This is Part 2 of a 2-part series on how to develop a content plan. You can read Part-1 here.
Developing a content plan that works requires a multi-faceted approach that takes into consideration a number of factors about your customers. Ideally, you’ll have done some of the basic parts that make up a content plan, such as understanding your customers and their informational needs, developed key messages that will resonate with your customers, and understanding what internal resources you have and what external resources you need.
Once you’ve done that, it’s time to bring it all together to develop a content plan. Here are some key steps to developing a successful content plan that yields results.
Identify the Channels/Formats
One of the reasons why a lot of content marketing doesn’t work is that the company is a little too all over the place. They post a blog post once in a while, maybe tweet here and there, or even post an occasional video. A better approach is to actually pick one or two channels/formats and stick with them consistently.
So what’s the best way to do that? Start with your customers—where do they look for content? Where do they spend most of their free time? Are there channels they use for work, home, and play? Knowing where your customers spend their time should guide your decision as to where to spend your time creating and publishing content.
This step also requires you to understand your customer fairly well, particularly in terms of what their information needs are. If you’ve done your homework, then it should be fairly easy coming up with a list of topics that will potentially appeal to them.
But that’s just the first step. It’s also worthwhile to dig a little deeper by looking at what topics receive engagement online. You can do this by looking at competitors, but also look at the channels/outlets/social media accounts that your customers follow. What posts get the most likes, retweets, shares, etc.? All this information should inform what topics you choose to address in your own content.
Develop an Editorial Calendar
It’s almost always easier and faster to determine what content you’re going to produce and when, rather than just flying by the seat of your pants each week. Take some time to plot out how often you’ll be producing and publishing content. It could be weekly, monthly, etc. Keep in mind that some pieces of content take longer to produce, such as video, so be sure to take that into consideration as you create your calendar.
Of course, things change constantly (pandemic anyone?) and that just means you should revisit your editorial calendar from time to time to make sure the topics are still relevant.
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