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CONTENT PLANNING MODULE: IN A NUTSHELL

According to Marketing Profs, 88% of B2B marketers in North America invest in content marketing. Yet Content Marketing Institute reports that only 30% of marketers say their organization is effective at content marketing and content strategy.

The content planning module in WriterAccess Academy is packed with lots of strategic information, video recordings, templates, and resources from a variety of auithority sources, offering clarify on why you need a content plan, how to develop content strategy, and what performance to expect from your content marketing investment with best practice content planning, strategy, and execution aimed at specific, realistic, data-backed, measurable goals.

ENROLL NOW FOR FULL ACCESS—IT'S FREE!

Who are the instructors of the Content Planning Module?


Sarah Burt

Byron White

Ashley Faus

How long does it take to complete this module?

Book Chapter 1: Content Planning  30 Minutes
Core Planning Video    30 Minutes
Workshop Webinar Video    3 Hours
Bonus Planning Videos    2.5 Hours
Resources/Templates Review    1 Hour
Content Planning Quiz    30 Minutes
      
TOTAL HOURS    8 Hours

CONTENT PLANNING TAKEAWAYS AND WISDOM

What will I learn about content planning to help master content strategy?

Take a look at the core content planning questions we'll be answering in this module, with recordings, resources, templates and more.

What is a content marketing strategy?

Content marketers develop content strategy to pinpoint the opportunities, challenges, and goals for content marketing success. Content planning and strategy development begins with a comprehensive analysis of the business, customers, and competition in your industry. Depending on your budget, internal or external resources (worker bees), and goals, analysis may include website and SEO performance analysis, keyword research, editorial calendar development, content category maps, social media “conversation” analysis, customer journey and persona development, and more.

What is a content plan, and how will it help me achieve marketing goals?

Content plans are like a GPS for content marketing, defining the goals, key performance indicators, strategy, tactics, and goals for content marketing performance. Without a content plan, companies are shooting from the hip, bindly hoping for the highest without the insights, methodology, or tactics to map out a reliable path to achieve goals, and deliver return on marketing investment. With a content plan well crafted, companies can answer questions like...

  • How much content do you need?
  • How frequently do you need to publish it?
  • What channels should you publish in?
  • How much you should invest in content?
  • What performance can you expect from investment?

Can I access sample content plans and templates?

Content plans are like a GPS for content marketing, defining the goals, key performance indicators, strategy, tactics, and goals for content marketing performance. Students will want to download and study both content plans to get a feel for the variations of research and analysis required for completion.

How do you research your audience and learn what they want and need?

Researching the questions your target audience is asking about your products, services, or industry is a great way to provide them with information they want and need. Tools like Quora, a Q&A platform that empowers people to share and grow the world’s knowledge, offers insights to popular questions that can help you understand your audience and the information and answers they seek. Learn one key question to ask your cusotmers at WriterAccess Academy, so you can turn more browsers into believers, and believers into buyers.

How do you develop content strategy for specific audience (personas)?

Without a deep understanding of who your customers are, marketing fails in many ways. Highlighting the characteristics and distinctions of multiple personas helps writers and marketers personalize content assets for different buyers, increasing engagement, conversion, and performance. The more data you can provide from your customer database, the more accurate the buyer personas will be. That, in turn, will boost content performance. Learn how to harvest data like demographics, location, spending habits, pain points, objectives, and more. And learn how many personas you may need depending on the diversity of your product, services, or customer base.

What is a customer journey map, why do I need it, and how can it help my content strategy?

According to Invesp, 44% of companies have a greater focus on customer acquisition vs retention, yet increasing customer retention by 5% can increase profits 25% to 95%. Customer experience design aims to bring awareness to these types of problems, and it all starts by developing a customer journey map and documenting what your customers are thinking and feeling at different stages of their journey with your brand.

In the raw form, customer journey maps visualize customer journey at various stages ranging from discovery to investigation to consideration to trial to purchase to perception and more. More magnificently, customer journey maps document barriers to experience, opportunity for engagement, moments of truth, and motivators to progress customers through the journey to purchase, retention, and even sharing their experience with prospect customers to grow organically—the content marketing way.

Lots of WINS happen when you take the time to develop a customer journey map. Sales and marketing work together to document what customers are thinking and feeling at each stage, so better content can be created to deliver on each stage.

