Content-plan

How to create a fool proof content plan in 6 easy steps

Compared to traditional marketing strategies, content marketing costs 62% less and generates around 3x the volume of leads.

What’s more, a whopping 67% of B2B buyers base their buying decisions on content.

It’s no surprise that 91% of B2B marketers and 86% of B2C marketers use content marketing as a key technique in reaching customers.

If you haven’t yet invested in content marketing now is the time. After all, there’s more competition than ever before. According to the Content Marketing Institute, the most successful marketers spend a huge 40% of their budgets on content marketing as of 2018.

Like with anything in the world of marketing, you can’t just produce and publish great content without planning first. Otherwise your content marketing is just a shot in the dark. You need a content marketing plan.

The majority of marketers may have a content marketing strategy, but 48% do not have a written plan. In most cases, this means they really have little clue on what they’re doing. That’s good for you, though, because by reading our post and writing down your plan, you’ll be ahead of rest.

In this guide, we’ll explain exactly how to create a fool proof content plan in X simple steps to help sky rocket your business.

What is a content plan?

 

But first, what is a content marketing plan?

A content plan is the management of almost any media that your business creates or owns. This can be written, visual, downloadable, recorded.

It is part of your marketing that you plan to show off who you are, what you do and what expertise you bring to your area or industry.

But you can’t just create any old content and hope it reaches your desired audience and drives returns. You’ve got to plan your content and develop a strategy in order to create the best content for a targeted audience.

So, how do you create a plan?

Step 1:  determine who are you creating content for

 

As we’ve briefly touched on above, before you create any content, you need to know who you are creating it for.

To do this create a buyer persona.

By really getting to know your audience you can produce more relevant and valuable content that they will want to view, read, watch and eventually convert on.

To create your buyer persona, brainstorm around the following ideas:

  • Who your target audience are
  • Where they come from
  • What problems they have
  • What daily frustrations they face
  • How your business can solve these problems
  • What their likes and dislikes are
  • What their priorities are

Next, you will want to think about their professional lives:

  • What their job roles are
  • Industries they work in
  • Challenges and problems they face
  • How you can solve these problems

Finally, you will want to complete the process by brainstorming about your audiences’ personal lives:

  • What their passions and hobbies include
  • What media resources they use regularly
  • How they spend their free time

Having brainstormed around these ideas and addressed the above points you will have a strong grasp on who you are creating content for, why, what types of content this audience want to see and on what platforms.

If you’d like more help on getting to know your audience check out our guide to creating killer buyer personas.

Step 2: Set your goals

 

We’ve said it before, a strategy without goals is just a shot in the dark. If you don’t set goals you can’t achieve them.

Defining your goals is an important step when creating any strategy. By establishing what you want to achieve you are one step closer towards attaining the accomplishment.

You may have several goals for your content marketing strategy which will depend on your business. As an example, your goals may look along the lines of:

  • Goal 1: boost brand awareness. Produce original, interesting content that is relevant to my audiences’ needs, offers them value and establishes my business as an expert in my field.
  • Goal 2: gain more leads and sales. Produce top quality content that turns potential customers into customers.
  • Goal 3: drive traffic to my website. Create content that is highly clickable and encourages people to visit our website.
  • Goal 4: gain more engagement with my audience. Build and maintain a relationship with my audience through great content.

Once you know what you want to achieve, you can set out to create content that will achieve this.

Step 3: Perform a content audit

 

Running a content audit will allow you to assess your current content to determine what’s working and what’s not. This will go on to shape your future content plan.

To run your content audit:

  • Produce a list of all your existing content: start by compiling a list of all the content you already have, putting links to the content in a Spreadsheet. If you have a small site then you should be able to do this manually. Otherwise, check out software such as Screaming Frog to automate the process.
  • Analyse and categorise: now you know what content you have, it’s time to establish how it’s performing.

To do this, in your spreadsheet you will want to create the following tabs and collect the following information:

 

  • Content title
  • Length of the title
  • Content category
  • Keyword content is ranking for
  • Average organic search traffic each month – you can get this from Google Analytics. Head to the ‘Behaviour’ section, pick the page, add a secondary dimension of ‘source’ and you’ll find the traffic data
  • Average overall traffic each month – you’ll also get this from Google Analytics
  • Meta Descriptions – this can have a big impact on your click-through-rate. If you traffic is usually low you can optimise your meta description
  • Bounce rate – again, this can be found on Google Analytics
  • Average time spent on your page – also found on Google Analytics
  • Number of backlinks – backlinks have a big impact on your ranking. You can use a tool such as Ahrefs to gather the number of backlinks to each of your pages

 

  • Create a list of your target audiences’ interests: having carried out your buyer persona, in another spreadsheet you should be easily able to create a strong list of all the topics and keywords your ideal audience are interested in. If you’d like further help, check out our guide to keyword research in 2019 which will help you determine topics that your audience are interested in.
  • Fill in the gaps: now you’ve got 2 spreadsheet of all your current content and metrics plus one with all the content your audience are interested in, it’s time to fill in the gaps. This will make it easy to identify content you are missing altogether as well as pinpoint underperforming content which you may wish to put the work and effort into improving.

Having performed an audit you will have identified what works well, what needs improving and any gaps in your current content. Going forward with your content plan you can address all these areas to create a killer strategy for your future content.

Step 4: Figure out what types of content you’ll post

 

As we’ve already touched on, ‘content’ can mean lots of different things, including:

  • Blog posts
  • Images
  • Videos
  • Infographics
  • Podcasts
  • E-books

And the list goes on.

Different audiences want different types of content. Creating certain types of content for your audience will yield better results than other types.

To plan what types of content is best suited to your audience you need to consider:

  • Your audiences’ preferences: different audiences prefer different types of content. For example, if your niche is in interiors, your audience will be looking for mainly visual content such as images and videos. To the contrary digital marketers may prefer e-books and infographics.

Top Tip: For a little more help with what types of content are best suited to your audience head over to Buzzsumo. Start a search for your niche and the tool will generate a list of results. This will show you which social networks are more popular than others in that niche. So, if Pinterest is the most popular, that indicates that your audience are mainly interested in visual content.

When it comes to finding content such as podcasts, you will need to do something a little different. Have a look at the podcast charts or sites such as Stitcher’s top 100 podcasts. Search for your category and browse the results. If you have searched for Digital Marketing but cannot find a single podcast on SEO, for example, this should tell you there isn’t much interest for this type of content on this subject. For video, head over to YouTube and carry out a similar search. Again, if there are no videos in your niche this may not be the best option for you.

Step 5. Manage your content

 

Now you know exactly who you are creating content for, what your content will be about and what types of content you will produce.

Now it’s time to get organised. This takes the form of creating a content calendar.

This simply means having a calendar that allows you to plan what content you will post and when you will post it.

A calendar is super easy to set up – it can be as simple as a Spreadsheet or Google Sheets. You can also use project management tools such as:

  • Trello: you can create lists for each week in a month, add ‘cards’ for each piece of content you wish to schedule, assign a due date and mark as completed.

It’s important to plan your content ahead to ensure that you stay on track.

Next Steps – ready to create a content plan to help sky rocket your business?

 

Gone are the days you can get away with creating poor quality, low engagement content for the sake content. In 2019, if you want your content to bring in significant returns, it’s got to add value to your audience. That’s why you can’t just put any old content out there and hope it performs well. It won’t. You’ve got prepare, plan and plan some more.

 

At Report Central we work with you to build a content strategy that not only ranks on the leading search engines but attracts traffic and a crucially engaged audience too. To see what we can do for your business get in touch today.

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