Marketing Checklists: How To Complete Work Right In The First Iteration (Examples & Templates)

Marketing checklist graphic - eggs, butter, flour, bowl and listWhy are marketing checklists important? The answer is simple: They work. Here’s Atul Gawande, author of The Checklist Manifesto, explaining how effective checklists are for ensuring work gets completed right the first time, every time (using surgery as an example): If checklists are good enough for surgeons to prevent people from dying during operations, then checklists are good enough for marketers to do great work the first time around, too.
Marketing Checklists For Campaigns & Projects

What Is A Marketing Checklist?

Marketing Checklist

A marketing checklist is a documented agenda of the projects or tasks that must be completed to ship high-quality, accurate marketing experiences.

Checklists ensure all requirements are met before calling the work complete.

Marketing Campaign Checklists

As Megan Jeromchek notes in her comprehensive piece covering marketing campaign management:

Marketing campaigns are a collection of activities, events, and content that unify brand experiences and messaging across multiple marketing programs over defined timelines to achieve a specific goal.

- Megan Jeromchek

In short, a marketing campaign is made up of multiple marketing projects. For example, a webinar marketing campaign is often made up of projects like landing pages, presentation decks, emails, social media posts, advertisements, and more. A marketing campaign checklist documents all of these projects to help managers clearly monitor and control campaign progress. Webinar Marketing Campaign Checklist - Landing page (checked), presentation deck (checked), Social media posts, Facebook ads, Promotion email, confirmation email, reminder email, recording email A marketing campaign checklist is the complete set of all projects within a single campaign that must be published over a specific period of time.

Marketing Project Checklists

As I wrote about in a complete guide to marketing project management:
Marketing projects are single pieces of work and deliverables that most effectively complement marketing campaigns and programs.
Marketing project checklists are simply task lists of the work needed to create a single piece of content. For example, an article checklist could look like this:
  • Choose a topic that interests your audience
  • Do preliminary research (Google, Reddit, etc.)
  • Define the goals of the article
  • Define your target audience
  • Research keywords to target
  • Understand search intent
  • Begin the article outline
  • Write 25 title ideas (choose the best one)
  • Write headings and subheadings of the article (H2s, H3s, etc.).
  • Research competing content in Google
  • Document where you’ll add internal links
  • Document extra resources like links to PDFs, reports, etc. to include in content upgrades
  • Write an interesting introduction
  • Conclude on a high note
  • Revise your first draft
  • Delete all fluff
  • Break long blocks of text
  • Optimize your article for SEO
  • Stage your article in a CMS
  • Schedule article to publish
It’s a simple marketing task list to ensure nothing important gets missed.
How To Create Your Own Marketing Checklists
How to create your own marketing checklists:
  1. Break down your marketing campaign into a list of projects.
  2. List all of the tasks per project type.
  3. Estimate the level of effort you spend on each project task.
  4. Determine which project tasks are necessary (and which ones aren’t).
  5. Establish contributor roles and responsibilities.
  6. Set task due dates and deadlines.
  7. Organize tasks as marketing checklists.

Step 1: Break Down Your Marketing Campaign Into A List Of Projects

The point of creating a marketing campaign checklist is to break down one campaign into all of the projects you’ll create. For example, if CoSchedule’s campaign is an educational course, our team may need to create the following content projects to make sure the campaign successfully influences our marketing goals:
  • Campaign launch brief and talking points: An internal document that explains the goal, target audience, what the project is, and how you’ll market the campaign.
  • Brand brief: Since you’re creating multiple pieces, your designers may need a way to ensure the campaign’s visual identity is consistent. This can also apply to writers by setting expectations for your brand voice.
  • Signup landing page: This is the page where you’ll direct all promotional traffic.
  • Lesson pages: These are the actual course material, and there will likely be multiple to create.
  • Lesson videos: Some courses opt for visual content to include on every lesson page.
  • Lesson quizzes: True courses teach, so you may want to quiz or test your students on every lesson page.
  • Workshop decks: Most courses have live-action training that includes speaking points and a deck, like a webinar.
  • Certificates: Consider creating certificates for the students who pass all quizzes.
  • Facebook group: This provides a way for students to collaborate and build community around your brand.
  • Emails: You will promote the course to your email list. This will likely be more than one email to plan, write, and schedule.
  • Social media campaign: You will share the course with all of your social media followers.
  • Facebook ads: This is a way to reach a larger audience than those who already follow you.
  • Blog post: Use your blog as a marketing channel to promote your course.
In this example, you see how a large campaign breaks down into many pieces of content projects. You will do the same thing for your highest-priority campaign. Download the Marketing Campaign Checklist spreadsheet template (located after the introduction of this page): Marketing Campaign spreadsheet Column A already has some content ideas listed to help you kick-start your campaign planning process. Tweak as you see fit and add your own content ideas. You’ll note column A is split into four distinct sections: Project Prep, Pre-Promotion, Launch, and Post Launch. Often, this helps with campaign timeline management because you know which pieces need to be completed before others. Again, if you find these categories don’t apply to your campaign, tweak the template as you see fit. Add your project ideas to column A.

