You’ve been pioneering your company’s content marketing efforts for a while, and the performance of your team convinced your boss to take full responsibility for content marketing. There is one small problem, however.
Your boss wants you to write and present a content marketing plan to them, but you’ve never done anything like this. You don’t even know where to start.
Fortunately, we’ve put together the best content marketing plans so you can create a concrete marketing plan that is data-based and delivers real results.
In this post, we’re going to discuss what a marketing plan is and how some of the best marketing plans implement strategies that serve their respective businesses.
What is a Marketing Plan?
A marketing plan is a strategic roadmap that companies use to organize, execute, and track their marketing strategy over a period of time. Marketing plans can include separate marketing strategies for the different marketing teams across the company, but they all work towards the same business goals.
The purpose of a marketing plan is to write down your tactics and strategies in an organized manner. This way you stay up to date and can measure the success of your campaigns.
When creating a marketing plan, you can be concerned about the mission, buyer personalities, budget, tactics, and results of each campaign. With all of this information in one place, it will be easier for you to stay on track with a campaign, see what is working and what is not, and gauge the success of your strategy.
Recommended Resource: Free Marketing Plan Template
Would you like to develop a marketing plan for your company? Click here to download HubSpot’s free marketing plan template and get started.
Types of Marketing Plans
Depending on the company you work for, you may want to leverage different marketing plans. Here are just a few:
- Quarterly or Annual Marketing Plans: These plans highlight the strategies or campaigns that you will be running in a given time period.
- Paid Marketing Plan: This plan could highlight paid strategies like native advertising, PPC, or paid social media promotions.
- Social Media Marketing Plan: This plan could highlight the channels, tactics, and campaigns that you specifically want to run on social media.
- Content Marketing Plan: This plan can highlight different strategies, tactics, and campaigns in which you use content to promote your business or product.
- Marketing plan for the introduction of new products: This plan is a roadmap for the strategies and tactics you will implement to promote a new product.
Note that there is a difference between a marketing plan and a marketing strategy.
Marketing strategy vs. marketing plan
ON Marketing strategy describes how a company achieves a specific mission or goal. That includes what campaigns, content, channels, and marketing software they are using to carry out this mission and track their success.
For example, while a larger plan or department could take over social media marketing, you could view your work on Facebook as an individual marketing strategy.
ON Marketing plan contains one or more marketing strategies. It is the framework from which all of your marketing strategies are built, and it helps you reconnect each strategy to a larger marketing process and business goal.
For example, suppose your company launches a new software product that you want customers to sign up for. This requires the marketing department to develop a marketing plan that will help introduce this product to the industry and get the desired signups.
The department decides to start a blog dedicated to the industry, a new YouTube video series to help build expertise, and an account on Twitter to participate in the talks on the topic. All of this is to attract an audience and convert that audience into software users.
Can you tell the difference between the company’s marketing plan and the three marketing strategies?
In the example above, the company’s marketing plan is aimed at bringing a new software product to market and promoting signups for that product. The company will implement this plan with three marketing strategies: a new industry blog, a YouTube video series, and a Twitter account.
Of course, the company could also think of these three things as one giant marketing strategy, each with their own specific content strategies. How detailed you want your marketing plan to be is entirely up to you. Still, there are a number of steps any marketing plan goes through in creating it. Find out what they are below.
How to Write a Marketing Plan
- State your company’s mission.
- Determine the KPIs for this mission.
- Identify your buyer personalities.
- Describe your content initiatives and strategies.
- Clearly define the omissions in your plan.
- Define your marketing budget.
- Identify your competition.
- Describe the contributors to your plan and their responsibilities.
1. State your company’s mission.
Your first step in creating a marketing plan is to state your mission. While this mission is specific to your marketing department, it should serve the main mission statement of your company. Be specific, but not too specific. There is still plenty of room in this marketing plan to explain how you can acquire new customers and accomplish this mission.
For example, if your company’s mission is to “make booking travel an enjoyable experience,” your marketing mission might be to “attract an audience of travelers, educate them about the tourism industry and convert them into users of our booking platform “.
2. Determine the KPIs for this mission.
Any good marketing plan describes how the department will track the progress of its mission. To do this, you need to determine your most important performance indicators, or “KPIs” for short. KPIs are individual metrics that measure the various elements of a marketing campaign. These units will help you set short-term goals within your mission and share your progress with the executives.
