Mind Mapping

Use mind mapping to streamline your content planning and content creation process.

Mind Mapping

Use mind mapping to streamline your content planning and content creation process.

Mind mapping is a powerful and effective tool for content planning as it enables you to brainstorm ideas, organize your thoughts, and identify key concepts in a logical and systematic manner.

In this lesson, we explore the benefits of using mind mapping for content planning and content organization. We also provide a list of mind-mapping tools that you can use to plan out your content.

What Is Mind Mapping?

Mind mapping is a technique used to organize and visualize information in a hierarchical and interconnected way. It involves creating a diagram or a “mind map” that connects different ideas, concepts, and pieces of information in a way that reflects how they are related to each other.

The process of mind mapping typically starts with a central idea or topic, which is placed at the center of the map. From there, related ideas and concepts are connected to the central topic using branches or lines, forming a tree-like structure. These branches can then be further expanded with sub-branches to create a more detailed and complex map.

Mind Map structure
This is the basic structure of a mind map built around a central idea.

For example, if you were creating a mind map for a blog post on “healthy meal planning,” the central topic would be “Healthy Meal Planning.”

You might then create branches for subtopics such as “Meal Prepping,” “Grocery Shopping,” and “Recipe Selection.”

Each of these subtopics could then be further expanded with additional branches, such as “Benefits of Meal Prepping” or “Finding Nutritious Recipes Online,” etc.

Mind map blog post outline
Use a mind map to create a blog post outline.

Mind maps can be created using pen and paper, whiteboards, or specialized software. They are often used as a brainstorming tool to generate and organize ideas, streamline processes, take notes, solve problems, foster collaboration between team members, and make decisions.

Mind maps are also very flexible. There is no limit to the number of branches, subconcepts, and relationships you can include to make your mind map as detailed as it needs to be.

Also, the web-like appearance of a mind map makes it easy to visualize and understand relationships between concepts or ideas. The visual and nonlinear nature of mind maps can help users to see patterns and connections that might not be immediately apparent in a more traditional outline or list format.

Using diagrams to visually “map” information and organize your thinking processes using branching and radial pictorial methods goes back centuries.

Why Use Mind Mapping For Content Planning?

Mind mapping is a powerful tool for content planning. Mind maps offer a wide range of benefits over traditional text-based methods of planning.

Some of the benefits of using mind maps when planning out your content include:


Mind maps stimulate creativity by allowing you to generate ideas in a free-form, non-linear way. By encouraging a broad range of associations, mind maps can lead to new insights and unexpected connections.


Mind maps are an excellent tool for brainstorming as they allow you and your team to generate and record ideas in a free-flowing manner.

With mind maps, you can brainstorm and generate new ideas and creative solutions to problems. By visualizing your ideas and concepts in this way, you may discover new connections or insights that you may not have thought of otherwise.

You can also quickly capture all your ideas and then arrange and group them into related categories.

For example, you could use a mind map to brainstorm ideas for a blog post on healthy eating habits.


Mind maps offer a more structured and organized way of planning content than traditional linear outlines. The visual format allows you to see the relationships between different ideas, making creating a well-structured and cohesive piece of content easier.

Mind maps allow you to organize information in a logical and structured way, making it easier to understand,  remember, and identify connections between them. By grouping related concepts together, you and your team can create a clear and coherent framework for your content.

For example, you could use a mind map to organize the key themes and sub-themes for an e-book on personal finance.


Mind maps enable you to plan and organize your content more quickly and efficiently than text-based methods. By providing a clear visual overview of your content plan, you can quickly identify gaps and ensure that all important topics are covered.

As with the e-book example above, you could use a mind map to make sure that you have covered all chapters and topics you plan to write about.


Mind maps provide a visual representation of ideas, which can help you and your team to understand and remember them more easily.

The use of colors, symbols, and images can enhance the visual appeal of mind maps and make them more engaging.

For example, you could use a mind map to visualize the key messages and visual elements for an infographic on workplace productivity.


Mind maps are an effective tool for communicating your content plan to others, such as team members, editors, or clients.

The visual format makes it easier for others to understand the structure and flow of your content, leading to clearer and more effective communication.


Mind maps can be easily shared and edited by multiple users, making them an ideal tool for collaborative content planning. They enable you and your team to work together to generate and refine ideas, and to track progress towards shared goals.

For example, your content planning team could use a mind map to collaborate on the key themes and messaging for a social media campaign.


Mind maps are flexible and adaptable, making them suitable for a wide range of content-planning applications. They can be easily updated and revised as your content plan evolves.

You can add new ideas, expand on existing ones, and reorganize the structure of your plan with ease. They can also be used to plan everything from blog posts and articles to e-books and marketing campaigns.

For example, you could use a mind map to plan the structure and content for a webinar on social media marketing.

Memory retention

Mind maps are a great tool for memory retention as they allow you to visually connect information with images and symbols that represent the concepts. This makes it easier to recall the information later.

For example, you could use a mind map to organize the key ideas and arguments for a research paper on climate change.


Mind maps can save time in content planning by enabling you and your team to identify key concepts and themes and quickly see what content you have already created and what content you still need to create.

This can help to streamline your content creation process and ensure that the final product is well-organized and focused.

For example, you could use a mind map to identify the key topics and themes for a series of blog posts on digital marketing.

How To Create A Mind Map

Creating a mind map for content planning is a simple process that can help you to organize your thoughts and ideas in a visual and structured way.

For this example, we’ll use a free online mind-mapping tool called MindMup (listed in the “Mind Map Tools” section further below).

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to create a mind map for content planning:

Start With A Central Topic

To create a mind map, start by identifying the main topic or theme of your content and write your central topic or main idea in the center of your paper or digital canvas. This will be the foundation of your mind map.

For this example, let’s say we want to create a blog post about “healthy meal planning.”

So, after creating a new mind map file, this will be our first entry:

  • Central topic: Healthy Meal Planning
Creating a mind map - Adding a central topic.
Use the central node of your mind map to represent your main topic or theme.

Add Subtopics

Next, add subtopics around the central topic, branching out from the center.

These subtopics should be related to the central topic and form the main categories for your content.

You can brainstorm ideas related to your main topic or theme and add them as branches to the central node.

For our example, we’ll add the following subtopics:

  • Subtopic 1: Meal Prepping
  • Subtopic 2: Grocery Shopping
  • Subtopic 3: Recipe Selection
Mind map - Add subtopics.
Add subtopics around the central topic of your mind map.

Expand Your Mind Map

After adding subtopics, add branches to each subtopic to further expand on the specific details and ideas related to each mind map category.

For this example, let’s add a couple of branches to our first subtopic:

  • Subtopic 1: Meal Prepping
    • Branch 1: Benefits of Meal Prepping
    • Branch 2: How to Meal Prep for the Week
  • Subtopic 2: Grocery Shopping
  • Subtopic 3: Recipe Selection
Mind map - expanding with additional branches.
Add branches to subtopics.

