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How to Create a Content Management Plan in 5 Minutes

A content management plan is a document that outlines your upcoming content marketing activities.

Content management plans are used to ensure you can produce consistent high-quality content for your target audience that generates website traffic and improves conversion rates. Without one, your content marketing activities will be misaligned, inconsistent, and unproductive.

That's why we recommend you take the time to create a content management plan that makes sense for you, your business, and your goals.

And no, we don't recommend you plan out each piece of content for the next three years.

But we do recommend taking the time to create this key content asset: the content management plan.

Here's how to create a content management plan in five minutes or less:

  1. Identify your overall theme

  2. Create a SMART goal

  3. Outline your marketing channels

  4. Brainstorm the types of content

  5. Commit to a content cadence

It's really that simple.

Each piece of content will be informed, high-quality content that serves your target audience in pursuit of your specific goals.

Remember, valuable content doesn't just make itself; valuable content is well planned and part of your larger content marketing efforts. And the best way to do that is by empowering yourself, and your content team, with a strong plan.

Let's get started.

Content marketers planning during a meeting.

What are the 3 pillars of a content management strategy

Your content management strategy comes before your plan, because without a strategy your plan will have no "north star" to guide it.

Once you understand your content management strategy, you can begin creating a plan that focuses on content deliveries, your target audience, and your overall goals.

But first, here are the 3 pillars of a content management strategy:

  1. Team capabilities/resources

  2. Content management tool

  3. Reporting/communication structure

1) A sound strategy effectively leverages team capabilities/resources.

There is little use in creating a content management strategy that is unachievable. And your team's capabilities and resources will play a large part in that.

Should you really commit to producing unrealistic amounts of content if you're short-staffed on content creators or content production resources? No. Keep it realistic and within reach.

Each piece of content should be planned out under the lens of your team's capabilities/resources.

2) Your strategy must rely on a management tool.

Whether you're working in-person or remotely, your strategy must rely on a management tool. It's impossible to effectively engage in content marketing activities without one.

We recommend using tools like Asana or Notion to keep track of your overall goals, your editorial calendar, and each piece of content. These tools empower content teams to stay organized while brainstorming, creating, and publishing content.

These content management tools can also double as intake forms for your team.

A true win-win.

3) Lastly, the best strategy also outlines a reporting/communication structure.

Whether you're a team of one, part of a larger team, or the manager of a content marketing team is irrelevant. You must outline a reporting/communication structure no matter what.

Most leaders want to be informed decision makers, and to be an informed decision maker, they must be constantly looped in on the state of your content marketing activities.

And no, we don't recommend communicating the status of each piece of content.

But we do recommend you know how to report or communicate meaningful content deliveries and timelines.

What is a content management plan?

A content management plan is a document that outlines your upcoming content marketing activities. Content management plans are used to ensure you can produce consistent high-quality content for your target audience that generates website traffic and improves conversion rates.

It takes into account content workflows, business goals or business objectives, and requires careful planning.

But careful planning doesn't equal slow planning. Once you understand these fundamentals, your content management plan will come together in five minutes or less.

Whether you're a freelancer, a business owner, or an in-house marketer doesn't matter. You must have a content management plan regardless of your role.

Otherwise, how will you make sure search engines reward you with website traffic from potential customers?

How will your target audience gain access to content that convinces them of buying your product or service? Without a plan, you won't achieve your goals.

That's why an effective content management plan will:

  • Ensure strategic alignment

  • Promote organization

  • Generate organic results

Let's break each of these down a little further.

An effective plan will ensure strategic alignment.

Your content marketing activities should always be tied to larger organizational goals.

And if you don't have a baked out plan, you'd be doing guesswork; hoping your content marketing actually moves the needle and supports your goals.

Your will also promote organization.

Content marketing is a dynamic discipline.

At any given moment you can find yourself spinning your wheels trying to keep up with heightened demand for content assets.

But creating a plan, especially one that includes cross-functional marketing needs, ensures you can organize your content marketing activities and prepare for surges in requests.

Lastly, your plan will generate organic results.

A bold claim. But a true claim.

When done correctly, your plan will generate the organic results you're looking for because your content marketing activities will be strategically aligned to your organization's overall goals.

How to create a content management plan in five minutes or less

Most content marketers believe creating a content management plan needs to be complicated or burdensome. But they're mistaken.

The best content management plans come together easily because they're targeted, succinct, and simple. Don't fall victim to believing complexity equals sophistication.

Simplicity wins every time.

Here's how to create a content management plan in five minutes or less:

1) Identify your overall theme

The best content marketing activities are tied to specific themes over a set period of time.

When looking to identify your overall theme you must:

  • Understand your product or service

  • Outline the time of year and campaign length

  • Connect the dots between product and timing

Once you identify your overall theme, each piece of content will become easier to produce because you'll have an overarching narrative that guides your content production.

2) Create a SMART goal

You've likely heard about SMART goals before.

But in case you haven't, a SMART goal is:

  • Specific

  • Measurable

  • Achievable

  • Relevant

  • Time-bound

It's everyone's favorite goal acronym, and for good reason. It works.

If you create lofty goals that aren't tied to your business objectives in any way, each piece of content you make will be misaligned and potentially damaging to your business. Which means your job is on the line.

Don't be a hero. Create a single SMART goal as part of your content management plan.

3) Outline your marketing channels

This is an often overlooked component of the best content management plans.

How can you engage in great content marketing activities without understanding your marketing channels. You must select a relevant marketing channels that make sense for your business.

There are a multitude of marketing channels like:

  • Social media

  • Search engines

  • Public relations

And each of these marketing channels requires specific types of content.

We recommend you periodically conduct a content audit to ensure the marketing channels you're engaged in are actually positively impacting your business.

4) Brainstorm the types of content

Each marketing channel dictates the type of content you must produce.

There's little use in trying to publish your Instagram carousel as a Twitter thread. Or uploading your long-form YouTube video on LinkedIn.

Instead, focus on the types of content that will create the most meaningful impact to your outlined marketing channels.

5) Commit to a content cadence

Lastly, you must commit to a content cadence.

Do not get this far into your content management plan just to fumble on the content cadence.

Remember, publishing consistently is a must-have to generate the results you're looking for.

Yes, there are natural ebbs and flows that are necessary to work through from time to time.

But in general, the best content marketing activities are consistent.

How to put a content management plan together

Now that you understand the fundamentals of a content management strategy and a content management plan, here's a quick checklist you can run through to ensure you're creating a solid plan.

Content management strategy checklist:

  • Do you understand your team's capabilities and resources?

  • Do you have a content management tool in place?

  • Do you have reporting/communication processes?

Content management plan checklist:

  • Do you know your overall theme?

  • Do you have a SMART goal?

  • Do you understand your marketing channels?

  • Do you know the types of content you need to make?

  • Do you have an outlined content cadence?

Use the checklist above to ensure your content management plan is optimal.

In closing

Creating a content management plan is simple. And once you do, you'll realize how easy it is to produce every single piece of content thereafter.

We also don't recommend you create a plan that's so baked out that you've got little to no room for additional surges in requests. You will always deal with unforeseen requests.

It's important you plan for 75-80% of the content for a specific set of time - say one quarter.

And you leave the other 20-25% of your team's capabilities/resources available for unplanned content assets.

If you're looking for your first entry level content marketing job, these are essential content management planning principles you need to know.

Good luck out there, Captain!

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