How to write a content marketing plan for lasting success

Content planning

Everyone knows the importance of planning and when it comes to marketing or finance, chances are you have plans and goals thought through. But do you have a content plan? The benefits to organising your content before it has been written or commissioned are enormous – and maximise its success potential.

Let’s find out why you need one.


Content planning in digital marketing

A content plan is a way of organising the content you anticipate creating, and a way of outlining what you want it to achieve. Identifying what you hope your future content will accomplish before you begin writing or commissioning it, is an important aspect of a content marketing plan. It fulfils the following purposes:

  • Even if you already have a good idea of what you want to achieve and how you will achieve it, formalising these ideas into a plan format helps you to clarify your thoughts and ideas – often generating more in the process.
  • Writing out a formal content plan creates a usable document which others can access.
  • It helps you to pinpoint exactly what – and crucially how – each piece of content needs to achieve – and identify its target audience.

As well as looking at what the content will look like, your plan should also outline who is responsible for it, where it is going to be placed and how to assess its impact within your content strategy. Identifying how exactly you are going to track its influence is important for your future content plans, as it will afford you key information as to what works well. Plus, a successful piece of content doesn’t just create impact today. Done right, it can work for you long into the future, too.


Free SEO content plan templates

You have multiple ideas buzzing around your head, and lots of grand plans for how your content can grow your business, but the question is, where on Earth do you start?

Begin by downloading our free Excel SEO content plan template, also available as a Word version.

Excel template Word template

These documents work well alongside each other, and help you to formulate an SEO content strategy for what to write and where to place different items of content. With separate sections for listings, products and blogs you want to have on your own site, as well as guest posts you plan to publish elsewhere, a template can help you work out what you need most.

What’s more, keeping your content plan in one neat document like this, makes it easy to track performance and identify any gaping holes in your strategy.

If you're looking for an all-inclusive content management system to co-ordinate a team, calendars and content, then we recommend the ClickUp software.


Different types of content for your website

Different types of content work in different ways for your SEO. Ideally, you need a mix of content to generate the best results. Of course, your website functions as a showcase for what your business does, whether that is products that it sells, or services that it offers.

  • Listings sections make it easy for customers to see what you offer, but it’s crucial that they're clear and easy to navigate.
  • Products are the core pages on an eCommerce site, however for the best return on investment, prioritise your best selling products.
  • Blogs posts should form your longer pieces of content, with thought-out topics that are relevant, and signal other posts on your website, using internal links (more on this later). These help users navigate the rest of the content on your site, and also help to establish information hierarchy.
  • Guest posts on third party websites are an effective way to improve your SEO.

Although your website will have different types of content serving different purposes, each one needs to focus on one or several keywords – and these need to be selected meticulously.


Listings / Categories

Listings / CategoriesListings form an important part of showcasing the products or services you offer. Most eCommerce sites list their products with a short paragraph of text introducing the category, and another section of text beneath all the products. Another way of doing it is to have one piece of text with a ‘More’ button to expand the content.

Make sure you identify target keywords here, and build in an adequate amount of text.

Include your most important target keyword once in each of the following locations:

  • Meta Title
  • Meta Description
  • URL
  • h1 title

Also include keywords a few times in the main body of text. This doesn’t need to be excessive as keyword stuffing is an old-fashioned SEO technique that no longer works.

Focus on summarising all the products in the category, what makes you unique as a company, and how the products will benefit the reader. Think about the tone of voice you use here; it’s your chance to convince visitors to your site that you are the kind of company they admire and want to buy from.



Writing product descriptionsWhen writing content for your individual products or services, consider the fact that Google places an emphasis on content which is unique, so don’t paste too many sections of text across several products. What’s more, products you sell the most of, or those you identify as having a high potential to do well once you have researched your keywords, should feature a longer section of text.

So that your audience knows they are buying something reliable, back up your claims with testimonials and offer guarantees. Using real-life quotes is an effective way of demonstrating reliability and is especially persuasive if you can add in the customer’s name. This makes it feel more personal and trustworthy. In a similar vein, use images to show the reader exactly what it is they are buying, along with detailed descriptions of the product’s benefits. There is no set word count for a product description, and it is often best to give your copywriter an element of flexibility to keep content fresh and natural.



Planning blogsA blog is an essential component on any company website. It’s an opportunity to talk directly to your consumers, boost your SEO by including targeted keywords and attract more new traffic to your site when readers share your content. In fact, creating engaging and unique blog content can keep on giving for years into the future. Try to incorporate a different spin on an existing topic, or address a topic in-depth.

Unlike the other types of content we have discussed so far, a blog post stands a better chance of success if it is long; specifically, over 1,500 words. There is scope in an article of this length, to address a topic thoroughly, and include various angles. As this content is much longer, and will afford you the opportunity to engage directly with both customers and other interested readers, you should consider creating a blog content plan. That way, you can plan your blog topics well in advance, which also makes it easier to commission them.

Think about the whole year, and how your company’s focus changes at different times. For example, let’s say you carry out a big marketing push in the run up to Christmas, and you want to create a blog post around the year’s best festive decorations. Content should be planned and commissioned well in advance of this, so the post is live and in circulation in ample time for the Christmas frenzy. Similarly, if your company deals with garden furniture, you want to make sure blog posts talking about the best ways to make the most out of your garden are posted in the spring or early summer, so again have this on your blog content plan. See more tips on how to write a business blog.


