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How To Create A Content Marketing Plan, Step-by-Step

Everyone else making it look easy? Here’s how you too can have a content plan that delivers great results year after year.

Do you find yourself frustrated trying to create the perfect content marketing plan?

Can’t ever seem to push enough work out and overwhelmed with distributing it through the right channels?

It’s a bugbear for many marketing teams, with leaders asking them to jump in the content hampster wheel to churn out as much as possible, when there’s a great chance you can re-purpose and optimize work you’ve already got, here’s how!

Pinterest pin

Step 1: Find your purpose

Grab your favorite planning tool (Trello, Google Calendar or your trusty notepad if you love putting pen to paper), this is where we’ll begin mapping everything out. 

Before you start planning anything, let’s work out where you want to go and your overarching ideals. What’s the purpose why you’re online, why do you need a content plan, and what goal do you have for it?

For example, “I use content to drive people to my website, show value, and when they’re (or their friends) are in the market for my expertise, they’re reminded of my brand and purchase.”

Step 2: Choose your Platforms

There are so many standard Social Media platforms, with many new ones popping up every week. Email marketing is a great content platform because it’s real estate you own.

The key for when you’re choosing your channels is to think mostly about where your customer lives. How do they consume information, where are they searching? Are they inspired by Instagram and watching tutorials on YouTube? Are they trawling Linkedin at night before bed catching up on career news, or are they Pinteresting themselves to sleep?

Blogging, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Snapchat to name…most of them. Content is consumed differently on each platform, so you’ll need to think about the time and resources you have available so you’re not spreading yourself too thin.

For example, Instagram is a way to increase engagement through image content and short videos, while LinkedIn relies more on articles and top industry achievements so there’s not much cross-promotion and you (or your team) will need to tailor content to suit each audience.

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Step 3: Choose Your Brands Content Pillars

Your brand stands for something, and to get across your message, you’ll need to choose themes to share online to tell your well-rounded brand story.

During your branding and setup of your business, you might have already thought through the type of business you are. Are you funny (share memes), eco-friendly (passionate about sharing environmental news), helpful (articles and help-guides), do you partner with other brands and co-create, do you focus on health and wellness, or are you a Thought Leader?

Strategically think about your content pills, write down and choose what they’ll be, then start brainstorming how that content looks when it comes together in your own unique brand recipe.

If you don’t know yet which pillars create the best conversations for your brand, or which ones drive traffic and sales, keep testing the themes out at different weights across platforms, review your analytics and you’ll soon start to learn and optimize which ones work best.

Step 4: Getting Organized

It can be hard to plan out your pillars, work out which days they go where, and then layer on top the visual content and written copy that goes with each. The more organized you are, the easier scheduling and planning out your content will be!

Print a calendar on the wall, use Trello or pull out your trusty notebook, whatever works best for you. 

If you’re a visual person and love seeing a birds-eye view of everything at once, Plann has an incredibly unique strategy tool that will help you plan and view all of your Instagram content for weeks in advance.

Create a strategy, upload the content over the top, schedule it out, then view it in a monthly calendar view and be confident you’ve got the month covered.

strategy

Step 5: Create Your Content

Here’s the fun part! The foundation of your strategy is down, now it’s time to grab your camera, open photoshop, brief a designer, content writer, or trawl stock image websites to bring your content plan to life!

It can be tricky, but the goal is to make the images and copy you write consistent with your brand messaging. Use similar language, sayings and phrases, or even creative visual cues so that when people are scrolling through their Social newsfeeds or blogs, they know as soon as they see some of your images pop up who it is without even having to guess.

We know that designing and writing content is a process for any team, so finding a workflow that works for you we’ve learned is always a work in progress.

Step 6: Repurposing, and ‘Waterfall Content’

Churning out content day after day can feel like you’re on a hamster wheel, round and round every day and thankfully there are definitely ways of working smarter before you run out of puff.

Written a great blog post? While you’re there, why not turn it into an Instagram post, and a Facebook post. (Challenge: Could you turn it into TWO posts, and a YouTube video?)

Just finished a sleek image? Quickly repurpose and crop it for different channels, or invert the colors so you can use it again in 3 months where no-one will know the difference!

Discovered a blog post performing well? Use SEO tools to discover what other posts in that realm might work for your brand – or turn it into a carousel post and share it on LinkedIn.

Step 7: Distribution 

We’re only going to really touch the surface, but distributing your content can be 70% of your content marketing plan, or more!

Growing your email list so you have more people to send your great content to is usually a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly event. Layer your email marketing on top of your content plan.

Knowing your social platforms, and how content performs on each of them is also something you’ll need for your content plan – do you know when your audience is most active, when they’re most online, or their internet habits?

Creating a content plan can put you in a rhythm and make sure you’re not overwhelmed, and when you start feeling comfortable, this is when you can experiment by maybe adding another form of distribution and run some tests to see if new platforms will work too.

For example, Quora, Reddit, Medium, or even up and coming TikTok. 


Step 8: Review How Your Content Is Resonating 

Like everything and anything in Marketing, the numbers and data after you’ve put your work out into the world is what you’re wanting to spend your time looking at.

By reviewing email open rates, click-through rates and unsubscribes, you’ll start learning if you’re offering value to your audience, or do you need to make some changes?

Are you nurturing your audience enough through socials so that when you drop an offer, you get takeup and people visiting your website straight away?

If you are just starting out don’t worry if the metrics feel discouraging, everyone has to start somewhere! The more tests and data you collect, the faster you can optimize and the faster you’ll grow. 

If Instagram is where your audience is, Plann offers advanced analytics so together we can work out what’s working for your people – and what’s not! We’ll even help you drill down into best-performing color schemes so ensure your visual content strategy is on point.