How to Develop a Content Marketing Strategy Step by Step

How to make a content marketing plan featured

It can be intimidating to figure out exactly how to make a content marketing plan – especially if this isn’t your first rodeo.

You may feel overwhelmed trying to create the perfect plan or struggle with finding the right resources. Fortunately, developing an effective content strategy doesn’t have to be as difficult as it seems!

Through thoughtful planning and execution, you can create a successful system that will help drive brand awareness and reach more of your target audience.

In this post, I’ll take a step-by-step approach so that you can confidently create and implement your own content strategy.

Understand Your Goals with Your Content Marketing Plan

Set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals for your plan that align with your overall business objectives.

  • SMART Goals: Ensure each piece of content serves a purpose and contributes to the success of your online business.
  • Align with Business Strategy: Maximize the impact of your content creation process by aligning all aspects with broader organizational objectives.

Try using tools like Google Analytics to figure out the goals that work best for your campaign. Then track progress against those KPIs over time, refining existing strategies based on data-driven decisions!

Analyze the Market and Competition

Seventy percent are actively investing in content marketing
Source: Hubspot

This is the first and most important step!

To tailor your approach, employ strategies that resonate with potential customers. Kick off the process by conducting a competitive analysis on industry leaders. Stay updated on relevant industry trends through news sources, forums, and social media platforms within your niche.

Participate in online communities where potential customers are active to gain insights and build relationships.

Create a list of popular topics or pain points that could be addressed through valuable content creation. To generate keyword ideas, use tools such as Google Keyword Planner or Semrush. Analyze competitors’ websites to identify their most successful keywords and phrases.

To target specific user queries effectively, incorporate long-tail keywords into your written content.

Take the time to analyze both the market landscape and competitor tactics to create engaging material that resonates with potential customers.

Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be well-equipped to drive lead generation efforts forward at scale.

For more information on competitive analysis, check out this template.

Develop Customer Empathy Maps

Understanding your customers’ needs and preferences is crucial for a successful digital marketing strategy, and customer empathy maps can help you achieve this.

  • Define ideal customer personas: Gather data on demographics and psychographics to create detailed customer personas.
  • Address common challenges: Create content that addresses your target audience’s specific challenges or problems using empathetic storytelling techniques.

Incorporate these empathy maps into your content strategy, so they foster long-term relationships with existing clients and generate leads.

Empathy maps help to develop new products or improve the user experience on digital platforms.

Create a Content Marketing Strategy with All The Details

Top performers have documented content marketing strategy
62% of top performers have documented content strategy

Create a comprehensive strategy that ensures brand messaging alignment and unique experiences in every piece of content you create. This will not only ensure consistency across your content but also gain executive support for its implementation.

Establish Consistent Brand Voice Guidelines (Style Guide)

Maintaining a consistent tone and voice across your content marketing efforts is made easy with a style guide.

It outlines specific rules for language, grammar, punctuation, and formatting to be followed while creating content for your business.

Implement Data-Driven Insights into Strategic Decision-Making

Utilize data-driven insights for decision-making about topics, formats, distribution channels, and more.

Check how your content is performing with Google Analytics or SEMrush. Use Google Keyword Planner to find important keywords.


TIP: Develop a style guide that outlines specific language rules for your brand’s written content. This is beneficial as it promotes consistency and accuracy across all your content writing.

To illustrate, you have the ability to choose a particular voice tone for your content and make sure that all writers working for the organization follow the instructions provided in this style manual.

In addition, by setting clear rules about grammar, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization, you’ll ensure that the same standards apply across all content creation.

Having such a style guide in place will help maintain uniform standards in your content and ensure it resonates with the voice you’ve chosen for your brand.

Consistency is key to building trust, credibility, and authority with potential customers, and a documented content marketing strategy is a great tool to achieve that.

Conduct a Content Audit

It’s important to analyze their behavior on social media channels like Twitter or YouTube so you can create incredible content that resonates with your target audience.

Start by identifying all your existing assets, which include blogs, LinkedIn or Instagram posts, and white papers. Evaluate each piece of content based on its relevance, quality, and effectiveness in meeting your marketing goals.

Use metrics from your analytics software to understand which kinds of content work best for your business.

Identify gaps in your current content strategy and areas for improvement (were you fallen for any major content marketing myths?), such as search engine optimization (SEO), influencer marketing, or new channels for distribution.