What's the purpose of buyer personas and customer journey maps?

Documenting personas and customer journey maps help you get your team get on the same page and unify goals. More importantly, they help content creators personalize content with the tone, style, design, and sophistication that will boost engagement and drive performance goals.

Do you have samples or templates of customer personas and journey maps?

Yes indeed. Download sample buyer personas and customer journey maps when you enroll with WriterAcceess Academy!

What's a new approach to the customer journey map? The customer playground!

The next evolution in content marketing is here, and marketers aren’t in charge. Customers are. Instead of moving through a traditional linear funnel, or engaging in a looping decision journey, customers are choosing their own adventure, charting their own path across all channels. As marketers, we must think several steps ahead of customers and prepare content that delivers the right message, no matter which path they stumble upon. Listen in to Listen in to Ashley Faus explain these new rules of creating a content strategy where every interaction relies on content, every channel is a touch-point, and every person is on their own journey. Learn how to measure success across channels and throughout the customers journey, and view real world examples of companies taking an integrated approach to content strategy and planning with the playground approach, way beyond the traditional editorial approach.

What are other ways to research customer’s wants and needs?

Getting under the skin of your target audience is the goal for content strategy development and planning. Below are a few hacks to help remove the guesswork and find the answers you need to create content customers and prospects want and need. Try them all to find the nuggets of wisdom that will likely surface along the way.

  • Analytics: Discover the source of traffic and navigational pathways.
  • Psychometrics: Use new social analysis tools.
  • Search Box: Track what prospects are looking for and what they find.
  • FAQ:
  • Review what customers ask for and the language used.
  • Customer Service Reps: Learn the FAQ and knowledge requests.
  • Let’s Talk: Speak with customers and learn their wants and needs.
  • Surveys: Ask for feedback on your content, navigation, and methodology.
  • Help Desk Tickets, Amazon Customer Discussions, A/B Testing, etc.

How does keyword research and SEO fit with content planning and strategy?

Here's the thing... content that is not optimized for both readers AND the search engines will not rank in the search engines or drive organic traffic to your website. Delivering on organic traffic goal requires thoughtful keyword research and planning, as well as optimization cadence and delivery. Learn how to research the keywords that drive traffic to your competitor’s website, and assess the difficulty of ranking so you can make decisions on which keywords to target for optimization, which help to define what topics and subtopics you should target with your content strategy. Look for a deeper discussion on keyword research and SEO in the Content Optimization module.

What type of content assets should you be creating to engage your audience?

Turns out that's a tricky question to answer, without first learning more about your budget, social channels’ popularity, organic marketing success, and ability to create quality content. Content strategy starts with an assessment and "reading" of all those variables before any

How do I research my competition and why is it important?

Visit one of our favorite competitive research tools called SpyFu. See below to quickly learn a TON of information about their digital marketing strategy, including their daily PPC spends, SEO strength, SERP listing positions, paid ad campaigns, and much more. Enroll in the Content Strategy MasterClass at WriterAccess to learn how to compile all the competitive data in a way that pinpoints opportunity to capture organic market share.

What are the best software tools for content planning, research, curation and UX?

