heatmap tool like Hotjar can show you where site visitors are scanning, reading, and clicking on your content. It can help you move certain elements around to provide a better UX.
  • SEO research tools: Researching your target keywords with tools like Ahrefs and Semrush can also uncover related keywords and topics to cover in your current article or another. They can also help you identify your top competitors for certain keywords and analyze their SEO strategy for ideas.

7. Promote and distribute your content across channels

Now it’s time to get your content in front of your audience. Your content strategy should tell you which channels to publish to, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to create all-new content for each channel.

Repurposing your content involves shaping it into a format that works best for that specific channel. This could involve turning your Twitter thread into a blog post or taking snippets of your full-length video and remaking them into a YouTube short.

You should also aim to promote your new content on other channels. For example, once you’ve published a new blog post, share some of the key takeaways on LinkedIn and then link to the post and invite people to read more.

Tools to use

  • Content management system (CMS): A good CMS helps you publish and manage your website content. One of the most popular, WordPress, can be customized with thousands of plugins and themes.
  • Social media: Be sure you focus your social media efforts on the platforms where your audience already is. A social media scheduling tool, like Buffer or Hootsuite, can help you match your social posts to your content calendar.
  • YouTube: If you’re creating video content, YouTube is the place to be. You might even repurpose some of your video content as YouTube shorts or publish it on other video-friendly sites like TikTok.
  • External content platforms: Don’t discount other content platforms like Reddit and Medium. Some are set up to allow you to repost your content there with little to no alterations, while others may require some strategy to ensure your content (or a link to it) doesn’t feel overly promotional or sales-y.

8. Analyze content performance and optimize where needed

You should continue checking on your content even after you publish it to make sure it meets any performance goals you set. Additionally, analyzing your content’s performance can help you spot what works well and what doesn’t work.

Looking at metrics like the following can help you pinpoint whether your blog post content, structure, and other elements are effective:

  • Organic sessions
  • Bounce rate
  • Time on page
  • Click-through rate (CTR)
  • Conversion rate

Once you’ve identified content that performs well, take note of the reasons why and adjust your content marketing strategy as needed. This might include changing the types of content you produce, the formats you use (such as listicles, how-to guides, or videos), and the social media platforms and email lists where you promote your content.

Ideally, you’ll analyze and optimize your content on a consistent schedule. A content operations tool like GatherContent can help with this by automatically scheduling post-publishing reviews and optimizations in your workflow.

A screenshot of GatherContent’s workflow tools that help you manage and schedule content reviews and optimizations after it’s published.
Your content workflow should include steps for review and optimization after your content is published. This may be as soon as three months after an article is published, and you may need to revisit pillar page content repeatedly to continuously optimize it.

Tools to use

  • Google Analytics: Probably the most popular website analytics tool, Google Analytics helps you analyze your content’s performance with almost every metric imaginable. While the interface may be a bit daunting and requires a steep learning curve, getting to know Google Analytics inside and out can help you gain valuable insights about your content.
  • Adobe Analytics: Similar to Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics lets you dig into dozens of metrics and also alerts you to any anomalies.
  • Hotjar: We mentioned Hotjar before, but its heatmaps can also help you spot potential performance problems or successes. For example, you can see whether a CTA button is grabbing visitors’ attention—or not.
  • Looker: If Google Analytics or another platform isn’t giving you the ability to dig into your data like you want to, Looker might be a better alternative. It allows you to set up automated reports and data visualizations by connecting to any database that supports SQL queries.

By following this content marketing checklist, you can help your editorial team keep your content pipeline full of high-quality content that’s optimized for your business goals. Along with helping you plan, create, and distribute your content, this checklist will help you keep your team organized and focused.

Just remember that content marketing is a long-term strategy, and it may change over time. That’s why analysis and optimization is a critical step in this checklist—and why you should modify this checklist to match your company’s production process and goals.

If you’re just building your strategy or already have one, adding a content marketing checklist can greatly benefit you. The content marketing checklist ensures every member of your content team knows which tasks to complete in what order and what they need to do to ensure each piece of content meets quality standards.

Let’s walk through each step of our website content checklist and learn how to use it to increase your sales and engagement.

