Tools

What to Look for in a Content Planning Solution

CopyPress

Published: October 20, 2022

In today’s fast-paced digital world, there’s no doubt content planning plays a critical role in achieving a strong online presence. Unfortunately, planning content can sometimes be overwhelming. From content research and analysis to creation and scheduling, the planning process can get complicated. Thankfully, the right content planning solution can help you streamline the entire process and improve your productivity as you design your marketing campaign.

But here’s the million-dollar question: what should you look for in a content planning tool? In this guide, we’re covering which essential features to consider when selecting a content planning solution, with insight into the content planning tools you can use to organize your production.

What Is a Content Planning Solution?

A content planning solution comprises a range of tools that can help you research and plan the best content for your business by providing a structure for your content marketing strategy that aids efficient and productive execution. Additionally, this type of software can assist in automating tasks that one or more team members would typically perform manually. Your content planning tools can also monitor the development of your content team and any bottleneck hotspots.

Successful content marketing means continuously producing relevant, engaging, and high-value content. However, your team can only create top-notch marketing content if adequate plans, schedules, and timelines are in place. So a content planning solution is a valuable way to organize, manage, and implement your content strategy based on the data from your content analysis process.

Read more: What Is a Content Planner and What Can It Do For You?

What Types of Content Planning Solutions Are There?

Image with a monthly calendar layout to denote a content planning solution for marketers.

Image via Unsplash by Towfiqu Barbhuiya

There are several types of content planning software you’ll typically find if you go looking. Here are some of the most popular types businesses owners and content managers usually use:

Content Calendars

A content calendar (or editorial calendar) is a written schedule of the dates and platforms of planned content publication. This is where you plan and schedule future articles, status updates, planned promotions, partnerships, and revisions to existing content. After all, it is all easy to get lost in the details when you are knee-deep in the process of content planning.

With a content calendar, you can track your content plan and stay on top of your activity across all your active platforms without stress. While there are numerous content calendar options, it’s usually best to choose a simple one that offers flexibility and customization capabilities.

Briefing Tools

When working with a team, you need software that keeps everyone updated on their respective role and status. With briefing tools, you can give your team members instructions and updates to assign roles and guide them on pending tasks. Suppose your content campaign involves lots of teamwork and collaboration. In that case, you may need a briefing tool that offers charts to show who is working on what and how much work is remaining to be done, among other tools that help you structure your material.

For instance, content planning solutions like Asana have visual tools that let you to collaborate with your team to organize your work and manage projects with well-defined workflows. You can also design your special workflows using the platform. Doing this gives your team a robust framework to build content project planning and organization.

Idea Generators

With so much content on the internet today, the competition for users’ attention is more challenging than ever. As a result, if you want to stand out and attract your target audience, you’ll need to create authentic, engaging, and exciting content. In light of this, you need all the help you can get to develop fresh content ideas related to your niche and relevant to your audience. And this is where idea generators are so useful.

Think of the HubSpot Blog Generator tool, for example. This is excellent for developing blog post topic ideas, titles, and subheading ideas. It allows you to enter five preferred keywords and then provides suggestions to use as a springboard for writing an engaging article.

Social Media Scheduling

In today’s constantly changing digital world, it’s essential to keep an eye on trends, competitor activities, client demands, and customer engagements. Otherwise, you may miss out on golden opportunities to engage your audience with personalized content.

With a social media scheduler, you can align and schedule social media posts to be published on several platforms at various times to maximize reach. More importantly, you can plan posts for specific occasions—like seasonal events—and schedule them to publish automatically, without the worry of managing multiple posts each day.

Also, many content planning tools have social media scheduling features that allow teams to manage multiple accounts more efficiently. This gives you more time to publish content and establish meaningful relationships with your followers. For instance, tools like SocialPilot allow you to publish content across many social media sites, including TikTok, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

Proofreading and Approval Systems

Another kind of content planning solution you can use is a proofing and approval system. These tools automate the proofing and approval processes for marketing teams, making quality assurance much easier. Many proofing and approval tools are web-based solutions that can give your team a collaborative platform for editing, uploading, sharing, and reviewing brand content. Content planning with these approaches allows creative teams to manage plans for revisions and edits from writers.

And because online proofreading solutions are web-based, they’re accessible so teams can view projects and tasks from anywhere and at any time. For example, apps like GoVisually can help marketing teams plan creation and revisions more quickly and efficiently. With content planning tools like this one, you can follow your work’s development in real-time, receive unlimited reviews, and provide detailed comments that update instantly.

