What Is a Content Plan and How Do I Create One?

9min.

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What Is a Content Plan and How Do I Create One?d-tags
29 November 2023
Without a marketing strategy, there are no results - that's clear. And one of the key tools in creating and maintaining an effective strategy is precisely this - underestimated, but so important! – content plan. That's why we want to tell you today about why you need it. Because you definitely need it.

9min.

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In short:
In this article, we will discuss what a content plan is, why it is important, and how to prepare it so it has a good impact on your content. If you are planning your own marketing strategy – this post is for you!

What is a Content Plan?

A content plan is a document that contains a detailed content plan – not only written content! – to be published on brand channels in a given time period. It is an important strategic tool for marketers, as it helps organize and coordinate content marketing activities.

What does the content plan include?

Much depends on the needs of a specific brand or person who will use a given content plan.

The content plan may therefore be preceded by an analysis of the website (both in the form of a full content audit and short insights); it can contain information on the publication of individual content (e.g., place of publication – blog, Instagram story, short on YouTube) or their distribution (e.g., whether they should be promoted in social media/newsletter).

Typically, in the content plan, you will find planned dates of content publication and various checks that facilitate the organization of workflow within the marketing department – useful even if this department consists of only one person 🙂

Is the content plan the same as the content calendar?

In many cases, a content plan actually resembles a calendar or a content schedule – in the world of marketing, these concepts are quite fluid, although a content plan is usually more extensive.

In this article, I will show you how to work with a content plan so that the content on your blog appears regularly and is consistent with your content marketing strategy.

Why is a Content Plan Important?

A content plan is a key element of an effective content marketing strategy for at least three reasons:

  1. It allows you to organize all content marketing activities around a coherent vision – your strategy.
  2. It helps maintain the regularity of publications, which is important for the engagement of your recipients – and often also for the results, e.g. in social media.
  3. It allows you to monitor the effectiveness of individual activities (you know what, where, and when it was published) and adjust your strategy based on the collected data.

What Should You Include In Your Content Plan?

Content and communication analysis

Before we start creating a plan, it’s important to understand what content is relevant to our target group and what tone of communication is most effective. Such conclusions are definitely worth including in the analytical part of the content plan – either as an additional tab in the spreadsheet or as a separate document.

Competition analysis

Browsing the content of competing brands is the basis for creating your own content – on the one hand, it can provide inspiration, and on the other, help to avoid repetitions.

Creating personas

Personas are often an important part of a content plan. After all, you need to know who you will target with the article topics or video ideas you collect later, right? Creating precise personas for the target group will allow you to tailor the content to their needs and expectations – this is not only about the topic itself, but also about the channels for further distribution of the content and even its length. In the content plan, the names of your personas may appear next to the individual planned content to remind you who it is from.

Content topic suggestions

If you think about what a content plan is, you probably have content proposals in mind. No wonder – this is the “core” content of the plan – its key part, which you will ultimately use the most, BUT you cannot neglect the previous steps, because the topic suggestions will simply be inappropriate. Of course, you can include topics of various types of content here. Depending on how broad your marketing strategy is, these will either be solely blog topics or a whole range of content on social media or newsletters.

Creating a content calendar

Establishing a publication schedule helps maintain the regularity of publications, so it is worth dividing the content into months as well as specific dates for releasing the content to the world. They will be useful, for example, to help you understand when you need to start working on film

Remember: The content plan is for you. If for various reasons you have to postpone something, it is better to change the order of activities (e.g. write the article from December first, and put the one that was supposed to be created in November in that slot) than leave a hole in the publication schedule. It happens that the topics or chronology require a specific order, but in many cases, replacing the topics will not significantly affect the strategy and effects. And irregular publication – will.

Action plan for the coming months

You can create a content plan with a month or two in mind, but it’s worth having a long-term content marketing strategy in your head (or even better – on paper or in a file).

time. Although it may sound obvious, remember that defining plans for the future makes it easier to adapt your strategy to changing conditions and choose a course that will be most conducive to your goals at a given moment – marketing, sales, or branding.

