Content marketing requires a plan. While 71% of marketers say content creation is important to their organization, just 40% of marketers have a documented content marketing plan, according to the Content Marketing Institute. Rather than simply creating blog posts or promoting your podcasts, your plan provides a roadmap you and your team can follow to ensure the time and money spent on content is effective. If you need a little help figuring out where to start and what to include in your plan, here’s a content marketing plan template to follow:
Define your audience
A content marketing plan template should include a well-defined audience. You’ll need to dig into your metrics for this, but ideally, you’ll create a clear picture of your customer. You need to be as detailed as possible, which usually lends itself to creating a buyer persona.
A buyer persona is a detailed description of your ideal customer. Typically, a buyer persona will list a customer’s:
- Personal information: Age, gender, income, and education
- Professional information: Job title, industry, and skill set
- Goals: What drives this customer?
- Challenges: What problems does the customer face?
- Values: What’s important to this customer?
Your buyer persona should also explore customers that you don’t want. Maybe customers in a particular industry aren’t a good fit, for example. If you’re a B2B organization, maybe companies below a certain sales number aren’t profitable clients to pursue.
Analyze your competitors
Make a list of your top ten competitors and task your team to analyze their content. To provide consistency, consider creating a shared spreadsheet that has the following categories:
- Competitor’s name
- Most predominant content type
- Content focus
- Missing topics
- How to do better
- Link to an impressive piece of content
Your team should identify which content competitors prioritize and consider ways for your brand to improve. For instance, if a competitor creates blog content, your organization could consider more in-depth, actionable guides than similar 500-word posts.
Ask your team to look for missing topics, too. Are there topics that your brand could cover that your competitor isn’t? Identifying “content holes” can help you create fresh content.
Review the content audit as a team. Talk about each competitor and consider showing everyone one example of competing content as a visual aid.
State your goals and KPIs
What do you want your content to accomplish? You need to set a clear goal and identify the key performance indicators that you’ll use to measure your effectiveness. You might have more than one goal, but common goals are often to increase:
- The number of leads
- Search rankings
- Website traffic
As you plot KPIs to watch, note which platform the KPIs are listed on. For example, will you track website traffic via Google Analytics and engagement via TikTok’s dashboard? Or, maybe specific metrics are tied into a CRM, like Salesforce of Hubspot.
You should not only state your goal and KPIs but also make a plan to check in on these objectives regularly. Consider scheduling a quarterly meeting to audit your content marketing efforts to ensure you’re on track.
Make an actionable content creation plan
To be successful, you need to plan content creation. Will your in-house team create content or do you plan to pay for fully managed content production services? Which type of content will you create? Whose responsibility is it to publish the content?
This portion of your content marketing plan template encourages you to create an action plan to create and manage. To do this, you could explore content management solutions like Monday or Airtable to assign content to coworkers, use a content calendar, and schedule content to appear on various channels.
More specifically, you should:
- Brainstorm content topic ideas
- Assign titles to writers
- Plan and assign any graphic needs
- Create a publication calendar
- Track assignments
- Publish content
- Monitor metrics
Want more help? Check out How to Generate Content Marketing Blog Topics
Make a promotional plan
After creating content masterpieces, you need to ensure it gets in front of your audience. Think about ways to share and distribute your content. Here are a few common options to consider:
- Social media
- Paid ads
- Pop-up box on your website
You can also consider other methods like doing a content trade with a partner or asking influencers in your niche to share your content. You could search for an industry expert to work with, turn a loyal customer into an influencer, or ask employees to become influencers by sharing content.
If your marketing team lacks a content marketing plan or needs to review a dated one, consider using this as a template to guide your actions. Remember, completing a content marketing plan template will take some time. Get your team involved and set aside some time to ensure your content efforts are worthy investments.