Content marketing costs 62% less than conventional marketing but can generate three times as many leads.
So, what exactly is a content plan? Well, it’s all about managing the various media assets you create and own, like videos, images, and blogs. A solid content marketing plan brings all these elements together to engage and convert users.
Everyone wants a successful content marketing plan. But the question is, how do we achieve that?
Gone are the days when simply posting daily blog updates would improve your search engine ranking. Nowadays, you need more than just a website, blog, and social media presence to keep your brand building process thriving in the online world.
But before we dive into the nitty-gritty, let’s understand why content marketing holds such importance.
What are some content marketing plan examples?
Below given are the different types of content that you can use in your content marketing efforts. Each type serves a specific purpose and can be valuable in engaging your target audience. Here are some common content types and their definitions:
Blog Post: Blog posts are articles published on your company’s website. They provide insights, best practices, and commentary on topics relevant to your customers. Blog posts help establish your organization as a trusted source of information.
Ebook: Ebooks are digital books that offer high-value information to your customers. They are often used to share industry-specific best practices and establish your expertise. Ebooks can also be an effective lead-generation tool.
How-to Guide: How-to guides educate readers on completing specific tasks related to your product or addressing your customers’ needs. These guides build trust and demonstrate your expertise in helping your audience achieve their goals.
Infographics: Infographics are visual representations of data or information. They help quickly convey complex topics or present survey data in a visually appealing way. Infographics can be incorporated into blog posts, ebooks, or other content forms.
Newsletter: Newsletters are regular emails sent to customers or subscribers. They contain company updates, links to other content, promotions, and timely information. Newsletters help nurture customer relationships and keep your audience informed.
Social Media Post: Social media posts are content shared on your company’s social media pages. They can be standalone short-form content or serve as promotional material, linking your audience to longer-form content on your website.
Success Story: Success stories showcase how customers have achieved their goals and derived benefits from using your product or service. They provide social proof and demonstrate the value you offer.
Syndicated Content: Syndicated content is material originally created for one channel and then shared on other platforms. It helps expand your reach by repurposing content across different channels. For example, an article published on your blog can be shared on LinkedIn.
User Generated Content (UGC): UGC refers to content created by your customers about your company. It can take the form of social media posts or other content shared by customers. UGC adds authenticity and social proof to your marketing efforts.
Video: Videos are powerful tools in content marketing. They can be used to establish expertise, provide educational content, or promote your products or services. Videos are visually engaging and offer an alternative format to written content.
White Paper: White papers are comprehensive reports or guides that dive deep into topics relevant to your products or services. They help establish your organization’s expertise and are often gated behind a form to capture leads on your website.
By using a variety of content types, you can cater to different preferences and engage your audience in different ways. It’s important to choose the right content types based on your plans and target audience.
What is the content of a marketing plan, and why is it important?
A content marketing plan is all about creating, publishing, and distributing content that reinforces your company’s key messages. It’s an opportunity to attract and build trust with your target audience by sharing your expertise and establishing authority.
Content serves as the foundation of various marketing activities, whether it’s product marketing, email marketing, or social media. However, it’s also important to have a dedicated content plan that outlines specific content activities, production schedules and keeps your team in sync.
Content plans are essential for several reasons.
- They align content work with your marketing and organizational objectives, ensuring that your content team focuses on the most important tasks.
- They also promote coordination and keep your team on schedule.
- By providing a framework for communicating company messages, content plans ensure messaging alignment across your organization.
- They offer visibility into your content strategy for your broader marketing team and executive leadership.
- Content plans enable agility, allowing your team to quickly adapt and respond to current events that resonate with your audience.
How To Create A Content Marketing Plan In 10 Easy Steps
Here are the 10 most important yet easy steps to create the perfect content marketing plan for your brand:
1. Set Your Goals
It’s important to have clear goals to guide your efforts and keep you focused. Here are some factors to consider when setting your goals:
Think about your target audience.
Who are you trying to reach with your content? Understanding your audience will help you tailor your content to their needs and preferences.
Consider the type of content that will resonate with your target audience.
