Marketing Tips

Content planning 101: What is a content plan and what does it include?

A content plan is practically the spine of marketing. There are several different types of content you can use to market your business, such as social media, blog posts, email lists, and more. But in order to efficiently use these outlets and get the most out of marketing, it all comes down to content planning. So, let’s go over the basics.

Content planning definition and best practices

First, it’s important to clear up two phrases that are often incorrectly used interchangeably: content strategy and content planning. Your content strategy includes all of the business’s larger goals, missions, visions, audience personas, etc. One of those areas within your content strategy, then, is content planning.

Put simply, content planning is an outline of all the content types (assets) you will use to serve your content strategy. This is often put together in the form of a calendar, as seen in the template below. You can organize it however you’d like.

In this example, the creator divided it up by asset (blog, video, podcast, etc.) Within those sections, you can put the content’s title (i.e. the blog post’s headline), the due date, the publish date, authors/editors — whatever information you need to track.

Content planning calendars help you get an idea of how much/what kind of content you’re putting out in a given time. You can create a calendar by month, year, quarter — again, that’s up to you! However, just be careful not to go overboard with planning content. You don’t want to bite off more than you can chew. A video takes longer to make than a 400-word blog post, so you might choose to do one video per month and four blog posts.

content planning template
A sample content planning calendar via SmartSheet

6 different types of assets to include in a content plan

You should include a variety of assets in your content plan, but choose what works best for your business! Here are some common types of content.

Website updates (web copy): Web copy is, essentially, all the words on your website that describe your business. Your home page, About Us page, products/service descriptions, etc. all make up web copy. You don’t have to update this too often, but do so if there are any important business changes or product/service adjustments.

Blog: Your company blog is likely one asset you’d use regularly, but maybe not as frequently as something like social media. Depending on the length and depth of the posts, it’s easy to push out up to four blog posts a month on a variety of topics relating to your business.

Social media: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram — whatever social platform you prefer — are included most often in content planning. That’s because these posts are usually very easy to put together so that you can remain active on your accounts. Hootsuite suggests posting on socials two to three times per week.

Press releases: You might not need press releases too often, but these are kind of like brief blog posts that announce something about your business. You might be introducing a new person or a new product, and you’d send a press release to media outlets so they can cover the news.

Email: Getting an email list together is a great way to connect with customers. You can send out weekly email newsletters to customers/clients to keep them informed, or you can use emails to promote new products/deals/etc.

Video/audio content: Finally, there’s video and audio content, such as YouTube videos or podcasts. These can be treated the same way as blog posts in that they can cover a variety of topics relating to your business. However, they will likely take more research and time to put together.

Contact October Dreams Marketing for more content planning tips.