Creating high-quality content that resonates with your target audience is essential for any business that wants to build a strong online presence. But with so many types of content and platforms to choose from, it can be challenging to know where to start. That’s where a content plan comes in. If you plan to use content to compliment your marketing efforts, having a solid, well-structured content plan in place is critical.
A content plan, in essence, is a detailed roadmap that outlines your goals, target audience, types of content, and more. In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps for structuring your content plan, so you can create a comprehensive strategy that will help you reach your marketing goals. Let’s get started!
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8 Steps For Structuring Your Content Plan
Below, we’ll share with you our eight key steps that will guide you through the content planning process.
Step 1: Define Your Goals and KPIs
Defining your goals is the first and most crucial step when creating a content plan.
Do you want to:
- Raise brand awareness?
- Generate leads?
- Improve SEO and organic traffic?
- Boost your ROI through ads?
Without clear, measurable goals, your content marketing campaign will lack direction and purpose. By setting specific and, more importantly, achievable goals, you can determine which types of content and platforms will work best for your brand or business.
For example, if you’re looking to increase brand awareness, creating high-quality blog posts and infographics can help establish you as a thought leader in your industry or niche. On the other hand, if your primary goal is lead generation, you might want to focus on creating gated content like eBooks, webinars, or whitepapers.
Next, you need to determine your key performance indicators, or KPIs. The KPIs you choose will depend on your specific goals.
For example, if you want to generate leads, you might track the number of leads generated, the cost per lead, and the conversion rate of leads to customers. If you want to increase brand awareness, you might track social media engagement, website traffic, and brand mentions. By using KPIs, you’ll clearly see whether your content plan is working or if you need to make changes.
Step 2: Learn About Your Target Audience
After defining your goals, the second step in structuring your content plan is to learn about your target audience. If you don’t know and understand your audience, their interests, and their challenges, you can’t create content that resonates with them.
To learn about your target audience, you can gather data on their demographics, interests, pain points, and behaviors through tools like Google Analytics, Search Console, and even polls or questionnaires on your social media and website.
Some key types of audience information you can use to better structure your content marketing campaign include:
- Job title
- Hobbies and interests
- Social media activity
For example, if your target audience is predominantly young professionals interested in technology, you might create blog posts or videos that explore the latest tech trends or review the newest gadgets. Similarly, if your audience is active on social media platforms, you might want to focus on creating engaging and informative visual content that is optimized for those platforms.
Step 3: Research Your Competitors
For the next step, you need to know about your competitors. What are they doing, and is their approach to content marketing working in your industry? How to you compare in SERP rank compared to others in your niche?
Look at the types of content they produce, the topics they cover, and the channels they use to distribute their content. This information can help you identify gaps in the market and utilize unique content marketing tactics that sets you apart from your competition.
Step 4: Determine Your Budget, Tools, And Resources
Creating and distributing high-quality content requires resources, including time, money, and tools.
As you plan your content strategy, include actionable information, such as:
- The project budget.
- Content creation efforts and team.
- Distribution channels.
- Promotion costs.
- Tools required, such as a CMS or social media scheduling system.
- Data collection.
Once you know what you have, you’ll see what’s achievable and where you still have critical gaps. That way, you can plan for these situations within the content strategy.
Step 5: Audit Your Content
Conducting a content audit helps you evaluate your current content and identify opportunities for improvement. You can analyze your website, blog, social media accounts, and other content channels to see what’s working and what isn’t. You can also use the information to identify your top-performing content, and incorporate the insights into your content marketing strategy.
To audit your content:
- List all of your existing content.
- Evaluate the relevance of your content to your audience.
- Identify gaps and areas for improvement.
- Evaluate whether your existing content can help you achieve your goals and KPIs.
- Analyze your content’s engagement metrics, such as views, clicks, shares, and conversions.
- Look for opportunities to repurpose or update existing content.
- Make note of any technical or SEO-related issues that need to be corrected.
- Determine which content pieces should be kept, updated, or removed.
Step 6: Determine Your Content Types
Different types of content serve different purposes, so it’s essential to consider which types align with your goals and target audience.
Content types can include:
- Blog posts and articles.
- Social media posts.
- Videos and webinars.
Consider the format, tone, and style of your content and ensure that it aligns with your business, audience, and goals.
Step 7: Create a Content Calendar
Now that you know where you stand and where you want to go, it’s time to establish a content calendar. That’s a schedule of the content you plan to create and publish over a specific period, and it will help you stick to your strategy in the long run.
Now, keep in mind that you can’t just throw together a bunch of random topics, images, or videos and call it a content calendar. You need to consider the timing of your content releases, seasonality, and holidays that may affect your audience’s behavior, as well as topics and themes. Using the information you’ve gathered up to this point, put together a calendar that’s sustainable but also helps you achieve your overall content marketing goals.
Step 8: Measure and Adjust
Finally, it’s crucial to measure the success of your content plan and adjust accordingly. Use the KPIs you defined in step 1 to measure the effectiveness of your content plan. Monitor key metrics, identify potential challenges, and look for areas of improvement. A content strategy should never be a one-and-done document. Instead, it should adapt and change with your business, audience, and industry.
Creating a content plan is critical for any business or brand that wants to build a strong online presence – it’s your roadmap and measuring stick for success. Our 8-step plan will help guided you through the process so that you can develop an absolute beast of a plan! Keep in mind that you should always be ready to adapt, change, and improve your content strategy. Do that, and you’ll be well on your way to success.