Step 2: List All Of The Tasks Per Project Type

Figuring out what needs to be done to complete a project can help you identify which tasks are vital (and which are unnecessary) and build consistency into your checklists. To do this, think hard and start from the beginning. Here’s a hypothetical example of what tasks you might need to do when writing a blog post:
  • Perform keyword research
  • Do topical research
  • Write 20-25 headline options
  • Write an outline
  • Write an introduction
  • Write the body content
  • Write conclusion
  • Design visual content
  • Add downloadable content
  • Proofread and copy-edit post
  • Format post content for on-page SEO

Step 3: Estimate The Level Of Effort You Spend On Each Project Task

When you’ve executed a checklist enough times (whether writing a blog post or something else), you start to roughly understand how long each task in that process takes. But accurately estimating time for marketing tasks can still be difficult. So, what’s the solution? Try tracking your time using a time-tracking app. Toggl and Harvest are two quality options. The way they work is simple: Press “start” to begin tracking time when you start a task, and then press pause when you take a break or wrap it up. Then, track your time for how long all those tasks take. You can do this with a simple spreadsheet that looks something like this: Marketing task checklist spreadsheet It doesn’t need to be anything complicated. Just list your projects and how much time you spent on each task. Two columns could be enough to serve this purpose (and the easier you make things, the more likely you are to actually stick with it). In the future, this will help you understand how long they take more accurately. I find it’s easiest to think of time spent in days. How many days does it take to complete each specific task? From there, you can determine how long it will actually take to complete the entire checklist from start to finish.

Step 4: Determine Which Project Tasks Are Necessary (& Which Ones Aren’t)

When you work through this process, you might discover you’re spending time on tasks that aren’t necessary or things that you might be able to do better another way. When in doubt, ask yourself a few questions:
  • Could I complete this project without following this task? If so, cut it out.
  • Can this task be consolidated into another task? This might make writing your checklist more simple and easy to follow.
  • If a task takes too long, can I make it more efficient? This is an open-ended question, but it’s worth thinking about why tasks might take too long.
This will help you narrow the tasks in each project checklist down to the most essential ones. Also, consider adding tasks to your checklist to empower marketing handoffs:
  • How will approvals work for each contributor?
  • How will work pass along through the content supply chain with handoffs?
  • What are your expectations for time needs for these tasks?

Step 5: Establish Contributor Roles & Responsibilities

It’s time to understand who will help you complete the tasks in the content project checklist:
  • Who will help you complete the work in this checklist?
  • What do you expect each contributor to do?
  • Who needs to be involved in making time commitment expectations?
Here’s an example of what the blog post checklist mentioned earlier might look like with assignees added:
  • Perform keyword research (SEO Strategist)
  • Do topical research (Content Strategist)
  • Write 20-25 headline options (Content Writer)
  • Write an outline (Content Writer)
  • Write an introduction (Content Writer)
  • Write the body content (Content Writer)
  • Write conclusion (Content Writer)
  • Design visual content (Graphic Designer)
  • Add downloadable content (Graphic Designer / Content Writer)
  • Proofread and copy-edit post (Content Editor).
  • Format post content for on-page SEO (SEO Strategist).
In some cases, it might be obvious who in your marketing department is responsible for a specific task. But what do you do when it’s not clear, and what do you do about tasks that could be delegated? How you delegate tasks will depend on your marketing team’s structure, which roles you have on staff, and your number of marketing employees. While this makes it challenging to generalize who might do what at different levels of seniority, a basic hierarchy of responsibility might look like this: Levels of marketing responsibility - management (top), strategy (middle), execution (bottom) However, this simple, traditional breakdown of responsibility isn’t without problems. A better way to structure and delegate tasks is to align team members’ strengths and experiences with the most impactful tasks they can take on. Since this one project may not be the only thing each team member is working on, that doesn’t necessarily mean steps will be completed at the exact time the previous one is finished.