Continue adding branches to your other subtopics by identifying connections between your content ideas and adding them as links between branches. These can then be divided into smaller subcategories or sub-branches to further break down your content ideas.

Mind map with topics and subtopics.
Expand your mind map to include all of the main ideas for your topic.

Use Colors And Symbols

Use colors and symbols to visually differentiate between different ideas, concepts, and types of content. This can help you to see the relationships between different subtopics and ideas.

For this example, we’ve used different colors and font sizes to make our central topic and subtopics stand out…

Mind map blog post outline with colored items
Use colors to identify different groups in your mind map.

Review And Refine

After completing your mind map, review and refine it as needed. This can include adding new ideas, restructuring your map, or removing unnecessary elements.

Convert To An Outline

Once you have a complete and refined mind map, you can easily convert it into a traditional linear outline. This can be helpful if you prefer to work with a more text-based format.

Many mind map tools allow you to export your mind map as a text-based file.

For example, with MindMup, you can download your mind map as an outline:

Exporting a mind map file in MindMup
MindMup lets you export your mind map as an outline.

Select the export format to download your file as (e.g. MS Word/Google Writer)…

MindMup Export outline screen.
Let’s export this file as a Word or GDoc document…

You can now use your mind map text in a range of applications (e.g. create articles, slides, web pages, etc.)

Mind map exported as a text-based outline.
Here’s our mind map exported as a text-based outline.

We cover some practical ways to use mind maps below.

Using Mind Maps

Mind maps can be used in a wide variety of practical applications.

Here are some of the ways you can use mind maps to help in your content-related processes:

Content Research

Mind mapping is a valuable tool for content research. Whether you are conducting research for a writing project, marketing campaign, or building out content for pages on your website, mind maps can help you collect, organize, and analyze information more effectively.

As you conduct your research, gather information on each sub-topic and add it to the corresponding branch of your mind map. This could include quotes, statistics, images, or links to articles or other resources.

Using our earlier example, let’s say that you want to create a blog post on “healthy meal planning”.

You could start building your site map by brainstorming ideas. However, if you want to save time, you can also use AI content research tools like ChatGPT.

For example, here is a list of mind-map items generated by ChatGPT using the following prompt:

“Generate a comprehensive, itemized, and hierarchical list of topics to be included in a mind map where the central topic is “Healthy Meal Planning”.”

Mind map topic list generated by ChatGPT.
Use AI tools like ChatGPT to generate mind map topic lists quickly and easily.

You can also expand your mind map entries further using other content research tools, such as entering a topic into a tool like AnswerThePublic.

Topic ideas generated by AnswerThePublic
Use tools like AnswerThePublic to generate further topic ideas for your mind map.

Continue researching and building out your mind map. Remember to share your mind map with other members of the team, clients, stakeholders, etc for additional input and feedback, collaboration, ideas, etc.

After building out your mind map, analyze and synthesize the information you have gathered. Look for patterns or connections between different sub-topics. Use your mind map to help you identify gaps in your research or areas where you need to dig deeper.

Once you have gathered and analyzed all of your research, use your mind map to create an outline for your content. This will help you structure your content in a logical and easy-to-follow format.

Content Planning

Mind maps can help you plan sections for a blog post or content for an entire website.

For example, here’s the mind map we used to plan the initial content structure for ContentManagementCourse.com …

Mind map - ContentManagementCourse.com
The mind map used for planning the initial content structure for ContentManagementCourse.com

After mapping out the content structure for this website, this mind map then became part of our content production plan.

Content Production

To illustrate how mind mapping can help with content production, let’s go back to our earlier “healthy meal planning” example.

Suppose we want to create an entire website related to this topic.

All you need to do is build a map containing a list of topics for all the articles, media, pages, etc. that you’ll need to create for your site.

Healthy Meal Planning mind map
A mind map containing all the topics we’ll want to cover to create content for our website.

As seen earlier, most mind-mapping tools allow you to export your mind map as an outline, so once you’ve built out your site map, this would be the next step.

Exporting your mind map as an outline then becomes the foundation of your content production plan.

Mind map exported as a text-based outline.
Here’s your content production plan.

You can transfer the contents of this outline to a production scheduling tool like a spreadsheet or a content calendar and start building out your content systematically to create a comprehensive and well-structured authoritative site.

Content Documentation

Mind mapping is also very useful for keeping your content processes organized.

For example, suppose you plan to build a website.

You can use a mind map to plan out your website structure, and then refer to this mind map to create and organize all the content for each different section or page of your site.

Mind map - website planning
Each section of your website needs content. The same mind map used for website planning can be used to build out your content and keep it organized.

Other Practical Ways To Use Mind Maps

Mind maps are a valuable tool for content-based applications across a wide range of industries and disciplines.

Here are examples of some other applications related to content where mind maps can be used:

  1. Note-taking and study aids: Mind maps can be used to take notes during lectures, meetings, or brainstorming sessions. They can also be used as a study aid to organize and summarize course material. For example, you can use a mind map to summarize the key concepts and ideas from a lecture, training session, or reading assignment.
  2. Project management: Mind maps can be used to plan and organize projects, breaking down the overall goal into smaller, more manageable tasks. For example, a project manager can create a mind map to outline the steps involved in completing a project, assign tasks to team members, and set deadlines.
  3. Decision-making: Mind maps can be used to weigh the pros and cons of different options and make informed decisions. For example, you can create a mind map to compare and contrast the features of different sales funnels to help you decide which one to accept.
  4. Creativity and ideation: Mind maps can be used to generate and organize ideas for creative projects, such as writing, art, or design. for example, you can create a mind map to brainstorm plot points and characters for a story or ebook.
  5. Strategic planning: Mind maps can be used to develop strategies and plans for achieving specific goals, such as business growth or personal development. For example, you can create a mind map to outline the steps involved in launching a new product, including market research, product design, and marketing.
  6. Process mapping: Mind maps can be used to diagram and streamline complex processes, such as workflows or manufacturing processes. For example, you can create a mind map to visualize and optimize the assembly line process, identifying potential bottlenecks and inefficiencies.
  7. Knowledge management: Mind maps can be used to organize and categorize information for easier retrieval and reference. for example, you can create a mind map to organize your company’s database of research papers and publications, allowing users to quickly search and access relevant information.

Mind Mapping Tools

While you could create mind maps using graphic applications like PowerPoint or Google Slides, there are various different tools available for creating mind maps, from free online tools to paid desktop applications.

Google Slides - mind map
A mind map created using Google Slides.

Dedicated mind-mapping tools offer several advantages over traditional software for creating mind maps.

