Content plan vs content strategy
It’s important to first of all clarify the difference between a content plan and a content strategy. These terms are often used interchangeably, however this isn’t necessarily correct. A content strategy comes before the content plan, with the aim of setting goals and objectives, identifying the audience, and setting out a timeline for your content delivery. A content plan incorporates all of the content required in order to fulfil the goals and objectives established in the content strategy. An easy way to remember the difference is that a content strategy is what gets you to the content plan; without a strategy, there’d be no plan.
Content plans can include everything from keyword research and data-gathering, to blogs and articles. SEO or analytics can also be a part of the plan. Your content plan essentially consists of the building blocks for the content you produce, and like constructing a house, these building blocks will form a robust foundation.
A well-organised plan, in any industry, makes production easier and more efficient. Having individual steps planned out with achievable targets will give you the ability to produce your content with fewer complications within a given timeframe. Suitable organisation of your content also means you can adapt to any potential changes in your audience, and provide alternatives. Keeping your blogs, social media posts, and website updates mapped out in a content calendar will give you a clear visualisation of what’s being done and when. It’ll allow you to potentially shift an upcoming post or blog if required, and easily find an alternative to slot into that day or week.
Research, research, research
A hugely important aspect of content planning is research. Before producing any content, you should research what is already available to your audience, giving you an indication of what works and what might be oversaturated. Researching the content your competitors are producing will also help you stand out and create something they’re not. Depending on the type of content you’re aiming to produce, keyword research can be a hugely valuable way of improving your content ranking and visibility. There are various tools you can use online, ranging in cost, which will allow you to find popular keywords with lower keyword difficulty and competition. Including these keywords in your content will help it be seen by more people.
The power of social media
In terms of social media, a good content plan will include the individual social media channels you’re going to use for each piece of content. It’s valuable to look into each channel, and decide which would be most suitable for your content and audience. An omnichannel strategy consists of using multiple social media platforms to post and promote your content. Having a well thought out content plan lets you keep track of your scheduled posts, whilst also making sure your content branding is consistent across all platforms. Social media is a highly reactive space and a well-organised content plan will undoubtedly make life easier.
Another key part of a content plan is making sure that your content is unique and stands out, whilst also being relevant. When you produce content and publish it for all to see, you’ll want the target audience to be able to find it, engage with it, and perform an action with it. One of the best ways to increase your conversion chances is to create unique and engaging content. People don’t want to read something they’ve seen a hundred other times, they want content that is new and fresh.
Data and analytics
Content planning also involves monitoring data in order to keep up to date with any trends or adjustments to your audience that may be required. For example, if you notice that a certain type of content is performing well, for example a poll on LinkedIn, you may decide to incorporate more of these polls further down the line. You’ll be able to react and stay competitive, which in turn will provide you with greater traffic and conversions.
A strong content plan will be found at the core of any piece of successful content. If a content plan is rushed or poorly developed, the content being published will quickly begin to show signs of ineffectiveness and may in turn struggle to stay competitive. Of course, no content plan will be the same, and the objectives set out will have to be suitable for that particular target audience. The fundamentals however, do often stay the same: a strong content plan means better content.
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