How to create a content plan?

Aishwarya Suresh

May 30, 20237 min read

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Crafting and delivering top-notch content is crucial for enhancing brand awareness, driving traffic and connecting with your target audience. As the famous marketer and author Seth Godin once said, "Content marketing is the only marketing left," and he's right. The importance of content marketing cannot be overstated in this fast-paced digital age.  

But how can you be certain your content is making an impact and meeting your marketing goals? That's where a content plan comes in. By offering a strategic framework for content creation and distribution efforts, a content plan will ensure you maximize your content’s effectiveness while achieving the desired results.

Table of Contents

What is a content plan?

Content plans are strategic documents that outline goals, target audiences, topics and timelines for creating and publishing content. This comprehensive guide helps businesses and individuals create content that supports their overall marketing objectives.    

Think of it as your trusty roadmap to content success. A go-to guide that helps you map out what content to create, when to share it and where to spread the word. With a content plan, you'll never be lost in the wilderness of random posting again! 

Content plans help keep you on the path toward creating engaging and successful campaigns, keeping messaging consistent and producing pieces that connect with audiences. A well-defined content plan will give you the keys to an easy marketing journey leading to a rewarding destination: successful and engaging campaigns!

Importance of developing a sound content plan 

Content is king, but a content plan is the crown!  

 Here are a few reasons why it’s necessary to create a content plan to guide your content marketing initiatives:

  • Get clarity on your overall objective: A content plan allows you to set goals, identify target audiences and select topics relevant to meeting these overall goals.

  • Save time and money: With an effective content plan in place, creating content becomes much simpler and faster. By eliminating time wasted on topics that don't meet your goals or resonate with your audience, creating valuable pieces will become much simpler — saving both time and money spent on content production!

  • Enhance content velocity: Planning early can ensure a steady and regular flow of content across all of your channels, giving your target audience access to fresh material without interruptions or gaps in their experience.

  • Increase engagement: By crafting content that's both relevant and valuable to your target audience, you can increase engagement and conversions. This approach allows you to build a loyal following while forging deep connections with your followers over time.

Learn more: Ways to improve customer engagement on social media 

  • Collaboration made simple: Collaborating with your team, freelancers or partners can be challenging; having a content plan can make collaboration simpler by aligning all the stakeholders toward similar goals and streamlining processes to produce high-quality content pieces that resonate with target audiences.

  • Create SEO-optimized content: When you craft a content plan with relevant keywords optimized for search engines, it can significantly boost your website's SEO and drive organic traffic to it, helping you reach new audiences while fortifying an online presence that distinguishes you from your competition.

  • Create a distinct brand voice: Cultivate an iconic brand voice that speaks directly to your target audience and transcends mere transactional relationships with a tailored content plan.

Learn more: How to build brand equity using AI-driven insights 

  • Effective content performance assessment: With a content plan in place, you can gain invaluable insights and metrics that help shape future strategies — giving you the power to adapt and adjust for even more effective content production.

  • Earn your audience's trust: When you consistently create high-quality content that your target audience finds valuable, it can build trust and establish credibility — ultimately leading to stronger customer retention and loyalty.

  • Up your content game: By planning ahead, you can develop an effective plan that appeals to various segments of your audience, thereby increasing engagement and driving growth.

Now that you understand why a content plan is necessary, are you ready to develop one? Read on to find out how you can get started. 

Learn more: How can tech companies devise a winning content strategy in 2023

6 steps to build an effective content plan

Step 1: Define the objectives, target audience and metrics for measurement

A screenshot of the Sprinklr platform's Create Audience Study capability. It contains fields for naming the audience study, targeting the desired social channel and for mapping a business objective to the study.

Developing an effective content plan is similar to embarking on an adventure to an exotic destination. To ensure you are on the right path and making progress, it is crucial that you have a clear idea of where your destination is and a way to find out whether you have made it or not — this is where setting objectives, identifying target audiences and metrics for measurement come in. 

  • Your goals represent your desired destination; creating content without specific goals in mind can be like taking an aimless road trip. To ensure that you're heading in the right direction, your content goals must be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant and Time-Bound). For instance, fitness bloggers could set a SMART goal like increasing monthly organic traffic by 20% in six months by publishing weekly workout routines and nutrition advice. This will give them both purpose and metrics to measure their success.

  • Your target audience is the group of individuals most likely to engage with your content. You should identify these individuals by understanding their interests, pain points and motivations as well as which topics and channels they most prefer for media consumption. Do not feel overwhelmed if you need assistance getting started; there are various strategies available to you for gathering this information. Engage directly with customers or followers through personalized emails, calls or surveys. Another method could be analyzing customer data for insights; by understanding who makes up your audience, you can create content that truly speaks to them.

  • Metrics help you track progress toward your objectives and evaluate the success of your content plan, from engagement metrics such as likes, shares and comments to conversion metrics like leads or sales.

Step 2: Brainstorm content ideas

A screenshot of smart topic clusters displays the top phrases of customers with underlying sentiments.