Step 6: Set Task Due Dates & Deadlines

Use those time estimates to map out realistic deadlines for every task. That way, checklist contributors will know how much time in their day to allocate to the project and which day of the week their tasks are due. 2 ways to organize marketing task checklists - start with project start date, end with project ship date OR start project ship date, work backward to project start date

Deadlines Relative To Project Publish Date

Here’s that same blog post example one more time, with deadlines added relative to when the blog post will publish:
  • Perform keyword research (SEO Strategist): 30 Days Before Publish
  • Do topical research (Content Strategist): 27 Days Before Publish
  • Write 20-25 headline options (Content Writer): 25 Days Before Publish
  • Write an outline (Content Writer): 25 Days Before Publish
  • Write an introduction (Content Writer): 25 Days Before Publish
  • Write the body content (Content Writer): 25 Days Before Publish
  • Write conclusion (Content Writer): 25 Days Before Publish
  • Design visual content (Graphic Designer): 18 Days Before Publish
  • Add downloadable content (Graphic Designer / Content Writer): 18 Days Before Publish
  • Proofread and copy edit post (Content Editor): 16 Days Before Publish
  • Format post content for on-page SEO (SEO Strategist): 15 Days Before Publish
This task timeline gets all the work done with a full two weeks of lead time in case something comes up (something always comes up) and progress gets derailed. You can set this in any way that makes sense for you.

Deadlines Relative To Project Start Date

Another way to set task deadlines is to start with when work begins and move forward from there (rather than working backward from a publishing or shipping deadline). Here’s an example of what this might look like:
  • Perform keyword research (SEO Strategist): Project Start
  • Do topical research (Content Strategist): 3 Days After Start
  • Write 20-25 headline options (Content Writer): 5 Days After Start
  • Write an outline (Content Writer): 5 Days After Start
  • Write an introduction (Content Writer): 5 Days After Start
  • Write the body content (Content Writer): 5 Days After Start
  • Write conclusion (Content Writer): 5 Days After Start
  • Design visual content (Graphic Designer): 12 Days After Start
  • Add downloadable content (Graphic Designer / Content Writer): 12 Days After Start
  • Proofread and copy edit post (Content Editor): 14 Days After Start
  • Format post content for on-page SEO (SEO Strategist): 15 Days After Start
This takes effectively the same amount of time, but it offers another way of thinking about how task deadlines are applied to the checklist. Planning your checklist’s deadlines by start date provides more room for flexibility as needed (e.g., sickness, unexpected absences, etc.).

Step 7: Organize Tasks As Marketing Checklists

Once you have your tasks mapped out, it’s time to build them into actual checklists. There are a lot of different ways you can create marketing checklists. You can build checklists with Google Docs (which also integrates with CoSchedule Marketing Suite and Marketing Calendar). Marketing checklist outline on Google Docs You can build your marketing checklists with the spreadsheet-based checklist template you can download in the introduction of this article. Marketing checklists You can also build marketing checklists for your projects with Task Templates in CoSchedule Marketing Suite or Marketing Calendar. This feature is designed specifically for marketing use cases, making building marketing checklists and automating workflows easy. Task template - blog post checklist
How To Create Marketing Checklists In CoSchedule Marketing Suite
With Task Templates in CoSchedule Marketing Suite, you can create easy checklist templates to set up and manage your marketing workflows within one marketing software suite. When you create a new Task Template, you’ll be given the option to create a Task Template with dates relative to the project start date or the project ship date: Task template window - how would you like to build your workflow? Give your Task Template a name and add tasks. This will create a simple marketing checklist. Blog post checklist You can also schedule due dates and add assignees to each task in your checklist: Blog post checklist with due dates for each task Continue until you’ve created a checklist with every task, deadline, and assignee in the process. Then, when you add projects to CoSchedule Marketing Suite, you can apply the appropriate Task Template to keep your checklist management consistent.
6 Examples Of Marketing Checklists
A checklist is a power move – it guarantees every project is done correctly the first time, every time. Below are a series of checklists in a variety of marketing areas. So, whether you’re a writer, designer, or project manager, there’s something useful for you here. Remember, these are just a starting point, so add, delete, or edit any task to make it work for you.