Develop an Editorial Calendar

Determine the goals of your marketing strategy, whether it’s brand awareness or lead generation.

Develop an editorial calendar aligned with these broader objectives, tailored to each type of buyer persona.

Lastly, measure and analyze your content strategy regularly using metrics such as traffic sources or subscriber growth rates. Make adjustments based on this data.

Audit Your Content Publishing Workflow

A content publishing workflow audit should start by looking at the technical setup of the publishing channels. Ask yourself:

  • Does your website have a blog that is properly optimized for SEO?
  • Are all images properly optimized to load quickly?
  • Is the mobile version of your website loading correctly?

These technical aspects are essential to making sure you publish your content efficiently.

Additionally, examine your content workflows and processes. What to look for:

  • Is there a system in place for approving content before it’s published?
  • Does the team have an efficient way of managing tasks between departments and individuals?
  • Finally, is there a process for archiving old pieces of content so that new ones can be pushed up more easily?

Review these features so you can streamline your content marketing workflows and ensure a quality output of content across all platforms.

Appoint a Content Manager

How a good content team should look like
How a good content team should look like – start with the content manager; Image source

A successful content plan requires dedicated oversight to ensure consistent execution and high-quality output.

Hiring a content manager is important to keep up with standards and handle different tasks, such as making schedules and promoting content on social media.

Assign Roles & Responsibilities within Content Teams

  • Content Creators: Produce engaging written content, visuals, or multimedia assets that align with the overall strategy.
  • Social Media Managers: Promote content across relevant platforms and engage potential customers through conversations on these channels.
  • Email Marketing Specialists: Ensure email newsletters are well-crafted and effectively distributed to nurture leads throughout the buyer’s journey.

Ensure Quality Control & Adherence to Brand Guidelines

The content manager must make sure to follow the brand guidelines, supervise a style guide that includes tone of voice, typography, color schemes, and logo usage rules.

Regularly reviewing published work using tools like Google Search Console can help identify any deviations from the agreed-upon guidelines, so they can be corrected promptly.

In addition to ensuring quality control over created pieces, effective content managers oversee keyword research, distribution strategies, and user-generated content management.

By appointing a dedicated individual to this role, you can streamline your efforts and drive better results for your business.

Track Progress and KPIs in Your Content Marketing Plan


Regularly reviewing your content plan’s progress against key performance indicators (KPIs) is essential for long-term success.

Tools like Semrush provide valuable insights into how well your content efforts are performing, enabling course corrections when necessary.

Identify Meaningful Metrics Over Vanity Metrics

Measure organic traffic, lead generation, and conversion rates instead of focusing on less important metrics such as page views, likes and other social media engagement.

Because, what are your business goals, getting money or likes? By the way, consider taking a look into indirect ways on how to make money with content.

Analyze Funnel Stages to Enhance Conversion Rates

This is the key to strategically unlocking higher conversion rates.

If you’re serious about boosting your numbers, you’ve got to start with the most important parts, namely A/B testing the

  • hooks,
  • offers,
  • and call-to-actions.

Trust me, these are the elements that are going to make or break your funnel. So, take a serious look at each stage of your funnel and see where you can make improvements.

Adapt the Plan Based on Data-driven Insights

  • Analyze: Regularly analyze data from sources like your analytics and email marketing platforms to understand user behavior patterns and preferences.
  • Evaluate: Analyze your content’s performance by looking at things like how much time people spend on a page or how many clicks it gets to see what your target audience likes.
  • Tweak: Make adjustments to your existing content based on these findings, whether that means updating headlines or optimizing call-to-actions (CTAs).
  • Create: Use this information to guide future content creation decisions so that you’re consistently producing high-quality material tailored specifically for potential customers’ needs.

Maintaining an agile approach in tracking progress allows you to continuously improve upon your current strategies while staying ahead of industry trends and competitors alike.

Leverage User-generated Content

Coca Cola UGC campaign example
Source of image

Including UGC in your content plan can make your customers feel more connected to your brand and provide valuable feedback, which can help your approach succeed.

Encourage Customer Reviews & Case Studies

Encourage customers to leave reviews on platforms like Trustpilot or create case studies that highlight success stories, building trust with potential customers.

