Content marketing is a powerful tool, but it can’t be executed without a plan. Content can persuade, retain, educate and entertain customers, but it requires more than a few blog posts and a smattering of social posts to reach its potential.
A content marketing plan is a road map with specific instructions explaining how content will successfully promote your brand and its products.
How do you go about creating a plan? We’ll give you some tips and provide content marketing plan examples too.
Why do you need a content marketing plan?
Before exploring the specifics of a content marketing plan, it’s important to know why it’s a worthy investment of your time. You need a content plan because it:
- Ensures your marketing efforts align with your brand’s overall goals.
- Provides a clear, focused approach to content that everyone can follow.
- Gives you the ability to plan specific pieces of content and a publishing timeline.
- Helps you set measurable goals, monitor your ROI and adjust tactics as needed.
- Gives you the best chance at publishing relevant, on-brand content that connects with your audience.
Key pieces of a content marketing plan
Content marketing plans can differ from company to company, but usually, they include these pieces:
- Goals and KPIs
- Content types and channels
- Content calendar
- Content creation and distribution plan
- Measuring results
Set goals and KPIs
What do you want to get out of your content? You need to set goals. Are you trying to increase brand awareness, educate customers, or drive sales? Write down the goal of your content.
Now, figure out how you’ll measure the success of that goal. Pick specific KPIs to monitor to gauge the effectiveness of your content.
Identify your audience
Who will read or watch your content? It’s not enough to say 30-year-old females from New England states. You need to create specific buyer personas that provide a full profile of your ideal customers.
Select content types and channels
Which type of content will resonate with your customers? While you can certainly vary the type of content you create, most brands do have a predominant type, be it blogs, videos or podcasts. Next, figure out which channels you’ll use to share this content.
Know how much money you plan to spend and create a rough forecast. If you’re just starting, you may not have the budget to do everything you want, but prioritize your list to get the most out of it.
Create a content calendar
Brainstorm a list of content ideas, identify the best titles, and schedule them on a calendar. The number of pieces will depend on how frequently you plan to publish content. You can use something as simple as a Google Calendar, a spreadsheet or use free tools like Trello.
Creation and distribution plan
Content creation takes time. You can tap someone in-house to create content, hire a freelancer to help, or work with a content creation agency.
You also need to figure out how to distribute your content. You can share links on social, include content in your newsletter, and email new blogs to customers — just to name a few ideas.
When you set goals, you identify KPIs to watch. Plan to review these metrics regularly to see how your content fares. Let your analytics guide your plans to tweak and change content.
Content marketing plan examples
If you’d rather not create a plan from scratch, here are several content marketing plan templates to get you started:
Content Marketing Institute
A leader in content marketing, CMI has a one-page content marketing template that you can easily adapt to your brand and its needs. The template focuses on objectives, goals, strategies, and metrics.
A leading CRM, Hubspot’s planning template helps you work through a SWOT analysis and build buyer personas. You’ll also set goals, identify KPIs, and plan a launch timeline.
Like any marketing technique, content should be planned and budgeted for. A lot goes into creating content, and a marketing plan helps ensure your videos, blogs, and podcasts hit or exceed your expectations. To get a plan on paper, use one of the content marketing plan examples above and check out our ebook, 6 Ways to Do Content Marketing Right.