The Ultimate Collection Of
Content Creation Checklists For Getting Things Done
If you’re an infoproduct creator, online marketer, blogger, author or other online business owner, then you’re going to need to create ongoing content to serve your audience.
Whether you’re creating free content, paid content, short content, long content or anything in between, this checklist will serve as an overview of the overall steps you will need to complete.
SIDEBAR: The remaining checklists in the Content Completed package will unpack these 5 basic steps in greater detail and will also provide additional setup and support steps for a thorough walk through of everything related to creating content, from content not yet started to content completed.
Of course, not just any content will do. It needs to be GOOD content – something useful, something engaging, and something your audience wants.
How do you create this sort of in-demand, helpful content? By following this simple five-step process:
• Step 1: Choose a Topic
• Step 2: Create Your Outline
• Step 3: Craft Your Content
• Step 4: Call Readers to Action
• Step 5: Convey Benefits
Let’s walk through the steps…
Step 1: Choose a Topic
In order to choose a topic, you need to do the following:
1. Pick your goal. For example, do you want your readers to buy a product when they’re done reading? Join a mailing list? Register for a webinar? Share your content? Take action on what they just learned? Make progress toward their desired outcome? Pick one primary goal and then move on to the next step.
2. Select an in-demand topic. Here you need to do your market research to figure out what your audience wants. A good way to do this is to find out what they’re already buying. If people are buying products on a topic, they’ll likely be interested in reading about them on your blog or elsewhere.
TIP: Go to marketplaces such as ClickBank.com, Amazon.com and JVZoo.com and search for your niche keywords – then check what topics are selling well.
3. Choose the right format. What sort of content best fits your needs? A how to article, a FAQ, a tips article, etc.? Let me share with you a typical example…
You’re selling a dieting guide. You do your market research and find out that people are really interested in getting rid of belly fat. You then choose to create an article such as “10 Tips for Boosting Your Metabolism to Burn More Belly Fat.”
Step 2: Create Your Outline
Your next step is to outline and organize the talking points for your content. How you do this depends on what content format you chose. Here are three different outlines to use:
1. Chronological outline, which is for step-by-step content. This works for how-to tutorials, case studies and other similar process-oriented pieces.
2. Complexity outline, which is when you order content from easiest to more difficult. This works for content in the form of tips, FAQs and other list-oriented pieces.
3. Categorical outline, which is where you group information by categories. For example, if you create an article with social media marketing tips, you might create three groupings: Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. The key here is to...
Create as detailed of an outline as possible, which will make the writing easier. You’ll want to first brainstorm information you’d like to include in your content and then research the topic to pick up extra talking points. Once you’ve got a detailed outline in place, then move on to the next step…
Step 3: Craft Your Content
Now you need to craft your content in a way that keeps people engaged and naturally leads to your call to action.
• First, let’s talk about creating engaging content. Avoid stuffy “textbook style” content or trying to impress people with your big words. Instead, create content that an 8th or 9th grader could easily read and use a friendly tone as if you were speaking to a friend.
• Secondly, provide at least one piece of unique content if possible. Share a unique tip or just present the information in a unique way. Take a look at this lesson as an example, where I’ve used alliteration – each of the five steps of this process starts with the letter “C.”
• Finally, develop your content to lead to the CTA (call to action). For example, if you’re preselling an offer, then create content that’s useful (to help solve part of a problem), yet incomplete (so that you can promote a related paid offer for additional help).
Let me give you a couple of examples of this last point....
1. An article sharing dieting tips is useful, but readers need to purchase the paid offer (a diet guide) to get the full details on how to lose the weight and keep it off.
2. An article providing an overview of the steps for writing a sales letter is useful, but readers need to purchase the copywriting course to get in-depth training for each of the steps mentioned.
Step 4: Call Readers to Action
In Step 1, you chose a goal for your content. Now you need to encourage people to take your desired action by inserting a call to action. This is where you tell people what to do next. E.G., “If you liked these tips for burning belly fat, then you’re going to
want to download this free set of fat-burning meal plans and recipes. This set makes it both easy and delicious to lose weight! Click here to claim this offer now…”
Step 5: Convey Benefits
Your final step is to convey the benefits of your content by creating an appealing title that promises help for solving a problem, reaching a goal or enjoying an interest. For example:
• [Number] Secrets of [Getting a Benefit]. E.G. “3 Secrets for Rapid Fat Loss – Even If You’re Over 40.”
• How to [Get a Benefit] In Just [Short Amount of Time or Small Number of Steps]. E.G., “How to Double Your Conversion Rate
With a Five-Minute Tweak.”
• [Number] [Type of] Tips for [Getting a Benefit]. E.G., “17 Homeschooling Tips for Transforming Your Kitchen Table Into a Fun
and Effective Learning Environment.”
NOTE: Be sure to be truthful in your titles, offering “hope, not hype.”
These five basic steps will help you create just about any kind of content that you can use to generate traffic, build relationships, presell offers, and generate direct sales as you provide real help for your audience’s wants and needs.