Some of these benefits include:

  • Specialized functions: Mind-mapping tools are specifically designed to create mind maps, so they offer a variety of specialized functions that are not available in traditional software. These functions can include the ability to easily add branches, colors, images, notes, and links to different elements in the mind map.
  • Increased productivity: Mind-mapping tools often have keyboard shortcuts, automatic formatting options, and other features that allow for faster and more efficient mind-map creation. This can help to increase productivity and save time.
  • Collaboration: Many mind-mapping tools offer real-time collaboration features, allowing multiple users to work on the same mind map simultaneously. This can be particularly useful for group projects or brainstorming sessions.
  • Integration with other tools: Many mind-mapping tools offer integration with other tools such as Google Drive, Dropbox, and Trello. This allows for easy sharing and syncing of mind maps with other tools and team members.
  • Better organization: Mind-mapping tools often have features that allow for better organization of ideas and information. This can include the ability to easily rearrange branches, collapse and expand different sections of the mind map, and add tags or labels to different elements.
  • More customization: Mind-mapping tools often offer more customization options than traditional software. This can include the ability to customize the colors, fonts, and styles of different elements in the mind map.
  • Better visualization: Mind-mapping tools often offer better visualization options than traditional software. This can include the ability to create different types of charts, graphs, and diagrams, as well as the ability to add images and icons to different elements in the mind map.

Here is a list of some of the best mind map content planning tools available:


MindMup – Free online mind-mapping tool.

MindMup is a powerful and versatile mind map software that helps you organize your ideas and boost your productivity. The mind map software is designed to help you capture and organize your ideas quickly and effortlessly.

With MindMup, you can create unlimited mind maps for free and store them securely in the cloud, so you can access them anytime, anywhere, from any device.

The software boasts a frictionless interface and powerful keyboard shortcuts that help you focus on your ideas and remove all distractions while mapping. MindMup’s keyboard shortcuts allow you to work faster, saving you valuable time and effort.

MindMup is perfect for individual note-taking, collaborative planning, teamwork, and classrooms. Its versatile features and easy-to-use functionality make it an ideal tool for brainstorming, creating presentations, and documenting outlines with ease. You can also publish your ideas online and share them on social networks to reach a wider audience.

MindMup’s powerful features include the ability to convert maps easily to PDF, PowerPoint, outlines, and other file formats. You can also save your maps to Google Drive and manage them using Google Apps. MindMup Atlas adds images and contextual information to ensure that your maps show up nicely on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

MindMup’s functionality goes beyond mind mapping. With MindMup, you can structure writing, create storyboards, post to social media, plan and manage projects, collaborate easily with team members, attach documents, add images and icons, and administer sharing settings for your organization with ease.

MindMup is free to use and there’s no account/login required. Free users can create public maps up to 100 KB and save them for up to six months. Gold users can create private maps, and share and edit concurrently. MindMup also offers community chat help and support to its users.

You’ll probably notice two things about the structure of mind maps. One, they are incredibly flexible. There is no limit to the number of branches, subconcepts, and relationships you can include—your mind map will be exactly as detailed as you need it to be. And two, the web-like appearance makes it incredibly easy to visualize and understand the relationships between each concept or idea.

More info: MindMup


Lucidspark - mind mapping software
Lucidspark – mind mapping software

Lucidspark mind mapping software is a powerful tool that enables you to collaborate with your team to generate innovative ideas and turn them into reality.

With the mind map maker, you can visualize and expand on ideas with ease, making it an ideal solution for teams of all sizes.

Lucidspark’s mind-mapping software is designed to inspire creativity and innovation. It allows you to break down large concepts into specific ideas and explore new ways of thinking. With an unlimited canvas, you can work on multiple ideas simultaneously, using mind map templates and freehand drawing to add your own notes and connect concepts.

Collaboration is key to this mind map maker, and the software enables you to invite your team members to contribute their ideas directly to your mind map.

The in-editor chat, comments, and @mentions make it easy to solicit feedback and keep everyone connected. You can also focus your team’s attention on specific areas of the board and follow individual collaborators to see all their updates in real-time.

Lucidspark mind map
A mind map created using Lucidspark.

Lucidspark’s mind map generator comes with a Note Panel that allows you to add bullet points and checkboxes, set the agenda, and provide important context.

With your Note Panel, you can easily brainstorm with your team and keep your ideas organized in a way that makes sense for your team. You can list tasks, document action items, and keep your meeting notes together without creating a separate document.

Lucidspark integrates seamlessly with popular apps, making it easy to access, edit, share, and create a new mind map online using your favorite tools. With Slack integration, you can insert a board in your team’s Slack channel or start a new board directly from Slack.

Google Drive integration allows you to share your board and maintain control with various access permissions. You can import and export your mind map from one application to another without losing your work.

With Lucidspark’s mind map templates, you can add structure to your brainstorming and select the right template for your specific needs.

In short, Lucidspark’s software is easy to use and enables you to invite contributors to your online mind map via email, Slack, or a shareable link. You can even customize your shapes and add more context using the Context Toolbar.

Lucidspark mind mapping software offers a free trial.

More info: Lucidspark


Create mind maps easily using Canva.

Canva is a versatile design software that allows you to easily create mind maps for all kinds of projects.

With a wide variety of customizable templates and an intuitive drag-and-drop interface, you can create beautiful and informative mind maps in just a few clicks, add images and icons to your map, and export your map as an image or PDF.

You can start building your mind map by choosing from one of Canvas’ professionally designed templates or creating your own from scratch. Add branches, icons, images, and text to create a visual representation of your ideas and thought processes.

With built-in collaboration tools, you can easily share your mind maps with your team and get feedback in real time.

One of the unique features of Canva’s mind maps is the ability to easily customize your mind map with your own branding and color schemes. This allows you to create mind maps that align with your company’s branding guidelines and make your ideas more memorable and impactful.

Whether you’re brainstorming ideas for a new project, organizing your thoughts for a presentation, or mapping out a complex process, Canva makes it easy to create and share professional-looking mind maps with a user-friendly interface and robust set of design tools.

More info: Canva


MindMeister - Collaborative mind mapping software
MindMeister – Collaborative mind mapping software

MindMeister is an online mind-mapping software that allows you to easily create stunning, unique mind maps.

Its intuitive editor makes mapping your big ideas together with your team quick and effortless. MindMeister is perfect for a variety of uses including project planning, brainstorming, meeting management, and more.

MindMeister checklist
A checklist mind map created using MindMeister mind-mapping software.

MindMeister gives you access to a range of features to help you create mind maps, including expertly-designed themes, three map layouts: mind map view, org chart, or list, customizable styles, shapes, and start/endpoints of your connection lines to show relationships between any two mind map topics, outline mode to toggle between the visual and linear view, expandable notes, and the ability to attach files to maps or link out to documents, articles, and more on the web. With focus mode, you can eliminate distractions and focus solely on your ideas.

Collaboration is easy with MindMeister. You can hold collaborative brainstorming sessions with your team using Brainstorm mode, and add comments and reactions to spark debate on your mind maps in a structured way.