8-Step content marketing checklist

Use this content marketing checklist to make your content creation process efficient and create great content for every stage of the customer lifecycle:

  1. Understand your audience and their needs
  2. Create or update your content marketing strategy
  3. Map out your inventory with a content audit
  4. Plan out content ideas
  5. Create your content
  6. Optimize your content for UX and SEO
  7. Promote and distribute your content across channels
  8. Analyze content performance and optimize where needed

1. Understand your audience and their needs

Getting to know your target audience is key to creating effective content. And it’s a task you should revisit often, since your audience likely changes over time.

But understanding your audience doesn’t mean you can simply recite back the number of followers you have on TikTok. Instead, you need to dig in and learn more about their needs, pain points, goals, and what motivates them, among other characteristics.

You’ll also want to get a grasp on the words and phrases they use, since speaking their language can help your content reach and resonate with your audience. All of this information helps you create customer personas or a summary of your ideal customer.

Tools to use

  • Surveys: Ask members of your audience to answer open-ended questions to learn their likes, dislikes, industries, pain points, and more.
  • Blog and social post comments: Check for comments on your existing content to gather intel about your audience and questions they may have.
  • Interviews: Chatting with your existing customers is one of the best ways to learn how they make purchasing decisions, their needs, and how they talk about their pain points. Alternatively, you can interview anyone in a customer-facing role, such as your sales or customer support reps, to learn if they’ve gained any of this info from your customers.

2. Create or update your digital marketing strategy

Your content marketing strategy helps you make sense of how people find answers to the pain points your content addresses and what questions they’re asking. Content strategy is a three-pronged approach, says Rebecca Steurer, content strategy director at Critical Mass, in a webinar with GatherContent.

Your strategy should help you organize your content on your site, structure and present content on each page, and ensure each content marketing campaign is properly published and distributed in the right channels.

Your content marketing checklist should include your content strategy, which notes the types of content you should ideally publish for the Attract, Engage, and Delight stages of your customer’s lifecycle.
Source: HubSpot’s inbound marketing strategy highlights different types of content that work best during the Attract, Engage, and Delight stages.

Along with strategically matching the best content with different stages of your customer’s lifecycle, you’ll want to consider whether your audience engages with certain types of content more than others. HubSpot’s latest State of Media & Content Planning report found that survey respondents pay close attention to the following types of content the most:

  • Videos
  • Social media posts
  • News articles
  • Research content
  • Online classes or educational content

Of course, your audience may pay attention to different types of content. This is why it’s critical to get to know them and their preferences in step one.

Tools to use

  • Competitor analysis tools: Dig into your competitor’s strategies by analyzing their website traffic, distribution channels, and how often they publish. Sites like SimilarWeb and Crunchbase can help you uncover this information.
  • Editorial calendar: A key part of any successful content marketing plan is a content calendar, which helps you plan what content gets published and when. An editorial calendar is especially useful for planning content marketing campaigns and email marketing initiatives where you have multiple pieces of content getting created at once.
  • Keyword research tools: Don’t forget, you can use keyword research tools like Semrush and Ahrefs to check out which keywords your competitors are targeting.
  • Content strategy template: Use a template, like this one created by Lagom Strategy founder Liam King, as a jumping-off point. Templates can help you consider strategy angles you might not have thought of at first and help you pull all of the information you need into one cohesive document.

3. Map out your inventory with a content audit

Before you jump ahead of yourself and start planning new content, you should take a look at the content you already have on your website, Facebook, YouTube, and anywhere else you might publish. Auditing your content not only tells you what you’ve already published, but it also helps you flag top-performing content (and under-performing content) as well.

Knowing what your most valuable content is, including which topics and content types hit home with your audience, can help you more strategically plan new content. It also helps you spot content gaps or areas where you need to cover topics more thoroughly or create more content for customers who are ready to make a purchase.

Learn more: How to perform the perfect content audit for your brand

Tools to use

  • Content audit spreadsheet: Using a spreadsheet ensures you consistently log the same criteria and answer the same questions while auditing your content. This can help you compare past audits to see how much progress has been made.
  • Website crawler: A website crawler like Screamingfrog can easily scan your site and pull relevant details for your content audit. Crawlers can also flag issues like broken links, missing metadata, and more.
Good to know: A spreadsheet can keep each content audit accurate and consistent by noting which criteria to track. Download our free content audit spreadsheet template to get a head start and ensure accuracy with built-in formulas.

