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Content Planning 101: Tips, Tricks & Content Plan Templates

Content planning can help you organize your content strategy so you can get results. Here, we discuss content planning tips and share content plan templates.
Parker Dietz
February 8, 2022
April 11, 2024

When you post high-quality content regularly, you can keep your users engaged and stay at the forefront of their minds. Regularly posting can also build brand awareness, authority within your niche, and search engine ranking.

How much should you post fresh content? That depends on the platforms you use. One thing is for certain: if you post on multiple platforms, the process can get complex, fast.

Fortunately, you can make the process less tedious with a content planner. Here, we discuss content planning tips and provide links to some content plan templates to get you started.

Table of Contents

What Is Content Planning?

Content planning involves strategizing the creation and publishing of your content for the foreseeable future (one or several months). It’s a key part of content marketing because your content plan will draw the roadmap for achieving your goals for creating content.

Are content planning and content strategy the same thing? Even though people use both terms interchangeably, content planning and strategy do not mean the same thing. Content strategy is research performed to determine what to include in a content plan.

Your content strategy will reveal the content ideas, keywords, target audience, and other details needed to fulfill your content marketing goals. You can then use the information from the content strategy to create your content plan.

Your content plan will involve mapping out the creation and publishing of your content and tracking the content’s performance. Simply put, your content plan will detail every step of your content creation process.

The Benefits of Using a Content Planner

Planning your content with a content planner can make you more efficient and productive. Let's discuss how.

Facilitates Collaboration

A content plan gives your team a clear picture of the content they will be creating and the timeline for creation and publishing. Having your entire team on the same page will facilitate collaboration, even if team members are in different locations.

Also, since a content plan provides a clear roadmap for content creation, every team member will know their role, leading to fewer mix-ups.

Keeps You On Schedule

A content plan will guide content creation and provide due dates for completing projects. If your team sticks with the plan, they are less likely to miss deadlines and disappoint clients.

Measures Performance

A good content plan will state the goals expected from executing the plan. If the results of your implemented plan are below your stated goals, you’ve underperformed and need to tweak your strategy.

However, if your results match or exceed the goals stated in your content plan, your content marketing has been successful.

Keeps You On Budget

You can prepare an accurate budget for content creation and marketing when you have a budget plan. The budget will help you avoid overspending on creating or promoting your content.

Makes Things Convenient

Automate content publishing on your website and social media with a content planner. Automating content publishing keeps things less tedious and frees up resources so that you can focus on other aspects of managing your brand.

There are various types of automated content publishing software, including:

Helps You Create Relevant Content

With a content planner, you can perform keyword research ahead of time and identify the topics that interest your target audience. You can use this information to create relevant and engaging content with the most accurate keywords for your niche.

In summary, using a content planner increases your chances of creating content that reaches the right people and achieves your desired results.

Ensures That You Avoid SEO Problems

If your content is low-quality, your website’s bounce rate will be high, and Google will penalize you for it. Using a content planner gives you enough time to plan, research, and prepare content, increasing your chances of being the best it can be.

Also, since a content plan provides a bird’s-eye view of every piece of content you intend on writing, you can avoid repeating topics or keywords. Repeating keywords in different content can lead to keyword cannibalization, which will affect your SEO performance.

Elements of a Content Planner

Every content planner is different, but the best ones have at least the following elements.

Content Workflow Management

Your content planner should help your team manage the entire content production process. That includes facilitating task assignments and collaboration and ensuring that all team members follow the same content production processes.

SEO Research

A content planner should provide tools for keyword research and other SEO tactics. That way, you'll only produce content that's search engine optimized for success.

Content Calendar

The calendar will ensure that all members can see each project’s due date and receive updates for missed or met deadlines.

Promotion & Distribution

The content planner should contain options for distributing and promoting finished content so that the target audience sees it. Distribution and promotion channels may include websites, social media, or email.

Communication

Your content planner should facilitate communication across the entire team. For example, you can find content planners that feature instant messaging or comments for fast and unobstructed collaboration.

Measurement & Optimization

Content planners with this feature provide analytics tools for measuring and tracking the success of each content and project.