MindMeister also allows you to define how your team uses the software, manage users, groups, and subscription options from a single team admin portal, and create groups within your organization to streamline map storage and sharing.

Sharing your mind maps is simple with MindMeister via your map’s unique share link. you can also export to PDF, Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and more, or print your maps on paper. MindMeister’s iOS and Android apps allow you to map across multiple devices with real-time sync to ensure that your ideas are safeguarded.

MindMeister mind map template
MindMeister provides many mind map templates.

MindMeister provides access to many templates and a vast library of public mind map examples, created by MindMeister users that you can view online or copy to your account.

MindMeister - mind map library example.
A mind map from MindMeister’s vast mind map library.

You can try MindMeister for free.

More info: MindMeister

Mind Map Pro

Mind Map Pro
Mind Map Pro – Professional Mind-Mapping Software

Mind Map Pro is a digital tool designed for creative mind mapping and project management to simplify processes and enhance productivity for businesses.

With integrated task management, planning, analysis, and team chat tools, Mind Map Pro allows you to transform your innovation from a concept within a mind map into a real-world solution.

You can collaborate with team mind maps, discuss ideas with live online chat, and use Kanban task boards with SWOT analysis to reach team goals. Mind Map Pro connects teams across more than 90 countries worldwide, improving communication within offices and enhancing connectivity for remote workers and distributed teams.

With a selection of professional templates, you can kick start your project planning, take notes and export them easily, manage meetings and brainstorm ideas, and visualize them in 2D and 3D mind mapping views.

Mind Map Pro
Mind Map Pro lets you visualize your mind maps in 3D views.

Mind Map Pro also offers an innovative way to manage your tasks creatively with mind mapping, making your ideas happen and increasing your productivity to reach your goals faster.

More info: Mind Map Pro


Coggle – Mind-mapping tool.

Coggle is an easy-to-use online software for creating and sharing mind maps and flowcharts.

Coggle lets you easily visualize your ideas, whether you’re brainstorming, planning, or taking notes, without the hassle of downloading or installing anything.

One of Coggle’s key features is its real-time collaboration tool, which enables you to work simultaneously with your team on the same diagram.

Additionally, Coggle saves every change made to the diagram, allowing you to review all changes and revert to any previous version with ease.

Coggle also offers unlimited image uploads and the ability to add floating text and images, making it easy to annotate parts of your map. The software also provides powerful flowcharting capabilities, allowing you to create expressive, powerful diagrams that represent process flows and other advanced things.

Coggle mind map.
Create mind maps for complex processes with Coggle.

Another key feature of Coggle is its multiple starting points, which allow you to add central items to your diagrams and map related topics in a single workspace. Coggle also lets you create as many private diagrams as you want, and you can share them with your team, classmates, or the world.

Coggle requires no login for collaboration, making it easy to allow any number of people to edit a diagram by sharing a secret link with them. You can also use Coggle to take structured notes during meetings or brainstorming sessions, and share your ideas with others.

Coggle is a powerful and versatile tool that can help you to organize your ideas, collaborate with others, and create detailed diagrams that accurately represent your thought processes.

More info: Coggle


Xmind – full-featured mind mapping and brainstorming app.

Xmind is a comprehensive mind-mapping and brainstorming app that provides a complete toolset for creativity and thinking.

With its non-linear approach, intuitive features, and pre-set structures, Xmind allows you to create mind maps for just about anything.

The app’s powerful features let you organize your thoughts easily and enrich your maps with multimedia information. Xmind provides you with a smart combination of multiple structures on the same branch, making your mind map more cohesive and balanced, especially for complex issues or large projects.

You can outline your thoughts hierarchically with the dedicated Outliner view, which is also a quicker way to jot down notes.

A mind map created with Xmind.

Xmind offers a number of different modes and tools, including:

  • ZEN Mode -helps you stay focused on one mind map, eliminating distractions and boosting productivity.
  • Pitch Mode – lets you seamlessly turn your mind map into a slideshow. With practical layouts and auto-generated smooth transitions, pitching ideas becomes effortless. Xmind also provides an Essential Mind Toolbox with intuitive tools made for organizing thoughts and adding further information to your mind map.
  • Relationship –  connect two relevant ideas with customizable line style and text description.
  • Summary – lets you easily add a conclusion or recap to a group of ideas.
  • Boundary – is a handy tool for highlighting topics that share similarities or mark special concepts.
  • Markers – offer a great variety of neat icons for marking priorities, assignment of tasks, progress, etc.
  • You can also use Labels for simple notation and categorization, and Audio Notes to capture additional text information.

Xmind even lets you present mathematical and chemical formulas elegantly with LaTeX command. The smart color theme ensures you achieve a consistent look throughout your map instantly, while the built-in hand-drawn style adds a fun-filled look to your mind maps.

Over 400 Xmind-designed stickers covering the most common scenarios and professionally-designed structures for specific subjects let you create unique and aesthetically pleasing mind maps.

More info: Xmind


Miro Mind Map

Miro is a robust and collaborative mind-mapping tool that helps distributed teams brainstorm, plan projects, map out information architecture, create org charts, develop sales strategies, and capture and organize ideas quickly with chat, comments, sticky notes, and video.

Miro empowers remote, in-office, and hybrid teams to communicate and collaborate across formats, tools, channels, and time zones without the constraints of physical location, meeting space, and whiteboards.

With Miro, you can toggle into presentation mode, or break up your map into frames to present slides. Built-in video, chat, @mentions, and comments make communication seamless. Multiple team members can co-create synchronously in real-time, and use an infinite canvas to add any content or other mind maps to the same board.

Miro screenshot
Miro lets you create collaborative mind maps with your team.

Miro Mind Map works across all devices, includes a timer feature that lets you manage and track your time while running a whiteboarding session in real time, and provides over 300 customizable templates.

More info: Miro


Mind42: Free online mind-mapping tool.

Mind42 is a free, online mind-mapping software that provides a unique and efficient way of visually organizing information.

With Mind42, you can quickly and easily create mind maps that can be used for anything from to-do lists to brainstorming sessions and event planning.

Mind42 is ad-supported but completely free to use, with private mind maps created by default. You can also choose to share your mind maps with others, either by sending them a link to view the map or by inviting them to collaborate on the map in real time.

A mind map created using Mind42.

As a specialized tool, Mind42 allows you to enter your thoughts, arrange and refine them, and explore your ideas in a graphical way. It is not a multiple-purpose diagramming tool, but rather a powerful software that supports the creation, management, and editing of data structures required for mind maps.

Mind42 is a web application, which means you can access it from anywhere with an internet connection. You don’t need to download or install anything, as it runs directly in your browser. To get the best Mind42 experience, it’s recommended to use a modern browser such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Apple’s Safari.

