Whether you’re reviewing your current plan or starting from scratch, here are the stages needed to pull together your best content plan.
- Personas. If you’ve not developed your personas yet, this is the first step. It might seem like a chore, but it’ll make the rest of the planning process so much easier.
- Key marketing messages. For each persona, use their Goals & Challenges and Wants & Fears to create your key message and elevator pitch.
- Content funnel. Build your basic content plan structure for each funnel stage; TOFU, MOFU and BOFU. We’ve saved you some time by providing our free content plan template here.
- Brain dump – the draft plan. The aim here is get some simple topic ideas entered onto the plan as a starting point for a team ideas session.
- Refer back to the key messages agreed for persona 1 and start inputting subject titles for each funnel stage. These are simply working titles and don’t need to be finalised yet.
- The topics themselves and the context for the persona will suggest the format, whether it’s a blog, infographic, quiz, etc. This will also suggest where in the funnel it will appear. Try and get a mix of formats in there.
- Do the titles in each stage link together to pull the lead through the funnel? Or are there any gaps? Highlight these for discussion.
- Repeat this process for each of your personas. Bear in mind that some items can be relevant to all of your personas. These might be the pieces you prioritise for creation before focussing on persona specific items.
- What content already exists that can be repurposed or renewed?
- Arrange a team meeting to review and refine this first draft – make sure you share the plan a couple of days beforehand so everyone can come in prepared.
- Review and refine. With your draft plan in place, get together with the team to discuss and agree the topics, titles and formats, and to prioritise the first 5-6 items to be created. Add in some proposed creation dates for as much as you can.
- Evolve. Once created, your template will evolve as you use it and you may find that you want to add in new columns such as dates for reviewing engagement results to understand what’s working and what isn’t.
A content plan should never be completed! Once you’ve written it, continue to refer to it and update it. In this way you will always be producing relevant information for your target audiences.
Read my previous blog ‘Are you a lazy content planner?’ for tips on how to use your content plan effectively.