Content Plan Templates

A content planner or calendar will contain a schedule of when and where you intend to publish your planned content. A comprehensive content planner may also list:

  • Assigned content creators
  • Target audience
  • Keywords
  • Content title and type
  • Status updates
  • Links
  • Content promotion options

Fortunately, you don’t have to build a content plan from scratch. Several online content plan templates are available that you can adapt to create your content calendar.

Here are some of our favorite content plan template resources:

Content Planning Tips & Tricks

The best content planner for your team will depend on your budget, content marketing goals, and various other factors. After selecting your content planner, fully utilize the tool by applying these tips.

Identify Your Audience

Knowing your target audience enables you to identify user intent, narrow down keyword research, and create content that’s most likely to engage and convert.

Also, if you know your target audience’s age, gender, education, and interests, you can create content that will resonate with them. For instance, content written for middle-aged, working-class people may not get the desired response from teenagers.

Lastly, when you know your target audience, you can pick the best platform for connecting with them. For example, LinkedIn is the ideal platform for reaching career-driven individuals, while Facebook is great for connecting with 25 to 34-year-olds.

Understand What Type of Content Is Best for Your Audience

What type of content does your target audience prefer? The answer to this question will help you create content that your audience will eagerly consume and return for more.

If you're unsure about your audience’s preferred content type, you can verify it by performing content testing. The content with the best test results should become your primary way of communicating with your audience.

Articles, Listicles, and How-To Guides

Articles, listicles, and how-to guides are written content as short as 200 words or thousands of words long. Most websites use articles to deliver news or explain facts, while how-to guides contain step-by-step details for completing specific tasks.

Listicles are articles written in a numbered or list format. Each list item will contain only a few sentences or a couple of paragraphs. A how-to guide may be in listicle form or you can find checklists and other content written as listicles. An example of a how-to guide that counts as a listicle would be “7 Steps to Build a Kennel”.

While video content is becoming more popular, most web content is text. Written content is less expensive to create, and older audiences prefer text to video. You can make your written content more engaging by making it easy to read (skimmable) and adding images.

Video Demonstrations

People remember only 20% of what they read but remember up to 80% of what they see in videos. Also, data gathered by InVideo indicates that 72% of consumers prefer watching videos to learn about products or services.

Since video information is easier to retain, it may be best to use videos when creating educational or explainer content.

Social Media

Over four billion people use social media, spending over two hours a day surfing social media pages. Facebook is one of the most popular platforms with over two billion users, making it ideal for reaching various demographics across the globe.

However, while you can share text or video content on Facebook, you can share only video content on platforms like TikTok. That means if your audience prefers video content, platforms like TikTok or YouTube will be a better fit for your content marketing strategy.

Product Reviews

If you provide products or services online, increase website engagement by showcasing product reviews from past customers. Your product reviews can be videos or text content that showcase the quality of your products. However, publish only genuine reviews from real people. Otherwise, users may see your site as a scam.

Decide Your Content Cadence

In the simplest terms, your content cadence means your timing or when you publish content and how often you publish. Having the right cadence can increase the number of people who view your content and convert.

However, the right cadence for your content marketing strategy will depend on various factors, such as:

  • Your target audience’s persona
  • Your audience’s preferred platform (website, social media, etc.)
  • What happens after a prospect clicks your call-to-action (CTA)

If your content contains a CTA like “book a consultation,” you should publish at a time when someone on your end can quickly respond to the consultation request. Also, the best time to publish varies between different platforms.

For example, according to the AMA, the best times to post on Facebook are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Find the optimal cadence for your audience and content marketing strategy by testing. Test by publishing content at various times and seeing which cadence gets the highest level of engagement.

Metrics that indicate the best cadence include click rate, downloads, sign-ups, landing page conversions, email replies, and sales.

Simplify Content Planning With Cohley

At Cohley, we can reduce your stress by handling content production for you. We'll develop a content plan and strategy that fits your budget and connect you with creators best equipped to bring your vision to life.

Several top brands already count on us to help them create high-performing content that puts them ahead of the competition. You could be next. To get started, schedule a consultation today!

Parker Dietz
Head of Content
With a wealth of knowledge about competitors and pricing, Parker is all about exploring the best way to communicate Cohley's benefits. Outside of work, Parker enjoys poorly playing guitar at parties, watching every Adam Sandler movie ever made, and eating Arabic food.