Guest Posts

Marketing with guest postsGuest posts are blog posts featured on a blogging site, as opposed to your own company website. They contain an inbound link to your site, which functions from an SEO perspective to boost your authority in the eyes of Google. These posts also need to be well-written, and contain content worth sharing. As well as quality editorial content that will keep your reader interested, every blog post should link to one commercial page too, with a call to action. If you’re targeting primarily Americans, this can be quite blatant, with a phrase like ‘buy now’. For Europeans, research shows that a more subtle call to action works best. Phrases like ‘click here’, or ‘find out more’ are often used, and are a little more subtle than ‘buy now!’ or ‘sign up here’.

See 20 call to action examples you can use for inspiration on your own site.

Blog posts allow you to target visitors at the earlier stages of their decision-making process and should form an important component of your content plan. They help with branding and allow you to show your expertise, making them particularly important for sites selling services or more technical products. Indigoextra offer a full guest posting service, including write the guest posts and publishing them on high authority sites. This enables you to create a flexible campaign tailored to your company’s individual needs.


Should you use AI generated content?

AI is great for completing keyword research, brainstorming ideas and proofreading work, however Google penalise AI content if it's not been substantially edited. Their March 2024 algorithm update focused on reducing spam and led to a 40% increase in AI content that was removed from the search results. This is part of an ongoing trend.

We recommend focusing on manually writing the content for your site. This includes creating the Meta Descriptions, as the case study linked to above shows.


Keyword Research

keyword research for SEOIdentifying the most important keywords for your business forms a crucial stage in writing your content marketing plan. A good place to start is by conjuring as many potential words linked to your company and what it does. Think of sales keywords and things associated with your products, as well as informative keywords. You can also include questions people might search for, which can form the titles of future blogs.

Begin with a ‘seed keyword’: a short, popular word linked to your market. Often this is just one or perhaps two words that link directly to your product or service.

For example, if you specialise in luxury handmade soaps, you might start with ‘soap’. You might then target ‘luxury soap’, ‘handmade soap’ or ‘soap gifts’.

Different keywords serve different purposes:

  • When it comes to listings and product descriptions, concentrate on sales keywords.
  • For blogs and guest posts, target informative keywords as these are not primarily pieces of content which will drive sales. Instead, they work to boost your ranking through the generation of quality internal links and backlinks from other websites.

Once you’ve identified which keywords make most sense for you to target, you can add them to your content plan, outlining which you will focus on for each page. Use the templates to keep track of each keyword and the piece of content where it will be included. This will make it easier to pinpoint which keywords to focus on where, identifying which lend themselves to blog posts, listings or product descriptions.

If you’re interested in a free keyword report showing which keywords your site currently ranks for, including the user intent associated with each word or phrase, then just get in touch.


Updating blogs is also essential

According to Semrush's The State of Content Marketing 2022 Global Report, improving the quality of content marketing is the number 1 factor to making content strategies successful.

When planning your content, rather than rewriting a stream of new articles, review old content and see if you can modernise and improve them. Ask yourself:

  • Are any years mentioned the current year?
  • Is still content still relevant to today's audience?
  • Are there more recent versions of any studies you link to?
  • Do you use old years in the URLs, Copyright text in the footer, or elsewhere in the page? If so, update this or remove it altogether.
  • Are there excessive mentions of Covid? If so, reduce or remove them.
  • How can you improve old blogs to make them more readable, engaging or useful?


What content needs translating on a multilingual site?

Translating a multilingual websiteWhen it comes to multilingual sites, a more strategic approach is often needed. While core pages will need translating at the site launch, there is little point in translating all your blogs in advance of launching a new website. Instead, focus on those pages with the highest search volumes for the translated keywords.

There’s an additional layer to consider; translating content is not merely a matter of rewriting your existing piece, word-for-word. Translation also involves making something culturally relevant and appropriate. If you have a successful and well-read piece of content all about the winner of the latest hit reality TV show in the UK, chances are nobody in France will give two hoots about this, so ask yourself whether it is worth the effort of translating it. If you want a similar piece of content, think about an equivalent topical piece which could be written to appeal to French readers.

What’s more, you can also make sure you are targeting the best keywords for the language. Keywords don’t always translate directly. Often, another country may use a different term to a direct translation of the English. And sometimes, the English may even be used. This is particularly true of scientific or technical vocabulary, so use keyword research to identify the most common terms used.

With languages that transcend national boundaries, such as French, even more care is needed. For example, let’s say your English target keyword is ‘mobile phone’. In French, you might translate this as ‘portable’, ‘mobile’ or perhaps ‘téléphone portable’. However, the preferred term in Canadian French is ‘cellulaire’, and in Belgium, you are more likely to hear it referred to as ‘GSM’ (short for Global System for Mobile Communication) – or even simply, ‘G’! To avoid this minefield, Indigoextra’s team of native copywriters can help. Learn more on how to complete keyword research for content translations adapted to your audience.


Indigoextra’s content marketing services

Indigoextra offers a highly flexible, bespoke and above all, expert content marketing service. We can carry out all the necessary components, including creating a guest post campaign, identifying the best keywords to target and commissioning content from our team of multilingual copywriters across Europe. Get in touch today for a free, no-obligation quote and see how we can help generate the best content marketing plan for you.