Having plenty of content in the form of articles, photos, infographics, or videos is only the first step in content marketing. What’s equally important is content planning to deliver these to your audience as part of your content strategy.
Business content planning allows you to use all your marketing assets to achieve your goals. A well-defined content plan aligns your current content levels and enables you to scale as your marketing budget increases. More importantly, your content strategy for business will be more effective when you start content planning.
What is content planning?
Content planning gives you a cohesive action plan that answers key questions related to your current and future content. It brings your content marketing into a timeline with specific goals tied to your content strategy for business.
With content planning, you would know who is the content creator, what type of content you need and have to create, why you need to create it, where it will be published, how you will promote it, and how you will track its results.
The benefits of business content planning
A content strategy will end up being a series of ad hoc tactics without proper content planning. You may not have enough content to post and may have to recycle content from your other channels. You may not be able to post regularly since you don’t have access to a content library.
Without content planning, you may not even know what to post.
Business content planning gives you a viable framework to bring order to your content strategy. You would know what data should influence your content creation. You would know the workflow for content creation. You would know which departments should be involved in it. You would also know what kind of content would suit a specific channel.
Content planning brings multiple domains together with actionable insights and a practical schedule to create effective content. You can address everyone’s concerns and make sure that what you create and distribute is tied to your audience’s requirements.
Finally, content planning allows you to create and schedule content ahead of time. There won’t be any need to write and design social media posts or white papers or newsletters at the last minute. This frees up the marketing team to focus on more important aspects such as market analysis and community engagement.
Content planning in 10 steps
Following these steps will help you create, publish, and analyze content to achieve your business goals.
1. Define your goals and KPIs
Content should be created and distributed in accordance with a larger objective. Once you define your content goals, everything else will become easier. Do you have immediate objectives or long-term goals? Are you launching a product or looking to increase subscriptions for your mailing list? Do you want to divert traffic for seasonal sales or are you interested in brand building?
Once you select a goal, there should be at least one KPI that will reveal your performance toward your objectives. Whether it’s to track reach, conversion, engagement, or customer loyalty, these KPIs will help you create and deliver the right content.
2. Decide on your target audience
Next, you have to define your target audience. While identifying buyer personas, you might have several audience groups. The key is to match your content topics to the particular interests of each group. This makes your content marketing more credible and compelling.
Beyond the usual demographics such as age, gender, education, etc., you should also look at psychological insights to better understand your audience. What are their biggest hopes and challenges? Have they tried your product before? How do they view your category? This brings precision to your analysis and helps you create relatable content.
3. Examine your current content
Auditing your existing content will give you actionable insights on new content creation and distribution. You might be surprised to discover content that you didn’t even know existed. There could be content pieces that outperform others. Your audience may also be reacting favorably to a particular type of content.
A content audit will unearth trends and help you be more effective in your digital marketing. Once you understand the performance of your current content, you will have a better idea of what to produce, what topics to post on, what channels to use, etc.
4. Identify your best-performing channels
In content planning, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Figuring out where to post your content begins with identifying channels where your current content is performing well. A content audit will bring to light platforms that work better than others. This is what you should focus on when creating and distributing new content.
Along with social media metrics, your website’s analytics will show you where your traffic is coming from. It could be your newsletter, social media post, or blog post. Once you know where you can find your audience, you should double down on those channels.
5. Finalize your content types
Some types of content perform better than others. For example, no matter what sector you operate in, video has been found to be more effective than most others. But what specific type works for you will depend on your immediate content planning objective.
The content type you choose will also be influenced by the marketing funnel stage, buyer persona, and even the device that most of your audiences use to access your content. No matter what type you select, it should be user-friendly and linked to your marketing goals.
6. Decide on your tools, budget, and resources
A crucial part of content planning is selecting what to work with. This includes identifying content creators (whether in-house or freelancers), tools, budget, and other resources that you would require. The first step is to identify who will be creating the content. Next, you have to know where to store, plan, and publish your content.
It’s also important to assign individuals with the responsibility of managing topics and producing your content. After that, you need a system to analyze your content and generate reports. A project management tool such as Heycollab will be invaluable in making sure that you communicate and plan well and keep everyone on the same page.
7. Develop a content calendar
Creating a content calendar is an important part of content planning. You should have a medium to long-term plan that covers all the topics for that particular duration. In case you have any product launches or limited-time sales coming up, those will have to be taken into account.
A content calendar will give the status of each piece of content, who’s working on it and managing it, and show how you will be distributing it. While a basic spreadsheet is enough to create a content calendar, you can also use advanced templates that are available online.
8. Start creating content
You know your marketing goals, you know your audience, you know how your current content is performing, and you know which channels you will be using. Now it’s time to create content. If you use in-house staff, it will be easier to brief them because they would know the background and your business objectives.
If you use freelancers or outside agencies, you should give them all the necessary information along with pieces of content from your competitors. It’s better to have a dedicated project management tool such as Heycollab to not just communicate with all stakeholders but also give them access to your marketing assets. This also helps you effectively build a team.
9. Publish the content
Now you can publish your content on your chosen channels and promote them across your media assets. Remember that your content might still surprise you by performing better on a particular channel. In that case, it’s important to prioritize those channels in your promotions.
If your content isn’t specific to a medium or tied to a holiday or event, you can always repurpose it for other channels and types. A popular blog post can become a video and a social media infographic can be added to your newsletter. These also help you reach audiences who might not be present on certain platforms.
10. Analyze your results
The final part of content planning is measuring your content marketing strategy. Data will show you which channels are doing well. You could use native tools or Google Analytics to track your performance for your website and newsletters.
There are plenty of social media analytics tools to help you measure your performance on social media platforms. Once you know which platforms, content types, and topics are doing well, you should give your team feedback to aid them in future content creation.
Considering the number of participants in content planning, it’s good to use a specialized tool designed for distributed teams. Heycollab is a project management tool built for teams like yours. With a free 14-day trial, you can try out all the cool features. To get started, visit https://heycollab.com/