By Michele Linn published June 3, 2013

17 Essential Content Marketing Templates and Checklists

templates and checklistsBy far, the most popular post we have ever published at the Content Marketing Institute is 10 Must-Have Templates for Content Marketers. Though this post is almost two years old, our readers still seem to clamor for this type of information and advice. 

To that end, we wanted to provide a refresher on the most popular templates and checklists shared by the CMI team and our guest contributors. Some of these are “oldies but goodies” that we included in the first list, and others are new. All are intended to simplify some part of the content marketing process — and all can be customized to your particular needs.

Buyer-focused resources

Buyer persona template: The first rule of content marketing is that whatever you create must be relevant to your audience. Here are tips on how to create easy, yet actionable content marketing personas.

Content mapping template: If you sell something with a complex sales cycle, you’ll need to map your content requirements to stages in the buying cycle. Follow these five steps to mind map your content and increase its reach.

Content and process organization

Content marketing operations workbookYou can’t create a successful content marketing program if you don’t have the right skills, resources, and processes in place to support your efforts. This guide will walk you through a series of easy-to-complete practical exercises that will show you how to build your content operations from the ground up.

Editorial calendar checklist: To keep all of your content projects planned and organized, you’ll likely want to develop a content calendar. This list of essentials will walk you through the process.

Content kick-off checklist: For a content project to succeed, all stakeholders — from the client to your content creators — need to be on the same page. We suggest answering these 15 questions before you start any project.

Content request template: Have too many content ideas, or too many requests from across your organization? Use this checklist to help you prioritize your projects, or those being developed by your team.

Content technology decision-making guide: Are you considering a technology purchase to simplify your content processes? This eBook includes 12 questions to ask to make sure you select a solution that will meet your unique content marketing needs.

Creativity and design

Readability checklist: Not all websites are created equal. Here’s a checklist to follow for designing pages that are clear and readable, and can be easily navigated by your audience.

Killer web content template: If you are creating web content, use this template to help you make sure you’re driving action on each page.

Creating valuable content checklist: As you work through all of your content ideas, keep these key considerations in mind to ensure that you will be providing value to your audience.

Headline tips and tools: The importance of a great title for your content efforts shouldn’t be underestimated. This guide walks you through the essentials for creating relevant, engaging headlines that will draw readers in.

The ultimate SEO checklist: While quality content rules, you shouldn’t ignore SEO. These steps will help you optimize your content marketing plan and achieve better results on search engine pages.

Publication and promotion

Content publication checklist: Once you’re ready to share your content with the world, be sure to review these key steps that will help you prepare your publication for optimal reach, engagement, and ROI.

Content distribution template: Even after you’ve published, your job is not done. You need to market your content, and this template will walk you through the need-to-know basics.

Blog post promotion checklist: If you are promoting a blog post, there are lots of things you can do to position it for success. Check out our most recent list of tips to help get you started (you can also go deeper by reading our original post on the topic).

Localization checklist: If your content is targeted to audiences in different global markets, consider this checklist of tips and considerations for localizing the content you’ve created.

Content marketing success checklist: Of course, you will want to see which of your content efforts are performing best, so you can continue to deliver the information your audience wants. This checklist walks you through how to measure content marketing success.

If there are templates and checklists you have personally used in your content marketing efforts, please tell us about them in the comments. And if there are others you would like to see, let us know that as well!

Editor’s note: You can also check out these templates our readers have suggested:

  • The Triangle of Relevance: Angie Schottmuller shares a content strategy principle incorporating three angles – business interest, user interest, and time significance – to maximize relevance and magnetize content, creating user action.

Looking to score big points with your target audience? CMI’s 2016 Content Marketing Playbook has tips, insights, and ideas that can help increase your success with 24 of the top content marketing tactics.

Cover image via Bigstock 

Author: Michele Linn

Michele Linn is the co-founder and chief strategy officer of Mantis Research, a consultancy focused on helping brands create and amplify original research they can use in their marketing. Before starting Mantis, Michele was head of editorial at Content Marketing Institute, where she led the company's strategic editorial direction, co-developed its annual research studies, wrote hundreds of articles, spoke at industry events and was instrumental in building the platform to 200,000 subscribers. In 2015, she was named one of Folio's Top Women in Media (Corporate Visionary). You can follow her on Twitter at @michelelinn.

Other posts by Michele Linn

  • Peçanha

    Hey Michele, great post and, indeed, there’s a lot of demand for those templates.

    I have a startup in Brazil that works with content marketing and I would like to know if I can translate some of those templates to portuguese.

    • Michele Linn

      Hi Pecanha,

      You can absolutely customize these in any way you want for you and your clients. If you want to publish them, that is fine as well, but can you please state the original came from CMI and link to the article? And, can you let me know the link? Others may find the translated templates useful as well. Glad this is helpful!

