What is a content plan? Simply put, your content plan helps determine the content you hope to create and sets expectations for how and when it should be created. Creating consistent and engaging content is part of successful marketing. A good content plan can generate buzz long after it is created — driving traffic and sales.
So how exactly can you best plan for buzz-worthy content? Utilize your data.
Here are five ways data can inform your content planning:
- Conduct Keyword Research
- Look at Demographic Data
- Choose the Right Format
- Determine Your Ideal Content Length
- Check Out the Competition
Conduct Keyword Research
During the planning stage, it’s important to know the topics you want to focus on or the keywords you want to target.
Keyword research is a crucial way to uncover what your audience is searching for online. Gaining insight into specific search queries can help you determine the types of problems or questions your audience is searching for and how you can help provide an answer or solution.
It can also help you analyze the intent behind a search — whether it be navigational, informational, or something else.
Several useful tools can help with your keyword research, including HubSpots’s SEO Marketing Software or SEMRush.
Look At Demographic Data
Demographic data can help you build and create content for specific buyer personas. Imagine being the best ice cream parlor in town, but trying to sell your product to someone with a lactose allergy — it just doesn’t work. In the same way, even high-value content will have minimal results unless you present it to the right people.
Using demographic data helps you remove any assumptions about your audience and who is accessing your content. It tells you things about your target audience, like age, sex, and place of residence. It can even give you behavioral analytics like their interests and most commonly used social media platforms.
This data can help you pivot your content planning when it comes to phrasing, the images, and illustrations you use, or utilizing pop culture references.
Popular tools for demographic data include Google Analytics or Similar Web.
Choose the Right Format
Based on the demographic and keyword data you gathered, you can also decide on the right content format. If the data shows your audience loves reading blog posts and listening to podcasts, direct your focus toward creating and delivering that type of content.
Creating content that your audience frequently engages with will help generate the highest return on investment.
An auto repair company could spend its time posting Snapchat videos all day, or it could create a guide that outlines a common problem with a customer’s vehicle, how much the repair typically costs, the recommended fix, and how that fix would solve their customer’s problem.
It’s important to have a clear understanding of your customer’s needs — and provide the type of content that will meet the needs of your customer and create engagement for your business.
Sparktoro and BuzzSumo are great examples of tools that can help you generate data on the right content format your audience is looking for.
Determine Your Ideal Content Length
Content length can be a funny thing. If your content is too long, it’s possible to lose your reader’s attention early on. It can, in contrast, be seen as not informative enough if it's too short. The truth is, there’s no magical formula to determine what will work best 100% of the time.
How can you determine what’s best for your audience?
Do a little research. Take into consideration:
- What pieces of content have the highest engagement rate
- How much time a user spends reading your content
- The call-to-action associated with these content pieces
- Where your audience is accessing existing content
It can be easy to assume that longer content equals better results. However, when it comes to your audience, it’s more important to have the ideal length than the longest amount of content possible. Your existing data will shine a light on what makes your audience happy. You don’t have to waste time creating content no one reads.
Check Out the Competition
Keeping an eye on what’s ranking on your competitors’ websites can be beneficial. The insight can help you make an educated guess on the type of content a similar audience is engaging with and what could also rank well for you.
However, it’s also important to ensure you’re not creating the exact same content. Take a look at the idea and level up from there. If your competitor is highlighting three points, make yours five.
Using a keyword research tool can give you insight into your competition. You can often find their most trending content piece, how many visits to their website it generates, and its ranking on search engines.
Content planning doesn’t have to include reinventing the wheel. Even if you have never used data during this process before, these five steps are easy to consider, and there is a wide range of helpful tools you can rely on.Bonus Pro Tip: It’s essential to focus on your upcoming strategy, but you can also rely on the same type of data to update your existing content! Adding more accurate, up-to-date information can ensure you’re increasing visibility and engagement on ALL your content.