A content plan tells you what content you’ll publish and when. Its main role is to prioritize content creation based on a marketing and content strategy.
Content planning is important for 3 key reasons:
- It helps you create content that is tailored to your audience, aligns with your business goals, and is consistent in tone and quality.
- It allows you to create a workflow that is efficient and organized, and it helps you stay on track and on top of deadlines and goals.
- It helps you measure the effectiveness of your content and adjust your strategy accordingly.
If you regularly create content, you need proper content planning to prioritize the creation based on what makes the most sense for your business at a given time, because let’s face it, resources are often scarce in small businesses.
So, here are the 5 steps to creating a content plan…
Step 1: Set Goals & Objectives
Start by setting specific goals and objectives for your content plan. Consider what you hope to achieve and why you are creating the content plan in the first place. Are you looking to generate leads or build brand recognition? What objectives will you need to meet in order to do one or the other?
The goals and objectives that you outline should stem from your overall marketing and content strategy. They must be aligned with and be informed by those strategies; otherwise, they will live in a silo and not contribute to the desired outcome of your business.
Step 2: Research Your Target Audience
Get to know your intended audience. More importantly, who is your ideal client? When creating content, you want to speak to one person. Choose to speak to the right person; the one that will benefit the most from your offer.
Understand their pain points, needs and interests and determine how your content will best meet those needs and interests.
Who are they? What do they like? What type of content do they prefer? Knowing your audience will help you create content that resonates with them and is more likely to achieve your goals.
Step 3: Research Content Ideas & Keywords
Now that you know your goals and your audience, you need to research content ideas. What topics do they want to read about? What type of content will engage them? And how can you make your content stand out?
You’ll also want to pinpoint the keywords related to each content topic by doing some keyword research. Figure out which keywords are being searched by your audience and intersperse those keywords into your content for search engine optimization.
Step 4: Choose Your Content Type
Think about the type of content that will resonate with your audience and best meet their needs. This can include blog posts, articles, videos, podcasts, infographics, and more.
Think about where your ideal client hangs out. Are they continuously surfing the internet? Are they super active on Instagram or LinkedIn? You need to understand where they are scrolling so that you can create the appropriate content formats for those specific distribution channels.
Step 5: Establish a Content Calendar
Once you have a better understanding of your target audience, the content topics you’ll write about and the channels you’ll use to publish the content on, then you can begin to create a content calendar that outlines when and how often you will be creating content.
Assign tasks to specific team members and establish a timeline for each task.
Next, determine the metrics (or key performance indicators) that you will use to monitor the performance of your content to make sure it’s achieving the desired outcomes.
Measure and adjust as needed.
Content marketing is not just a trend. It’s definitely here to stay as an important and effective form of marketing (if done well) for the majority of business types.
Your business can benefit from a content marketing strategy and plan. But remember, content planning takes time and effort and the results won’t happen overnight — so there’s no better time to get started than now!
And if you’re still unsure of where to start or the process seems overwhelming, then book a call with our Strategic Marketing Consult and we can talk through the process in more detail.