How Do You Prepare a Content Plan?

Preparing a content plan is rather easy (the form itself does not require knowledge of quantum physics or even Excel formulas), but the most difficult part will be strategic, long-term thinking and connecting the facts.

From a technical point of view, it is most convenient to prepare a content plan in the form of an editable spreadsheet – I really like working on Google Sheets, but you can use any tool. Make sure that your colleagues can edit the sheet and that it does not cause problems with sharing or commenting. A graphic designer will often ask a question about the exact file format, and the person responsible for social media will indicate that they have planned the publication for a specific day.

A good content plan is one that works – for you and your team. You can find a template online and adapt it to your needs or create it completely from scratch. Next, I will show you one of my content plans that I prepared for a client and tell you about the individual parts.

When it comes to what you need to include in your content plan, I will answer in points:

  • Clarify your goals. Do you want to generate leads or build brand awareness? Or maybe both and SEO? It is worth writing down these goals and then adapting individual content to them, e.g. writing an article about branding and creating an extensive evergreen guide in terms of SEO.
  • Define your target group. As I mentioned earlier, matching content to personas (not personas to content!) will be very useful. If you don’t have personas, at least very general target groups will be necessary. Although, of course, the more precise, the better because, as we know – content that suits everyone is somewhat suitable for no one.
  • Leave space for keywords. Whether you push SEO hard or occasionally bold a few keywords, it is good to match keywords to each topic – this is the base rule. Also, take into account that phrase matching will help you determine what the focus of a given topic should be and, therefore, also help the copywriter.

Tip: When selecting phrases, take into account their volume (i.e. the monthly number of searches), but don’t treat it as being or not being. The keyword database of many tools is not perfect, and some content does not have to be solely for SEO purposes. A good marketing post can become viral, and a practical guide on how to use your tool or a washing instruction, despite the lack of volume, will serve users well, increasing their trust in the brand.

Speaking of which, it’s important to know how you’ll measure your content’s effectiveness. Commitment? Increased brand recognition? Conversion? It all depends on number 1 on this list, which is the goal that is closely linked to the KPI you choose.

  • Plan various forms of content for each topic – leave space in the content plan to determine what types of content you will use to cover a given topic. This is where thinking through topic clusters comes into play (i.e. thematic clusters – groups of large topics in which there are smaller and even smaller topics), which assumes that our content will cover the entire niche.

Need an example? Sure thing.

So let’s assume that you are a dietitian, but an animal one, so that it won’t be too easy. You have your own business card website, and you know that you need good content on it. The largest topic clusters are, for example, cat nutrition and dog nutrition. Let’s look at cat nutrition: you can divide it into, for example, dry, wet, BARF, and whole prey. You will decide that you will deal with BARF because it is a popular topic, and you will make a video on how to make the first mixture, write an article on how to count supplements, and maybe even invite someone to a podcast or make an Instagram reel of kittens eating a meal.

This is, of course, a minimalist version because there can be two hundred entries and one hundred reels, but I just want to introduce you to the concept. This diversity is very important and will allow you to reach many audiences.
Create a thorough publication plan that takes into account your and your team’s resources, not only financial but also time.

On this basis, plan the dates of individual steps that will ultimately lead you to the final, i.e. publication.

And remember: always take a spare. Seriously. No matter how hard you try, something will slip out, and this buffer will often prove beneficial.

Content plan – Delante’s example

I can’t tell you all our secrets, but I can tell you how to achieve the same goal!

Before a content plan is created, a strategy must be ready and thriving – but you probably already know that. How to prepare a content plan that’s effective and consistent with the strategy? I will show you an example of such a document based on my experience working on the Delante blog.

The document is created in the shareable and convenient Google Sheets so the entire content team and marketing team can work on it.