We've researched all the tools for content planning on the marketplace, with more added monthly as we extend our review. Join WriterAccess Academy for free to get the full descriptions and links to all of these tools.
Calendars
CoScheduleMarketing managers need to keep work and people organized to deliver the right messaging at the right time. That's why the CoSchedule suite of solutions is such a great way to keep projects on time and customers delighted. CoSchedule is an all-in-one marketing calendar for content that keeps your team organized and on the same page. With a straightforward interface and the ability to streamline your workflow and communication, CoSchedule is an instant hit for marketers.
DivvyHQDivvyHQ's automated workflows and better data leads to content that sings, leading to more sales leads and consumer insights. DivvyHQ helps marketers develop the right content strategy, then simplifies business processes. Simplify your communication, build transparency, break down silos and focus on what's most important. The solution lets you track team progress and content performance and gives you real-time insights into the status of projects. DivvyHQ includes unlimited content calendars including a master calendar, approval routing, asset storage, customizable workflows and direct publishing capabilities to popular social media platforms and content channels.
GatherContentThe faster you can get content routed, approved and online, the better chances your clients have of being noticed by potential customers. Speed matters. That's where GatherContent comes in. The platform has more than 2,000 customers whose content teams rely on the platform to gather and organize content in one place and make sure content is structured correctly and follows style guidelines. Real-time collaboration tools mean content is better and built more efficiently. Workflows help keep content production on track with tools to track progress and identify bottlenecks. Automated migration tools get the content on the right platforms faster, too.
KapostKapost gives you far more than great content marketing automation and organizational tools. What sets this content marketing management company apart is its professional services that can assess, analyze and recommend improvements in your team's operations. That's not to sell short to Kapost platform, which offers content organization, including advanced search and filtering, unified messaging, and tracking tools to guide and manage the customer journey. The advisory services include content operations maturity assessments, workshops on discovery, roadmap alignment, and marketing technology optimization, content audits and analytics, sales and customized consulting solutions.
ContentoolsContentools exists to centralize all your content marketing operations in one solution. It gives your team the ability to plan, manage, collaborate and publish content from a single source. It also collects and lets you use data to drive better decisions. A marketing dashboard gives you a bird's eye view of the team's progress and identifies bottlenecks. A smart ideas pipeline lets you track concepts in one place, and approve, assign and schedule production. Workflows are in one location, giving everyone a sense of roles and status while the content editor allows you to check your SEO. We're looking forward to an AI-powered insights tool that's currently beta testing.
CantoLooking for a better way to track your digital assets? Canto automates the storage of digital media including documents, images and videos. Canto helps customers manage copyrights and permissions, manage brand assets and organize content via a media library. Canto customers no longer have to waste time hunting for content, saving money and boosting productivity. As content assets grow in number, customers can maintain brand standards and consistency while ensuring rights are properly tracked and cited.
Google Ads PlannerGoogle Ads is a reliable and effective way to invest in keywords and keyphrases that will drive traffic and provide insights on the impact of your next marketing campaign. At the heart of Google Ads is the keyword planner. It helps you find the most relevant keywords for your clients' products or services and delivers research on how often words are searched and how those searches have evolved. Google Ads helps you target potential customers by location and multiple demographic and interest categories. You set your budget, can pause it at any time and pay only when people click on your ad, visit your site or call your business.
Research
Survey MonkeySurveyMonkey has long been a go-to solution for those wanting to collect data and share information with customers and others. Long known for its survey tool, SurveyMonkey has added an array of product options to deliver better and deeper insights. Its product line now includes Audience, which collects real-time feedback; TechValidate, an automated solution for turning customer stories into compelling content; CX, a turnkey Net Promoter Score tool; Apply, which streamlines collection and review of applications for awards, grants, scholarships and other programs; and Engage, which helps you measure employee engagement. SurveyMonkey also offers apps to integrate with other popular software titles.
QzzrSometimes it is all about fun and games. With Qzzr, you can engage with customers in a completely different way. Use customized quizzes to connect with customers and get important feedback and insights into products, services, attitudes and interests. You can customize the look and feel of your quizzes to fit multiple layouts and websites. Add text, images, videos and animated GIFs and create quizzes in multiple languages. In the Pro and Team versions, you gain a white label version of the app, the ability to collect leads and show offers, view aggregated data and export that data
