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How to Develop a Content Marketing Plan in 10 Easy Steps

Content is the foundation for almost all types of marketing, from social media to product or email marketing. A content marketing plan can help you get positive results when growing your business. It attracts and builds trust between businesses and target audiences, helping them achieve thought leadership in their niche market. 

Content marketing deals with creating, publishing, and distributing content that reflects company messages. It builds brand awareness, generates and converts leads, and boosts organic searches. When used correctly, a content marketing strategy enhances your business position on the market. 

Let’s talk about how marketing teams build content marketing plans to organize their content activities and schedules and keep their team in sync.

What is a content marketing plan?

A content marketing plan is what every marketing department needs, especially when making changes to existing strategies. It’s a documented strategy detailing everything related to your marketing content. 

It also defines future content and sets deadlines for it. In other words, it becomes a guide that allows the marketing team to keep track of topics, cadence, and marketing channels that will enable your business to communicate with the audience.

The strategy content plan can include the content needed for product launches, campaigns, and other initiatives to help your business reach new audiences. And it’s there for your marketing team when they need a blog post or newsletter content plan. 

A calendar can help you better organize your content marketing strategy. It compiles all of your deliverables in easy-to-check visuals. So any team member with access to your content marketing plan template can see the status of a particular piece of content. 

Why do you require a content marketing plan?

Content marketing plans are helpful for numerous reasons, including:

  • Making better decisions – Seeing your strategy plan allows you to visualize your entire content ecosystem, make changes, spot issues, and “trim the fat” where needed. 
  • Keeping team members up-to-date – When you have a documented content strategy, you help everyone on your team know exactly what they are doing and why. Each member can take more ownership of their tasks and contribute ideas.
  • Improving your budget allocation – One of the biggest pluses of your content marketing plan is planning ahead of time and determining how you can get the best out of your resources and budget. 

Think of content marketing plans when working on the following:

  • Strategy alignment – A well-defined content plan ensures that teams prioritize the work that matters most, aligning content work with marketing and company objectives. 
  • Messaging alignment – It pays to have a unified voice when communicating company messages to your audience. Content marketing plans get teams on the same page regarding official messaging. 
  • Coordination – Keep teams on schedule by defining tasks and deadlines. 
  • Visibility – Easily check your company’s content. It’s useful for marketing teams and leadership. 
  • Adaptation – Content marketing plans enable your team to react and respond to current events relevant to your target consumers.

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Steps for a successful content marketing plan

Content is essential to every company’s attempts to acquire and convert leads. Follow these steps to create a plan to help you get the most out of your content and marketing efforts.

1. Goals and KPIs

Your first plan when starting any project is to set content marketing goals and KPIs (key performance indicators). They will help you determine what content you need to achieve them. Of course, the goals set now will influence your subsequent decisions about your content plan. 

To know how well you’re progressing toward your goals, you’ll need at least one KPI for each one. For example, you may use social media KPIs to measure objectives, including reach, engagement, conversion, and customer loyalty.

2. Figure out target audiences

Your next step is to determine which audiences are essential for the success of your strategy. Usually, the target audience corresponds to buyer personas set up by your company. When you have multiple personas to consider, you’ll match content topics to each one.

To learn more about your audience and engage with them, create an interactive survey with 123FormBuilder. Once you have a strong idea of their replies, come up with unique methods to convey that data meaningfully to both them and your company. 

3. Audit existing content

Audit your existing content to get a good grip on where you are and where you’re going. Start by documenting your existing content to get a data set on what you’re publishing.

The audit helps you find duplicates and the content you forgot existed. It also gives you insights into topics, types of content, sharing channels, and performance. After completing this documentation, you can identify trends to add to your content plan. 

4. Identify viable content channels

Start your content marketing plan on the distribution channels already working for you. To get extra insight, look at your website analytics to pinpoint where referral sources come from. 

How are people getting to your blog? Are they clicking on your newsletter links or social media posts? Did they find you through research? Focus your efforts on the channels that do best. 

5. Decide on content types

Of course, not all content types are equal, and you must consider different content formats when planning your strategy. Some formats are easier to make, while others cost more. You will notice some formats perform better on specific online channels, so consider that when planning your content. 

The most common content formats are blog posts, photos, videos, infographics, podcasts, and user-generated content. The content you use throughout the year can change based on your target audience and marketing funnel stage. 

Your team and audience can help you decide which content types to focus on. Use online survey forms like those available on 123FormBuilder to get an idea of your audience’s desire to see more. Document these insights in your content marketing plan. 

6. Establish a budget, tools, and resources

Your budget, tools, and resources are integral to a good content marketing plan. You need to know what you’re working with to determine how much you can actually do. 

Figure out your existing resources and the ones you need to be able to put your content marketing plan into action. Remember that some, like a budget or freelancer team, may require approval. 

Most content marketing plans examples require the following:

  • Content writer(s) – the one(s) creating the content
  • Designer – the one who “dresses” content with intriguing visual details
  • Content manager – the one managing topics and production
  • Content management system – where you store, plan, and publish content
  • Data – reports, data collection, and digital tools used in content marketing. 

7. Set up workflows

Determine which steps are needed to create every piece of content from your plan. Give clear assignments to who will do the work and who reviews it. 

Set up steps regarding the editing and approval processes, if needed. It will aid you in creating a content marketing plan completable within a set timeframe. 

8. Build a content calendar

It’s best to stay organized, which is where a content calendar comes in. You get to stay focused on your deadlines and track topics and content. Track each piece of content and its launch date, contributors, and marketing performance after launch. 

Figure out how often you want to publish your content. Consider how many blog posts or social media posts you want to publish per week. Adjust these goals to fit your needs and make them realistic for your team members. 

Help yourself to a content calendar template. There are many to choose from online. Other options you can use are a spreadsheet or a social media calendar. 

9. Create, publish, and promote your content

Now you’re finally at the stage where the focus is on content creation. Let’s say you have already decided on content topics and sharing channels. Your next step is to create the content and develop and curate it before launching. 

Work with your team or freelancers to build accessible and engaging content for your audience. Save time and resources by following your content marketing plan. Oversee every step of the process to keep things on track. 

Once your content marketing plan is ready and your calendar is set, follow them and promote your released content on the desired online channels. 

When advertising on multiple channels, consider a publishing calendar tool. It will be easier to track when and where you post your content. And you will have a bird’s eye view of everything. 

Remember that you can repurpose evergreen, well-performing content (topics that are not time-related or holiday-specific). Re-share the content that performs well in different ways to increase your reach and audience as much as possible. 

10. Measure your results

The final step in your content marketing strategy plan is to collect and analyze your results. Use online forms, Google Analytics, or other tool analytics to track performance. Then, adjust your plans to match your goals, if needed, or continue to follow your bulletproof content marketing plan and reap the benefits. 

Final thoughts

Content marketing plans can be very effective, especially in a B2B environment, where buyers usually do their homework before reaching out to make a purchase. Content can attract new buyers and highlight your products and services in the research phase. 

Now you know the steps, so it’s time to practice building your content marketing plan. It starts with documenting your content marketing strategy before executing it. Get the most out of it by employing a solid plan that details your steps and keeps your team on schedule. 

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