Keeping your work at the top of your goals requires you to post content regularly. You must be posting the right things at the right time to make the biggest impact.
Your publishing schedule should be consistent with your marketing efforts, focusing on your strategic needs and expected results.
In other words, you need a content plan.
But what is this? Is it the same content strategy? What type of information should be included? And what separates a good content plan from a bad one?
For answers to all these questions and more – a plus a Free template You can download And customize it to your own needs, read on.
What is the content plan?
A content plan is a document that outlines all of the content marketing and assets you need to implement your content marketing strategy.
This includes everything from blogs and social media posts to SEO research and white papers.
It will align directly with your marketing funnel, as each asset listed corresponds to one of its phases: Awareness, Consideration, Conversion, and Loyalty.
Why do you need a content plan?
Content is an essential part of marketing.
By creating a content plan, you make it easier for your team to create, collaborate on, and implement that content.
A good plan will help you anticipate resource allocation in the future, avoiding delays and unnecessary expenses.
content strategy vs. Content plan: what’s the difference?
Although they have similar names, are often confused with each other, and are sometimes used incorrectly as interchangeable terms, content plan is Not Same content strategy.
And yes, you need both.
So what’s the difference?
The main thing you need to know is this: your content strategy defines How do And Why The content will be used in your marketing strategy.
Define your content plan what when, And where You will use different assets as part of this strategy in order to reach your goals.
Essentially, your content plan is the building blocks (blogs, communication, reports, etc.) that you use to reach the goals you set in your content strategy (more leads, increased sales, etc.)
You should establish your content strategy before starting your content plan, as your content plan will determine how you will achieve the goals of the strategy.
What information is included in the content plan?
An effective content plan should provide content creators with useful information that they can use when developing assets. Specifically, you should tell them:
- Whose content Your content must have an audience. This is primitive marketing. Your content plan should clearly define who your assets are targeting and be constructed in a way that fits those goals.
- How will it be delivered Is this a blog post or an advertisement? Podcast or paid ad? Depending on the medium of delivery, your content will take different forms.
- What problem will you solve Your target audience has a need. Your content plan should provide a solution to this need, as well as inspire targets to take action.
- How it will be created Do you have a content writer on staff who will create this piece, or will you outsource it to a freelancer? Who is responsible for publishing it? Answering these questions will make it easier to manage budgets and workflows.
- No associated costs Whether it’s paying a web developer, a placement fee, or a subscription required for search, your content plan should outline any expected fees or payments necessary to create each item.
Depending on your needs, you may also want to include information about tone, notes about structure, layout, word count, categories, and URLs.
Different types of content to include
It has already been mentioned how each piece of content should align with a certain stage of your marketing funnel.
Now, let’s take a look at each stage and discuss the types of content that work best for each stage.
This type of content comes after the top of the marketing funnel.
It is about showing potential clients that you are there and telling them about the qualities that make you unique. Content should be easy to consume and share.
Common types of outreach content are:
- Social media posts.
- SEO keyword rich content.
- Paid search ads.
- Blog posts that don’t have a lot of sales.
In the second stage of the funnel, you nurture leads, build rapport, and build trust. At this point, your content should be more in-depth and provide proof of solutions.
Content that works well for the consideration stage includes:
- Blogs establish your authority.
- comparison content.
The lead is in trouble, now is the time to unhook them and complete the sale. The content at this point should provide information about why customers choose your brand.
Types that can help at this stage include:
- Sales, promotions and coupons.
- Consultation offers.
- Case studies, articles and technical papers.
Create your content plan
As I promised, Here is a sample content plan You can download and run it for your business.
But here’s the thing – your company’s needs are unique. Simply downloading this plan will not be effective.
You need to adapt it to your specific situation.
Not sure how to do this?
You are lucky. We’ve also provided a helpful step-by-step guide.
Customize your content plan
1. Determine what goal each piece is trying to achieve
Trying to be everything to everyone is a terrible strategy. Remember the old adage, “A jack of all trades is never good at anything.”
This is especially true of content marketing.
Each piece of content that you plan and ultimately create should have a specific purpose.
As you fill out your content plan, keep in mind what you are trying to achieve with this piece. Make sure each piece of content clearly aligns with a specific stage of your marketing funnel.
2. Determine the location of the target audience
Decide who you’re targeting and then figure out the best way to reach them. Next, decide where each piece of content can be placed for maximum impact.
Keep in mind that certain types of content will perform better on certain platforms.
For example, that professional eBook you plan to create is likely to receive more attention and engagement on LinkedIn than on Facebook.
3. Take your budget into account
When deciding when to create and release certain pieces of content, consider your budget.
For example, if you have a trade fair in August that will require a lot of investment, both in time and money, then June and July may not be the best times to do resource-intensive content projects.
One of the benefits of a content plan is that it gives you information about ongoing and upcoming projects at a glance.
Use this to your advantage.
4. Determine the pace
Gaining credibility and growing your audience requires the regular release of new content.
Unfortunately, there is no magic number for what it is. Only you decide what is best for you and your audience’s desires.
You should look at your schedule to determine how much time you are allowed to devote to content creation and curation.
Next, put yourself in your targets shoes and specify how often they want content from you.
Finally, consider how frequency of release will help you achieve your goals.
For example, if you’re trying to grow your audience, you’re likely to post more times than if you’re trying to keep customers loyal.
5. Create a flow
You need a clearly defined content creation process.
You must define the responsibility of each person, who is involved in each step, and establish a process for passing things from one person or department to another.
Many organizations find that using a color-coded system is most effective at this point.
Some other content planning tips
Now that you’ve downloaded your content plan template and customized it to your unique situation, it’s time to start planning and creating that — well, almost.
Before you take the leap and start outlining each asset and piece of collateral you’ll use in the coming year, here are some final things to keep in mind:
Use the color fill function spreadsheets to give you quick information about each piece of content.
You should easily be able to determine where the piece is in the creation process, what platform(s) it will be used on, and how it fits into your overall marketing strategy.
Don’t forget about search engine optimization
A lot of potential clients will come to you online, which means it’s even more important that you help them find you. Any digital content you create should always consider search engine optimization.
Make sure you research your keywords and include them whenever possible. Make sure to create content that matches your search intent and make sure everything delivers value.
Don’t be afraid to take inspiration from pages that currently rank highly for your desired keywords.
(Note the word “inspiration.” This does not mean plagiarism. All of your content must be original.)
Consider each channel separately
Each content marketing channel has its own goals. You should always keep these things in mind when deciding what is going where.
However, keep an eye out for opportunities to repurpose things. If you can create engagement by posting links to the same blog post on four different social media channels, you absolutely should.
Keep an idea file
Great content ideas can come to you anywhere, and often when they are unexpected. Consider adding another tab to your content plan spreadsheet where you can list ideas for future content.
Keywords are a great starting point for generating ideas. Look around at what other brands are doing. Can you take a similar approach?
Maybe you have a silly idea that you’re not serious about, but it might inspire someone else.
Your goal with your idea file is to come up with as many ideas as possible, which means there are no wrong ideas.
Creating a successful content plan isn’t difficult, but it does take a little work. However, if you are serious about achieving your marketing goals, this is something you need to do.
And be aware: Your attitudes, goals, and standards will evolve over time, and your content should evolve along with them.
Now get out there and make something cool.
- Create content that satisfies search intent and meets customer needs
- How to create a social media content plan
- Content Marketing: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to What Works
Featured image: maybealice/Shutterstock