In the coming checklists, we’ll break all these tasks down even further into simple steps you can take every day to grow your business with content.
Before you sit down to write a single word on your next piece of content, you need to set a goal for the content. That way, you can craft the content around achieving that goal.
How do you set these goals? That’s what you’re about to find out. Let’s get started…
Step 1: Consider the Big Picture
Before you pick a goal for an individual piece of content, you’ll want to first review your overall goals for your business and your content strategy. That way, you can ensure that your individual pieces of content do indeed support your overall goals.
Ask yourself these questions:
• What do I hope to accomplish with my overall content strategy?
• Who do I want to help with my business and content?
• What type of content will best help me achieve this goal?
• Where should I post this content?
In other words, you want to determine who you will help and how you will help them.
For example, your overall business (and content) purpose might be to help single moms live balanced, empowered lives (while generating income for yourself).
The key here is that you need to be specific with your goals.
For example, what kind of help will your business provide for these single moms? How many sales do you want to make? How much time can you invest in this endeavor?
Pick measurable, specific and realistic goals for best results. Then move on to the next step…
Step 2: Determine the Goal for this Content
Now that you’ve got a good understanding of your overall goal (i.e., your business and content strategy), you need to decide the goal for the specific piece of content you’re about to create. For example, do you want this content to:
• Generate traffic? If so, how? (E.G., SEO? Viral Traffic? Other?)
• Build your list?
• Presell a product?
• Get people to join a contest?
• Encourage people to join a webinar?
• Get people to fill out a form (such as a quote form)?
• Get people to call your business?
• Establish your expertise?
• Build your brand?
And similar. Select your goal, and then move on to the next step…
Step 3: Select Content That Fits Your Goal
Now that you know your goal, your next step is to determine the best content format to achieve that goal. For example:
• Tips list.
• Single tip.
• Opinion article.
• Resource/gear list.
• Live content (webinar).
• Product review.
• Product comparison.
• Case study.
• Motivational story.
• Direct ad.
• Search engine optimized content.
Example #1: If your goal is to generate viral traffic on social media, you’d likely select a short piece of content such as a meme, tip or quick video.
Example #2: If your goal is to presell a product, then there are two approaches:
1. Direct sales approach. Here you use a promo piece of content, such as a product review or comparison.
2. Indirect sales approach. Here you create “useful, yet incomplete” content. For example, if you’re selling a weight-loss course, then you might offer five weight-loss tips. The content is genuinely useful, but it’s incomplete because it doesn’t completely solve the reader’s entire problem. You can then point them to the course for additional help.
TIP: Be sure to pick a topic that also helps you achieve your goal. You may need to do some market research to be sure this is a topic that your audience really wants.
Pick the format and topic that best fit your goal, and then move on to the next step.
Step 4: Craft Content Around Your Goal
Now that you’ve decided on a goal, format and topic, you can start creating your content. Be sure that you structure your entire content around achieving your goal.
Example #1: If you’re looking to generate sales from your free content for a paid offer, then your free content should include the benefits of
the paid offer.
Example #2: If you’re looking to build your expertise, then be sure your content is “fresh” – it should include a unique angle/approach to
the topic, and/or unique tips or other information that people can’t find anywhere else.
NOTE: Please keep in mind that no matter what the goal is for your business, the goal for your audience is always to provide useful content that will help them solve their problems, reach their goals and/or enjoy their interests.
No matter what your goal is, you’ll want to end the content with a call to action (CTA).
Your CTA should have the following parts for best results:
1. Tell people what to do.
2. Tell people how to take that step.
3. Give people a good reason to act now.
A good reason to act now may take multiple forms:
1. When there is a (real) limited time only offer that would provide additional paid help to your audience. E.G., “This offer ends soon, so grab your copy right now...”
2. When there is a built-in deadline that is important to the audience. E.G., “And do it now, because your wedding day will be here faster than you think...”
3. When there is a legitimate danger to the audience if they don’t act quickly. E.G., “Don’t become a victim who gets scammed or robbed – find out how to protect yourself from con artists and thieves when you travel overseas...”
For example, here is a CTA for joining a list:
Your next step is simple: click here to join the mailing list in order to get “Part 2” of this article. And do it now while you can still get this valuable information for free.
Let me share with you a few other templates you can swipe and use:
Purchase a Product:
If you liked these five tips, then you’re going to love getting your hands on the complete guide to [achieving some result]. Click here to get your copy – and be sure to use coupon code [insert coupon code] to save [$ amount]. But hurry and order now, because this offer expires [insert when it expires].
Join a Contest:
How would you like to win [describe two or three of the top prizes]? It’s easy to enter – just [describe how/what to do]. Click here to enter for your chance to win – and hurry, because this contest ends soon.
Share this Content:
If you loved this content, then you’re going to want to share the smiles with your friends. Click here to share it on Facebook, because you know your friends are going to love this as much as you did.