Let’s take our example marketing mission from the step above. If part of our mission is to “attract an audience of travelers,” we can track website visits using organic page views. In this case, “organic pageviews” is a KPI and we can see that the number of pageviews increases over time.
These KPIs will be re-included in the conversation in step 4 below.
3. Identify your buyer personalities.
A buyer personality is a description of who you want to attract. This can include age, gender, location, family size, job title, and more. Each buyer personality should be a direct reflection of your company’s customers and prospects. It is therefore important that all business leaders agree on your buyer personalities.
Here you can develop buyer personalities for free.
4. Describe your content initiatives and strategies.
Here you will find the most important points of your marketing and content strategy. With a laundry list of content types and channels available to you today, it is important that you choose carefully and explain how you will use your content and channels in this section of your marketing plan.
A content strategy should include:
- What types of content will you be creating? These can be blog posts, YouTube videos, infographics, e-books, and more.
- How much of this are you going to create? You can describe the volume of content in daily, weekly, monthly, or even quarterly intervals. It all depends on your workflow and the short term goals you have set for your content.
- The goals (and KPIs) that you use to track each type. KPIs can include organic traffic, social media traffic, email traffic, and referral traffic. Your goals should also include which pages you want to direct this traffic to; B. on product pages, blog pages or landing pages.
- The channels on which you distribute this content. Some popular channels that are available to you are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram.
- Any paid advertising that takes place on these channels.
5. Clearly define the omissions in your plan.
A marketing plan explains what the marketing team will focus on. However, it also explains what the marketing team won’t focus on.
If there are other aspects of your business that you are not serving in this particular plan, include them in this section. These omissions help justify your mission, buyer personalities, KPIs, and content. You can’t please everyone in a single marketing campaign, and if your team isn’t looking for something, you need to get the word out.
6. Define your marketing budget.
Your content strategy may use many free channels and platforms, but there are a number of hidden costs for a marketing team that need to be considered.
Use these costs to create a marketing budget and outline each expense in this section of your marketing plan, whether it’s a freelance fee, sponsorship, or a new full-time marketing hire.
7. Identify your competition.
Part of marketing is knowing who you are marketing against. Find out about the key players in your industry and consider creating a profile for each in this section.
Remember that not every competitor presents the same challenges for your company. For example, while one competitor ranks high on search engines for keywords that you want your website to rank for, another competitor may have a heavy footprint on a social network that you want to open an account on.
8. Describe the contributors to your plan and their responsibilities.
Now that your marketing plan is fully in place, it’s time to explain who is doing what. You don’t need to dig too deeply into your employees’ day-to-day projects, but you should know which teams and team leaders are responsible for specific content types, channels, KPIs, and more.
Ready to create your own marketing plan? Start with this free template and be inspired by the examples below.
6 Examples of Marketing Plans You Can Use To Write Your Own
1. HubSpot’s Comprehensive Guide to Content Marketing Strategy
Main objective: content marketing plan
At HubSpot, we built our marketing team from two business school graduates who work from a coffee table to a powerhouse of hundreds of employees. Along the way, we’ve learned countless lessons that have shaped our current content marketing strategy. Therefore, we decided to illustrate our findings in a blog post to teach marketers how to develop a successful content marketing strategy regardless of the size of their team.
In this comprehensive guide for the modern day marketer, you’ll learn:
- What exactly is content marketing?
- Why your business needs a content marketing strategy.
- Who Should Be Directing Your Content Marketing Efforts?
- How to structure your content marketing team based on the size of your business.
- How to hire the right people for each role on your team.
- What marketing tools and technology do you need to be successful?
- What type of content should your team create and who should be responsible for creating it?
- The importance of spreading your content through search engines, social media, email, and paid ads.
- Finally, these should be the recommended metrics that each of your teams should measure and report in order to optimize your content marketing program.
2. Shane Snow’s marketing plan for his Book Dream Team
Main objective: content marketing plan
A successful book launch is a prime example of data-driven content marketing. Using data to optimize your content strategy will increase your book’s profile, get more people to subscribe to your content, convert more subscribers into buyers, and encourage more buyers to recommend your book to their friends.
When Shane Snow began promoting his new book, Dream Team, he knew he needed to use a data-driven content strategy framework. So he chose his favorite: the waterfall with content strategy, which the Economic Times defines as a model for creating a system with a linear and sequential approach. Take a look at the following diagram to get a better idea of what this means:
Snow wrote a blog post about how the content strategy waterfall helped him get his new book out successfully. After reading it, you can use its tactics to educate your own marketing plan. More specifically, you will learn how to:
- Applied his business goals to help decide which marketing metrics to track.