4. Plan out content ideas

Brainstorming new content ideas can be really exciting, but make sure you don’t plan willy-nilly. Instead, refresh your memory of who your audience is, what they need, their pain points, challenges, and motivations.

Checking back in with your audience’s profile helps you plan out the right content that will attract, engage, and delight them.

One way to do this is to find out where your audience already consumes content and the types of accounts and people they follow. Take a look at some of these accounts' most popular topics, then decide whether a blog post, video, or social post on the same or a similar topic would make sense for your goals.

We searched for the most engaging articles and social posts about the “ethics of AI” and Buzzsumo reported that the top three were articles from NBC News, VentureBeat, and Google.
BuzzSumo lets you discover the most popular social media and blog posts related to your topic or keyword. This can help you pinpoint topics that may also engage your audience.

A word of caution, though—don’t simply copy the same content your audience already engages with. Instead, add to the conversation by providing more data, information, or your company’s unique angle on it.

Tools to use

  • Social media: Check out social accounts your audience already follows to see what types of content and which topics they engage with most.
  • Google Search: Toss your primary keywords into Google and see what competitor content already exists and how you can improve on it.
  • Buzzsumo: See what topics and distribution channels are performing the best for your competitors.
  • Exploding Topics: Keep your eye on industry trends and plan out content around topics that are top of mind for your audience.
  • AnswerThePublic: See what questions people are asking about your primary keywords or topics, then plan content that provides the answers.
  • Quora: Search for your topic on Quora and you’re bound to find not only questions but also answers that may spark some content ideas.

5. Create your content

Next, it’s time to revisit your content strategy to remind yourself of the content types you want to create and the channels where you want to distribute them. Then, pair those content types and channels with the ideas you brainstormed in step four to create an editorial plan.

This might take the form of a content calendar so your team and any stakeholders know what to expect and when. A content operations platform like GatherContent can help you easily plan and track your content production from idea to draft to stakeholder review.

Content templates can also improve your production efficiency and ensure your editorial team is meeting quality standards. A good content template also takes into consideration your audience, search engine optimization (SEO) research, and the goal of the content.

Tools to use

  • GatherContent: Keep your content production flowing smoothly—even when outside teams are involved—with a content operations platform like GatherContent.
  • Google Docs: A Microsoft Word alternative, Google Docs makes writing content and collaborating easy. It’s also widely used, so if you’re writing for clients, you don’t need to worry about changing document extensions so they can be opened.
  • Grammarly: Give your content a quick edit with Grammarly, a free tool that highlights typos and suggests grammatically correct alternatives to words and phrases.
  • Copyscape: Plagiarized content is an easy way to tarnish your reputation and ruin your search engine rankings. Don’t risk it, and use a tool like Copyscape to double-check the integrity of your articles.
  • Content templates: Keep everyone on the same page with content templates that identify goals, audience needs, and even on-page elements.

6. Optimize your content for UX and SEO

You can make your content more engaging to your audience by optimizing it for user experience (UX) and SEO.

Optimizing for UX ensures your content is accessible by all and provides an easy, comfortable experience. It involves best practices like:

  • Understanding how people read online
  • Ensuring your on-page text is legible
  • Making sure your copy uses plain language and targets an 8th-grade reading level
  • Using an inverted-pyramid writing style where the main point is at the top
  • Adding images and diagrams to help explain complex topics
  • Not teasing readers but instead meeting their expectations right away
A screenshot of an Apple Watch product page shows how the reader scanned in a “lawn-mower pattern,” moving from left to right, then dropping down a line and scanning right to left.
Source: Nielsen Norman Group studies found that people read in a “lawn-mower pattern” when content is presented in distinct groups. This screenshot of an Apple Watch product page shows how the reader scanned from left to right, then dropped down a line and scanned right to left.

To optimize for SEO, you should first understand the intent associated with the keywords you want your content to rank for. The intent could be informational, transactional, or navigational—sometimes also referred to as low, medium, and high intent.

It’s also a good idea to scope out your competition to see what type of content they’ve created to target the same keywords. Then, consider what your audience wants from content written around this topic and keywords.