SurveyGizmoSurveyGizmo offers industry-specific solutions for surveys and data insights that customers use for a range of feedback tasks. The platform collects product feedback, including constant feedback tools such as triggered emails and customized web hooks. Advanced market research tools include advanced panel integrations to target ideal respondents and sophisticated question types allow for conjoint, cross-tab and max-diff questions. Experience feedback solutions provide real-time analytics give you deeper insights into the customer journey. Customer research tools give you actionable insights into buying behaviors, motivations and preferences for better, data-driven decisions. Certain versions offer advanced features including geotargeting, data cleaning and custom branding.
QuoraQuora is a user community juggernaut that gets you answers to pressing questions quickly. The 10-year-old company boasts 300 million monthly users worldwide who post and respond to questions on 400,000 topics. Users can create profiles detailing their background and areas of expertise. When you post a question to Quora, any member can answer, and others can upvote or downvote, suggest changes or bookmark answers. It's an ideal tool for those looking for fast answers and perspectives on an issue. It also includes Spaces, which lets users join groups around shared interests and tasks.
Google AlertsGoogle Alerts is a great way to gain current information on people, issues or topics that are important to you or your business. The process is simple too. Enter your preferred search item and set your options for how often you want to receive notifications, the kinds of sites you want searched, language, what parts of the world you want information from, the number of items you want included in each notification and what accounts should get the alerts. Editing and deleting alerts is easy, too. (Couldn't find any reviews but added a link to a how-to guide)
Google Trends"Google Trends gives you insights into current search trends on the popular search engine. You can look at trends by timeframe, region or subregion or analytics on trends of a search term in a state, province or country. You can search the web, YouTube, Google Shopping, news or images and compare searches. The site shows you trends on popular current topics and trending searches, too. It also shows you Year in Search trends in topics ranging from news and people to question searches like ""where is ...,"" ""what is ..."" and ""how to."""
BomboraWhat is Bombora? It's an Australian Aboriginal word meaning a wave that forms over a submerged reef or rock, producing a dangerous stretch of water. The company took the name due to the sea of data it aggregates and the challenge of leveraging the information. It collects behavioral intent B2B data and helps marketers monetize their business and provide data for use cases, pitches and presentations. It collects data on what content BSB organizations are consuming and helps to target those organizations actively looking for products or services. Its Measurement tool also analyzes website traffic and marketing efforts to help customers learn what's working and what's not.
DiscoverOrgDiscoverOrg offers a fast track for sales, marketing and recruitment professionals at growth-focused companies looking for information. The company provides accurate contact information -- direct-dial phone numbers, verified email addresses and organizational charts down to the departmental level. It promises insights and context on which prospects are most likely to buy. The tool fine-tunes your lists by searching on job function, industry, location, technology and keywords. OppAlerts and Scoops give you alerts about new projects, initiatives and pain points for your target accounts and signals leadership changes, new funding and product launches.
PromoterNet Promoter Score is a popular tool for marketers to gauge customer satisfaction and engagement. With Promoter.io, your company can do so much more than collect NPS information. Its solution gives you scheduling options for drip, recurring and lifecycle options, list management and segmentation tools, multilanguage options, and easy integration with other tools. In addition to NPS data, you can also ask qualitative questions and real-time review and follow-up capabilities. Analytics help you understand and use collected data to predict future behavior and, when combined with customer intelligence, generate better ROI. There's also a Salesforce integration app available.
Reddit"Redditors are not a shy bunch. The 234 million unique monthly visitors to Reddit eagerly share links and opinions, making it the 6th most visited website in the United States and 21st worldwide. Users join subunits called subreddits (there are 138,000 active ones and 1.2 million in total) on a wide variety of topics. Subreddits are managed by moderators who are fellow Redditors. You can search for information within one subreddit or sitewide. Posts can be given ""karma,"" either good or bad using upvoting and downvoting. The site is free to use, although for-pay Reddit Premium gives users new features like comment highlighting and exclusive subreddits."
TechTargetDon’t waste your time by targeting the wrong people — or worse, yet, the right people in the wrong way. It’s all about insight. TechTarget produces vast amounts of editorial content to attract technology buyers. The technology analyzes traffic and behavior to ensure you are competitive in the enterprise technology market. By aligning your marketing strategy and sales execution, the multiple services and products offered by TechTarget can help identify and influence the right people in the right way during the right phase of the buying cycle.
Priority EngineTime is money. Spend your time (as little as possible) and energy (again, as little as possible) on leads that will convert. Using technology powered by TechTarget, Priority Engine™ is a sales and marketing tool that prioritizes and analyzes over 18 million opt-in technology buyers by their search and research behaviors — and helps you identify those with intent to purchase. The platform can be integrated into many marketing systems, making filling your sales pipeline easier, faster, and more effective than ever.
