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  • Writer's pictureErin Ratliff

From Process to Perfection: The 8 Phases of Work To Content Marketing & SEO Project Services

What goes into delivering fractional/freelance marketing services?


Behind every deliverable, there lies a wealth of hidden work, expertise, and overhead costs that must be considered. As a fellow soulpreneur, I believe in transparent pricing because it sets clear expectations, honors the exchange of value, and reflects a commitment to authenticity and integrity in the entrepreneurial journey.

This post is all about my Standard Service Process. The Goal: to paint an accurate picture about what goes on "behind the scenes" in digital marketing work so that clients understand the actual cost and value of my services!

Phase 1: Discovery & Assessment

Purpose: To sell on value and investment, to build trust and rapport, to ensure we're all working smarter, not harder and getting to the root of your marketing needs without the guesswork or speculation.

  • Pre-call In-take form detailing their current challenges, issues and goals

  • 30 min Clarity Call to review form, needs, budget etc

    • Building trust by addressing FAQs, concerns and objections

  • Optional upgrade: Roadmapping! An all-too-common scenario is when a client approaches with a project in mind but actually needs help addressing their deeper business challenges first. Roadmapping is paid consulting where I guide you through your problems and threats, offer a proposal of professional recommendations and resources (tailored services & solutions), and create actionable strategic plans, which may or may not involve the original projects they were interested in.

Phase 2: Intake & Onboarding Phase

  • Presenting & signing official service contract outlining key deliverables, timelines, terms & conditions

  • Setting expectations: reviewing roles/responsibilities, project process & communications, work phases & milestones, requirements, preferences

  • Initiation & Conception: Collecting necessary information, materials, assets and resources required for project execution: business MVV, USP, ICP, etc

  • Defining content goals and objectives.

Phase 3: Research & Development

  • Project Kickoff: Conducting market research and competitor analysis to understand the target keywords and phrases, target audiences, and industry trends.

  • Auditing of existing marketing channels for brand voice, visuals, language, etc

  • Project Planning:

    • Brainstorming content ideas - topics, formats etc

    • Creating content calendar to schedule posts

    • Crafting content briefs

  • Synthesis of all collected info

NOT INCLUDED: Advanced research (interviews with SME's, survey creation or data analysis)

Phase 4: Execution & Implementation

  • Creative Production/Development: Outlining, drafting, writing, designing, updating as per the project requirements.

  • Controlling & Optimization: search (headings, tags, citations, links etc), content (image selection, featured text/quotes, formatting), UX (mobile responsiveness)

  • Publishing

  • Output & Delivery: Sharing deliverables with client

NOT INCLUDED: advanced graphic design

Phase 5: Revision & Refinement

  • Quality Checks & Assurance: Final editing and proofing for readability (accuracy, clarity, and consistency, and crawlability

  • Final client revisions (3 max)

  • Obtaining feedback

Phase 6: Distribution & Promotion

  • Determine the appropriate channels and platforms for distribution

COMING SOON: Monitoring & Measurement

  • Monitoring key performance indicators (KPIs) to track the effectiveness of marketing efforts: traffic, search rankings, kw rankings, backlink profiles, click rates, conversion rates

  • Analyzing data and metrics to validate efforts, and identify areas for improvement and optimization.

  • Assessing technical issues (crawl errors, site speed, indexation) to provide clients with actionable insights and data-driven recommendations to continuously improve visibility, traffic, and conversions from organic search.

        NOT INCLUDED: A/B Testing/Experimentation

Phase 7: Project Closeout

  • Reviewing project outcomes, achievements and areas for improvement.

  • Documenting project results, including successes, challenges, and future recommendations

  • Final administrative tasks, such as invoicing, offboarding, orientation/training

Wrapping It Up

As you can see, details matter. Preparation and planning matters.  There is an immense amount of expertise, time, and resources invested in every project, small or large. The cost of marketing services is not just about assigning a number to a deliverable and implementing the work. It's also about the detailed behind-the-scenes process and of course, the final RESULTS.

I look forward to working together soon!


Erin Ratliff is a holistic business coach and organic growth & visibility marketer serving energy-sensitive, earth-loving, heart-led soul-preneurs, self-starters, and founders with the mission of personal and planetary healing.

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