Say you’re sitting on a lot of content—product pictures, blog writings, and how-to videos. How do you show all of it to potential customers?
Do you have clear goals for your content? Are you looking to get more leads? Maybe boost your brand’s recognition and social media presence?
If you can’t answer these questions, you need a content marketing strategy.
But you’re not alone. A recent study found that only 40% of B2B marketers have a written plan for content marketing. Whether you’re in that 40% or not, it’s a good idea to create or update your content marketing strategy.
In this article, we’ll cover what a content creation plan is and how to create your own content planning.
What is Content Planning?
Planning content involves coming up with ideas for content and figuring out things like who will create each piece, how it will be shared on various marketing platforms, and the tools you’ll use for your content marketing plan.
A content strategy describes the content you plan to make, who it’s for, and when and how it will be made.
What’s the Difference Between Content Planning And Content Strategy?
Content strategy and content plan are often used interchangeably, but they don’t mean the same thing.
Your content strategy is like a big picture. It tells you what you want to achieve, the main things you want to say, and who you want to reach.
A content plan is just one piece of your overall content strategy. It’s more detailed, focusing on what exactly you’ll create, how you’ll make it, and when you’ll share it.
How Much Content Do We Really See In a Day?
As per digital marketing experts, the typical American sees around 4,000 to 10,000 Ads daily – and these are just the ads. This doesn’t include the other types of content we come across.
It shouldn’t be surprising. Content is everywhere. The list is wide, including websites, social media, newspapers, TV, radio, and emails.
Some of it doesn’t matter, while some are pushed onto us. Yet, when we look for info, especially when buying something, we want the content to be right, helpful, and timely.
Creating and sharing content is easy nowadays, but the challenge is making information that’s both relevant and easy to understand. Content is key to building trust with your audience. The more helpful it is, the more your customers will trust you. (It’s not surprising that 93% of B2B marketers use content marketing in their digital strategies.)
Brands need to provide the information their users and customers need. If not, they’ll likely look for it elsewhere, possibly from a competitor.
Why Do You Need a Content Plan?
Planning your content can take up a lot of time, and you already have a bunch of things to do. You might be thinking if making a content plan is actually better than creating content on the fly.
Businesses can help customers along their entire journey by giving well-done and clear information. Because you want the customer journey to be enjoyable and relatable, provide relevant material and interesting ideas. You will capture your customers’ interest on a deeper level, increasing the chance that they will learn about your business.
When you make digital content that meets people’s needs, answers their questions, and solves their problems, your search algorithm position will improve as a result.
Here’s why beginning with a content plan is crucial:
It Keeps You from Wasting Time and Money
Yes, planning your content requires some work, but it pays off by making everything more efficient. When you make a content plan, you set goals for your content marketing. Each thing you create fits those goals.
This way, you don’t spend time or money on a blog post or infographic that doesn’t help you reach your goals.
It Fills Gaps in Your Current Content
Maybe you haven’t nurtured a crucial audience group yet. Or maybe you’re missing out on a useful keyword. Perhaps you’ve been concentrating so much on writing blog articles that you haven’t tried other types of content.
Planning your content helps you find these gaps and come up with a plan to fill them.
It Improves Your Time Management
A content plan includes a schedule for creating and sharing content. This helps you share a steady flow of content. Your tasks stay regular and expected. You’re prepared for time-sensitive jobs like seasonal content or promoting an industry event.
It Helps Build Trust
When done right, content marketing can boost awareness, trust, customer loyalty, and demand for your business. When your content is valuable to customers, they start trusting your brand.
Preparing content is crucial to unlock these advantages for your business.
Instead of haphazardly adding content to your company blog, each piece serves a bigger purpose, enhancing your overall online presence.
How Much Content Creation Costs In 2024
The price of creating content depends on different things, like how we make the content and who works on it. We guide everyone through a usual content creation process. This includes:
- Brief/page table
- User test (and iterate)
- Upload to CMS
- Review in HTML
Next, we request participants to guess the time required for each step in crafting a brief web page of approximately 750 words.
