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Short Course

How to Fill your Content Marketing Plan

About the author

Catherine Maskell is the former Managing Director of The Content Marketing Association and has since founded her own all-in-one agency, TPD Marketing, which specializes in bringing a fresh perspective from a team of experts to help businesses of all sizes succeed.

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One piece of content can take up to six hours to create. That's a long time, especially if you're only posting it once! That's how creativity can flounder even for the most imaginative of content marketers, and filling out a regular content marketing plan with fresh ideas can become daunting.

A marketing plan template makes sure that your efforts are contributing to your business goals, and that you’re using the right marketing channels to reach your audience. You’re looking for a marketing plan that adapts to everything you throw at it - not a rigid PDF you need to squeeze everything into.

The key steps to creating a great content marketing plan:

  • Have a good marketing plan template (Download our marketing plan template for free here). It'll keep everything organized and keep everyone aligned on what's coming up within your editorial calendar.
  • Come up with your content pillars. Content pillars are a key part of deciding what you'll post on your channels (and also helps with reactive content when it comes to deciding if a trend is right for you and how to approach it). You should aim to have around three to five key content pillars, which are broad themes or values that represent your brand well. This makes for great evergreen content you can keep pushing out again and again.
  • Define your goals. Come up with a long-term objective (e.g. grow your following by 15% in three months, lead generation), and then decide what content or activities could help you get there

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Other things you should consider when building out your content marketing plan are:

  • Key dates, and which ones you're going to do activity around (download our free key dates calendar for 2022 to help you)
  • Newsjacking (being aligned with the news agenda feeding your content into that)
  • Episodic content (such as ContentCal's monthly social media roundups)
  • Content reviews and repurposing your best content
  • Brainstorming! Even people from outside of your marketing team can help with guest posts or may even have ideas you wouldn't have thought of
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How to decide on your content plan split

  • What content formats work best for the pillars you have chosen?
  • What type of content typically works well with your audience?
  • Who is your audience? Which formats are they most likely to be engaged with?

You should also routinely stay up-to-date with algorithm changes across channels to help aid your decisions. For example, if video is heavily prioritized on Facebook, your content output probably shouldn't be 90% images.

It may also be useful at this point to come up with a target persona. Break down who your ideal customer would be, right down to the nitty-gritty details of their role within a company and age range, and this should help you decide what content is the right fit for them. It'll also allow you to compare against the people you're currently reaching, and see where improvements could be made. For example, if your target is 18-24 year olds, but you're reaching a lot of 40-55 year old's as you're using a platform such as Facebook quite heavily, it could be time to pivot to a predominantly younger platform such as TikTok.

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When should you publish your content?

You can look at this two ways.

1. Topics

If you're producing a piece of content for SEO purposes (or even just because you've been meaning to do it for a while!) choose where it goes in your content marketing plan based on when it's going to perform best.

Use the Google Trends tool and see when your topic has been searched for over the last few years, months, or even days, as audiences are surprisingly very habitual so it will provide insights as to when you should publish your topic.

2. When is the best time to post on each platform?

Once you've worked out a rough time frame to talk about a certain topic, you should check out our best times to post blog for a full platform-by-platform breakdown of the peak days and times to get as many eyes on your content as possible.

Repurposing content

You should aim to reuse any piece of content you create 14 times. It helps you get the most value possible out of it, and rewards your hard work!

Rather than just posting the same content again, consider how you could translate it into brand new pieces of standalone content.

Here are some ideas:

  • Turn a stat from a research report into an infographic
  • Pick a quote from a blog and repurpose it as an image
  • Turn your blog content into a TikTok or video

A lot of people will also appreciate new formats because of course, not everyone learns in the same way. Someone who can't sit and digest a 5,000-word article of blog content may be super interested in a minute-long video or an infographic.

Whatever channels and campaigns you work with, you’ll need to be consistent if you want what you’re doing to work. That’s because you want to find out what’s working as quickly and possible, and make quick changes to optimize your activity - including using your best content again. Plus, posting consistent content or content with similar themes over and over again reinforces your brand, whether that’s on social, to your email subscribers, or to your top-of-funnel leads.

Why not try one of our other short courses? Enroll for free now!

Key takeaways from this short course:

  • Goals first, content second! Having key pillars or milestones you want to reach in place will help you come up with content ideas a lot easier. Of course, still post ad-hoc or trend-related content as usual as they bring out your personality and establish your brand in its space.
  • Reuse as much content as possible! You'll have a new, updated audience since the last time it was posted, and given how short-lived content is (the average tweet lasts seven seconds!) it's highly unlikely anyone will remember seeing it.
  • Be flexible! Having a content marketing plan is great, and important, but it'll need to adapt and mould throughout the year and should be used as a guide. Success comes from taking risks!

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