Create your monthly content plan in 10 minutes! Free content plan template.

By Steph Von der Heyde | Content Marketing

Mar 23

Having a content plan is a critical step on the road to content success.

Not only does it allow you to get a big picture view of your content production (thus highlighting any gaps or issues), but it will also help you keep your team and your content publishing on track.

Basically, you have a content plan for the same reason you have a to-do list. It keeps you focused, prevents slippages and saves you time in the long run.

But what if you’re struggling to find a place to start?

Well, that’s where we come in. Forget the dirty details for now, this super easy 3 step content plan will give you a simple way to get your monthly content plan off the ground. No frills. No fuss.

Let’s jump right in.

Step 1:

You have a business, a business which, presumably, does or sells things. Great! Now make a list of those things.

For example: I have a fictional online pet shop that caters for:

  1. Cats
  2. Dogs

And sells:

  1. Kitten & cat food
  2. Puppy & dog food
  3. Dog grooming brushes
  4. Flea control
  5. Dog Treats

Looking at this list you can see the basic categories you’re going to want to blog about (not much point blogging about horses if equestriennes aren’t the type of customers I want).

Remember: at the bare minimum, you want your blog to do three things:

1) Attract people (potential customers) to your website

People can find your blog post via a Google search and enter your website that way. Each blog post published creates a new opportunity for people to find your website.

2) Show them you know what you’re talking about and are an authority in your field

If your blog posts are impressive it’s a great way of showing people that you know what you’re talking about, rather than just telling them.

3) Turn people from readers into customers

You can use your blogging to educate readers about your field, gain their trust and keep yourself front of mind when they’re in the market to buy what you’re selling.

Your blog categories can be very broad at this stage – but they should all be aimed at attracting the type of customers you want on your site.

planning-ideas

In my fictional pet shop’s case I want to attract owners of cats and dogs – particularly those who are interested in grooming and buying the right type of food. So my blogging categories would include:

  1. Cat nutrition
  2. Dog nutrition
  3. Kitten
  4. Adult and mature cat
  5. Breed care
  6. Puppy
  7. Adult and mature dog
  8. DIY dog grooming
  9. Controlling and preventing flea problems

Mapping out your broad categories is important as it ensures that your subsequent topic ideas will stay focused.

Step 2:

Do you know what a content offer is? Do you have any? If you do – good for you – you can skim over the next 3 paragraphs and continue reading below.

For those of you who don’t: a content offer is a valuable piece of content (or sometimes even a free service) that your customers would want to use, download and keep.

Simple content offers often include things like eBooks, podcasts, tools and guides.

These offers are a great marketing tools as you give them to your customers in exchange for their email address and basic information, and can then add them to your lead nurturing campaigns.

For example, my petshop may have an eBook titled: How to house-train your puppy in 5 days or less. If I offer this as a free download on my website I can ask people to enter their name and email address.

I can then use their information to begin lead nurturing – knowing that they might be interested in my other puppy products too.

To learn more about content offers you should watch this. If you’re desperate to continue, though, you can skip to step 3. Although we do recommend you start creating content offers asap.

content-offer

For those of you who do have content offers – welcome back. Now is the time to match your content offer with your blog categories.

As you know, your content offers will help you move people who read your blog posts further down the buyer’s funnel.

BLOG CATEGORY CONTENT OFFER
Dog nutrition Optimum nutrition for small / medium / large dog breeds
Cat nutrition A guide to nutrition at each stage of your cat’s life.
Puppy How to house-train your puppy in 5 days or less.
Kitten The kitten care guide from 1 – 12 months
Grooming The DIY grooming guide for long haired dogs
Fleas How to rid your home of fleas for good

Step 3:

Now that you have your list of categories (and hopefully the accompanying content offers) you can open up this sheet and start filling it in. It’s important to remember to remain flexible; what you enter here is not set in stone, but it will give you a good idea of how to keep your posting balanced.

Date:

How often can you / do you want to publish? Every second day / once a week etc.

Fill in the dates you’re going to publish posts in the left hand column.

Category:

Add in the categories you’d like to post about on each publishing date.

Plan this out to give your readers a nice range (and avoid publishing too many similar posts in a row), or add some consistency to your posting (e.g Cat posts on Monday, Grooming posts on Tuesday, Dog nutrition posts on Wednesday etc.)

Post Type:

Think about the form the post is going to take:

  • List
  • How To
  • Guide
  • 101 post
  • FAQ post
  • Online lesson
  • Etc.

This doesn’t have to be rigid, but it’s nice to get an idea of how much time you’ll need to prepare before hand. Infographics might take you ages, for example, but you can do texts posts in 10 mins.

Once again, this also helps you plan out a nice balance of post types to keep your audience interested and happy.

content-planning

Writer:

If you’re working with a team of people, choose the writer or designer who would be best suited to produce this type of post.

Offer:

Match the content offer to the post you’ll be writing and….

Congrats!

You can stop right here. Once you’ve finished this plan you can step back and take a look. Do you see any gaps? Are you happy with the direction you’re sending your readers?

If not, you should now have a better idea of what still needs to be done and what content you’re going to focus on.

If so, congratulations: you’ve got yourself basic content plan for the month!

They say that a journey of many miles begins with a single step. Well, you’ve just taken the first 3. Good job!

 

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