Content Planning: How to Create a Content Plan, Step by Step
What Is Content Planning?
Content planning is the systematic process of determining what content will be created, how it will be created, and when it will be published. It involves a range of activities including setting content goals, identifying target audiences choosing formats and channels for distribution, and creating a publishing schedule. By planning content, organizations can ensure that their content supports their overall marketing and communication objectives and that they are consistently delivering valuable and relevant information to their target audience.
The process of content planning usually begins with setting clear goals for the content. This could be to increase brand awareness, drive sales, educate customers, or simply engage with the target audience. Next, the target audience is identified and their needs and preferences are analyzed to determine what type of content will be most effective in reaching the goals.
The goals and target audience have been established, and the format of the content is chosen. This might include blog posts, videos, social media posts, e-books, or other types of digital content. The channels for distribution are also selected, including websites, social media, email, and other marketing channels.
A schedule for publishing the content is created. This includes a timeline for the creation and publication of the content, as well as a plan for promoting and measuring its success.
By planning content, organizations can ensure that they are consistently delivering valuable and relevant information to their target audience and that they are making the most effective use of their resources.
Build a Clear Content Strategy
A clear content strategy is a plan for the creation, publication, and management of content. The following steps can help you build a content strategy:
Define your Goals:
Identify what you hope to achieve with your content and what kind of impact you want it to have.
Know your Audience:
Understand who your target audience is, what they care about, and what they need from you.
Conduct a Content Audit:
Review your existing content to determine what is working and what is not.
Identify your unique value Proposition:
Determine what makes your brand, products, or services unique and how you can communicate that through your content.
Choose your Channels:
Decide which channels you will use to distribute your content and how you will use each channel effectively.
Create a Content Calendar:
Plan the creation and distribution of your content.
Measure and Evaluate:
Regularly measure the performance of your content and adjust your strategy as needed based on the results.
2. Create Your Template
To create a template for your content, follow these steps:
Define the purpose: Identify what type of content the template will be used for and what you hope to achieve with it.
Determine the Structure: Decide what elements the template should include and how they should be organized. This could include things like headings, subheadings, images, call-to-actions, and so on.
Establish a Consistent Design: Choose a design that is consistent with your brand and will make your content visually appealing.
Test the template: Create a sample piece of content using the template and review it to make sure it meets your needs and is easy to use.
Refine and Improve: Make any necessary changes to the template based on your test results.
Document the Template: Write down the guidelines for using the template, including the purpose, structure, design, and any special instructions.
By creating a well-designed template, you can streamline your content creation process, ensure consistency in your content, and save time by reusing the template for multiple pieces of content.
3. Find the Right Topics
Finding the right topics to write about is an important part of a successful content strategy. Here are some steps to help you find the right topics:
Know your Audience:
Consider what your target audience is interested in and what topics will resonate with them.
Keep an eye on industry Trends:
Stay up-to-date on current events, trends, and developments in your industry to identify topics that are relevant and timely.
Look at your Competitors:
See what topics your competitors are writing about and consider how you can offer a unique perspective on the same subject.
Utilize keyword Research:
Use keyword research tools to identify popular search terms related to your industry and use those as potential topic ideas.
Listen to your Audience:
Pay attention to the questions and comments you receive from your audience to identify topics they want to know more about.
Repurpose existing Content:
Review your existing content and see if any topics can be updated or expanded upon.
By considering these factors, you can find topics that are relevant, interesting, and valuable to your target audience.
4. Assign Tasks (and Set Deadlines)
To effectively manage the creation and distribution of your content, it's important to assign tasks and set deadlines. Here are some steps to help you do that:
Identify Tasks: Break down the content creation process into smaller, manageable tasks. This could include research, writing, editing, design, and distribution.
Assign Responsibilities: Assign each task to a specific person or team member who is responsible for completing it.
Set Deadlines: Determine a realistic timeline for each task and set deadlines for completion.
Review and Approve: Establish a review and approval process to ensure that all content meets your standards before it is published.
Monitor Progress: Regularly check in on the status of each task to ensure that it is on track and that deadlines are being met.
5. Schedule in Advance
Scheduling content in advance can help you ensure that your content is created and published consistently and on time. Here are some steps to help you schedule content in advance:
Create a Content Calendar:
Use a spreadsheet or specialized tool to plan out the creation and publication of your content.
Set a Frequency:
Determine how often you want to publish content and schedule it accordingly. This could be daily, weekly, or monthly, depending on your goals and resources.
Block out Time:
Set aside dedicated time slots for each step of the content creation process, including research, writing, editing, design, and distribution.
Plan for Holidays and other Events:
Consider special events and holidays that may impact your content schedule and plan accordingly.
Review and Adjust:
Regularly review your content calendar and make any necessary adjustments to ensure that it is still in line with your goals and audience.
6. Measure the Results
Measuring the results of your content marketing efforts is an important part of understanding what works and what doesn't, and making data-driven decisions for future content. Here are some steps to help you measure the results of your content:
Define your Goals: Clearly define what you want to achieve with your content marketing, such as increasing website traffic, generating leads, or improving brand awareness.
Choose the right metrics: Identify the key metrics that will help you measure your progress toward your goals. This could include things like page views, time on site, lead generation, and social media engagement.
Track and analyze data: Use tools such as Google Analytics, social media analytics, and marketing automation software to track and analyze your data.
Make data-driven Decisions: Use the insights you gain from your data to inform your future content creation and marketing efforts.
Regularly Review and Adjust: Regularly review your content marketing results and make any necessary adjustments to your strategy to ensure that you are making progress toward your goals.
By regularly measuring the results of your content marketing efforts, you can gain a better understanding of what works and what doesn't, and make data-driven decisions to improve the effectiveness of your content marketing over time.
Build Your First Content Plan
Building your first content plan is an important step in establishing a successful content marketing strategy. Here is a simple, 6-step process for building your first content plan:
Define your Audience:
Clearly define your target audience, including demographics, interests, and pain points.
Identify your Goals:
Clearly define what you want to achieve with your content marketing, such as increasing website traffic, generating leads, or improving brand awareness.
Conduct Keyword Research:
Use keyword research tools to identify popular search terms related to your industry and target audience.
Find the Right Topics:
Consider what your target audience is interested in and what topics will resonate with them. Utilize keyword research and stay up-to-date on industry trends to identify relevant topics.
Create your Content:
Use your target audience and goals to guide the creation of your content. Ensure that your content is well-researched, well-written, and provides value to your target audience.
Schedule and Distribute:
Schedule your content in advance and distribute it across appropriate channels, such as your website, social media, and email.
By following these steps, you can build a strong and effective content plan that will help you achieve your goals and engage your target audience.
Content planning is the systematic process of determining what content will be created, how it will be created, and when it will be published. It involves a range of activities including setting content goals, identifying target audiences choosing formats and channels for distribution, and creating a schedule for publishing.