What is a text without a reader, a video without a viewer, or a photo without anybody to look at it?
It’s the content that didn’t fulfill its main purpose — appealing to the target audience.
Any plan that attracts your target audience — thus making your content meaningful — can be freely called a perfect content plan.
However, crafting such a plan is easier said than done.
Luckily, in this blog post, we’ll show you the way toward a perfect content plan in 5 simple steps.
Also, we’ll cover:
- The meaning of the phrase “content plan”,
- Advantages of having a good content plan, and
- Main differences between a content plan and a content strategy.
So, keep reading.
Table of Contents
What is a content plan?
Before we proceed to the actual steps to your perfect content plan, firstly, let’s see what a content plan actually is.
A content plan is a detailed step-by-step process of creating meaningful content, usually with the intent of increasing the visibility of your products or services.
Whether driven by your marketing campaigns or not, content plans usually contribute to your business objectives in two ways:
- Directly (e.g. with increased traffic, higher sales, etc.), and
- Indirectly (e.g. by raising brand awareness and respect, etc.).
Either way, a successful content plan is likely to convert your content consumers into potential paying customers.
Why is having a content plan important?
In her book, The One Hour Content Plan, Meera Kothand says that you’re in desperate need of a well-crafted blog content plan if you notice the following:
- You don’t know what to write about,
- You chase after content trends, hoping you’ll eventually hit the jackpot and go viral, and
- Your content doesn’t have a strong link to your products/services.
An expert we reached out to, Israel Gaudette, CEO of Flawless SEO and Affiliate Marketer at IG Marketing Inc., illustrates the importance of having a good content plan:
“I’ve seen a lot of content that’s been successful because it’s been planned out very well. For example, I worked with a client who was creating an e-commerce store for an audience of people who were looking for specific products. The client had a lot of data about the types of products that were in demand, but they weren’t sure how to present them in a way that would be useful to their audience. We looked at our analytics and found that people who were looking at certain types of products tended to look at other types of products as well. So we created a plan that focused on presenting related products together.”
As we can see, successful content didn’t happen overnight, but was a result of thorough planning beforehand.
Another expert we reached out to, Julia Voloshchenko, PR Manager at Usetech, states that she usually starts content planning a month in advance, as it helps her avoid any potential problems:
“[One such problem is] frantically searching for topics about what you want to share. When you search for a topic in a hurry, nothing good will come of it. It’s better to have a plan in front of you that you can adjust, if anything. Or this problem might be otherwise called — ‘nothing to publish.’”
Advantages of having a good content plan
Based on the examples we’ve previously analyzed, a good content plan should help you:
- Stay organized,
- Never run out of ideas for your content,
- Find the best way to link content with your products/services,
- Know when you’re going to publish in advance, and
- Know what you’re going to publish in advance.
What’s the difference between a content plan and a content strategy?
As explained by the Content Marketing Institute, “content strategy” is a more general term than “content plan”.
Content strategy includes the entire content management process within an organization, from content creation to publication.
Creating a content strategy includes setting specific goals and objectives that a company wants to achieve, thus making space for business growth.
Now, a content marketing strategy is a strategy that aims to achieve at least one of these profitable results:
- Increased revenues,
- Lower costs, or
- New customers.
However, the goal of a content strategy doesn’t necessarily have to be to push your audience into paying for your product.
For example, a good content strategy can focus on providing real value for the consumers by:
- Entertaining, or
Our source, Julia Voloshchenko, states that not all your content should have strictly marketing goals:
“You could say that the content is divided 80-20: 80% useful content for the audience and 20% marketing, selling content. It’s important not to allow too much marketing content on social media, otherwise, it can bore the audience.”
A content plan, on the other hand, is a tactical step-by-step guide that outlines the specific details on:
- How you plan to execute your strategy, and
- Who on your team will be doing what task.
Also, a content plan goes even further to specify details, such as:
- Key topic areas of your content,
- Target audience,
- The type of content (e.g. written, visual, or audio),
- Publishing time, and
- Distribution channels.
It’s important to remember that only after you’ve determined your content strategy, can you move on to crafting your content plan.
💡 Plaky Pro Tip:
If you want to learn how to make a perfect strategic marketing plan, make sure to read this blog post:
5 Steps to crafting a perfect content plan
Now that we’ve covered the basics of the content planning process, we can proceed to the actual steps it entails.
Here are the 5 basic steps to creating a perfect content plan:
- Set your goals.
- Analyze your target audience to find the appropriate content.
- Choose an appropriate platform for your content.
- Create a content calendar.
- Measure results and run audits.
Let’s dive into the details of each step.
Step #1: Set your goals
The starting point of any good content plan should be proper goal setting, as it steers you in the right direction from the very beginning.
Here are some questions that should help you determine what your specific goals are:
- Do you want to raise brand awareness?
- Do you want to help people solve particular problems?
- Do you want to educate your audience?
- Do you want to make money through content marketing?
In other words, you should ask yourself what you want to achieve with your content plan.
If you’re not sure whether your goals are clear enough, here’s another useful piece of advice — define S.M.A.R.T. goals, that is, goals that are:
- Realistic, and
Now, that you know your goals, you can move on to the next step — defining and analyzing your target audience.