More info: Mind42


SimpleMind - mind-mapping software
SimpleMind – mind-mapping software.

SimpleMind is a mind-mapping software that helps you organize your thoughts, remember information, and generate new ideas.

With its intuitive interface and free-form layout, you can easily place topics anywhere you want or use one of the various auto layouts.

SimpleMind allows you to add color, images, and photos to your Mind Map with its Pro version.

You can customize topics and lines, add notes, links, checkboxes, and much more.

SimpleMind mind map
A mind map generated using SimpleMind.

SimpleMind allows you to sync your mind maps across platforms using clouds, such as Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud Drive, or OneDrive.

You can easily share your Mind Map as a .pdf or image, create a slideshow to present your ideas, and even print it.

With SimpleMind, you can change the appearance of your Mind Map by selecting one of the 15+ style sheets or create your own. You can maintain an overview by collapsing and expanding branches, hiding or showing branches or topics, or using autofocus to block out distractions.

SimpleMind is a reliable and clear app that does not collect or sell your information.

More info: SimpleMind


MindNode - mind-mapping app
MindNode – mind-mapping app

MindNode is a mind-mapping app designed to help you organize your thoughts quickly and beautifully.

It allows you to capture, organize, style, and share your ideas effortlessly. With its visual brainstorming feature, you can plan your vacation, outline your next project, and write notes with ease.

MindNode also offers tools such as Tasks, Outlining, Quick Entry, Stickers, Themes, Visual Tags, Focus Mode, and Notes to enhance your brainstorming experience.

The app allows you to export and print your mind maps, and sync your data via iCloud for easy access across multiple devices. MindNode makes it easy to stay organized and on top of your ideas without getting in your way.

A mind map created with MindNode.
A mind map created using MindNode.

MindNode lets you capture, organize, style, and share your thoughts on various topics. The software offers powerful features like outlining, visual tags, focus mode, tasks, quick entry, stickers, themes, notes, dark mode, external screen support, customizable panels, and share options, allowing you to create a clear and structured representation of your ideas.

MindNode’s iCloud sync feature ensures you can access your mind map on any device, allowing you to pick up where you left off.

More info: MindNode


Scapple mind map software
Scapple mind map software.

Scapple mind map software is a virtual sheet of paper that lets you make notes and connect them using lines or arrows. You have complete freedom to experiment with how your ideas fit together, and every note is equal.

Creating notes is as easy as double-clicking anywhere on the page and making connections between ideas is as simple as dragging and dropping one note onto another.

Scapple mind map
A mind map created using Scapple.

You can move notes around and customize their appearance using colors and borders. Scapple is a simple but powerful way of shaping your ideas and is available for download on both macOS and Windows.

More info: Scapple

Mind Mapping Best Practices

While mind maps are a powerful tool for content planning, there are several best practices that you should follow to ensure that your mind maps are effective and useful.

Here are some best practices to keep in mind when creating mind maps for content planning:

  • Start with a Clear Goal: Before you start creating your mind map, it’s important to have a clear goal in mind for your content. This could be a specific topic you want to cover, a target audience you want to reach, or a particular format you want to use.
  • Keep it Simple: While it can be tempting to include every idea and detail in your mind map, it’s important to keep it simple and focused. Stick to the main categories and subtopics, and only include details that are directly relevant to your content goal.
  • Use Visuals: Mind maps are a visual tool, so it’s important to use visuals to enhance your map. This could include using colors to differentiate between categories, icons to represent different ideas, or images to illustrate your points.
  • Be Flexible: Remember that mind maps are a flexible tool, and you should be prepared to revise and refine your map as needed. Be open to adding new ideas, moving things around, or even starting over if your initial plan isn’t working.
  • Collaborate with Others: Mind maps can be an effective tool for collaborative content planning. Consider working with team members or other content creators to generate new ideas and refine your map.

For example, if you were creating a mind map for a social media campaign, you might start by defining your content goal, such as increasing engagement on your brand’s Instagram account.

From there, you could create main categories like “Visual Content,” “User-Generated Content,” and “Hashtag Campaigns,” and then add specific ideas and details to each category.

By following these best practices, you can create effective and useful mind maps that help you to plan and organize your content in a more creative and efficient way.


Using mind maps for content planning and organization is a powerful way to streamline your content creation process. By using a visual representation of your content ideas, you can easily identify connections between ideas and save time by quickly seeing what content you have already created and what content you still need to create.

There are a number of mind-mapping tools you can use.  Each tool has its own unique features and benefits, so it’s important to choose the one that best fits your needs and preferences.

With the right mind-mapping tool, you can streamline your content planning process and create more effective and organized content.


Images: Silhouette, Network

Content Planning Automation

Streamline your content planning process and maximize your team’s productivity with content planning automation.

Content Planning Automation

Learn how to streamline your content planning process and maximize your team’s productivity with these content planning automation tips.

Content Planning Automation - AI Generated imageContent planning is the backbone of any successful content marketing strategy.

However, without the right tools and processes, this can be quite a daunting task.

Manually planning content can be time-consuming and inefficient.

This is where content planning automation comes in. Automating certain tasks can help you save time and ensure that your content planning is optimized for maximum results.

This lesson is part of our content automation series and provides essential content planning automation tips to help you get started.

Content Planning Automation Tips

Here are some essential content planning automation tips that will help you streamline your workflow and boost your team’s productivity.

1) Use AI-Powered Tools For Content Ideation

AI-powered tools can help you generate fresh and engaging content ideas based on trending topics, search queries, and social media activity. These tools can also provide valuable insights into the performance of your existing content and suggest ways to optimize it.

Follow these steps to automate your content ideation process:

  1. Identify your target audience and the purpose of the content.
  2. Research these AI-powered content ideation tools and select one that matches your needs.
  3. Input relevant keywords, topics, and categories into the tool.
  4. Review and analyze the generated content ideas.
  5. Use these ideas as a starting point for your content creation.

Some popular AI-powered tools that can assist in the process of generating content ideas include:

  • Clearscope – a content optimization tool designed to help you produce high-quality content that is relevant to your audience’s search queries.
  • MarketMuse – MarketMuse uses AI to analyze your content and identify gaps and opportunities for improvement.
  • BuzzSumo – BuzzSumo uses AI to identify the most shared content related to a given topic on social media platforms.
  • Google Trends – Google Trends provides insights into the popularity and relevance of specific search terms, allowing you to tailor your content to the interests and needs of your target audience.

See these lessons and resources for more information:

2) Automate Your Editorial Calendar

An editorial calendar can help you stay organized and consistent with your content creation.

Automating your editorial calendar can help you plan and organize your content in advance, streamline the process, and save you time. You can use scheduling tools to schedule content publication and ensure that your content is published on time.