1. Marketing Plan Checklist

Aligning all marketing activities with the company’s vision, mission, and strategic business objectives, can be difficult. Here’s a complex marketing plan broken down into 10 simple steps:

2. Content Marketing Checklist

Generally, content marketing has five main steps: Market research, target audience determination, content creation, content promotion, and an afterword analysis. These can be simplified into an easy-to-follow checklist:
  • Identify consumer needs
  • Perform keyword research
  • Complete a competitive market analysis
  • Set a deadline and budget
  • Decide on format
For Lead Generation: Ebooks, Case Studies, Templates, Webinars, Podcast
  • Determine publishing platform, tactics, and strategies
  • Write an outline
  • Include an awesome title
  • Write body content
  • Implement the correct webpage format
  • Determine where graphics will be included
  • Design graphics
  • Eliminate spelling and grammatical errors
  • Proofread
  • Proofread AGAIN
  • Write social media posts
  • Publish
  • Promote
  • Measure landings

3. Social Media Checklist

Campaigns come up frequently in social media, so following a simple process is vital for success. The following social media checklist will help do just that.
  • Research new trends and content ideas
  • Review target audience and determine platform
  • Establish SMART goals
  • Shoot or design visual content
  • Write post copy
  • Select hashtags
  • Proofread and edit
  • Set KPIs
  • Upload message into a publishing tool (CoSchedule Marketing Calendar)
  • Schedule
  • Measure results

4. Blog Post Checklist

Writing a blog post and looking for a place to start? Check off the following tasks to lay the foundation for an awesome blog post:
  • Perform keyword research
  • Identify core and secondary keywords based on relevancy, search volume, and competitiveness
Core keyword highlighted in yellow with secondary keywords highlighted in red
Pro tip: Use AnswerThePublic or Ahrefs to visualize search questions and find trending keywords.
  • Identify an audience
  • Draft an outline
  • Write in simple sentences
  • Use relevant images and videos
  • Do internal linking
  • Add a CTA
  • Check content readability
  • Proofread and edit
  • Publish and promote

5. On-Page SEO Checklist

Generating organic search traffic can be difficult, but let’s break it down into a list of actionable steps:
  • Perform keyword research
  • Craft a quality title tag
Use Headline Studio from CoSchedule to create SEO-boosted headlines for free.
  • Separate sections via header tags
Sections organized by header tags
  • Optimize images
To optimize:
  1. Compress an image using
  2. Rename the image file name to include core or secondary keywords
  3. Add a keyword-focused Alt Text
  4. Write a detailed description for the image caption
  • Link external sources
  • Create a concise meta description
  • Write a meaningful URL slug
  • Check content readability
  • Keyword is prominent throughout content

6. Proofreading & Editing Checklist

Proofreading is an essential step to correct errors, fix inconsistencies, and improve the overall quality of a written piece. Additionally, errors are often distracting and lower business credibility. Help people focus on the message, not the mistakes, by checking off these content editing elements: The content . . .
  • Follows brand guidelines
  • Aligns with a marketing strategy
  • Caters to buyer persona
  • Includes a compelling, relevant title
  • Is timely
  • Uses active voice
  • Has flow
  • Free of spelling and grammatical errors
  • Contains credible, first-hand references
  • Meta description follows best practices
  • Eye-catching call to action
  • Paragraphs are short and direct
  • Skimmable
  • Uses simple words
This piece was originally published October 16, 2019. It was significantly refreshed and repurposed as this blog post July 2023. Ben Sailer and Kate Schaefer contributed to this piece.
About the Author

Nathan is the Head of Content & SEO at SimpleTexting. He's a demand generation enthusiast, content marketing advocate, and team player. He enjoys spending time with family and friends, running ultra marathons, and canoeing in the Boundary Waters in Minnesota. Connect with Nathan on LinkedIn.