Over the past four years, numerous workshops with a large number of participants have, on average, taken 15 hours to finish this sample online text using the usual steps for a single concise webpage.
Imagine expanding this effort to cover all the content you must create for your different audiences, channels, and needs.
Content Planning Elements
Your plan for content is more than just a schedule or list of topics; it acts as a guide for the entire process of creating content.
Here’s what your content plan should include:
Your Content Creation And Distribution Schedule
The schedule shows everyone in the team when we’ll write, publish, and share each piece of content.
What Types of Content You’ll Create
Are you planning to write blog posts and short articles, like 90% of B2B content marketers? Or are you considering case studies or ebooks?
Ideally, your content strategy should include different types of content.
The Goal for Each Piece of Content
Always know the goal of your content. A video made to make people more aware of your brand will be different from one made to get more people to take action.
The Content’s Target Audience
Plan your content strategy by thinking about who you want to reach with each piece. If you’re trying to connect with different types of customers, make sure your strategy has info that fits each group.
The Stage of The Customer Journey
Your content should help a customer through the entire buying journey. This means you need to create content for people at every stage, including:
Awareness: When someone starts to notice a problem that your product could solve.
Consideration: When the person has clearly defined the problem and is searching for solutions.
Decision: When someone is ready to decide on a purchase and is comparing options.
You can do this by planning one article about the problem, one about the solution, and one about the provider every week, for example.
Who Will Create and Distribute the Content
Let’s dive into how to plan your content the right way. Just follow these eight easy steps, and you’ll be on your path to success in content marketing.
Types of Content Plans with Examples
We’ve sorted out different content plans depending on where and how you share stuff. Now, let’s go through the 6 most common types of content planning and check out some examples.
1. Website Content Plan
A usual plan for website content has these essential parts: grouping or arrangement, details, goal, target audience, action prompt, main idea, owner, deadline, and release date. The grouping or arrangement aspect signifies the structure of a website, often visualized like a tree.
The website pages are sorted into three groups: main, sub, and sub-sub pages. When building the plan for website content, include the groups from the site map and choose pages for each group to establish an order.
Since the website content aims at reaching various types of customers in various parts of the sales process, you can use factors like how you speak and where the buyer is in their journey. For this, each part of the website content needs a goal.
The goals change based on where the buyer is in their journey, the plan for content, and the goals of the business. Website content is usually made for one of these reasons: to make people aware, teach them, show up better on search engines, or get more noticed on social media.
In this example, the website pages are sorted into groups and arranged in a way that makes sense. Apart from the usual information like what the page is about, its goal, who it’s for, what action readers should take, and when it’s due, there’s also a part about what readers will learn.
This is the key message of the website content, crucial for both the writers and the readers. It helps the writer concentrate on the key ideas, highlight them, and structure the content around them. Simultaneously, readers can grasp and recall the main themes of the publication.
2. Blog Content Plan
No matter why you’re blogging, your blog plan needs specific important parts. The plan usually has the blog title, categories, how the content looks, when you’ll post, who owns the content, who you’re talking to, and a brief about the content.
Depending on your strategy and business needs, you can use a simple or more detailed plan. The size of your content team, whether it’s a big department or a small group, also affects how the blog plan is set up.
Blog titles usually have important words that help your blog connect with the people you want to reach. The person who makes and puts out the post is called a content owner. This could be a writer, editor, or content manager.
The content brief has important information for writing the piece, like a plan, relevant references, word count, related themes, and other data.
Having well-balanced categories is important for SEO. Add a categories section in your blog plan to make sure each category has the same number of blog entries. Also, include a part about important events, product launches, and holidays to help you organize your content for specific times.
3. Instagram Content Plan
Instagram is a social media site that’s all about pictures and stories. So, when you’re planning what to post, think about how your images, stories, and words fit together. Don’t forget to include this in your plan. Also, keep your style consistent. This means using the same words, tone, colors, themes, and filters.