Follow these steps to automate your editorial calendar:

  1. Determine the frequency and type of content you want to publish.
  2. Choose an editorial calendar tool that fits your needs.
  3. Plan and schedule your content in advance.
  4. Automate reminders and notifications to keep you on track.
  5. Monitor and adjust your editorial calendar as needed.

Some popular AI-powered editorial calendar tools include:

  • Monday – Monday.com helps you streamline your content planning and creation process by allowing teams to collaborate, assign tasks, set deadlines, and track progress in a visually appealing and customizable dashboard.
  • CoSchedule – CoSchedule is a comprehensive marketing calendar that allows you to plan and schedule all your marketing activities in one place.
  • Trello – Trello allows you to create a board for your editorial calendar and add cards for each content piece.
  • Asana – Asana allows you to create tasks and assign due dates for your content creation process.

See these lessons and resources for more information:

3) Automate Your Content Research

Automating your content research can help you save time and ensure that your content is optimized for your target audience. You can use AI-powered tools to gather data and insights on your target audience, such as their interests, preferences, and behavior.

Follow these steps to automate your content research:

  1. Decide on the keywords and topics you want to research.
  2. Choose a content research tool that fits your needs.
  3. Input your keywords and topics into the tool.
  4. Analyze the results and gather the necessary information.
  5. Use the gathered information as a basis for your content creation.

Some popular content research tools include:

  • SemRush – provides insights on competitors, keywords, and topics.
  • Google Trends – allows you to track the popularity of a keyword over time.
  • Ahrefs – provides insights on backlinks, organic search traffic, and keywords.

See these lessons and resources for more information:

4) Use Content Planning Templates

Content planning templates can help you stay organized and consistent with your content creation, streamline your content planning process, and ensure that you cover all the essential elements of a successful content marketing strategy.

You can use templates to plan your content themes, formats, channels, and goals.

Follow these steps to automate your content planning with templates:

  1. Determine the type of content you want to create.
  2. Choose a content planning template that fits your needs.
  3. Fill in the necessary information, such as topic, keywords, and target audience.
  4. Plan and schedule your content in advance.
  5. Monitor and adjust your content plan as needed.

Some popular content planning templates include:

See these lessons and resources for more information:

5) Automate Your Content Distribution

Automating your content distribution can help you reach your target audience more effectively and efficiently, save time, and ensure that your content reaches your target audience.

Follow these steps to automate your content distribution:

  1. Determine the distribution channels that best fit your content and target audience.
  2. Choose a content distribution tool that fits your needs.
  3. Set up and configure your content distribution tool.
  4. Schedule and automate your content distribution.
  5. Monitor and analyze the results and adjust your content distribution strategy as needed.

You can use scheduling tools to schedule email newsletters, social media posts, and other types of content distribution.

Some popular content distribution tools include:

  • Aweber – create and automate email campaigns.
  • Hootsuite – Hootsuite allows you to schedule and automate your social media posts across multiple platforms.
  • Buffer – Buffer allows you to schedule and automate your social media posts and analyze the results.

See these lessons and resources for more information:

Save Time Automating Your Content Processes

See the lessons below for additional ways to automate your content processes:

Content Planning Automation

Content Planning Automation

Streamline your content planning process and maximize your team's productivity with content planning automation.
Content Production Automation

Content Production Automation

Streamline your content production process and optimize your workflow with content production automation.
Content Promotion Automation

Content Promotion Automation

Streamline your content promotion process and optimize your workflow with content promotion automation.
Content Management Automation

Content Management Automation

Streamline your workflow and maximize your team's potential with content management automation.


Image: AI-Generated (Dall-e)

AI Content Research Tools

Use these powerful AI content research tools to speed up and improve your content research.

AI Content Research Tools

Use these powerful AI content research tools to speed up and improve your content research.

Content Research: AI ToolsArtificial intelligence (AI) tools are transforming content research by enabling businesses to gather and analyze data faster and more accurately.

With the help of AI tools, businesses can conduct keyword research, content analysis, and trend analysis in a fraction of the time it would take to do it manually.

In this lesson, we provide a list of powerful AI tools you can use to help speed up and improve your content research and explore the practical uses of AI tools for content research, including their benefits, limitations, and recommended best practices.

AI Content Research Tools – Hosted

The tools listed below are hosted externally by their developers and require registration or setting up an account (free or paid).


AI content research tools - ChatGPT
ChatGPT’s main screen

ChatGPT is a powerful large language model developed by OpenAI, an artificial intelligence research laboratory.

It is based on the GPT (Generative Pre-training Transformer) architecture and is trained on a massive amount of text data from the internet.

ChatGPT has a good understanding of various topics and can be used for a range of natural language processing tasks such as language translation, text summarization, text generation, text completion, and answering questions.

Essentially, ChatGPT is a computer program that can communicate with people in a way that feels natural and human-like. It can hold conversations with users, answer questions, provide valuable insights on a wide range of subjects, and understand and respond to user input in a conversational manner.

ChatGPT’s natural language processing capabilities not only make the tool well-suited for chatbot and virtual assistant applications but also a valuable time and cost-saving tool for content research and content creation.

ChatGPT can generate high-quality content quickly and accurately, saving your business a significant amount of time and resources. Additionally, the program can be customized to match your brand’s specific voice and tone, ensuring that the content it generates is consistent with your brand’s messaging and values.

Here are some of the potential uses and benefits of using ChatGPT:

  • Research assistance: ChatGPT can help your business conduct research by providing accurate and relevant information on a wide range of topics. This can save time and resources by automating the process of gathering information for market research, competitive analysis, or even academic research.
  • Summarization: ChatGPT can be used to generate summaries of long documents or articles. This can save time and resources by providing quick and accurate summaries that highlight the most important points of a piece of content. This can also be particularly useful if your business needs to stay up-to-date on industry news and trends or if you are creating product summaries, product reviews, etc.
  • Generate high-quality content quickly and accurately: ChatGPT can generate written content that is grammatically correct, factually accurate (most of the time), and in line with your brand’s messaging and voice. This can help your business save significant time and resources in creating content for your website, social media, email marketing, and other marketing channels and activities.
  • Improve the quality of search engine optimization (SEO): ChatGPT can help your business identify the right keywords to use in your content to improve your search engine rankings. This can also help you attract more organic traffic to your website and increase your brand visibility.
  • Enhance the accuracy and quality of product descriptions: ChatGPT can be used to generate detailed and accurate product descriptions that help customers make informed purchasing decisions. This can increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Streamline content curation: ChatGPT can help your business identify relevant content to curate and share with your followers. This can help build authority in your industry and increase brand awareness.
  • Conduct market research: ChatGPT can be used to analyze customer feedback and reviews to identify common themes and pain points. This can help to improve your products and services to better meet customer needs.
  • Text completion: ChatGPT can be used to complete text in a way that is consistent with the style and tone of the original text. This can save you time and resources by automating the process of completing repetitive tasks such as filling out forms, generating email templates, or even completing academic assignments.
  • Personalization: ChatGPT can be trained to match your brand’s voice and tone, enabling your business to generate highly personalized content that resonates with your target audience and increase brand loyalty and customer engagement.
  • Improve social media marketing: ChatGPT can help your business generate engaging and relevant social media posts that resonate with your followers, build your social media presence and increase engagement.
  • Enhance customer service: ChatGPT can be used to provide quick and accurate responses to customer inquiries. This can help to improve your customer service and free up your customer service representatives to handle more complex issues.