Will it be blog posts, videos, infographics, or something else? Choose the formats that will best capture their attention and deliver value.
Think about the benefits your audience will get from your content.
Will it educate, entertain, or inspire them? Understanding the value you provide will help you create compelling content that engages your audience.
Don’t forget to factor in your budget.
How much can you allocate to your content marketing efforts? Your budget will influence the scale and scope of your campaigns.
Now, let’s talk about the goals themselves. There are several goals you can set for your marketing plan contents:
Brand awareness: Increase visibility and recognition for your brand among your target audience.
Revenue generation: Use content to drive sales and generate revenue for your business.
High-quality leads: Attract and convert leads that are most likely to become loyal customers.
Social media and website traffic: Drive more visitors to your social media pages and website to increase engagement and conversions.
Business network expansion: Use content to forge new connections and expand your professional network.
Establish industry authority: Position yourself as an expert in your industry through informative and valuable content.
Social media engagement: Encourage likes, comments, and shares on your social media posts to boost engagement and reach.
2. Conduct Persona Research To Find Your Ideal Audiences
When marketing to multiple buyer personas, it’s crucial to ensure that you are reaching each segment. But how can you do that? The key lies in understanding your audiences before you even begin planning your campaign.
To gain insights into your buyers, use surveys, gather data, analyze buying patterns, and leverage intelligence tools. By doing so, you can uncover their language, conversations, and tone on social media, forums, and blogs.
In addition to understanding your audience, it’s important to identify the influencers they follow. This helps in devising a solid content marketing plan that resonates with their preferences.
Brand monitoring tools are valuable resources for assessing your audience’s behaviors. They allow you to create accurate buyer personas, which are essential for connecting with your audience through appropriate copy and visuals at the right moments.
Let’s say you are a beverage company looking to promote a new drink – an affordable, contemporary energy beverage. If you are aware of a particular sport that your target audience follows, you can align your product with an upcoming sporting event. This enables you to segment and isolate your audience, allowing for customized content marketing campaigns.
Remember that each social media platform has its own unique audience. It’s important to tailor your content to suit the platform and its users.
- You can use Instagram to share quotes, stories, and high-resolution photos.
- Facebook is ideal for posting curated content, testimonials, and videos.
- Twitter is great for sharing blog posts, news, and GIFs.
- LinkedIn serves as a platform to share company updates, product launches, job postings, and milestones.
- Pinterest is perfect for sharing step-by-step tutorials and infographics.
By using these popular social media networks strategically, you can create viral content marketing campaigns that reach your target audience. Remember, the key is to post the right content on the right platform for maximum impact and engagement.
3. Identify Common Problems And Offer Solutions
After creating your buyer persona, you collect insights that can be used to identify common problems they face. Analyze analytics and understand your potential customers to determine what they are searching for and when to deliver targeted content at the right stage of the sales funnel.
Consumers easily trust information when it comes from influencers they follow. That’s why many brands collaborate with niche experts to enhance the credibility of their content. This approach helps consumers feel more confident in making informed purchasing decisions.
Once you have identified and addressed your customers’ existing problems, create new challenges that you can also solve. This approach allows for ongoing opportunities and enables you to maintain a relationship with your target audience. You establish yourself as a trusted resource and position your brand as the go-to solution provider in your industry by continuously providing solutions.
4. Figure Out What Types Of Content You Are Going To Create
Brand development strategies involve diversifying their content offerings to reach a wider audience. Here are some proven content formats that you should include in your content marketing plan.
Blogs: Blogs are an excellent medium for boosting your online presence. According to Forbes, websites with a blog have 434% more indexed pages, increasing their chances of ranking higher on search engine results. Blogs also contribute to search engine optimization efforts by generating 97% more inbound links for business sites. Do your own keywords research to come up with amazing blog topics.
Videos: Videos have become increasingly popular as consumers prefer visual content over lengthy product descriptions. YouTube channels are thriving by creating how-to guides and unboxing videos that provide concise and detailed insights into product features. Including professionally produced videos in your content marketing plan adds a polished touch.