In your Instagram plan, add things like content pillars (important topics for your field), types of content, how you’ll post, what’s trending, and both general and specific hashtags. You should also look at how well your posts are doing.
You can make an Instagram plan using the VALUE model or different types of content. VALUE stands for various types of content:
- V – stands for content that’s valuable or teaches readers something new.
- A – represents posts that are aspirational or motivational, encouraging the audience to achieve their goals.
- L – is for a lifecycle or material that raises awareness, motivates people to take action, and builds relationships.
- U – signifies unique articles associated with a brand.
- E – refers to evergreen publications that will stay relevant in the future.
4. Facebook Content Plan
To make engaging Facebook posts, keep in mind three key elements: use interesting pictures, create catchy headlines, and add a creative call-to-action. Besides these aspects, you can also include the type of content, a short description for your Facebook post, a link, and hashtags. Lastly, if you want to see how well your posts are doing, track categories like how many people saw them, likes, clicks, shares, comments, and any negative feedback.
For timely events such as holidays, contests, special occasions, and important milestones for your company, make sure to include a section about these in your content plan. You can organize your Facebook content plan based on different types of content, just like we did in the previous example using the VALUE framework.
Divide your content plan into three parts: content you own, content you find and share, and content you promote. Then, organize your schedule based on this approach.
5. General Social Media Content Plan
The general social media content plan usually includes current events and popular themes, industry trends and what people like, target audience profiles, goals, featured content points, posting schedule, tone and rules of interaction, assigned personnel, call to action, and metrics.
You might also include words people search for and use on social media, advertising opportunities, and possible partners to share your content with. Finally, in the part about advertising chances, you can share paid promotions and tools for boosting content.
Featured subjects are topics and ideas that readers are likely to be interested in. Posting schedule relates to the time and how often you publish.
In the tone and rules of the engagement area, you might describe the conversation style and post requirements, such as minimum/maximum word count, visual guidelines, and other criteria. The potential partners section discusses influencers or specialists who can help you promote your website or blog.
The plan for social media content is designed for popular sites like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and Pinterest. It’s part of the overall social media strategy, focusing on the benefits and goals achieved through creating content.
With this strategy, you can create content for each platform, considering the right posting schedule, format, and type of content. It also helps track key performance indicators and monitor progress.
6. Video Content Plan
When making a plan for your video content, you can use different types of content as a starting point. Let’s explore three main categories: inspirational, instructional, and entertaining content.
The videos in your plan can be grouped into different types, like how-to videos, product tutorials, explainers, interviews, event invitations, and more. You can also include a section that lists the main places to share your videos, like blogs, social media, and websites.
The group, money, and time limit are other important parts of the plan for video content. Making video content involves creating a plan and outline, writing a script, filming, and editing. Therefore, you can devise a plan for video content focusing on the steps before, during, and after making the video.
The necessary parts of the content plan encompass the video’s goal, title and idea, description, links to the script and plan, format, platforms, intended viewers and goals, main message, video plan summary, important words, and performance KPIs.
Master Content Planning in 9 Simple Steps
Ready to crush your content marketing goals? Master the art of effective content planning with these 8 actionable strategies. Implement them, and watch your audience engagement soar!
1. Establish your goals
Goals guide your content plan and determine how you’ll measure success.
For example, you might aim to increase marketing-qualified leads by 10% in Q4. This objective might encourage you to create exclusive content like digital eBooks.
Your content goals should be SMART. That means:
- Specific: Make sure the goal is clear and well-defined.
- Measurable: Have a straightforward way to track your progress.
- Achievable: Your goals should be both optimistic and realistic.
- Relevant: Your content goals should align with your overall business strategy.
- Time-bound: Each goal should have a deadline.
2. Define Your Target Audience(s)
All your stuff should focus on the people who might buy it.
Before you start arranging your content, you should know exactly who you’re writing for – and no, it’s not “everyone.” Lots of companies use buyer personas to narrow down their audience.
