Content planning has been shown to produce amazing results for businesses.
For example, a good content marketing plan generates up to three times more leads at a cost 62% lower than traditional marketing.
We’re facing a tough economic downturn in 2021 and it’s more important than ever to leverage content marketing to improve your ROI.
But how do you run content marketing campaigns for your business when the competition is fiercer than ever?
The first task to do is to do content planning.
A good content marketing plan is the first step to success.
CoSchedule found that marketers who do content planning proactively are 356% more likely to be successful.
In this post, we share with you seven steps to effective content planning.
1. Perform a content audit
Before doing content planning, you need an audit to determine your current performance and understand what works and what doesn’t.
This knowledge helps you plan your content marketing strategy.
When conducting an audit, some details to check include:
- High performance content.
- Low yield content.
- Frequency of content publication.
- Keyword ranking.
The more you understand your current performance and the reasons behind it, good or bad, the more knowledge you will have to do your content planning.
2. Set your content marketing goals
As effective as your content planning is, you will most likely not get an ROI (return on investment) if you don’t know what you want to achieve.
Without a clear objective, you lose focus of your marketing activities and it is more difficult to judge your success or failure.
In most cases, companies use content marketing to achieve the following goals:
- Brand awareness.
- Lead acquisition.
- Lead nurturing.
- Customer acquisition.
Whatever goal you have, set it correctly.
Using the SMART method (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) goes a long way toward setting effective goals .
Of course, your goals depend on the stage of the sales funnel for which you are creating content.
That said, your goals determine the type of content to create, how to promote it, and other activities.
3. Before doing content planning, research your audience
Another essential aspect of content planning is knowing exactly who you are targeting.
Who are you trying to deliver your content to? What type of content is your favorite? Are you expecting a formal or informal style? What kind of content should you create? What channels to use?
Capture this information and more by conducting extensive research on your audience.
After your research, you should have as much detail as possible about your ideal client to make the buyer persona / audience for each type of ideal client.
One way to do your research is by creating a profile of the types of people you want to convert with your content.
Alternatively, analyze your current customer base and create target profiles from your best customers and leads.
This is an example of a buyer persona, so you have a better idea of how to do it:
4. Determine the type of content to publish
Initially, content was synonymous with written content, but over the years, other types of content format have gained popularity.
A separate point deserves the visual content, which has been especially popular.
Unsurprisingly, many marketers are successful using illustrations alongside text.
In addition to written content, other formats include:
The type of content to choose depends largely on your particular audience.
Ideally, use the different content formats that work best for your audience.
In your content planning, use a combination of the different formats, depending on the channels you are using, as well as the preferences of your audience.
Also, experiment with different types of content to see how that affects your overall results.
5. Create a calendar with content planning
When producing content to engage your audience, one of the main determinants of your success is consistency.
Achieving results with content marketing takes time and you need to consistently deliver great content experiences to grow.
With a calendar, you can do content planning as often as you like.
Additionally, your calendar provides you with a visual overview of your content marketing activities.
It allows your team members to easily track the progress of content pieces, making the entire process more productive for everyone.
Some details to keep in your content marketing calendar include:
- Team members responsible for content
- Sales funnel stage
- Content format
- Due dates for the first draft of the content
- Publication date
- Promotion channels
To create a content calendar, try Google Sheets , create it on your own, or use a specialized tool.
If you need more functionality, a tool like CoSchedule allows you to do content planning across all channels and automate publishing.
If you use WordPress, the Editorial Calendar plugin shows you your calendar in the control panel.
Having a calendar with content planning allows you to produce content consistently enough to achieve the results you want.
6. Make a promotional content planning
Content creation is just one part of content marketing; Another vital part is your promotion.
Many experts believe that you should dedicate the same amount of time to the creation and promotion stage.
In fact, Derek Halpern of Social Triggers believes that you should spend 20% of your time creating content and 80% promoting it.
After doing content planning, you also need a plan to promote it.
Of course, there are many platforms to promote your content and you must choose the best ones to reach your audience.
Some platforms to promote your content include:
- Guest Posts – These are relevant pieces of content on your larger industry websites, which can increase your exposure.
- Social networks: share your content on the social channels where your audience hangs out. In this way, it is easier to reach them.
- Search Engines – Create and optimize content for the keywords your ideal customers are looking for.
- Emails: Send emails to your subscribers to inform them of new pieces of content on your website.
- Forums – You answer relevant questions on forum topics and link them to your blog posts that provide a detailed answer to the question.
- Advertising: You can promote important content through ads on social networks or on Google, to lead search engines to a landing page where you have an attractive offer.
In your plan, include the frequency of promotion on each platform. It is vital to keep in mind that each platform has the best practices when it comes to promoting content on them.
7. Measure content marketing success and ROI
To get any results from content marketing, run a campaign and after taking action, track the performance of your campaign.
Actually, you need different metrics to track the performance of your campaigns.
When you change the objectives of your campaigns, you also change the metrics that you use to measure the success of the objectives.
To put it another way, the metrics you track depend on your goals.
What metrics indicate brand awareness? What metrics show lead acquisition?
Specify these metrics in your campaign plan, to start tracking results as soon as it starts.
Doing so allows you to quickly see if something is not working as it should and optimize it to hopefully improve your results and ultimately achieve your goals.
Additionally, metrics can generate information to improve strategy for future campaigns.
Content planning dramatically improves your chances of reaching your goals in a timely manner.
You need to know your current performance, understand your audience, use a content calendar, promote content, and track performance.
By following all these steps and developing quality content planning, you will be able to attract more leads and customers through content marketing.