What Is Digital Content Planning and Why Is It Important?

23 May 2022

By: Robert McGovern, Sitecore Optimisation Consultant

Category: Blogs

Whatever your business, be it a regional or global brand, the content you produce plays a vital role in your success, so content planning is an essential step.

A well-formulated and executed content strategy not only drives more traffic at the core but also defines what your business is and helps build a strong connection between you and your audiences.

So, let’s quickly look at why a robust strategy for content planning is important, how setting clear goals and understanding your audience will elevate your online performance, and how your content strategy can be given wings by using a tool like Sitecore Content Hub.

What is Content Planning?

It’s basic, right? Content is at the core of how you define the way your business presents itself and an effective strategy should look to ensure that tone of voice, messaging and the core values are surfaced across all channels, from service or product pages on your website to blog posts, through social media updates blah blah blah.

But let’s keep it simple – your content strategy should be a clear roadmap that connects your marketing activities to your business goals. Align to your customer’s wants and needs and engage them at every interaction point and boom, you’re in business.

Who is my Content’s Audience?

You’ll likely start all your projects with this chalked on the wall because your business knows “exactly” who its customers are, right? Sounds obvious but we often find it’s not been done forensically enough (not based on data), is too old (more than 12 months ago – forget it) or it’s a spin off from some brand work that was legitimately aspirational but doesn’t face the reality of who your business is actually engaging today.

So, start (or circle back) with audience research, building out those personas to understand their ambitions, their lifestyle, their pain points or concerns, and crucially their wants and needs – in your context.

Two individuals thinking at a desk

Do I Need to Tailor My Content?

As part of your research, find out where your audiences spend their time online and how they interact with content. Some may spend time thoroughly researching a product or service, whereas other audiences may want their content to be quick, snappy and easily digestible in the form of a video, infographic or short blog posts.

Ultimately, the key is to produce a strategy that creates the type of content your customers want to see:

  • What are the problems that your product or service will help them solve?
  •  Who are they most influenced by?
  • What voices influence their behaviour?
  • What type of content do they consume?
  • Where do they consume content and engage with brands?

Using a Content Planning Template

All content is not born equal: When producing your strategy, it is important that the objectives for each individual piece are defined, that these fulfil your marketing objectives and tie to the overarching goals for your business.

Various content templates exist to aid content development in this way, but one that is popular and effective is Google’s Hero, Hub, Hygiene content strategy. It provides a framework for developing content to achieve different goals and gives guidance on the effort needed to create each type of content.

Google Hero Content

Hero content is essentially campaign content. It’s big splash ideas designed to appeal to a large audience with the aim of telling your brand’s story at scale.

Ways of measuring Hero include the amount of PR mentions or links from authoritative domains plus social interactions and mentions of your brand across all channels.

Considering the scale of Hero campaigns, this content is not regularly produced and is reserved for peak promotional times where it’s important for a business to stand out from their competitors.

Google Hub Content

Hub content is the stuff that keeps your audience engaged. It expands on the themes of product or service level content, educates users and helps create a connection between themselves and your brand.

Google Hygiene Content

Hygiene content is the bread and butter of any website. It’s the BAU content for products and services, as well as being SEO-focused and targeting important keywords at a product, service or guide level.


Video blogger creating beauty content


How Do I Manage Content Planning?

Content development is only one part of the ongoing work needed when working with an effective content strategy. We call it “feeding the beast” because it really is the fuel in your brand vehicle and once you start you really can’t stop. That’s where having the right content management tool comes in.

Content creation can be tough at the best of times, especially when navigating requests, feedback, and approvals across a raft of emails, phone conversations, Google docs, Zoom calls, and WhatsApp messages. Not to mention having to deal with assets that are stored on individual laptops, multiple shared drives, USB keys, and expired WeTransfer links.

Using a tool like Sitecore Content Hub can give your team a consolidated source for all content creation and asset management, supercharging your content capabilities and setting you up for success. Get in touch to find out how we can help you get started on this path.


Content Success Measurement is Key

Your greatest gift in managing the outputs from your Hero, Hub, Hygiene style efforts is to understand if your content is working. To truly deliver results, your business must first understand the objectives and goals of each piece of content to effectively measure its success. That as a guiding light from day one will let you slow down, speed up, stop or start new content briefs and projects.

Remember – content strategies are not set in stone. They are living breathing things and should adapt and pivot as insights become available and your brand naturally evolves.

If ever you want to chat content and explore new initiatives we’re always here to help.

Discover the five essential pillars of Sitecore Content Hub here.

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