Step #2: Analyze your target audience to find the appropriate content
To create the right content for your target audience, you need to meet the audience first.
You can start analyzing your audience by asking yourself the following:
- What problem does your audience have?
- How can you solve those problems?
- What is it that drives them?
- How can you educate them?
Understanding your target audience is key to producing quality content that will be:
- Original and
One way to truly understand your target audience is to, for example, imagine an ideal representative of your target audience and try to think of their daily struggles and habits.
As suggested in the book The One Hour Content Plan by Meera Kothand, you should conduct research on different social media groups your target audience uses.
For example, you can research the following keywords that are related to your product/service:
- “Need help”,
- “Desperate for”,
- “Have no clue”,
- “Advice about”, or
- “Question about”.
Also, you can always conduct keyword research on Google and incorporate some SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tools into your content planning process.
Julia Voloshchenko shared with us her way of selecting new topics to cover:
“The biggest challenge is finding and selecting topics or content ideas. Sometimes it feels like you’ve already covered everything and written everything. But I analyze keywords through Google Trends or other similar programs, read various reports and studies, and ideas for content come to mind.”
SEO tools can help you produce personalized content by giving you insight into research queries and trending topics that your target audience is interested in.
Step #3: Choose an appropriate platform for your content
Once you’re familiar with your target audience, it’s time to focus on choosing appropriate social media channels for placing your content.
To know which platform to use in your content planning, firstly, you need to understand your target audience’s:
- Social media habits and preferences (e.g. specific platforms they use), and
- How they consume content (e.g. audio-visually).
Israel Gaudette explains that you should choose the right platform based on the purpose of your content:
“You need to think about the platform that is most appropriate for your content based on its purpose. If you’re looking to reach a very specific audience, then you should use a platform that has a large number of users in that group. If you’re looking to get your message out there as widely as possible, then you should choose a more general-purpose platform like Twitter or Facebook.”
And here is how Julia Voloshchenko decides what platform to use for placing content:
“I focus on the reach of the platform and its traffic, audience activity, and the prominence of the platform.”
Knowing your goals and audience are key factors in determining the right platform for your content.
Step #4: Create a content calendar
Managing content on multiple platforms can get quite challenging, as you need to keep track of several timelines at once.
Luckily, content calendars are a useful asset in planning when and where you will publish your content.
Israel Gaudette cites deadline-related issues as one of the biggest challenges in content planning:
“When you are working on a new piece of content, it’s easy to feel like you have an infinite amount of time before it needs to be finished, but once the deadline is upon you, there’s a lot of pressure to get things done fast. That’s why I recommend creating a schedule as soon as possible—it will help keep you on track and ensure that your content is ready with plenty of time to spare!”
Plaky is a perfect content planning app that offers a pre-made content calendar template that can spare you the trouble of creating your content calendar from scratch.
Here’s an example of a content calendar in Plaky:
In the picture, you can see a content calendar with several groups (e.g. types of content, such as articles, blog posts, videos, etc.), and fields with further details on:
- Owner — to tag content creators,
- Status — to specify the content production phase (e.g. design or editing phase),
- Publishing date — to keep track of task deadlines and planned publishing dates,
- Channels — to specify the chosen platform,
- Target audience — to specify who the content is intended for, and
- Links — to attach drafts or final versions of your content.
💡 Plaky Pro Tip
To learn the difference between editorial and content calendars, read this blog post:
Step #5: Measure results and run audits
An important part of content planning is measuring success and optimizing your content and content plans accordingly.
As stated in The State of Content Marketing 2022 Global Report, 66% of companies measure content performance to see whether their content brings positive results to their business.
A good way to learn how your target audience responds to your content is to consider the following metrics:
- Organic traffic,
- Search rankings,
- Conversions, and
- Social shares.
The same report suggests that 65% of companies whose content marketing was very successful in 2021 ran content audits more than twice a year.
It has also been found that running regular audits has several advantages:
- It prevents your content from becoming outdated,
- It increases engagement, and
- It increases traffic.
All in all, a content plan doesn’t end with simply publishing your content online, but it includes everything that comes afterward.
Conclusion: Content success is all part of the plan
In conclusion, crafting a perfect content plan doesn’t happen overnight.
On the contrary — it requires thoughtful planning beforehand.
When you feel overwhelmed — as if you’re running out of ideas for your content — just remember these tips:
- Determine your goals to set you on the right path,
- Analyze your audience to get an idea of what kind of content to make,
- Pick the right channels to place your content in the best way possible,
- Use content planning templates to create content calendars for better organization,
- Measure results to get a clear overview of your content strategy, and
- Run audits to further improve your content.
Following these simple steps should paint you a clearer picture of what exactly you plan to achieve with your content and, ultimately, create a perfect content plan that is meaningful to your target audience.
✉️ Can you think of any other important steps to a perfect content plan? If yes, feel free to contact us at email@example.com, and we may include your ideas in this or any other future blog posts. Also, if you liked this blog post and found it useful, share it with someone you think would also benefit from it.