Infographics: Infographics may seem underestimated, but they are actually a highly shareable content format. You can create compelling content that users are likely to circulate within their social networks by incorporating visually appealing graphics with the latest trivia or facts.
Case studies: Case studies allow businesses to showcase the special uses or applications of their products and services. By handpicking the best clients or testimonials, you can create impactful content that demonstrates the value of your offerings. Case studies can take various forms, including videos or a series of blog posts.
eBooks: eBooks offer long-form content that focuses on specific keywords or topics. Providing valuable information and solutions, eBooks have the potential to offer great value to your customers. Ensure that your eBook goes beyond a mere advertisement and instead provides in-depth insights and tips.
Creating content for social media requires a mix of interactive formats to engage your audience. You can experiment with animations, videos, games, audio clips, or even text-based content to encourage conversations and interactions.
List posts: Create list posts, which are content pieces that present information in a numbered format. You can create
- “Why” posts that explain various topics
- “How-to” posts that provide tutorials or videos showcasing product features
- “What” posts that offer general information or news articles
These list posts are engaging and cater to different preferences within your target audience.
5. Where Are You Going To Publish Your Content?
Now that you have an idea of the type of content you need to connect with your users, it’s time to choose the right social media platform to publish that content. Let’s take a closer look at some popular social media networks and how they can work for you.
Facebook leads the market, especially among millennials, followed by YouTube and Instagram. If you are targeting Gen Z, keep in mind that they primarily use YouTube for entertainment purposes, such as watching videos or playing online games, as well as following influencers who do pranks.
Facebook: Facebook is known for showcasing curated content. It’s a great platform to post high-quality content, including your company’s blog posts, industry news, and updates from your partners. Videos continue to dominate on Facebook, so creating engaging and unique videos can help you reach a larger audience. Facebook works well for almost any type of startups.
Instagram: Instagram is extremely visual and appeals more to the younger generation. It’s an ideal platform for posting behind-the-scenes photos, product photos, and user-generated content. Reposting photos from influencers or your best customers can generate high engagement. Just make sure to ask for permission before reposting, and always tag the customer or influencer to avoid any misunderstandings. Instagram doesn’t have to be too professional, and many brands post graphics and motivational quotes to keep their profiles fresh. It’s a great platform for celebrities, influencers, beauty salons, and makeup products.
Twitter: Twitter is a news-oriented platform, with a large percentage of users using it to share news and updates about product launches. Others log in specifically to check these updates. You can share company updates on Twitter and use relevant hashtags to spread the word about your brand. Twitter is particularly popular among news agencies, media groups, politicians, celebrities, and journalists.
YouTube: When it comes to YouTube, it’s all about videos. However, don’t forget the importance of writing great copy and creating catchy titles to attract viewers to your videos. Your videos should not only entertain and inform but also redirect traffic to your official website. YouTube is a versatile platform that works well for all types of businesses, entrepreneurs, self-taught artists, and small corporations.
Each platform has its own unique features and audience, so make sure to tailor your content to each specific platform for maximum impact.
6. Find A Project Management System To Streamline Your Content Marketing Plan
There are plenty of tools and software available that can handle much of the manual work for you. By automating routine tasks, you not only save time but also ensure a consistent implementation of your content marketing plan.
Let’s take a look at some of the popular content management tools that can help you streamline your workflow:
Trello: This web-based software caters to the needs of multiple professionals. It allows you to set deadlines, monitor ongoing projects, and review completed tasks.
ProofHub: With ProofHub, managers, writers, and clients can collaborate seamlessly to achieve their goals without any hassle.
Buffer: Buffer guarantees convenient social media scheduling, making it easier for you to plan and publish your content across various platforms.
Sprout Social: If you are looking for team-based social media management, Sprout Social is a great option. It provides comprehensive tools for managing and optimizing your social media presence.
Sendible: If lead generation is a priority for your content marketing strategy, Sendible can be an incredible tool to help you generate and nurture leads effectively.
