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What Is Content Planning?

Written By The Art of Business Content Team

It’s been months — maybe years — and you’re finally ready to kick your marketing into gear with content planning. No more arbitrary blogging or haphazard social media posts.

While taking a casual approach to marketing your business online will leave you feeling drained, simple content planning can change that. 

So what is content planning?

Content planning is the process that allows you to implement your content strategy from start to finish. It involves search engine optimization (SEO) hashtag research, scheduling, content creation, measuring results, and so much more. 

Content Planning vs Content Strategy

Since we’ve mentioned content strategy, let’s differentiate between content planning and its initiator, content strategy. The content strategy lays out the blueprint to reach your content marketing goals. 

While you might plan for a month or a quarter, content strategy is the system that will help you define your interval plan based on your core objectives.

Ideally, you want to determine the specific end results you’re hoping to achieve and outline the ways you’re going to reach these goals. Content planning and content strategy are often used interchangeably because they intertwine. 

In reality, your content strategy shows the macro picture. It gives you an endpoint for each element of your content plan. It’s like a bridge that connects your goals to actions.

3 Keys to Successful Content Planning

Before you get started with content planning, some pre-content planning is necessary. Let’s focus on these three keys first.

Be consistent

The old adage that consistency is key reigns true for content planning and always will. Consistency with content is probably required now more than ever since more businesses are moving to online platforms. 

If your brand or business’s face or logo isn’t regularly placed in front of your audience, it WILL be forgotten. Lost to the internet universe, which we know for sure is ever-expanding.

Determine Your Audience

What audience should you consistently be creating content for? That’s something you need to establish early on. Research who your target audience is and which stage they are in the buyer’s journey. 

If you REALLY want to make sure to match your content to your audience, create a customer avatar. 

A customer avatar is a detailed profile embodying your ideal customer complete with a headshot image (a stock photo will do) and lifestyle insights based on dedicated research.

Want to use our already-prepared ideal client worksheet? Grab the worksheet lower down FOR FREE! 

Quantify Your Goals and Outcomes for Your Content

This is where content strategy and content planning connect. Each action plan for your content strategy should lead to a definite outcome. This might be engagement, authority generation, email list building, brand awareness, or otherwise.

Building an email list also takes time. Although, with the right content, it could rise quite fast unexpectedly.

Most new bloggers want to rank number one on Google, which could take months! 

Keep in mind that ranking high on Google is a long-term strategy. It could take years to get into the top results. However, each blog post you write is a step towards getting there as well as fulfilling other goals. 

Systems for Content Planning

Although we’re not machines, systems are essential to get results from content planning. 

Ask yourself these questions: 

  • How will I come up with new topics? 
  • Will I be using themes for my content? 
  • What is the wider net of my content type? 
  • How will each piece of content bring value to my audience? 
  • How will I repurpose content for maximum lead generation? 
  • What am I tracking? 
  • How will I measure the results? 
  • How often will I measure them? 

If you have a team, consider these questions as well: 

  • Who is responsible for each task?
  • Who needs to approve blogs or posts?
  • What communication channels will we use?
  • Who will be assigning and creating the content?

Your Editorial Content Calendars

Ok, now that you have a basic system in place, it’s time to prepare your content calendar. A content calendar should cover at least two things every. single. time.

  • When content is due
  • Why you’re creating content.

For the web, you’ll typically be creating two types of content calendars: one for blogging and one for social media. Content is also important for your website pages, but this is often a one-off job. 

Let’s delve into our two main content publishing platforms, which are blogs and social media. 

Content Calendars for Blogging: 

Blogging content calendars are typically easier to create than social media marketing calendars. From the onset, you need to decide upon the frequency of your posting, length, and how you will generate topics.

If you’re doing the blogging side of your business yourself, you might want to schedule research, outline, drafting, editing, and proofreading sessions.

Let’s say, for example, you decide to blog twice a month and you already have a few topics chosen. On a Tuesday, you might do the research and an outline.

On Wednesday, you’ll create the first draft. On Thursday, you can look at your blog with fresh eyes and do the editing. Finish up with a proofreading session, and you’re good to publish the next day.

With a team, the blogging calendar might look slightly different. The writer assigned to the blog will have to decide on their own schedule for each stage of the blogging process. 

Have a look at our marketing journal to see how often we post. 

Want our free Content Planner?

Drop your email below if you want the exact content planner we use here at The Art of Business!


Social Media Marketing Calendar

A social media marketing calendar will have a lot more to it. However, keep in mind that for both blog and social media, quality is the most essential and necessary element for your business — alongside consistency. 

Social media marketing calendars include each date, and sometimes the exact time, that you want to send out your posts. The calendar will have the caption, an image or image link, and your relevant theme or campaign.

Some social media calendars only include the basics and will be used for all of your social media channels. Other calendars are broken down for each social media marketing channel.

Columns consist of author names, formatting type, and due dates. 

You can make your social media calendar as simple or as complicated as you wish, once it serves your purpose. Don’t get caught up in the hype and look for a perfect social media calendar. There is none. 

If you want a pre-made social calendar, grab one from us below. You can also partner with us to manage your social media marketing. 

Choose the Right Channels 

Content planning is fruitless if you’re not putting your content on the right channels. If you created a customer avatar, you should have an idea of where your target audience spends most of their time. 

It’s very easy to fall into the trap of marketing on the channel you frequent yourself. Meanwhile, your audience might be nonexistent there. They might only be on one or two entirely different channels. 

Take time to properly identify the right channels as part of your content planning. Then, learn everything about how to optimize your content to suit that platform. 

Choose a Scheduling Tool

Once you’ve selected your channels, and used your content calendar to create content, it’s time to schedule your blog or posts. As an entrepreneur or small business, there are a number of options available to you. 

Buffer, Later, Hootsuite, TweetDeck, all have free plans that you can use to get your feet wet with content planning. Despite their limitations, they can be used long-term as well.

More advanced scheduling platforms include SproutSocial, Loomly, Zoho Social, SocialPilot, and Agorapulse (which is our preferred scheduling system). These are typically used by larger companies or agencies and will allow you to engage with your audience inside the tool. 

Most scheduling tools are easy to use, but they do offer varying features that may be better suited to different industries. Do some research to find out which one will work best for your particular needs.

The Rundown of What Content Planning Will Do For You

Content planning is not just about the end result. It’s also about saving you time and effort. It’s a way to decrease the weight of running your business, which is already a challenge in itself. 

With content planning, you have a clearer mind, and over time, you’ll be able to tap into a library of content you’ve built up. Remember, content can be repurposed, re-used, and even re-published if it’s still relevant. 

Let’s not forget that content planning is as much about measuring and making changes where needed. People change — people are your audience — and plans change. 

Also, content for the web changes. Stay up to date with the current marketing trends.

Your content calendar should always be flexible based on feedback, statistics tracked, and your revised goals and objectives. Plan, adapt and plan again.

Don’t want to plan? Consider hiring a team to do the entirety of your content marketing for you. Reach out to us and we’ll take care of content strategy, planning, creation and scheduling while you watch your business grow! 


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