Marketing Automation Tools

Your company needs marketing to be successful. However, you cannot devote your entire time to marketing, nor is it practical to try. The good news is you can automate repetitive tasks like sending emails, tracking metrics, and posting content with marketing automation software. Marketing automation is an effective content planning solution, as you can plan briefs, create outlines, and distribute content across multiple channels automatically.

For instance, a tool like Customer.io, allows marketing teams to customize and send email messages based on how customers engage with business content. Some tools also combine multiple features for planning and outlining topics, creating briefs, and automating the distribution process. So the best solution for your brand might be an automation tool that takes care of quality assurance and publishing, while your team focuses on strategic planning.

Related: Content Marketing Tools You Must Have

What To Look for in Your Content Planning Solution

With so many options available, how do you pick the best one for your marketing model? We’ve got you covered. The following list gives some insights into the factors you’ll want to consider when picking out a content planning solution:

User-Friendly Interface

A content planning solution provides a structure for the content you want to publish and promote across your brand’s marketing channels. So, you want to make sure the planner you use has a user-friendly interface everyone on your content creation team can learn and access. Your content planner should help teams form content calendars to define content topics and publishing schedules. It should also help teams access and make connections across different platforms.

But if it’s not user-friendly, and you can’t customize it to display the information your team needs, it’s not likely going to be the content planning solution for your business. As a rule of thumb, a solution with a design and features that make it easy for you to plan, edit, share and schedule your content is the better choice.

Collaborative Environment

With a team, think about how simple it’ll be to get everyone on board with a tool for effective collaboration. Any content planning solution should be flexible, simple, and, most importantly, designed for smooth collaboration. Now, when considering the types of content marketing tools available, find a solution that complements the way your team works. You want something that increases productivity and simplifies tasks, not complicates them.

Many times, you can take advantage of a free trial for most tools, which gives teams a chance to test drive the app and decide if it’s the right content planning solution for your content marketing process.

Simple Integration

Content planning tools make the work easier while keeping you and your team organized. Therefore, look for a content planning tool that will be easy to integrate with your current resources. New software and technological solutions are only worthwhile if they integrate into your current processes without a hiccup.

For example, if you use tools like Google Calendar, Google Drive, Microsoft Teams, or communication apps like Slack, the planning options you look at should be easy to integrate and connect with these. After all, you shouldn’t have to change processes completely to accommodate new software in the workplace.

Analytics and Insights

Can the content planning tool you’re looking at track your results and provide insights into your website analytics? An excellent strategy for content planning is to run a content analysis periodically. This allows you to plan for the topics you want to cover, along with the topics your competitors are covering. This way, you can leverage the data for future content planning.

In addition, an effective content planning solution should help your team monitor competitor metrics and direct the same strategy to your content plan. Then, you can measure growth, visibility, and engagement with your own content. The beauty of this is that you can continuously plan for the gaps you find in your analysis so your brand doesn’t fall behind its competitors in search.

Flexibility

Do you like customizing outlines and making your own templates? Or would you rather have pre-made templates that you can use immediately? Whatever the answer, your content planning solution should afford the flexibility to do either.

Some tools could be more restrictive and only support predetermined templates. There isn’t much room for personalization or creativity here. On the other hand, other tools could offer too many customization choices, which could overwhelm some creators. So when choosing the perfect planning solution, look at the flexibility that each option offers. Then, choose based on how it’ll fit into your current operations.

Longevity

Many content planning solutions have come and gone. And new tools are coming out all the time. In light of this, the longevity of your planning tool is definitely a factor to consider before committing to it.

While there’s no way to know for sure whether particular software is here to stay, choosing a content planning solution that’s already established in the industry is a better option. This is because you won’t have to worry about switching from one tool to another every year. More importantly, you can save yourself and your team the time, effort, and learning curve of having to set up and figure out a new tool every so often.

Cost

Cost can seem like the most important factor to think about when choosing the right content planning solution. And cost shouldn’t be the first thing you look at, it should be a priority when looking at your options. After all, a planning solution that costs more than the value you get from it is counter-intuitive. On the flip side, you also don’t want a too-good-to-be-true deal that sacrifices quality content and functionality over price.

Take the Next Step with CopyPress

Creating compelling content requires a solid content planning process. Unfortunately, this can be complicated work sometimes, especially if you have to do everything manually. Thankfully, with CopyPress’s content analysis tool, you also get a planning solution for creating a strategy that targets your most valuable keyword and competitor opportunities. Using this insight, your team can plan an editorial calendar to cover each topic, keeping your strategy on track.

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