Iconosquare: This tool specializes in managing Instagram business accounts, allowing you to monitor and analyze your Instagram performance with ease.
Hootsuite: Hootsuite is a well-known platform that offers a range of features for managing analytics, scheduling content, and monitoring social media tasks across multiple channels.
MavSocial: When it comes to adding images to your social media posts, MavSocial provides a great solution. It offers a user-friendly interface for creating visually appealing content.
Tailwind: If you are focusing on Pinterest marketing, Tailwind is an excellent choice. It helps you manage and optimize your Pinterest accounts to drive engagement and traffic.
MeetEdgar: MeetEdgar is a powerful tool that automates your social media posts, allowing you to schedule and recycle your content.
Choose the tool that best suits your specific needs and integrates seamlessly with your content marketing workflow. These tools are designed to simplify your tasks and enhance productivity, enabling you to focus on creating and delivering valuable content to your target audience.
7. Assign Roles & Tasks So You Can Reach Your Goals
When it comes to managing your content, depending on your resources and needs, you have the flexibility to choose who will lead your content management plan. If you have an in-house team, you can select or hire a professional to work as the Head of the Online Content Management Plan. On the other hand, if you outsource most of your work, you can collaborate with a key digital marketing professional from your in-house team and your outsourcing partner.
In order to build an effective content management team, you will need a range of professionals with different skill sets. Consider including the following roles:
Social media manager: This individual will handle the management and optimization of your social media platforms, engaging with your audience and ensuring consistent messaging.
Content writer: A skilled writer who can create compelling and informative content for your blog, website, and other channels. They will bring your ideas to life through engaging written content.
Graphic designer: A creative professional who will design visually appealing graphics, infographics, and other visual elements to enhance your content and make it more engaging.
Video producer: An expert in video production who can create high-quality videos that align with your content plan. Videos are a powerful medium for engaging your audience and conveying your message.
Photographer: A talented photographer who can capture captivating images that align with your brand building strategies and content. High-quality visuals can greatly enhance the impact of your content.
If you have an in-house content management team, it’s important to categorize your workforce into specific departments to ensure efficient collaboration and workflow. Here are a few common categories:
Digital: This group focuses on tasks such as podcast scripting, blog writing, e-book production, and other forms of digital content creation.
PR and communications: This team handles sales material, email marketing, press releases, and traditional PR collateral to communicate your brand’s message effectively.
Visual: This department is responsible for creating eye-catching visuals, including images, GIFs, graphs, and other visual assets that will make your content stand out.
Collaboration and coordination among team members will be essential to achieve your content marketing goals.
8. Brainstorm Content Ideas And Get To Work
Now that you understand the importance of a strong content marketing plan and have identified the key professionals who will contribute to its success, it’s time to spark creativity and generate unique ideas. Do a competitor analysis but avoid copying your competitors or regurgitating the same content repeatedly unless you have something new and valuable to add to it, such as updating an old blog post, video, or tutorial.
As a content marketer, it’s natural to spend hours exploring the web for inspiration. While there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s highly recommended to create a swipe file – a collection of your favorite campaigns and snippets of content that you find inspiring. You can easily set up a folder on your desktop to gather and organize these resources for future reference.
By building a swipe file, you will have a repository of creative ideas and successful content examples that can serve as inspiration for your own campaigns. It’s not about copying but rather using these references as a springboard to generate fresh and innovative content ideas that align with your brand and resonate with your target audience. Originality and uniqueness are key to standing out in a crowded online space.
9. Publish/Manage Your Content Marketing Plan
Now that you’re ready to publish or launch your content marketing campaign, incorporate A/B testing into your plan. A/B testing is a simple method to track progress and make data-driven decisions through trial and error.
But what exactly is A/B testing?
A/B testing allows you to create multiple versions of a content piece, such as a landing page, ad, or email, with different variations. You can modify elements like the call to action, text, colors, images, buttons, and anything else that can impact the user experience. However, it’s important to conduct thorough research and design each version with your specific buyer persona in mind to ensure an accurate test.