- Used his ultimate business goal of $ 200,000 in sales or 10,000 purchases to estimate the conversion rate for each stage of his funnel.
- Buyer personalities were created to determine which channels their audience would most like to consume their content on.
- Used his average post view across each of his marketing channels to estimate how much content he had to create and how often he had to post on social media.
- Calculates how much earned and paid media can reduce the amount of content it has to create and publish.
- Outlined his process and workflow, built his team and assigned tasks to members.
- Analyzed content performance metrics to refine its overall content strategy.
You can use Snow’s marketing plan to develop a better content strategy plan, better knowing your audience, and thinking outside the box when it comes to promoting and distributing content.
3. Chief Outsider launch plan for a new product
Main objective: Marketing plan for the introduction of new products
If you’re looking for a marketing plan for a new product, a great place to start is with a Chief Outsiders submission. Marketing plans for a new product are more specific because they are focused on one product versus the marketing strategy of an entire company.
After reading this plan, you’ll learn how to:
- Validate a product
- Write strategic goals
- Identify your market
- Create a competitive landscape
- Create a value proposition for a new product
- Include sales and service in your marketing plan
4. Buffer content marketing strategy template
Main objective: content marketing plan
Writing a content plan is a challenge, especially if you’ve never written one before. Buffer decided to help the content marketing community.
By searching through countless content marketing strategy templates and testing the best, they created a content marketing plan template with instructions and examples for marketers who have never documented their content strategy.
After reading Buffer’s Marketing Plan Template, here’s how you can:
- Answer four basic questions to help you create a clear summary.
- Set SMART content marketing goals.
- Build highly accurate audience personalities by interviewing real content strategists.
- Solve your audience’s problems with your content.
- Conduct competitive research by analyzing the content of your competitors and industry leaders.
- Evaluate your existing content strategy by examining the themes and themes of your top and bottom performing pieces.
- Based on the skills and breadth of your team, determine what types of new content to create.
- Set up an editorial calendar.
- Develop an advertising workflow.
Buffer’s template is an incredibly thorough, step-by-step guide, with examples for each section. For example, in the Audience section you can find case studies of real potential audiences like Blogger Brian. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with creating a marketing guide, this can get you started.
5. Contently’s content plan
Main objective: content marketing plan
Contently’s content method works like a flywheel. Instead of applying an entirely new strategy to each new marketing campaign, they use the strategy from their previous marketing campaign to drive the next one. Similar to a flywheel, the content method needs an initial burst of energy to set the gears in motion.
What does this energy provide? Your content plan.
In a blog post, the entire content plan was refined to help marketers develop a self-sustaining marketing process. After reading it, you’ll learn how to:
- Align your content goals and KPIs with your business goals.
- Create very detailed buyer personalities using psychographics instead of traditional demographic data.
- Create content for each stage of your marketing funnel based on your prospect’s pain and passion points.
- Identify your most effective marketing channels.
- Discover the content topics that your audience actually craves.
- Assess your company’s resource needs.
By applying a flywheel-like strategy to your own marketing efforts, you essentially free up the burden of applying new strategies to every single marketing campaign. Instead, your previous efforts gain momentum over time and continually dissipate energy into whatever you post next.
6. Forbes’ marketing plan template
Main objective: content marketing plan
An oldie but a goodie – Forbes released a marketing plan template that has had nearly four million hits since late 2013. To help you create a marketing roadmap with true vision, the template will teach you how to define the 15 key sections of a marketing plan, which are:
- target group
- unique selling point
- Price and positioning strategy
- Distribution plan
- Your offers
- Promotional material
- Advertising strategy
- Online marketing strategy
- Conversion strategy
- Joint ventures & partnerships
- Referral strategy
- Strategy to increase transaction prices
- Retention strategy
- Financial projections
If you really don’t know where to start with a marketing plan, this guide can help you define your target audience, find out how to reach them, and make sure that target audience becomes loyal customers.
These marketing plans serve as the first resource to get your content marketing plan off the ground. However, to really get what your audience wants and needs, you will likely need to test different ideas, measure their success, and then go on refining your goals the way you want.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in April 2019, but has been updated for completeness.