Individual rows constitute one content, and in the columns, we try to include such aspects as:

  • The month of publication – helps us separate individual months and plan the adequate number of entries.
  • The exact date of publication – i.e., the daily date we stick to. With all my strength!
  • Category – here, we decide what category a given entry belongs to. Is this a case study or content about analytics?
  • Purpose of the post – sometimes it is a Google intention (e.g. information intention – this is probably the most common intention in the case of a blog), and sometimes a purpose such as lead generation.
  • Topic – e.g. Content plan – what is it and how to prepare it? a catchy title that will appear on our blog.
  • Persona – the person to whom the post is addressed. Yes, this one also has his own persona 🙂
  • Main keyword phrase + its volume – i.e. the most important keyword that should be included in the headline, title, or text;
  • Additional keyword phrases – words that are also worth including in the content;
  • Copywriter’s name – allows us to match people to the topics they’re genuinely interested in, as well as not transfer resources to a specific person;
  • Brief – a compact but specific document for our copywriters, which may or may not be included in your content plan – we use them because the content of the entries is quite difficult;
  • Checks – whether the brief has been sent, ready, whether writing is in progress, or the post is published;
  • Distribution – allows us to determine on which channels it is worth promoting a given entry.

How do we match activities to goals?

I mentioned earlier that a content plan tailored to the strategy is essential. Now it’s time for examples of activities aligned with your goals – I hope they will help you understand what and when you can do to achieve your goals.

Example 1

Goal: Building brand recognition among potential customers.
Activities in the content plan:

  • Creating regular articles, blog posts, and videos presenting the company’s values, history, and unique features.
  • Using social media to publish content that engages users and increases brand awareness.
  • Planning content campaigns focused on the company’s values, mission, and philosophy.

Example 2

Goal: Acquiring potential customers and building a contact base.
Activities in the content plan:

  • Developing content focused on solving customer problems and providing them with valuable knowledge.
  • Creating downloadable materials, such as e-books, whitepapers or infographics, in exchange for contact details of potential customers (this is the so-called gated content).
  • Planning e-mail marketing campaigns that use various forms of content and offer discounts or consultations.

Example 3

Goal: Helping customers understand products or services and convincing them to make a purchasing decision.
Activities in the content plan:

  • Creating educational content such as guides, manuals, and case studies that help customers understand the benefits of products.
  • Planning a series of content focused on specific levels of the sales funnel tailored to customers’ needs at various decision-making stages.
  • Using interactive tools such as quizzes and calculators to engage customers and provide them with personalized content.
In each of these cases, a content plan is a key element of an effective strategy, enabling the company to coordinate activities, maintain consistency of message, and adapt content to specific business goals.

Content plan – how do you prepare a functional document tailored to your strategy? Let’s sum it up!

  • A content plan is an essential tool for any effective content marketing strategy.
  • Remember that this plan should be dynamic – if you can’t edit it, it’s not a good plan.
  • Find a place in your content plan for deadlines, topic suggestions, topic clusters, key phrases, or goals that you want to achieve with specific content.
  • Remember that the life of content does not end when it is published – on the contrary! Let it flow and become viral, for example, by sharing it on SM.
  • And if you need support in creating a content plan – let us know! We will help 🙂 You can also check out the content packages that our team has created with entrepreneurs like you in mind.

Author
Ola Drewniak SEO Content Team
Author
Ola Drewniak

Content Specialist

An editor by profession. She has been working in marketing for the past 5 years — first in the social media teams of Krakow publishing houses, then in SEO and copywriting, until she finally decided to excel in content marketing and combine her organizational skills with her extraordinary linguistic sense of style. She works on content projects at Delante, conducting content audits, arranging content plans, and creating content for the most demanding clients. Privately, a cat behaviorist, future dog trainer, and a lover of tattoos and RPG games.

Author
Ola Drewniak SEO Content Team
Author
Ola Drewniak

Content Specialist

An editor by profession. She has been working in marketing for the past 5 years — first in the social media teams of Krakow publishing houses, then in SEO and copywriting, until she finally decided to excel in content marketing and combine her organizational skills with her extraordinary linguistic sense of style. She works on content projects at Delante, conducting content audits, arranging content plans, and creating content for the most demanding clients. Privately, a cat behaviorist, future dog trainer, and a lover of tattoos and RPG games.

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