Content Planning Checklist: How to Develop a Strategic Content Plan
By Alistair Norman

Content Planning Checklist: How to Develop a Strategic Content Plan

The research is over – but how do you create a content plan good enough to exploit your in-depth findings?

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You’ve mapped your personas; carried out keyword research; engaged in social listening, and carried out competitor analysis. But now it’s time to put the kingpin of your inbound marketing operations into place – your content marketing plan. But where to start?


The Topics

Decide what topics you want to cover and whether they are relevant to prospects at top of the funnel, middle of the funnel or bottom of the funnel.

Have you…

  1. Chosen topics that are best placed to offer an overview of your company’s sector for the top of the funnel? Think key facts, stats and bite-sized data, all in easy-to-digest formats.
  2. Chosen topic types that enable prospects to explore their business pain in detail for the middle of the funnel? Think expert analysis and in-depth content.
  3. Chosen related topics that reflect your success in dealing with customer pains in the past for the end of the funnel? Think ‘proving your track record’ to reassure and convince the prospect.


The Offer

“What’s your offer to prospects at the bottom of the funnel – and how will your top of the funnel content lead them to it?”

Have you…

  1. Begun your content planning at the end of the funnel, and not the beginning?
  2. Created a journey that focuses on your ending first – the payoff, the offer – before working backwards, creating the rest of your funnel’s narrative and how it will all lead up to that final offer.
  3. Ensured your narrative is flowing? Does it offer a convincing, engaging and overarching narrative to keep prospects engaged along the entire journey?


The Style

“Decide what content type you’re going to assign to each idea/topic – would it make a good infographic or is it better as a text post with images?”

Have you…

  1. Compiled all your topics into a single content plan so you have your core strategy in place before deciding how each topic should be represented?
  2. Explored all content types – their strengths and their weaknesses – for potential deployment within your funnel. Think infographics and Videoscribes for the top of the funnel to white papers and eGuides for the middle of the funnel.
  3. Divided up your content and allocated enough of it for each stage of the funnel, offering a broad and well-paced range of styles and types to maximise prospect engagement?


The Promotions

“Decide which channels you will use to promote the content. Do you need to create certain content for a media partner? Run a social campaign?”

Have you…

  1. Explored all channels, pulling together a comprehensive list of outlets ideal for promoting your content?
  2. Considered that media partners may require additional content to be created, and have budgeted accordingly?
  3. Investigated the potential of running social campaigns to further promote your content via social media channels? Think both popular and niche online hangouts where your target audience normally congregate.


The Nurturer

“Do you have the right content to create lead-nurturing email workflows – or is additional content required?”

Have you…

  1. Considered your email strategy in between the funnel stages and after-purchase? It’s as essential as your content; the glue that holds the customer’s journey together through your funnel and beyond.
  2. Created emails that not only guide the prospect through the process but also offer additional resources for them to investigate.
  3. Considered how you will deploy lead-nurturing emails to build an ongoing relationship with the prospect once they have turned into a buyer? Think long term, not quick-win.


Help your content marketing plan shine with our free eGuide: ‘The key characteristics of high performing content’.

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