A buyer persona is a detailed profile of a made-up character who stands for your target audience. This profile helps content creators picture who should like their content. Usually, a persona includes:
- Full name.
- Details like how old they are and whether they are male or female.
- Hobbies and things they like.
- Problems they often face and things that bother them.
- How do they usually buy things? Do they care more about the cost or if it’s a well-known brand?
Based on what you sell and the industry you’re in, you might have one or many customer profiles. If you’re selling to different types of customers, try to create content that fits each one.
3. Do Your Research
Planning your content isn’t about randomly choosing topics. Instead, it’s about picking the content pieces that will likely work best for your business. It starts with doing some research.
First, check out what your competitors are doing.
You likely know who your main competitors are, but you can use the Search Competition Tool to discover businesses that compete with you for keywords. Check out competitor websites for content ideas. Do they have any information on related topics that you haven’t covered yet? Make a list of these content titles.
Next, identify logical keywords for your content.
SEO content usually revolves around words your potential customers are likely to use. Start your research with the Keyword Planner Tool. Just input a word or phrase, and the tool will create a list of related terms. For more details on discovering the best keywords for creating content, refer to our guide on SEO keyword research.
4. Audit Your Existing Content
Before you choose to create new content, take a look at what you already have. Check your current material and ask yourself questions like:
- Is all the content about our products still current?
- How well is the content doing?
- Did we cover all the stages of the buying process for each type of customer?
- Do we have any content about the keywords or topics mentioned in step #3?
The goal is to find gaps. If you already have a bunch of stuff on a particular topic, you don’t need to write more. But, you might miss an important group of people or a subject that all your competitors have covered.
You might find that you already have details on a certain topic, but it’s not doing well or is outdated. No need to copy these parts; put content improvement on your schedule.
5. Plan Your New Content
You’ve thought about words people search for and looked at what others are doing. You know about your current stuff and how well it’s doing. Now, let’s use all that to make a plan.
Think about how often you can make stuff based on the time and things you have. This helps decide how much content you should think about. Start putting ideas into your content plan.
Along with your usual plan, think about making special stuff for events, launching products, holidays, and other special times.
6. Don’t Ignore SEO
Remember to add the info needed for search engines to find your content easily. Have a plan to optimize your content with a meta title and description, and use alt text for all photos.
7. Plan for Distribution and Promotion
When planning your content calendar, be sure to think about how you’ll share your material. Will you post your blog on social media? Include it in an email campaign? Syndicated it on other websites?
Repurposing and promoting existing content can also be a key part of your content strategy.
8. Assign The Work
For every piece of content, assign a ‘owner.’ This person won’t necessarily do all the work, but they’ll make sure it’s made and shared as planned.
You can have your team create all your stuff, but there are other options. First, you can collaborate with influencers to make content that promotes your company.
Working with influencers can be a great way to create content with a bigger audience. And It’s effective: 36% think content from influencers does better than posts from brands, compared to only 10% who think brand content performs better.
If you use influencer stuff in your content plan, make sure someone from your team takes care of it. This person will talk with the influencer.
9. Measure Results And Adjust Plans Based on Them
Your content is online, but there’s more to do in planning. Keeping an eye on how well your content is doing can help you make better content plans later on or enhance the one you’re using now.
You can change the plan even after you’ve finished the content calendar. For example, you might find out that content made for buyer group A does better than content made for buyer group B. Then, you can choose to focus on content for Group A for the rest of the year.
Many tools can help you track content, like Google Analytics and Ahrefs free Website Traffic Checker.
Having a plan for your content is really important for a few key reasons. It helps you set goals, keep track of how well you’re doing, find new opportunities, save money, boost productivity, and make stuff that you can sell.
Planning your content takes some time. Learning how to make content, figuring out what types of content work best in your industry, understanding what your audience wants, and making sure you have a well-thought-out approach all help you save time and energy when you’re making content. It lets you focus better on your audience, create great content, and also promote your brand in the right places.
When you see a company that always makes awesome content, it’s probably because they have a good plan for their content that they’re putting into action effectively.