Once you have your content ready, plan and schedule it across various channels. Lack of planning in this aspect can lead to detrimental and irreversible consequences. Creating a content calendar is essential so that you always know what content to post and when to post it.
For small companies, Google Calendar can be a helpful tool to mark the dates for each piece of content. However, if you are dealing with a large volume of content across multiple channels, you may need a more sophisticated system to manage and schedule your content, like Hootsuite.
10. Use The R3MAT Method In Your Content Strategy
To convert more users and achieve success with your content marketing plan, follow the R3MAT method: delivering the right message to the right audience at the right time.
Let’s break down what each element of the R3MAT method represents:
R – Right Message: Crafting high-quality content that resembles your target audience is key. Your message should be informative, valuable, and engaging to capture the attention and interest of your audience.
R – Right Audience: Understand your target audience. Knowing their demographics, interests, needs, and pain points allows you to tailor your content specifically to them. This helps in building a connection and establishing trust.
R – Right Time: Timing is everything when it comes to content marketing. You need to deliver your content at the right moment when your audience is most receptive and actively seeking information. This requires staying updated with trends, monitoring your audience’s behavior, and identifying the optimal timing for maximum impact.
What are the key components included in the contents of a marketing plan?
Here are the components of a content marketing plan. These elements will guide you in creating a plan to reach your target audience and achieve your business goals.
Essential #1: Target Audience(s)
Your plan should begin by identifying the audience you want to reach and engage with your content. Consider who needs to be influenced to achieve your business objectives. Understand how your target audience discovers brands in your industry and what their buying journey looks like. Also, identify the key influencers that play a role in their purchasing decisions.
Essential #2: Tactics
To bring your content marketing plan to life, you need to determine the right combination of content and distribution channels that will move your audience through the buyer journey stages. Start by defining the main themes and topics that align with your goals. Then, select the content types and channels that will shape your editorial plan.
Think of your content types and channels as the tactics that drive your plan forward. They work together to build momentum and help you progress toward your objectives. For example, you may have multi-channel thought leadership campaigns, major product launches, or industry events as your key tactics.
Essential #3: Timeline
Have a well-defined timeline. Include important dates such as campaign launches, new product announcements, or company events. Align your content marketing plan with your company’s budget cycle, typically spanning 12 months. A content marketing calendar will help you keep track of deliverables, lead times, and deadlines, whether you structure your plan weekly, monthly, or quarterly.
Factor in lead times for development and production phases to ensure you have enough resources to support your plan. Unexpected events or changes may impact your timeline, so review and update it regularly. Have a backup plan ready.
Essential #4: Resources
Securing key resources is often a challenge when building an annual content marketing plan. It’s common to face budget and headcount discussions that delay the plan’s completion. As a best practice, include placeholders in your plan to address people, processes, and budgets.
Identify the people who will lead your marketing initiatives and the support they will need, whether it’s contractors or other employees. Consider the tools or marketing platforms required to automate processes. Estimate the costs associated with content creation or updates, as well as the budget needed for marketing channels like paid search or paid social. If you outsource content development or need new marketing platforms, include those costs as well. Prioritize your content deliverables based on high, medium, or low priority while waiting for budget approval.
Essential #5: Metrics
Include a metrics section in your content marketing plan for measuring success and reporting progress to your executive team. Narrow down your list of metrics to what is most important for gauging progress toward your goals. Aim for 2-3 metrics per goal to avoid overwhelming yourself with too many tracking metrics.
What should be included in the contents of a marketing plan for optimal results?
Below given are the different elements that make up a content plan. These elements help you organize and manage your content creation process effectively.
Content title: This is where you specify the topic or headline of your article, video, or audio piece. You can also include keywords or terms to optimize your content for search engines. Keywords analysis should be the base of creating a content title.
Description: In this section, you provide a brief overview of the key message, target audience, content goal, and call to action. You can also include details about the article structure, word count, and any specific requirements for the content creation process.
Type of content: The type of content indicates the format of your content, such as a blog post, podcast, social media story, infographic, or email newsletter. Using different colors to highlight various content types can make it easier to differentiate and categorize them.