NOTE: A quick word about “urgency” ... while there is no doubt that you can forcefully call people to action with manipulation and get higher conversions, please don’t do this. Rather than attempting to talk people into something they don’t really need by pushing their internal “fear of missing out” button, give them a compelling reason to make an intelligent decision to buy your product if it’s something they actually need.
Now, let’s wrap this up...
Some marketers push out content just to fill space. Don’t do that. Instead, create content that helps you achieve a goal. You can get started doing this with your very next piece of content by utilizing what you just learned inside this checklist.
The kind of content you’re going to need will vary and include things like lead magnets, paid products, blog posts, guest posts, newsletter content, video content, social media content and so on. That means you will need to come up with a whole lot of topic ideas for all of this content.
The question is, how do you generate all these ideas? That’s what this checklist will help you do. Let’s get started…
Step 1: Check Paid Products
Your first step is to look at paid products – especially popular bestsellers – to help you generate topic ideas. One advantage of this method is that you get to multitask. Not only do you get topic ideas, but you also get to do your market research at the same time. Here’s how to use paid products to generate ideas:
• Look for bestsellers. You can search for your niche keywords on sites such as ClickBank.com, JVZoo.com, Udemy.com and
Amazon.com. Then pay attention to what topics sell well in your niche.
• Browse tables of contents. The idea here is to look at the tables of contents inside popular products in your niche, as each chapter or section may be a potential topic idea.
• Check sales letters. Search your competitors’ sites for infoproducts, and then read the sales letters. Each item in the bulleted list is likely a potential topic idea for you.
• Search Google. Here you search for your niche keywords alongside words such as book, video, membership site, buy, purchase, download and similar. The product as a whole will help you generate topic ideas, plus the table of contents or sales letter will give you even more ideas.
• Read niche magazines. Check the cover articles first for ideas, as these tend to be the most popular topics. Then read the table of contents to generate even more ideas for your next piece of content.
• Check PLR content. Go to sites that sell private label rights content – there you should be able to generate dozens of additional ideas for your own content. Bonus: if you hit upon a topic you really like, you can purchase the PLR and use it to create your content. Important...
Remember, you’re generating IDEAS as you go through all these paid products. In no way will you copy anyone’s work. Rather, you’re just looking for topics to write about (using your own perspective, information and style of teaching).
Step 2: Browse Free Content
The next step is to check free content to generate even more ideas. Check out these ideas:
• Check blogs. Each of your competitors’ blogs can help you generate dozens of ideas. Each post is a potential idea, plus each major point within a post can be a separate topic idea.
• Visit niche groups and forums. Another good place to get ideas is on niche groups (such as Facebook groups) as well as niche forums. View popular posts to get topic ideas. Also check the archives to see what topics come up repeatedly.
• Browse social media. Check your competitors’ pages on Facebook and Twitter, paying particular attention to posts that get a lot of likes, shares and comments.
• Visit YouTube. Insert your niche keywords into the search bar, and you’ll likely get dozens of videos in return. Each video is a potential topic idea, plus you can watch the videos to get even more ideas.
• Check SlideShare.net. Pay particular attention to the most popular presentations.
• Browse Quora.com. Each question on this site provides a potential topic idea, plus each answer will give you even more ideas.
• Subscribe to niche newsletters. Each email you receive could give you at one or more potential topic ideas.
• Check your inbox. Here you check the emails your audience sends to you, such as their questions. Each of these questions is a potential topic idea.
• Run a Google search. Here you can enter a broad search for your niche keywords and see what comes up. Or you can run specific searches, such as: [niche keywords] FAQ. (Each question and answer is a potential topic idea.) Next…
Step 3: Use Keyword Tools
Still another way to uncover topic ideas is to use a keyword tool such as WordTracker.com (or your favorite tool). Simply enter your niche keywords, and the tool will return dozens of results, each of which is a potential topic idea for you.
Step 4: Check Your Content
You can also generate topic ideas by checking your own content on your blog, social media and other platforms. As always, pay particular attention to popular topics (such as ones that get a lot of comments on your blog). Then ask yourself these questions:
• Can you update this piece of content and republish it? Let’s suppose you’ve found an older, outdated piece of content that was popular when you first published it. Can you update the content and republish it on your platforms? For example, if you have a gear list for bloggers that you created five years ago, you can update the list with the latest tools.
• Can you expand on this content? Let’s suppose you have a short blog article. Can you expand on each point in the article to turn it into a report or other longer piece of content?
• Can you turn this content into multiple smaller pieces of content? Let’s suppose you have a blog post that shares ten tips. Each of those ten tips is a potential topic idea, meaning you could turn each tip into its own full-length article.
• Can you change the content into a different format? Let’s say you’ve found a checklist on your blog (like this one). You could
expand on it and turn it into a regular article or a report. Or you might turn a text article into a video, or a video into a text article. Now, let’s wrap this up...
If you follow the steps above – plus use the brainstorming checklist – you’ll easily create a list of more topic ideas than you have time to write about.
Does your product have a target audience? Does it have benefits? Then you can and should explain those benefits to your target audience on a page like this.