Content planning. Does it ring a bell? Content planning is definitely something you have heard at least once in your life if you have actively promoted your brand. But what is it really?
To put it simply, content planning is a way to plan your channels’ sequence of content materials in advance and over a specific period of time. I’m not saying that it is absolutely a MUST to have one. All I’m saying is that it is a game-changer!!
In fact, while developing content for your brand’s platforms—specifically, social media, emails, and digital ads—many marketing professionals and content creators utilize content planners, also known as content calendars, as a guide. It is a method to guarantee that each piece of material that is published is pertinent, consistent with the brand, and tailored to a particular campaign. So why not implement the use of a content planner in blogging, right? It’s simply genius!
Why you need to have a content plan
Have you ever had days where you continuously come up with new ideas? Sometimes we rely too much on ourselves and believe that we can come back to them in the future, but in reality, we will probably forget them.
Since I have a tendency to forget things, I always make sure to write down any ideas I have right away. This is where having a content plan comes in handy. But other than that, why is a content strategy for your blog articles necessary in the first place?
1. To keep things organized
One benefit of having a content plan, especially when working with a team, is that it keeps everything organized. It is also quite useful for tracking the development of each blog article, and if you’re working with writers, having a content plan sheet would be a useful method to communicate your thoughts clearly! You can also include links and media materials for reference!
2. To ensure you have enough content
For many businesses, there might be a certain frequency of posting that we want to follow. Say you want to post one blog article every week– that is something that can be reflected on the content sheet to ensure that you’ll always be right on schedule!
2. To use as a reference to improve future blog post topics
There will be topics that receive fewer clicks than others, whether we like it or not. Knowing what themes are most effective can help us constantly publish blog entries that our target audience will find fascinating, valuable, and engaging!
The most successful themes can be tracked if you use a content sheet. Additionally, this is an excellent way to avoid uploading duplicate content.
Other uses of a content plan outside blogging
Social media content creation
If you’re ever wondering about the purpose of having a branding session, let me give you a quick refresher. One, you can utilize your photos to give your website a whole new look. Two, you can create marketing materials (digital or printed) with these photos while ensuring all your branding protocols are followed. Third, it all ties back to content creation for your social media pages. Your branding session photos can definitely be used for your feed.
What I personally like to do is dedicate a content plan sheet for my feed and include a column for my images and another column for copywriting. This is so I can plan my captions ahead and decide which days would certain topics be more effective while making sure that the photos that will be published align with the color theme I’m going for. With careful planning, you can create (e.g.) an Instagram post with an effectively engaging caption and an aesthetically pleasing feed!
How to make your content calendar
Content planning platforms
Although there are numerous content planning tools with sophisticated integrations on the market today, Google Spreadsheets will always be my top choice! Anyone with a Google account can access it, and it is incredibly simple to use. Small business owners with small teams who don’t necessarily need to integrate paid business solutions for content creation may like this option also.
If you prefer a more advanced content planning platform, below is a list of a few great software tools that you and your team can use!
Creating a content plan spreadsheet
As I have mentioned, I love using Google Spreadsheets! Although I don’t profess to be an expert with sheets, it is quite simple to use.
I like to start with a blank sheet, add the required columns, experiment with colors, and voila! My content strategy is ready to go!
Here are the essentials if you’re unsure of what should be in your blog post content plan (but you should feel free to customize your own):
- Date to be published
- Blog Title
- Type of Content or Content Pillar
Or you can download our template here:
Having a content idea sheet for my blog posts drastically changed my content creation process. So far, it has been easy for me since I don’t have to worry about what to post next or whether I have enough content to post in the days to come. I just have to dedicate an hour or two for brainstorming and everything will just fall into place! You should definitely try it!