A content plan determines everything you want to create and the process through which you want to achieve it.
Also, establish who is responsible for doing it, its purpose, and the impact the content will have on your overall content strategy.
Content plans enhance your online marketing activities and help you target potential customers at all stages of the consumer journey.
To understand your consumers’ buying journey, take a look at this guide to the content marketing funnel.
Creating your own buying cycle will benefit you as you work through the content plan template in this guide.
Why do You Need a Content Plan?
Creating creative content on a regular basis is part of the success of any marketing strategy.
Planning your content makes it easy for your team to collaborate, create, and share content.
A good content plan helps you create content that attracts traffic and sales from your target audience.
A popular piece of content, regardless of type, can generate long-term engagement.
Content plans also help you address important business strategies, like preparing a budget or requesting digital marketing resources.
You will know what you need to develop and share your content and, in this way, avoid unnecessary costs or delays.
What is The Difference Between a Content Plan And a Content Strategy?
If you have already created a content strategy, you will think that you do not need anything else.
But in reality, content strategy and content planning are two different concepts.
Your content strategy refers to your different marketing objectives and how you plan to achieve them.
When your strategy is ready, you will need to plan the content to determine how to execute your plan.
In other words, it will define all the resources and data you need to achieve the objectives that you have proposed in your strategy, such as the editorial calendar.
You will use your content plan to research, create, publish, and monitor your content.
Each step of the content creation process should be defined in your content plan.
Content Planning: How to Create a Plan that Delivers Results
According to the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and MarketingProfs, companies that have a content plan are more likely to create successful content than those that don’t.
Of course, each company’s content plan will look and work differently, but your content plan should address some common elements.
A Content Template That Works
To create a content plan that achieves results, you need to answer 6 questions for a correct situation analysis:
- Who is your content for?
- Where are you going to post?
- What problems does it solve?
- Why is your business different?
- How are you going to communicate your message?
- How are you going to create the content?
1. Who is Your Content for?
Regardless of the channel, your content needs to resonate with your audience to get results.
The first step is to discover who consumes your content (your buyer persona).
Collect as much data as you can about your customers to find out how to understand and engage them.
There are many ways to collect customer data, including conducting market research or using analytics tools, such as Google Analytics.
To find audience information with your Google Analytics dashboard, select “Audience” in the left navigation menu.
The Audience report gives you information about the age, gender, education, and interests of your audience.
Understanding the interests of consumers is a good way to anticipate the type of content they want to see.
If your consumers are interested in the “affinity category” of cats and dogs, you can post content that includes dogs.
Remember that the same type of content does not necessarily have to work on all platforms.
A dog-related article might fit well for social media content, but not for email.
If you’re publishing your content across multiple channels, such as email, social media, and blog, your content plan may include more than one audience type.
2. Where are You Going to Publish?
Consider where your audience spends the most time.
You’ve already collected interest and demographic data, but you still don’t know which channels they’re on.
To find this information, you can use the Traffic Analytics tool.
Select “Traffic Analytics” in the left panel toolbar.
To view your own metrics, enter your domain in the text field.
The tool offers you the information clearly organized in the report tables.
You will have information about the monthly number of visits they receive, which marketing channels are driving traffic, and from which countries.
You can also track the sites your users visit when they leave your website, which could help if you’re losing traffic to your competitors.
However, traffic data does not tell you where visitors are on the consumer journey.
A user coming from organic searches may or may not be familiar with your product.
When creating content for an inbound marketing channel, you will need to plan all the stages of the sales funnel.
3. What Problems Does it Solve?
Successful content not only needs to reach your audience, but it has to encourage them to take action by showing them the benefits they can get from your products or services.
Ask yourself what problems your products or services help solve.
You’ve already used your customer data to discover their interests, but you also need to know what they don’t like and the problems they face.
You can collect this data by researching the questions users ask about your industry and products.
There are several research tools that can track the most common queries and questions, such as the Keyword Magic tool.
Open the tool and enter a target keyword related to your product or service.
For example, we have searched for the phrase “tennis shoes”:
The tool will provide you with a list of related keywords and their metrics, such as average search volume, keyword difficulty, and other related search result parameters.
You could create a shoe size guide or create a landing page about your shoes.
The idea is that you use your content to educate, engage and offer a solution to your audience.
4. Why is Your Business Different?
Your competitors are probably already creating content about their products and services.
Therefore, it is not enough that you offer another solution among many others.
You also need to show your customers why your solution is better than your competition’s.
Ask yourself what makes your product better or different.
These points, also known as a unique selling proposition (USP), should be included in your content so that your customers discover why your products add value to their lives.
If you’re not sure what sets you apart from your competitors, you can start by taking a look at the best content in your industry.
To do this, use the Topic Research Tool to find out what type of content ranks best for a topic in your country.
The tool generates questions, related topics, and top content based on the keywords you enter.
Pay special attention to the format of the content.
Is one type of content performing better than another?
Are videos or images dominating the search results?
5. How are You Going to Communicate Your Message?
The format of your content has to take into account your audience, message, and platform.
Your content plan probably includes different types of formats.
Ask yourself what types of content work well in your marketing channel.
Are blog posts more popular than emails?
Are emails more popular than whitepapers?