AberdeenMore data with fewer software windows? Sign us up. Aberdeen offers customized Intent Qualified Demand programs that integrate with your marketing and sales programs to help you work better and smarter. The tools allow you to make accurate predictions (up to 91% accuracy) with targeted buyer intent data and improve your advertising click through rates and sales pipeline. You can then use this data to maximize your approach to content marketing and measure your ROI.
Curation
Scoop.it!Scoop.it lets you boost credibility, establish expertise and build brand awareness through a content engine designed to find and curate high-value content. By accessing a range of information from popular news sites to niche publications, Scoop.it lets you publish topic pages, feed social media channels, embed content into websites and reuse content to optimize its impact. Team members can automate content monitoring, create content for newsletters, and build internal, private content hubs. Build better relationships with influencers and deliver content for websites, blogs, knowledge sharing or personal branding for customers and prospects.
CurataYour content engine needs fuel to maximize its impact. That's where Curata comes in. Content curation helps to stretch your marketing dollars and save time. Curata finds great content faster and establishes your brand as a thought leader, delivering content that can be used in social media, blogs, websites, email newsletters and microsites. Curata combs the web to find keywords, content authors and news sources that give you highly relevant information. It lets you add your brand's own voice and royalty-free images. Curata also schedules and shares information and, over time, uses AI learning tools to improve results based on your ratings and usage.
Paper.liLooking to build an audience through social media, web news sites or email newsletters? Paper.li collects content that matters to your audience using machine learning, natural language processing and social signals. Aggregate content across Twitter, Facebook and YouTube and your website from up to 25 sources. You can also manually add content to your newsletters or emails and automate sharing on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. You can easily customize your content with widgets, images and videos, add subscription tools, and add your own messaging. Search your newspaper archive via keywords and add your own messaging to newsletter subscribers.
QuuuMost content curators use automation and machine learning to identify great content to deliver to your audiences. So does Quuu. But what sets this service apart is its commitment to hand-checking every piece of content to ensure that it's relevant and compelling for your needs. Quuu searches for content and uses a team of industry experts called Quuurators to find you the very best content. You choose from more than 500 interest categories and determine how many suggestions you want to receive. Quuu integrates with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and can send content directly to scheduling tools Buffer or HubSpot.
BuzzSumoBuzzSumo is all about giving you valuable insights that you can use to drive better content decisions. It's a multifaceted tool that lets you learn about what content is being shared across social networks by author, topic or domain. BuzzSumo lets you find influencers in multiple areas, review their content and amplify it, deepening your relationships with them. Content alerts let you see when your keywords are mentioned or an author or competitor publishes new content. The competitor analysis functions let you see what the most-shared content is on a competitor's website and compare the performance of your content with that of competitors.
Feedly"Feedly's motto is ""where readers become leaders."" The platform helps customers discover, organize, read, search on and share content. Feedly helps you track publications, blogs, YouTube channels, keyword alerts, tweets and RSS feeds. There are also collaboration tools that allow for sharing of feeds and let you see what teammates and thought leaders are reading. You can share, curate, comment and prioritize the most relevant articles. The platform integrates with other tools including Evernote Business, Microsoft OneNote 365, Trello and Slack. "
AhrefsAhrefs offers marketers solutions that give valuable insights on websites and content. The platform helps you find and curate content, get a deep dive into any website's organic search traffic and backlink profile, monitor rankings over time, and audit your site for on-page SEO performance. These insights can help you understand what's working and needs to be improved on your website. Ahrefs uses the power of Big Data to by constantly crawling websites and processing information. Each day, Ahrefs finds 1.8 million new web pages and updates metrics on 72 million pages. It tracks 7.8 billion keywords across 10 different search engines and 171 countries. The Search Traffic Index includes a database of 480 million keywords.
Visual Mapping
JumpchartJumpchart makes website planning much easier. You can write content, organize the structure, collect feedback and export the information to your content management system. It helps bring together your entire team of creative talent, including clients, designers, copywriters, developers and project managers. Jumpchart gives you a high-level view of your site architecture and information with site maps that update automatically as you add pages. Jumpchart's website blueprints let you jump to any page, manage metadata and titles, and update your RSS feeds. New features include a full-screen writing mode, integration with Markdown or Textile, and a drag-and-drop site map interface.
LucidchartsLucidchart is an online diagramming tool that can be used by engineering, IT, operations, product development, sales and education teams. The versatile solution lets you create all kinds of diagrams, from simple flowcharts to complex technical displays. It also allows for collaboration among your teammates to get the best ideas and insights in real time. Lucidchart lets you connect to live data to build and update org charts and other diagrams. With more than 15 million users, Lucidchart is a secure solution that integrates seamlessly with G Suite, Microsoft Office, Atlassian and other popular productivity apps.
