Planning in content marketing enables enterprise teams to stick to a strategy, ensure consistency, and meet production goals. When you think of content planning templates, you likely think about spreadsheets for editorial calendars. Gross. That’s not what we’re going to talk about today.
Instead, we will give you something more helpful than those posts. These are templates that will become the foundation for filling your content schedule with content that is aligned with your strategy, and creating content efficiently in many different formats. Let’s dive in and explore templates that can make a difference in your company’s content marketing efforts.
Why Templates Matter in Content Planning
First, let’s chat about the value of content planning templates. They act as a framework to guide you in developing content ideas and executing them. Content planning goes way beyond defining what topic you’ll write about for which audience in which format.
You’ll need a lot of pieces in place to have content marketing running seamlessly. These templates also eliminate assumptions. They dictate things like key messaging, formatting, SEO best practices, and more. It allows your team and other stakeholders to have a reference. As a result, your content can be of higher quality that remains true to your content strategy and drives traffic.
8 Content Planning Templates
Next, we’ll break down the must-have content planning templates that will make a difference in how your content operations work.
Buyer Persona Templates
Knowing your audience and writing for them is critical for content marketing success. Digging deep into what motivates buyers, their biggest challenges, how they source information, and their objections is the objective of a buyer persona template. It covers much more than demographics.
And content marketers realize its value in delivering consistent experiences across their journey, which leads to success. In the CMI (Content Marketing Institute) 2022 content marketing report, 81 percent of the most successful organizations do this.
You should use these for every content project to validate the alignment of the project’s purpose and messaging with the audience’s needs. They are even more important now with the push for personalized content.
Here are some options:
- SEMrush Persona Builder: This template uses a wizard tool to help you organize information for each target audience.
- Buffer’s Marketing Personas Beginner’s Guide: This comprehensive guide walks you through four steps and includes links to free templates.
Product/Service Messaging Matrix Templates
For each product or service, your content team will lean on a messaging matrix. This document should be a collaboration between product marketing and content marketing.
It should hammer out the approved language of the product, such as the benefits/features, whom it helps, how it works, etc. It’s also a good place to include testimonials from users. The Divvy team created one that you can download below.
Topic Cluster Templates
Topic clusters are groups of content that revolve around a central subject. They help you connect various pieces of content to improve internal linking and SEO. HubSpot explained it well in the video below.
You can find tactical tips to create a topic cluster template from HubSpot, too.
Customer Survey Templates
Getting feedback from customers drives a lot of value for content marketers. Since most of us don’t engage with customers regularly, customer surveys are useful in hearing the customer’s voice.
There are lots of ways and reasons to survey customers. First, you’ll want to send an annual one that covers everything. Other occasions to survey are after a support interaction, 30 days after purchase to measure satisfaction, and any additional relevant time.
Explore these options.
- SurveyMonkey: All they do is surveys, so they know a few things. They have 257 templates that cover every angle.
- Typeform: These “people-friendly” survey forms offer various options for surveying customers.
- QuestionPro: Find 15 customer satisfaction surveys featuring voice of customer, product, and customer experience templates.
Of course, we also have a customer-centric content survey template that we’ve been using for years. The questions focus on helping you get a better understanding of how your current customers used content in their buying journey. Here’s a free download to get you started.
Content Planning Meeting Agenda Template
The first four templates covered above focus on defining your strategy and messaging, and gathering audience insights to aid in ideation. If you’ve completed any of these exercises and utilized any of these templates, you should have a pretty good roadmap for how to proceed with your content planning.
A logical next step is to start a content planning meeting regimen that brings key stakeholders together to discuss, prioritize and schedule upcoming initiatives. But a word of caution here. It’s important to set clear expectations as to the purpose of these meetings. All too often, these meetings can devolve into brainstorming sessions. That’s really not what you want.
Productive content planning meetings are those where team members are already expected to have ideas ready to pitch. And the meeting time is spent on validating and prioritizing the ideas, and seeing where they would best fit on your upcoming schedule.
To do this the right way, we’ve developed a content planning meeting agenda template, that has one of our most popular resource downloads for years. Download it for free below!
Case Study Templates
Case studies are high-value assets and are crucial to decision-making by others. The hardest part is often getting the customer to say yes. Once you do, you can use a template to navigate the story and ensure that all your case studies keep the same format.
Here are some case study templates you can use.
- HubSpot: They offer three case study templates for just text or design: data-driven, product-specific, and general.
- Demand Metric: You can download this template for free. The format sets up the problem and then demonstrates how your company solved it.
- Visme: This collection of templates includes all kinds of graphics you can use in your case studies. Many are free, and you can brand them with your colors, font, and images.
Blog Content Templates
Having a standardized blog post format is great for maintaining consistency, but there are also many types of post formats that can bring some variety. Depending on your goals and the topic being covered, a specific structure might make more sense. Thus, you might want to explore having a few blog content planning templates at the ready.
You can check out our post on blog content templates. In it, you’ll find seven templates, including ours:
- The List Post
- How-To Posts
- Case Study
- Pillar Pages
With these templates, you can ensure consistency no matter who’s writing the post. It also helps content creators stay focused on the objective. Using templates can also boost productivity.
Website Content Template
For creating new website pages outside of blogs and resources, leveraging a template keeps the process organized. Many people may submit these for everything from conversion-centered landing pages to product comparisons.
In addition to the page copy, the template should also include:
- Navigation: Where does the page live?
- SEO metadata: Keyword, description, title, and alt tags.
- Other technical information.
When you use a template, handoff to development is much easier, so its publications shouldn’t hit any roadblocks. You can find our best practices template below for your next web page.
Content Planning Templates: Ensuring Consistency and Accelerating Production
There really is a content planning template for every scenario. Those noted above are the most prevalent, but you can develop templates for anything related to content marketing. Be sure to check out the examples above and integrate them into your content workflows.
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