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4 Steps to creating a content marketing plan

A new free content planning template developed by Smart Insights and HubSpot

Regular readers may remember that, earlier in the year, we published some joint research with HubSpot to explore best practices in managing content marketing. Content marketing is still comfortably rated as the most commercially important marketing tactic for 2015 in my recent post exploring digital marketing technology options.

Although content marketing is still seen as important by many businesses, our earlier research suggested that how to develop a content marketing strategy or plan is less clear. The chart below shows that the majority of businesses surveyed didn’t have a plan, but kudos to the 44% of businesses who do have a defined strategy!

Content-marketing-plan

The 4 Steps to creating a content marketing plan

To help develop a content marketing plan or review existing methods, I thought it could be helpful to apply some of the planning techniques applied in our Digital planning workbook. So we again teamed up with HubSpot to create a simple 4 Step process you can follow in the Content Marketing Planning Template published today and free for download via HubSpot - it also links through to the research we completed earlier in the year.

The 4 steps that are explained in the new guide, with worked examples of templates are:

  • Step 1 Review current use of content marketing. This is a classic SWOT analysis where we have given examples of problems with content marketing programmes that are often forgotten.
  • Step 2 Content marketing objectives and KPIs This uses an efficient planning table I have developed for summarising digital plans on one page. Here, as the example shows, it links objectives, strategies and KPIs across the customer lifecycle shown as the RACE Planning approach.

    Planning Content Marketing Campaigns

  • Step 3 Content Gap analysis This uses a new visualisation of the Content Marketing Matrix that you may have seen before developed by Dan Bosomworth of First 10 and Smart Insights.
  • Step 4. Create a content plan timeline. This example template links different content assets with content distribution or promotion options (look out for a new Content Distribution Matrix infographic we’re publishing soon to prioritise these). I was keen to show the options for repurposing content assets during a campaign since often opportunities are missed where there is one central asset in a campaign such as a whitepaper, but it is not repurposed to give the campaign more momentum.

So, we hope that’s useful - do take a look at the free download and tell us what you think. If you have other methods of planning or visualising content marketing we’d love to hear about them in the comments or even in a blog post. For example, Chris Pile shared the Farm Digital ABC Content planning prioritisation approach.

By Dave Chaffey

Dave is CEO and co-founder of Smart Insights. He is editor of the 100 templates, ebooks and courses in the digital marketing resource library created by our team of 25+ Digital Marketing experts. Our resources used by our Expert members in more than 80 countries to Map, Plan and Manage their digital marketing. For my full profile, or to connect on LinkedIn or other social networks, see the About Dave Chaffey profile page on Smart Insights. Dave is author of 5 bestselling books on digital marketing including Emarketing Excellence and Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. In 2004 he was recognised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as one of 50 marketing ‘gurus’ worldwide who have helped shape the future of marketing.

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