How To Create A Content Plan in 5 Steps
In this guide, we will help you develop and implement a complete content strategy plan step by step. So let’s start with the basics.
Difference Between Content Plan And Content Strategy
You will often see the terms content strategy and content plan being suggested as synonyms. They are not.
A content strategy precedes a content plan, it is made up of an outline of your business goals and ways you want to achieve them. Your content plan, on the other hand, is made of the assets, reports, outreach, and other moving parts that were chosen based on the goals you defined in the content strategy.
With a strategy, you build the groundwork for a content plan which then generates content production, publishing and distribution.
What Is A Content Plan?
A content plan focuses on your goals and how exactly you will achieve them. It is formed by the research that helps you decide who you want to reach with your content marketing efforts, details how you will deliver that content to them and how you will achieve and measure your targeted results.
5 Steps To Create Content Plan
Having a documented plan is key to content marketing success. A content plan allows you to anticipate challenges and allocate resources effectively, so here are the 5 steps to creating one.
1. Persona Research
After you’ve clarified your goals in your initial content strategy it’s time to put that knowledge into practice, firstly by finding your audience and what draws them in.
Conduct market research to figure out who the target audience for your content is. What do they want? What do they need? How can you help? And don’t limit yourself to only buyers. In this stage, your goal is to collect data for anyone who will ideally interact with your brand.
With persona research, you will be able to find niche audiences that you have not yet targeted and adapt your content to the group of people you aim to convert.
It is key that you implement this research in various stages of your business growth through time: your audience may have changed or there may be better ways to target them. Take a look at our blog post to know whether it is time to change your marketing approach.
2. Audit Your Content
If you have existing blog posts or various pages that have existed for a bit of time it’s ideal to revisit them. Find the ones that are performing best: what do they have in common? What makes them valuable to your audience that they receive so much interaction? Apply that knowledge to your content that is performing sub-par and to the new content you are developing.
If your company is recent, use social media posts that were created to target clients and gather the interaction data they have received (this is easily accessible in most professional social media profiles). This will also help you develop content that you know interests your audience and apply it to your website.
A content audit will help you align your company goals with your content goals, find topics that interest your audience, what areas you are lacking in and generate new ideas.
3. Produce Content
Is your brain full of ideas? Great! Before you start writing all the blog posts you have in mind, take a step back and consider: what is the purpose of that specific piece? Do you want to form a bond with new audiences? Is your goal to cultivate an interest in your product or encourage existing leads to follow through with a purchase? Make sure that the goal of your content is clear and appeals to the phase of the customer journey your ideal persona is in.
Remember that creating content is not limited to the written form. There is audio content like podcasts, visual content such as infographics and videos, direct interactive content through social media, and yes, written content like blog posts, case studies, ebooks, etc. By diversifying your content you will be able to appeal to every member of your audience.
4. Content Management And Editorial Planning
A Content Management System (CMS) is what will help you create, publish and analyse the content you develop. You may be unfamiliar with the term, but you likely know a popular CMS: WordPress. It helps you plan out and produce your written content, whether they are pages, blog posts, etc, publish them and track your content.
You will be able to find what tasks take the longest, when content should be published, what resources are necessary. These will all work together to create an editorial plan with realistic content expectations and timelines, as well as identify what tasks should be prioritised.
5. Content Performance
Do you remember step 2? Auditing your content is not just a one-and-done task. After your content has been published you must analyse its performance. Did this particular piece of content relate to your audience? What topics generated the most interest?
You can measure these results in four ways:
- Unique visitors, pages per session and bounce rate will give you insight into user behaviour.
- Organic traffic and backlinks will help you gauge your SEO results. We’ve put together a guide of the best free SEO tools, some of which will have these specific results.
- Likes, shares, comments will aid you in determining engagement.
- Conversion rate, number of leads, and existing leads affected will help you determine company revenue.
And there you have it, the 5 steps to creating a content plan that helps you achieve your goals. Still need a bit of assistance? Don’t worry, our expert Digital PR & Content Marketing team can help you. Get in touch and take your business to the next level with Limelight Digital.