Distribution channel: Here is where you list the platforms and marketing channels you will use to distribute and promote your content. You can even designate a specific color for paid media channels.
Publication date: This is where you set deadlines for publishing your content. To ensure a smooth workflow, you can add additional columns for draft and editing due dates, allowing your content team to coordinate their efforts and keep track of changes.
Author: The author section is dedicated to the people responsible for creating the content, such as authors, copywriters, editors, proofreaders, and translators. This helps you assign tasks and ensure clear accountability within your content team.
Buyer journey stage: Considering the buyer journey stage is important for tailoring your content to meet the specific needs of your target audience. By adding this information into your content plan, you can align your content with the different stages of the buying process, including awareness, consideration, and decision.
Opportunity: Opportunity or event tracking is a helpful addition to your content plan. It allows you to stay on top of important dates, holidays, or industry events to prepare and align your content accordingly.
Performance metrics: It plays an important role in measuring the success of your content. You can use the content plan to track key metrics like website traffic, engagement, SEO performance, number of subscribers, and shares.
Cost tracking: This is useful for monitoring the expenses associated with content production and promotion. By keeping an eye on costs, you can ensure that you stay within your budget while maximizing the impact of your content.
Status: The status field helps you keep tabs on the progress of each content project. Whether it’s in progress, completed, not started, on hold, needs an update, or needs review, you can easily track the status of each piece.
Remember, you can customize the content plan elements to fit your specific needs, objectives, and team size. Feel free to make adjustments and add any additional elements that are relevant to your content planning process.
Content marketing strategy outline
Let’s break down the content marketing strategy outline. Here’s what you need to include:
Executive Summary: This is a brief statement that outlines the goals and recommendations of the content marketing plan, backed by solid data.
Current Content Marketing Situation: This section provides data on various aspects of the market, product, competition, distribution, and the macro-environment. It helps you understand the current landscape and identify key challenges and opportunities.
Opportunity and Issue Analysis: Conduct a SWOT analysis to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This analysis will help you define the main issues that your content marketing plan needs to address.
Objectives: Clearly define your financial and content marketing goals in terms of sales volume, market share, and profit. These objectives serve as benchmarks for your plan.
Content Marketing Strategy: This is your game plan to achieve your goals. It includes:
- Target market: Identify the specific audience you want to target.
- Positioning: Determine how you want your brand to be perceived in the market.
- Product Line: Define the products or services you offer and how they meet customer needs.
- Price: Set the pricing strategy that aligns with your market positioning and target audience.
- Distribution Outlets: Decide how and where your products will be distributed.
- Sales Force: Outline your sales team’s role and responsibilities.
- Service: Determine the level of customer service you will provide.
- Advertising: Plan your advertising campaigns and channels.
- Sales Promotions: Create strategies to boost sales through promotions.
- Research and Development: Consider how you will innovate and improve your products or services.
- Marketing Research: Decide on the research methods and tools you will use to gather insights.
- Action Programs: Develop specific content marketing programs designed to achieve your plans. These programs may focus on customer retention, loyalty, or other targeted initiatives.
Projected P&L: Create a projected profit and loss statement to forecast financial performance based on your marketing activities.
Controls: Define how you will monitor and measure the success of your marketing program. This includes setting metrics, tracking progress, and making adjustments as needed.
When it comes to content marketing, having a plan is essential. Think of it as your roadmap for creating valuable content that connects with your audience. Your content plan serves as a visual representation of your objectives and helps you communicate the positioning of your product and brand.
The key is to provide content that meets your customers’ needs, regardless of where they are in the sales funnel. Your content marketing plan ensures that you stay focused at every stage of the buyer journey, delivering the right information at the right time.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to adapt and refine your content marketing plan as needed. Content marketing is an iterative process, and it’s important to stay flexible and responsive to the changing needs and preferences of your audience.
With a well-thought-out content marketing plan in place, you can create valuable content that engages your audience, drives results, and supports your overall marketing objectives. Take the time to develop a solid content marketing plan and ensure your content strategy is on the right track.