To use ChatGPT, you must first have a ChatGPT account. Sign up for a free ChatGPT account.

When using ChatGPT as a content research tool, keep in mind the following:

  1. The quality of your prompts will determine the quality of your results.
  2. It’s important to fact-check everything, as AI tools in their current state are not always accurate and will sometimes “hallucinate” their reply.

Let’s go through an example of using ChatGPT to summarize content about a product, tool, or solution.

Here’s some content we wanted to summarize about one of the tools we list in this section…

Chrome Web Store - Extension description
Use ChatGPT to summarize and condense long content and information about products, tools, or solutions.

The screenshot below shows the result of asking ChatGPT to summarize this information after pasting in excerpts of the above content with the prompt: “Rewrite the following as a product description:”

ChatGPT screenshot
We asked ChatGPT to summarize information about a product.

ChatGPT immediately provided this reply…

ChatGPT screenshot
ChatGPT generated this content, but it was a little too “salesy”…

The reply felt too “salesy”, so we entered the prompt shown below and got this new reply…

ChatGPT screenshot
So, we asked ChatGPT to rewrite it as a product review, but it came out a little too “hypey”…

This time, the tool provided a description that felt very “hyped up”, so we reworked the prompt to eliminate the hype, and this is whatChatGPT delivered…

ChatGPT screen
With the right prompt, ChatGPT delivered a content summary that was “just right”!

As you can see, ChatGPT delivers different results based on your prompts, so developing better “prompt engineering” skills will improve the output generated by the tool.

Overall, ChatGPT is a powerful language model with endless possibilities. As more businesses recognize the value of artificial intelligence in improving their operations and customer experiences, we can expect to see even more exciting innovations in the field of natural language processing.

For additional ways to use ChatGPT in your content research and content creation, visit the links below:

More info: ChatGPT


Merlin AI-powered tool.
Merlin gives you the power of OpenAI’s GPT on Google searches, Gmail, Google sheets, and everywhere else you search or write online.

Merlin is an AI tool that lets you use OpenAI’s GPT on any website (e.g., Google Search, Gmail, GoogleSheets, LinkedIn, and anywhere you search or write online) and generate content with a Cmd/Ctrl+M prompt.

Here’s how Merlin works:

  • Select any online content
  • Click on Cmd+M (Mac) or Ctrl+M (Windows) to open Merlin
  • Choose what you want to do with it (create a reply, summarize, make it shorter, or add some fun)
  • Merlin will create a reply.

Merlin lets you:

  • Summarize Content On Any Website – Enter the full text of your content and ask Merlin to generate a summary based on that text. The tool will analyze the text and suggest a summary that includes the main points and key details of the content.
  • Write Professional Email Replies – Enter a prompt describing the context of the email and the desired tone and content of your reply, and ask it to generate text based on your prompt. The tool will analyze the prompt and suggest words and phrases with your desired tone and content.
  • Generate Excel Formulas and Codes – Enter a prompt describing your desired excel function or operation and ask it to generate a formula or code based on that prompt. It will then analyze the prompt and suggest a formula or code that will accomplish the task.

Watch the video below for an overview of this tool:

More info: Merlin

AI Content Research Tools – Browser Extensions

The following tools can be downloaded as extensions and added to your web browser.



  • The examples used here are for the Chrome web browser. If you don’t use Chrome, search online for equivalent extensions in your browser of choice.
  • If you need help installing extensions for the Chrome browser, see our Chrome browser extensions tutorial.
  • To use extensions that access ChatGPT, you will need to sign up for an OpenAI account and be logged in.

ChatGPT for Google

AI content research tools - ChatGPT for Google Chrome browser extension.
ChatGPT for Google

ChatGPT for Google is a free and open-source browser extension that can be added to Google Chrome.

It displays ChatGPT responses alongside search engine results, enabling users to access a broader range of information on any given topic.

ChatGPT for Google extension
The ChatGPT for Google extension adds a ChatGPT box to Google Search results.

The extension supports several popular search engines, including Google, Bing, and DuckDuckGo.

The video below provides an overview and a demo of what you can do using this extension:

Go here to install the extension: ChatGPT for Google


AI content research tools - AIPRM for ChatGPT Chrome extension.
AIPRM for ChatGPT adds prompt templates to ChatGPT.

AIPRM for ChatGPT lets you access a curated selection of ChatGPT prompts and adds a list of prompt templates for SEO, SaaS, marketing, art, programming, and more to ChatGPT.

AIPRM for ChatGPT - ChatGPT Prompts
AIPRM for ChatGPT installs one-click prompts inside ChatGPT.

You can output content from ChatGPT in your choice of language, tone, and writing style.

AIPRM for ChatGPT output.
Use AIPRM’s selectors to choose how you want ChatGPT to output your content.

The video below shows you how to create prompt templates using the extension…

You can access one-click ChatGPT prompts created by a community of prompt engineers and contribute your own.

Go here to install the extension: AIPRM for ChatGPT

Gimme Summary AI

Gimme Summary AI
Summarize articles quickly with the Gimme Summary AI extension.

Gimme Summary AI is an extension that lets you generate article summaries on the web quickly and easily using ChatGPT AI.

This tool is useful for summarizing product descriptions (e.g.  for listicles, product reviews, etc.)

Simply install the Gimme Summary AI extension from the Chrome Web Store, click on the extension icon, and click the “Generate Summary” button to generate a summary.

For more details visit the website here: GimeSummary.ai

Merlin – OpenAI GPT Powered Assistant

Merlin AI-powered tool.
Merlin – OpenAI GPT powered assistant for Chrome.

The Merlin web browser extension lets you access the Merlin tool described earlier from your web browser.

The extension is available for Google Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and chromium based browsers. The tool’s developers also plan to make it available to other browsers in the future.

Merlin - screenshot
Use Merlin to generate content on Google Search, Gmail, GoogleSheets, LinkedIn, and anywhere you search or write online.

More info: Merlin Extension for Chrome

ChatGPT And Video Extensions

AI content research tools - Chrome web store extensions for ChatGPT and video.
Browse loads of Chrome web store extensions for ChatGPT and video content research.

There are many extensions available that bring the power of AI tools like ChatGPT to other areas of content research like videos and other media types.

Use these tools to generate video scripts, video summaries, video transcripts…even transcribe Google Meet and Zoom calls, etc.