Content creation that resonates with your target audience is essential in drawing more traffic to your website and increasing conversions. To do this, identify which topics are of most relevance to your buyer profile, then divide each topic into bite-sized chunks for easier management.  

For example, if you own a fitness blog, start by identifying your buyer personas’ needs and interests. Create content around topics like weight loss, strength training or yoga for beginners before breaking it down further into more actionable sections such as "fat-burning exercises,” “upper body workouts” or "how to perform downward dog poses." 

Collaboration among team members can help generate new ideas and perspectives regarding topics that are most likely to resonate with your target audience. By keeping in mind their needs and interests when reviewing results, you can ensure the quality of your content. 

To produce content that your target audience finds compelling, it's important that you understand their interests and preferences. An analysis of existing content can offer invaluable insight, helping identify which pieces have generated the most engagement and which pages on your website attract the highest traffic.  

By carrying out additional keyword research for people searching for your site and researching the search terms that brought them here you may gain more insights into what your target audience wants — helping create more of the type of posts they prefer while optimizing your strategy to meet your customers’ needs better.

Step 3: Put together a content calendar

Sprinklr's content calendar screenshot displays messages, tasks and events in calendar format, associated with the campaign.

Now that you've identified which topics to prioritize, it's time to create a content calendar. Just as a map provides landmarks and routes for travel, a content calendar helps you plan and execute your content strategy.  

Think of content planning like assembling a puzzle: once you've collected all your ideas, topics and themes — including any potential collaboration partners — you need a plan to make them all fit together cohesively. A content calendar helps make this process easier by giving you an overview of your entire content plan at once. 

Using a content calendar can help eliminate the chaos and overwhelm associated with content creation. By having a plan, schedule and framework, you can focus on producing quality pieces that resonate with your target audience without feeling lost along the way. 

Step 4: Start creating content

A Sprinklr platform screenshot displays "Message Creation". It showcases fields for the account to which the message idea will be published, a template based on the account type, a unique name for the message idea, campaign to which the message idea is associated, source language of the message and date for it to be scheduled.

Now that you have your topic and insights in hand, it's time to get creative in developing content for your target audience. Take into account all your buyer personas as you create meaningful pieces that resonate with them and spur them into taking action. 

Think carefully about the best format to reach your audience, whether that means blogs, infographics or social posts. Remember to tailor the message according to the prospect’s position in the buyer’s journey; blogs, whitepapers and case studies have proven themselves effective at different stages of the journey. By customizing messages and formats that meet customers right where they are in the sale funnel, you can produce engaging and impactful content that engages viewers and drives results.  

Data collection tools will allow you to optimize your content further!  

Are you hoping to see your content rank high on search engines? Focus on using keywords your target audience is searching for through research and weaving them naturally into your content. Conduct a content audit as a starting point and monitor what topics and formats resonate best with audiences as well as where your content performs best and how it performs compared with competitor content. Take your content to the next level by working closely with your team to make sure that the message is crystal clear, ideas logical and content error-free. 

Step 5: Determine a viable content promotion strategy

A product screenshot displays Sprinklr's "Content Production" dashboard with various metrics providing visibility into all campaign activities. Starting from the left towards the right, the tabs showcase content type, published channels, publishing date, stages of promotion and the attachments used in the content.

When it’s time to share your content with the world, be thoughtful about its distribution. Create a plan outlining which platforms would best promote your content and determine what type of content resonates best with your target audience — blog posts or videos. Don't limit yourself to just one format as variety often leads to greater effectiveness. Otherwise, your work could go unnoticed by viewers! 

To ensure your content reaches as many eyes as possible, you need a methodical plan for when and where it should be published. A content marketing platform provides an invaluable overview. With this tool, you'll be able to see all of the content queued for publication for the upcoming weeks and months and get notified when a piece goes live. It also helps identify gaps or overlaps in your schedule quickly, making adjustments accordingly. So, when it's time to publish a blog you can do so knowing that it will reach its audience without any issues.

Step 6: Measure results and adjust your plan accordingly

A product screenshot displays a Sprinklr "Voice of Customers" reporting dashboard with various widgets providing insights. Starting from the top right in a clockwise direction, the widgets showcase positive and negative mentions about the brand, the most popular hashtags, top phrases used by customers and the sentiment distribution of those phrases.

As the curtains close on your content marketing campaign, it's time to analyze your performance to know if you have hit the mark. 

As with a theater director reviewing their production, content marketers must collect data to evaluate their success. Tools like Google Analytics and social media analytics will enable you to gauge the effect of your content across various channels. Don't forget that even well-organized productions need improvement — your content marketing plan shouldn't be any different! 

A campaign should always end with measuring its success. Be it blog posts, social media content, videos or anything else — find out if each piece is performing according to expectations by using metrics such as views, engagement, shares and conversions. Use the findings to refine your content strategy. 

An effective content plan is an indispensable asset for any business or individual navigating today's marketing landscape. By taking the time to understand your audience, set goals and develop a strategic plan, you can ensure your content will be both engaging and effective — so start planning now and see for yourself! 

Sprinklr Insights
Sprinklr Insights: Insights & Listening Software

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