Optimizing for SEO generally involves these best practices:

  • Writing for people, not search engines
  • Using target keywords in headlines and subheads
  • Avoiding keyword stuffing, or adding keywords where they don’t feel natural
  • Adding links to other related content on your site
  • Using metadata to tell Google what your content is about

Tools to use

  • On-page SEO checklist: An on-page SEO checklist can help you build and optimize content for search engines. It usually includes recommendations for keywords, headlines, links, and readability.
  • Hemingway App: This free tool analyzes your content and assigns it a readability level. To keep your articles easily understandable, you should aim for an 8th-grade reading level.
  • Clearscope: An SEO content analysis tool like Clearscope can help you spot missing keywords, FAQs to add, and subtopics that competitor content covers so your articles are ready to rank at the top.
  • Hotjar: A heatmap tool like Hotjar can show you where site visitors are scanning, reading, and clicking on your content. It can help you move certain elements around to provide a better UX.
  • SEO research tools: Researching your target keywords with tools like Ahrefs and Semrush can also uncover related keywords and topics to cover in your current article or another. They can also help you identify your top competitors for certain keywords and analyze their SEO strategy for ideas.

7. Promote and distribute your content across channels

Now it’s time to get your content in front of your audience. Your content strategy should tell you which channels to publish to, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to create all-new content for each channel.

Repurposing your content involves shaping it into a format that works best for that specific channel. This could involve turning your Twitter thread into a blog post or taking snippets of your full-length video and remaking them into a YouTube short.

You should also aim to promote your new content on other channels. For example, once you’ve published a new blog post, share some of the key takeaways on LinkedIn and then link to the post and invite people to read more.

Tools to use

  • Content management system (CMS): A good CMS helps you publish and manage your website content. One of the most popular, WordPress, can be customized with thousands of plugins and themes.
  • Social media: Be sure you focus your social media efforts on the platforms where your audience already is. A social media scheduling tool, like Buffer or Hootsuite, can help you match your social posts to your content calendar.
  • YouTube: If you’re creating video content, YouTube is the place to be. You might even repurpose some of your video content as YouTube shorts or publish it on other video-friendly sites like TikTok.
  • External content platforms: Don’t discount other content platforms like Reddit and Medium. Some are set up to allow you to repost your content there with little to no alterations, while others may require some strategy to ensure your content (or a link to it) doesn’t feel overly promotional or sales-y.

8. Analyze content performance and optimize where needed

You should continue checking on your content even after you publish it to make sure it meets any performance goals you set. Additionally, analyzing your content’s performance can help you spot what works well and what doesn’t work.

Looking at metrics like the following can help you pinpoint whether your blog post content, structure, and other elements are effective:

  • Organic sessions
  • Bounce rate
  • Time on page
  • Click-through rate (CTR)
  • Conversion rate

Once you’ve identified content that performs well, take note of the reasons why and adjust your content marketing strategy as needed. This might include changing the types of content you produce, the formats you use (such as listicles, how-to guides, or videos), and the social media platforms and email lists where you promote your content.

Ideally, you’ll analyze and optimize your content on a consistent schedule. A content operations tool like GatherContent can help with this by automatically scheduling post-publishing reviews and optimizations in your workflow.

A screenshot of GatherContent’s workflow tools that help you manage and schedule content reviews and optimizations after it’s published.
Your content workflow should include steps for review and optimization after your content is published. This may be as soon as three months after an article is published, and you may need to revisit pillar page content repeatedly to continuously optimize it.

Tools to use

  • Google Analytics: Probably the most popular website analytics tool, Google Analytics helps you analyze your content’s performance with almost every metric imaginable. While the interface may be a bit daunting and requires a steep learning curve, getting to know Google Analytics inside and out can help you gain valuable insights about your content.
  • Adobe Analytics: Similar to Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics lets you dig into dozens of metrics and also alerts you to any anomalies.
  • Hotjar: We mentioned Hotjar before, but its heatmaps can also help you spot potential performance problems or successes. For example, you can see whether a CTA button is grabbing visitors’ attention—or not.
  • Looker: If Google Analytics or another platform isn’t giving you the ability to dig into your data like you want to, Looker might be a better alternative. It allows you to set up automated reports and data visualizations by connecting to any database that supports SQL queries.

By following this content marketing checklist, you can help your editorial team keep your content pipeline full of high-quality content that’s optimized for your business goals. Along with helping you plan, create, and distribute your content, this checklist will help you keep your team organized and focused.

Just remember that content marketing is a long-term strategy, and it may change over time. That’s why analysis and optimization is a critical step in this checklist—and why you should modify this checklist to match your company’s production process and goals.

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