UXPinUser experience is so important to design today. With UXPin, marketers and developers can design websites using real interactive states, logic and code components. There's no need to duplicate artboards when interactive elements are used, eliminating redundancy and chaotic design processes. Use a single source of truth for code components, allowing prototypes to be built using functional and interactive elements. Logic layers let you store and use other users' input with conditional interactions, variables and expressions.
BalsamiqThere's nothing vinegary about Balsamiq. This wireframe tool helps you design better websites, web apps, desktop software and user interfaces. Creating better user interfaces helps your company connect better with visitors and teaches business people and non-designers the basics of UI through online courses, articles and resources for better user experiences. It's available in both desktop and cloud-based versions. Balsamiq lets your users share and sketch ideas and literally get everyone onto the same page by helping to focus the work on structure and content, and not colors and details that should be fleshed out later in the process.
PlanboxPlanbox uses the power of artificial intelligence to drive agile innovation in your business. It allows for collaboration and sharing that drives innovation and value-added projects that drive business results. Use the software to build spaces for crowdsourcing, open innovation, business competitions, design thinking and innovation jams. Planbox has 2 million participants from 12 countries. It lets you draw in, develop and manage ideas and opportunities from your employees, partners, customers and suppliers. Improve employee engagement, strategy and market research.
Productivity
BasecampSo much of your ability to collaborate depends on how you're able to keep everyone on the same page at exactly the same time. It's not enough for people to just know what they're doing - they have to be able to see how that all fits into the larger whole. Basecamp is designed to help you do precisely that by offering features like to-do lists, the ability to assign tasks and set due dates for specific people, schedules, message boards for more organic communication and much, much more.
TrelloIn terms of the collaborative process, your success rests on your ability to make sure that essential information is in the hands of the people who need it at all times. Trello is a tool designed to help make this easier than ever. It offers not only unique message boards but also lists and cards, all of which can be used to organize and prioritize your projects in a way that isn't just effective in terms of keeping everyone's progress aligned - but that is also fun, flexible and (dare we say it) even rewarding at the exact same time.
AsanaAs a work management platform, Asana is a tool designed to not only teams function as productively as possible, but to make sure that everyone stays focused on all the right priorities as well - regardless of how often those priorities may happen to change. But the true asset here ultimately comes down to malleability - you can plan and structure all of your work in a way that makes sense for you and your people. Priorities and deadlines can be set at will and you can easily share details and assign tasks to those who need them, all from the same easy-to-use and straightforward screen.
MondayHuman beings are visual learners - there's really no getting around that. So rather than try to plan, organize and even track your work in a text-based world, why not finally embrace one that is much more visually-oriented instead? That's what Monday helps you do wonderfully, creating a single visual, collaborative space you can use to bring your teams together like never before. It's already been used by more than 50,000 teams including those at Fiverr, the Discovery Channel, Philips and more thanks to its reputation for easy onboarding, easier adoption and getting everything started in a way that is literally as simple as sending an email.
Aha!If you want to launch the types of breakthrough marketing campaigns that your customers will absolutely resonate with, you need to have the type of organic, intimate process in place that can support that. This is precisely what Aha! is designed to do, and has already been trusted by more than 250,000 users around the world. Aha! makes it easy to coordinate all of your activities across product, digital and content teams - all so that you can see every last bit of activity in a single, sophisticated and highly visual view. Stay up-to-date and set performance targets and review reports of the real impact you're generating in an instant.
Simple."The modern-day competitive advantage has less to do with what you specifically offer and is more about HOW you offer it. Creating better customer experiences is the goal of business leaders everywhere and that is exactly what Simple has laser-focused its efforts on. Simple is a platform that lets you not only plan and review all of your customer experiences but also optimize them across all touch points - all by way of a single, centralized platform built with marketing in mind. Not only will you be dealing with far less complexity than ever, but you'll have more effective marketing than ever before - truly the definition of a ""win-win"" scenario if there ever was one."
SmartsheetsHaving ideas is one thing. Being able to bring that vision into reality is something else entirely. Smartsheet is a platform focused entirely on the latter, acting as a powerful platform to support both the way you need to work today AND how your customers need you to work tomorrow. You can finally move ideas into impact in the fastest way possible by way of a tool built to help you plan, capture, manage, automate and even report on all of the work you and your people are doing in a way that continues to grow and evolve as your business does the same.