The Content Marketer’s Guide to Content Planning

The experience did, however, give me a different perspective that challenged the expected “norm” that I’d find if I just read news headlines.

SEP 11, 2020

Content marketing depends greatly on planning. It’s not a discipline that you can just do ad hoc or randomly—not if you want results. While your content strategy is vital to attracting new customers and increasing your brand’s equity, it’s not content planning. 

Content planning defines how you’ll execute it. So, if you’re long on strategy and short on planning, then you’ll want to soak in these tips and insights on content planning.

What Is Content Planning?

Laura Magee CEO at EMKTG


To make sure we’re all on the same page, it’s essential to first define what content planning is. It’s a foundational aspect of content marketing that must align with your content strategy. The act of planning helps you break down the details of how you’ll produce, enhance, and promote content.

Effective content planning must include:

  • A documented content workflow for consistency and a repeatable process
  • A content calendar that details all your content and schedules
  • Efficiency in promotion of content
  • A way to measure your content efforts

Crafting Your Plan

Content Planning Depiction

Image: Pixaby

Content marketing is a long-term strategy, so the plan to support it must be as well. To develop a content plan, you’ll need to follow these steps.

Identify your goals

There are many different goals you could entertain, but you need to be specific. Typically, content marketing can help you achieve brand awareness, increased website traffic, lead generation, conversions, and improved customer retention.

Different tactics align with each potential goal. For example, if increased website traffic is a goal, then you may want to focus on blogging that uses keywords that are relevant to your audience. Your hypothesis would be that if you increase SEO content, you’ll be a top result on Google, and more people will visit your site.

Define your buyer

Developing content for your brand isn’t about you—it’s about your buyer. What are their pain points, challenges, and motivations? Defining your target audience is essential to content planning. Knowing your buyer’s content preferences is vital to helping you decide on what formats to use. If you know your audience is very visual in how they consume information, you might choose to create more videos and infographics.

Another critical element in this step is knowing where your ideal customer seeks out information. That could be social media, search engines, industry publications, or other channels. With this business intelligence, you can then promote content better.

Develop content ideas

Based on your strategy and a content audit to determine successes and misses, it’s time to generate ideas for content. Coming up with endless ideas can be difficult, but many things can inspire you.

Consider these tips:

  • Look at keyword research to see where there are opportunities based on search volume and competition
  • Visit Quora, the Q&A site, to get a glimpse of what people are asking about in your industry
  • Hold group brainstorming meetings with specific exercises that can tap everyone’s creativity
  • Talk to subject matter experts outside of marketing like product managers, operations, or customer service for a fresh perspective
  • Follow industry news and develop timely content around major impacts

In addition to generating ideas, you’ll also need to decide what formats to use. What you choose should align with buyer preferences.

How Do You Execute a Content Plan?

Taking your strategy and transforming it into a plan isn’t easy. But it’s worth it to ensure that your content performs and delivers a return on investment (ROI). One significant area to consider in content planning is that it gets all team members on the same page as far as goals and objectives.

To execute a content plan, you’ll need to focus on these elements:

  • Engaging your entire team in ideation: Content planning enables all those involved in the content process to work collaboratively to find the best topics
  • Have technology in place that streamlines processes: Content planning can get bogged down by manual processes—employing marketing technology helps remove this burden and boost productivity
  • See your content through- Publish and forget it won’t get you far in content marketing; instead, you need to make sure every piece of content has been properly promoted
  • Measuring performance: You need measurement capabilities to track results
  • Sticking to your schedule: for content marketing to be as efficient as possible, you need to develop a schedule then reinforce the importance of sticking to it

Content planning can be time-intensive and at times, overwhelming, but it’s a must-have for any brand that wants to win at content marketing. If you have questions or aren’t sure where to start, talk to our content marketing experts today.