Utilize Social Media Platforms for Sourcing User-Generated Material

  • Create social media campaigns: Launch hashtag campaigns on popular channels like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to engage users and encourage them to share their experiences using a dedicated hashtag related to your brand.
  • Crowdsource ideas: Gather valuable feedback and suggestions from users about improvements they’d like to see in future iterations of products/services using platforms like Reddit or Quora.
  • Showcase customer-created content: Feature photos, videos, or written content submitted by users across various touchpoints, including email newsletters, blog posts, and social media content, giving credit where it’s due while boosting engagement levels within the target audience.

Tapping into UGC is an excellent way for online business owners and SaaS companies to enrich their content efforts, making it an essential component of a successful content strategy.

Maximize Distribution Channels

Effective distribution is crucial in reaching potential clients far and wide; therefore, include a comprehensive approach leveraging networks such as social media channels within the overarching framework to maximize visibility and reach.

To make the most of your content marketing efforts, consider these strategies:

Create Shareable Content Optimized for Various Platforms

  • Create content that appeals to your target audience’s interests and preferences.
  • Optimize your content for each platform by using appropriate formats, headlines, and visuals.
  • Add social sharing buttons to blog posts or articles to encourage readers to share with their network.

Build Relationships with Influencers & Industry Experts

  • Identify influencers and experts in your niche who can help amplify your message through their followers.
  • Collaborate on creating valuable content like guest posts or interviews that will benefit both parties’ audiences.
  • Engage with them regularly on social media platforms by commenting on their posts or sharing their work.

By maximizing distribution channels, you’ll be able to extend the reach of your content marketing plan beyond just publishing it online.

This ensures more potential customers are exposed to what you have to offer while also building trust through association with respected industry figures.

Frequently Asked Questions

How will you determine how to publish and promote your content?

It’s important to have a game plan in place. For me, it all starts with analyzing the content types I’m creating.

Is it a blog post, video, or social media graphic? Based on the format, I determine the best platforms to publish and promote on.

For example, if it’s a blog post, I know I’ll want to publish it on my website and share it on social media. But, if it’s a video, I might upload it to YouTube and share it on Facebook and Twitter.

Once I’ve got my publishing plan in place, I start brainstorming promotional strategies.

Will I run a Facebook ad, email my subscribers, or collaborate with influencers?

The possibilities are endless, but the ultimate goal is to get my content in front of as many people as possible.

How will you drive traffic to your content?

Leverage the various platforms available to you, including email, social media, and influencers.

For example, I can build my email list by offering freebies in exchange for signing up.

You can also make use of organic social media promotion by creating shareable posts with catchy titles and captions that compel people to click through.

On influencer collaborations, look for individuals who have a large following and whose content resonates well with my target audience.

Do I need to hire someone to help me write my content marketing plan?

Outsourcing content marketing can be beneficial
Outsourcing content creation can be beneficial, according to Content Marketing Institute

After some time you could feel overwhelmed trying to write your own effective content marketing plan. Or you just simply don’t know how to start.

That’s why it’s important to consider hiring someone to help you write your plan for you.

A professional can provide a fresh perspective, extensive knowledge, and valuable insight into how to best reach your target audience. Plus, it frees up your time to focus on other important aspects of your business.

Hiring someone doesn’t have to break the bank either, as many writers and marketing consultants offer affordable rates.

Why is it so hard to get traffic to your website or blogs?

There are millions of websites out there and everyone competes for the readers’ attention. It can be difficult to stand out.


Because you need a huge amount of high quality content. Fortunately there are many great AI writing tools to help you with that.

But it’s not enough to just have great content. You need to actively promote your website through social media, email newsletters, and even paid advertising.

It takes time and effort to build up an audience, but don’t give up.

Keep creating valuable content and promoting it consistently, build high quality links consistently, and eventually, the traffic will come.

Let’s recap

Creating a successful content marketing plan requires careful planning and execution.

Follow these steps to set clear goals and KPIs, conduct thorough research, create targeted content, organize your content with a content calendar, and analyze performance data.

  • Set clear goals and KPIs for your content marketing endeavors.
  • Conduct thorough research on competitors and keywords.
  • Create and distribute content that resonates with your audience.
  • Implement a well-organized content calendar to ensure consistency.
  • Analyze performance data to make informed decisions about future strategies.

Repurposing existing content, leveraging user-generated content, and maximizing distribution channels can help businesses reach new audiences and increase engagement.

If you want to learn how to create a content marketing strategy that drives results for your business or brand, then this guide is an excellent starting point.

Feel free to reach out to me if you need any more help with your content marketing.

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