      • Pecanha

        Thanks Michele, of course I will link back to you 🙂

        As soon as I publish something I will tell you through the comments here.

  • Mark H

    Add to this list the 15 script essentials for direct marketing webcasts from

    • Michele Linn

      Hi Mark,
      Can you send me a direct link to the template? Thanks for adding this.

  • L.W.

    I’ve been signed up to receive your email notifications for some time. It would be nice, when I click in to read your blog posts from my email if I wouldn’t be treated like a newcomer to your website, and told a million times to sign up for email alerts. I can’t even print these templates because of this.

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Thanks for the feedback Lindsey…we are working on these issues. Hold tight…I’ll have someone get your specific feedback so we can do a better job presenting our content.

      • Scotty the Menace

        It would also be nice if the CONTENT Marketing Institute would stop
        covering up their CONTENT with sign up forms and other stuff that is not
        CONTENT. When you cover up your CONTENT you’re telling me specifically
        that you don’t want me to read your CONTENT (otherwise, why would you cover it up?). I remember when pop-up-blockers were
        the most downloaded software on the web. There was a reason: people hate pop ups. These are just pop ups by other means. It’s cumbersome and disrespectful to readers to make them close an ad box just to read the stuff they came to read. It also makes a web site look like a cheesy used car lot.

        • Michele Linn

          Hi Scotty,
          I understand where you are coming from, but our pop-up is one of the best ways for us to get subscribers, which is what our business model depends on. As Joe says above, we’re always looking for better ways to interact with our readers.

          That said, the pop up should only appear once every 60 days, and it should be as simple closing it. The exception to this is when people clear their cookies as the pop-up does not know you have been to the site. If you are experiencing something else, I’d love to learn more so we can make your experience with CMI better.

          Again, I appreciate your feedback!

  • Lan Anh

    I can not open any template due to this error:

    Fatal error: Cannot redeclare getexmp() (previously declared in /home/contentm/public_html/wp-content/wptouch-data/themes/classic-child-1/root-functions.php:274) in /home/contentm/public_html/wp-content/themes/cmi/functions.phpon line 747

    Please help me fix them or instruct me how to open/download them.


    • Michele Linn

      Thanks for letting me know, Lan Anh. All of the templates referenced in the LookBook are also included in the links below. However, I’ll work with the team to figure out the error and will get back to you.

      • Lan Anh

        I can not see the links below as you told. I wonder if you forget to post the links 😀

        • Michele Linn

          Hi Lan Anh,
          All of the links are working on this end. I sent you an email so we can troubleshoot. Or, I can send you any info you need directly.

  • Will Mitchell


  • Angie Schottmuller

    Awesome collection, Michele! I like the visual grid display followed by the text list with more info. Engaging and great for SEO. +1! The grid of links is somewhat confusing with the lightbox and iframes, but I found my way to the goods. =)

    • Angie Schottmuller

      My Content Planning “Triangle of Relevance” post and template may be
      of interest.
      It’s a handy methodology and tool that would combine nicely with many
      of the templates above. =)

    • Michele Linn

      Hi Angie,
      I really appreciate your thoughts on this. To help, I moved the LookBook (i.e. the grid of links) to the bottom of the post. Thanks also for sharing your template. I’ll add it to the post above.

  • Scotty the Menace

    Some great stuff here Michelle. Thanks! Thanks also for providing all the resources in the text. That grid thing is kind of cumbersome. I much prefer the text links.

    • Michele Linn

      Thanks for sharing your feedback on this, Scotty. It’s always interesting to see how people like to receive their info.

  • Juan Manuel Garrido

    Nice Michele! BTW… Nice profile picture! 🙂

  • Arwin Adriano

    Awesome blog post. I think I could apply this one with my blog.

  • François Mayor

    Great post, that all marketing teams should read at the very first steps of each strategy development.

  • Jenny Zhan

    Very helpful, thanks for sharing. The editorial calendar template was a good idea, but if you are interested in alternatives to creating calendars in Excel, you may like to check out Teamup Calendar which is a web calendar, very flexible and well suited to plan and organize editorial content.

  • Brand the Net

    What a great resource! Thank you so much for sharing. Have bookmarked it and will share once my company’s website is fully launched 🙂 In the meantime, if you have any advice for it, I would love to hear your feedback! Otherwise, keep an eye out for @BrandtheNet RTing your other great articles. Cheers

  • Steve Floyd

    Great overview, thanks for putting this together Michelle! You may also check out the Super Awesome Content Strategy Worksheet if you are lazy –

  • adhy

    What I want to ask you is how long it take to write high quality article like this? do you have a blog? And do you write your blog post your self? how you manage your writing time?