You should also consider what fits with your audience and message.
Even if a type of content is popular, it may not be the best way to share your message.
Use the data you’ve collected about your customers’ favorite channels and interests, as well as any traffic sources you’ve detected in your research.
Your content plan should include a mix of text, videos, images, etc.
Depending on the channel in which you are operating and the way in which your customers navigate.
6. How are You Going to Create the Content?
Once you have planned who your content is going to be for, where it is going to be published, what message it is going to have, and its format, it is time to schedule when you are going to create it.
Creating and publishing your content is the final step to getting results.
In addition to figuring out who is going to be responsible for creating the content and how you need to know how and where you are going to publish it.
It’s important to plan these steps to manage your team’s budget, workload, and workflow.
This way, you make sure that the content is published at the right time to get interactions and leads.
3 Types of Content Plans
Depending on which stage of the marketing funnel you’re targeting, your content plan will need to focus on:
- Brand recognition
Content Planning for Brand Recognition
Improving brand recognition is a very common business goal.
Creating content for the top of the funnel (top-of-the-funnel or TOFU in English) is one of the best ways to position your brand and get recognition.
What is TOFU Content?
Brand Awareness Content (or TOFU) is created to show your potential customers that your brand and products exist.
The goal is to sell your brand, not just your products.
You want your consumers to be familiar with your brand name and the characteristics that make it unique.
These users usually do not know anything about your brand or your product.
What Should TOFU Content Do?
- Educate the audience about your brand and your products.
- Show the values of your company.
- Provide information and value.
- Avoid “sales pitches”.
- Show your product as a solution to customer problems.
Example of Content for Brand Recognition
The most frequent TOFU content is social networks since they are the perfect opportunity to connect with a community and show your brand.
An example of a brand using TOFU content effectively is Deadpool.
The superhero franchise uses social networks to publicize the films and has even created a Tinder profile for the character.
Content Planning for Keyword Positioning
Increasing the number of keywords you rank for can help you drive more organic traffic through Google and search engines.
It is practically impossible to rank for keywords without posting specific content.
What is SEO Content?
SEO-optimized content is modified to target a specific search term.
This type of content is not aimed at your products, your brand, or your customers.
Instead, you should focus on “selling” to Google.
You want to show Google that you have the answer to the query by using the keyword in your content.
However, you need more than just including the keyword in the content.
To get started, you’ll need to find the right keywords to target.
This way, you’ll be targeting all stages of the marketing funnel with SEO content based on the type of keyword you elevate.
Take a look at our guide on the different types of keywords to find out what types of users they are targeting.
What Should SEO Content Do?
- Target specific keywords, identified through keyword research.
- Match the search intent of the keyword.
- Reflect on the type of content currently ranking for your keyword.
- Provide informational and educational content.
- Show potential customers that you have the solution to their problem.
SEO Content Example
Articles and blog posts are the most common type of SEO-optimized content.
Blogs are typically informative, and educational, and can naturally respond to search queries.
For example, thanks to the creation of comprehensive articles that answer multiple questions, the Healthline website, in English, is positioned on the first page for various health-related queries.
Content Planning to Get Conversions
Increasing the number of sales is the ultimate goal of any company.
Although content is not typically prioritized at the bottom of the funnel, it can drive direct sales.
What is BOFU Content?
Bottom-of-the-funnel (BOFU) content targets the section of your audience that is ready to make a purchase or action.
BOFU content sells your products directly and wants to convince your audience that it is a worthwhile solution.
Here, you want to convert your visitors and subscribers into customers.
The users you are targeting with BOFU content are at the bottom of the marketing funnel.
They are people who know exactly what they are looking for but are open to trying different brands.
Even if they know about your products, they probably don’t know about your company or what features set you apart.
What Should BOFU Content Do?
- Use convincing words.
- Get to the point with what you want your readers to do in the first paragraph.
- Use graphics or images.
- Emphasize the value of your company and products.
- Be specific.
- Have repeated and clear CTAs.
Example of BOFU Content
The most common type of this content is email marketing.
With emails, you directly address your potential customers who have subscribed to your mailing list.
They have already expressed interest in your product; you just need to convince them to take an action.
An example of BOFU content would be a landing page about a special shoe detergent.
The landing page would include a clear CTA, a list of benefits, and some kind of compelling offer that encourages users to click the “buy” button.
Measure Content Results
Creating the right content and posting it to the right site is important, but you’ll also need to measure the results.
Once you start publishing content, you’ll need to add a performance measurement plan.
Plan to review performance on a regular basis so that you can assess its impact.
Take a look at specific metrics that are relevant to the type of content, such as tone of voice for blog articles, engagement levels for social media posts, the open rate for emails, and the bounce rate for landing pages.
To get this information you can use data tools such as Google Analytics and Semrush.
Tools like Keyword Manager will help you track the rankings of the content you create, while Social Media Tracker can help you monitor comments, interactions, and your competitors’ posts.
Your content plan is an essential part of creating content that converts.
No matter what stage of the marketing funnel your customers are in, you should be able to offer them content that matches your brand or product.
Try to create a content plan focused on each stage of the funnel and use research to better understand your audience and their interests.
With a little planning and effort, you will see real changes in the quality and reach of your content.
Thanks for Reading.