Content planning for generating leads

Content planning for generating leads

Creating a robust content plan is crucial for generating leads. A well thought out content plan ensures you can maximise the impact of what you release.

Key Takeaways

  • Understand what a content plan is and its role in generating leads
  • Understand the rationale for creating a content plan
  • Learn how to go about planning your content
Creating a robust content plan is crucial for generating leads. It helps you understand your existing content supply and develop your content runway.
A considered content plan ensures you have the correct building blocks in place to embark on your lead generation strategy. It keeps you focused on your objectives, while allowing for flexibility.
Having established the value of content in your marketing strategy (lead to article 4 – Lead generation strategy and tactics), we turn to the practical aspect: how do you go about creating an ongoing stream of content?

A content plan to keep your focus

A plan is always a good starting point. In particular, a content plan documents the policy, process, resource and decisions for executing your content marketing strategy1. This strategy is informed by the areas and topics you want to focus on, to attract new and retain existing clients.
Content planning forms the building blocks of your content efforts. It helps ensure you stay focused on your bigger objectives, while you systematically build awareness and grow interest among your audience.

Think of it this way:

  1. Decide what your business objectives are;
  2. Decide who your ‘ideal client’ is – who you want to target;
  3. Determine what their needs are – how you can solve their problems;
  4. Define what you want to convey to this audience – your areas of expertise (link to article 4 – Lead generation strategy and tactics); and
  5. Develop a plan for the content that feeds your objectives.

Every business’s content plan will be different – after all, you have varying target markets, areas of expertise and budgets. After creating a plan, you will:

  • Have an outline of the type of content you need;
  • Understand how much and how frequently you need content;
  • Determine what you need to ensure a steady flow of content.

Why content planning?

By first developing a plan for your content needs, you can make sure that you build on your message in a structured way. This helps your audience gain trust in your abilities to help them. Only when they can trust that you can solve their problems, will they be ready for more of a sales pitch.
If you and your team just create content, you run the risk of not catering for all your audience needs, duplicating or obfuscating your messages. Content planning can ensure you can see the whole picture first, including any gaps.
With a plan, you can ensure the necessary balance in the types of content you produce, e.g. blogs, reports, events, etc. In addition, it helps you build variety into your plan, e.g. adding video or graphics alongside the written word.

Box-out: Be nimble and opportune

An important element to remember is the need for flexibility. While having a plan gives you structure and focus, your client environment is dynamic. This means you should allow for some flexibility in your plan to capitalise on opportunities that arise organically. For example, the opportunity to share your views for a publication, or being nimble enough to comment on a topical news event.
The key to making the most of these opportunities is to be quick off the mark. As you often won’t have much time to prepare for some of these opportunities, don’t be overly concerned about producing long research pieces. This is the time to draw on your key messages and keeping your audience in mind. By making sure you say something that adds value, keeping it simple and speaking to your clients’ needs, you will do valuable brand-building.
And: less is more!

How to create a content plan [present as a downloadable template]

Here is a simple plan to organise your content needs.
  1. Define your marketing purpose

    What are your business objectives?

    What do you want to achieve through your marketing?
  2. Define your areas of expertise

    Who do you want to target?

    What problems are they looking to solve?

    What are you good at?

    What do you want to be known for?
  3. Do an audit

    What content do you have already?

    Do they fit into your areas of expertise?

    Do they serve a clear purpose to reach your business objectives?

    Looking at your categories of expertise, are there any gaps in your existing content?

    What other content do you need?
  4. Create ‘buckets’ of content

    Group all connected pieces of content together, based on your areas of expertise – these include existing content and that which needs to be created

    Categorise each piece of content in terms of the purpose it serves:

    • Raising awareness
    • Building to consideration
    Helping with conversion
  5. Build a plan with your content blocks

    Prioritise which pieces of content you need to produce

    Adapt other relevant content to fit your purpose
  6. Create a content calendar

    Ensure your content calendar aligns with your marketing / promotional calendar

    Promote / release relevant content during the relevant months

    Provide for relevant news opportunities in your content plan (e.g. Budgets, interest rate announcements)
At the end of this process, you should have a rough idea of how much content you have, what is still relevant, what needs updating and what needs to be created from scratch. From this, you will also get a clear sense of your current content frequency and how that compares with the rest of the industry.

You might end up with something like the following, for example:
– 2-3 blogs per month
– 1 in-depth article per month
– 2 social posts a week
– 1 article in a guest publication every two months

– 1 event (e.g. webinar) every three months

While this may seem like plenty, remember that you can say the same thing in many different ways – there is opportunity to leverage one piece of content multiple times (link to article 9 – Feeding the content beast).
Graham Finlay
Graham Finlay
Strategic and Technical Sales Manager

Graham works within the Strategic & Technical team at Columbia Threadneedle Investments. Graham has undertaken a variety of adviser focused roles since 2003. Over the last few years he has been responsible for developing and delivering presentations at seminars across the UK on a broad range of investment and financial planning related topics. Graham holds a number of industry qualifications, including the CFA Certificate in ESG Investing, Investment Management Certificate (IMC), Diploma in Investment Management (ESG) and has more than 20 years’ industry experience. Graham previously worked with both Edinburgh Fund Managers and Scottish Widows.

Graham Finlay
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This content is directed only to persons having professional experience in matters relating to personal investment (investment professionals) and should not be distributed to anybody else. It has been prepared for general information purposes only. It does not constitute advice (whether investment, legal, regulatory, tax or otherwise) provided by Columbia Threadneedle Management Limited. Certain content in this document is based on our own reading of legislation, regulation, or guidance issued by a government or regulatory authority, as at the date of publication, which is subject to ongoing change. Tax treatment is based upon individual circumstances. Columbia Threadneedle Management Limited gives no warranty or representation, whether express or implied, that such content is up to date, complete, or accurate.
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