Additional Content Research Browser Extensions

With the proliferation of new AI tools being released every day, finding additional AI content research tools for your web browser is easy.

Just go to the Chrome web store and search for “AI” in the extensions search box and a whole list of AI-related extensions will display…

Chrome Web Store - AI-related extensions.
Search for AI-related extensions in the Chrome Web Store.

Similarly, repeat the process to find “content research” related extensions…

Chrome Web Store - content-research-related extensions.
Search for content-research-related extensions in the Chrome Web Store.

AI Tools For Content Ideation

Here are some AI-powered tools you can use to assist in the process of generating content ideas.


Clearscope helps your content team understand what to write about.

Clearscope is a content optimization tool designed to help you produce high-quality content that is relevant to your audience’s search queries.

Its user-friendly integrations seamlessly fit into your existing content workflow, allowing you to create and organize Clearscope reports effortlessly.

With Clearscope’s text editor, you can optimize your content by learning how to use its scoring metrics, such as Content Grade, Word Count, and Readability. The tool also offers a variety of features that can help you build content briefs and outlines quickly, including the Terms, Research, and Outline tabs.

If you’re not sure which keywords or search intents to target, Clearscope’s keyword discovery feature can help you fine-tune your content strategy. The tool can also refresh your existing content with updated optimization recommendations.

Overall, Clearscope is a valuable tool if you are a content creator looking to produce SEO-friendly content that will resonate with your audience. Its easy-to-use integrations, reporting features, and optimization tools make it an essential addition to any content workflow.

Additional AI-powered content ideation tools include:

  • MarketMuse – MarketMuse uses AI to analyze your content and identify gaps and opportunities for improvement.
  • BuzzSumo – BuzzSumo uses AI to identify the most shared content related to a given topic on social media platforms.
  • Google Trends – Google Trends provides insights into the popularity and relevance of specific search terms, allowing you to tailor your content to the interests and needs of your target audience.

AI Tools For Keyword Research

There are several AI tools you can use for keyword research, including:

  • Google Keyword Planner – use this tool to research and analyze keyword ideas, get historical statistics, and forecast future performance.
  • Ahrefs – this tool offers a comprehensive keyword research feature, including keyword suggestions, search volume, keyword difficulty, and more.
  • SEMRush – this tool provides keyword research and analysis, competitor research, and site audit functionality.

Example Of Using AI Tools For Keyword Research

To understand how AI tools can be used for keyword research, let’s say your company sells organic skincare products and you want to create a blog post about the benefits of organic skincare that targets the right keywords to reach your target audience.

Using Ahrefs, for example, you could enter “organic skincare” into its keyword research tool.

Ahrefs - Free Keyword Generator
Ahrefs offers a free keyword generator tool.

Choose a source and location for your keyword research and ask the tool to find keywords.

Ahrefs - Free Keyword Generator
Use the tool to search and find keywords from different sources and locations.

The tool then generates a list of related keywords and keyword ideas.

Ahrefs - Free Keyword Generator: Keyword ideas results: phrase match
Ahrefs’s keyword tool generates phrase-match keyword ideas…

It also provides a list of questions related to the keyword, which is useful for generating new content topic ideas.

Ahrefs - Free Keyword Generator: Keyword ideas results: Questions
And keyword-related questions too!

Note: For a detailed list of related keywords, along with data on search volume, keyword difficulty, and other relevant metrics, requires the paid version of the tool.

Ahrefs - Keyword Explorer
Ahrefs – Keyword Explorer (paid version).

You could then use this data to select the most relevant keywords for your blog post.

Additionally, using Google’s Keyword Planner tool, you could input “organic skincare” and get a list of suggested keywords and their average monthly search volume.

Google's Keyword Planner
Google’s Keyword Planner tool is part of Google Ads.

This would help you to identify any additional keywords that you may have missed so you can optimize your content accordingly.

Utilizing AI tools for keyword research can help you save time, identify relevant keywords, and ensure that your content is optimized for search engines.

For a complete list of tools you can use for keyword research and SEO, see this section: Search Optimization Tools

AI Tools For Content Analysis

There are several AI tools you can use for content analysis, including:

  • Grammarly – provides suggestions for improving the readability, tone, and clarity of your writing.
  • MonkeyLearn Sentiment Analyzer – analyzes the sentiment and emotion of text, allowing you to understand how your content is being perceived.
  • MarketMuse – uses AI to analyze the quality and relevance of your content and provides recommendations for improvement.

Example of Using AI Tools for Content Analysis

To understand how AI tools can be used for content analysis, let’s say that your company is in the health and fitness industry and has written a blog post on the benefits of a new workout routine.

Your company wants to ensure that the content is engaging and informative, and is looking for ways to improve its quality.

Using Grammarly, you would scan the text of your blog post and get suggestions for correcting spelling and grammar errors, rewording sentences, etc.

AI Content Research Tool - Grammarly
Use Grammarly to help analyze your content.

The paid version of Grammarly provides suggestions for improving the readability, tone, and clarity of your content, helping you adjust the tone of your content to better resonate with your target audience.

Grammarly - premium suggestions.
Grammarly checks your content for clarity, delivery, engagement, and correctness using AI.

Additionally, using MonkeyLearn Sentiment Analyzer, you could analyze the sentiment and emotion of the text. This would allow you to understand how the content is being perceived by the audience, and to make any necessary adjustments to improve its impact.

AI Content Research Tool - MonkeyLearn Sentiment Analyzer
MonkeyLearn’s Sentiment Analyzer helps you analyze your content’s sentiment.

Using AI tools for content analysis can improve the quality and relevance of your content, ensuring that it is engaging and informative to your target audience.

AI Tools For Trend Analysis

There are several AI tools that can be used for trend analysis, including:

  • Google Trends – see how often specific search terms are being used over time.
  • BuzzSumo – see which topics are being discussed the most on social media and other online platforms.
  • Exploding Topics – this tool uses AI to identify emerging trends before they become popular.

Example of Using AI Tools for Trend Analysis

To understand how AI tools can be used for trend analysis, suppose your company creates content for a tech-savvy audience.

Your company wants to ensure that it is creating content that is relevant and engaging to its target audience. By using AI tools for trend analysis, you can gain insights into the types of content that are popular among your audience.

Using a tool like Google Trends, you could input a range of search terms related to your industry, and see how often these terms are being searched over time. This would help you identify which topics are currently popular among your target audience, and create content that is more likely to be consumed and shared.

AI Content Research Tool - GoogleTrends
Discover and compare trending topics using GoogleTrends.

Additionally, you could then use a tool like BuzzSumo to identify which topics are being discussed the most on social media and other online platforms. This could help you create content that is more likely to be shared and engaged with by your target audience.

AI Content Research Tools - BuzzSumo
Use BuzzSumo to identify topics being discussed on social media and other online platforms.

Using AI tools for trend analysis can help you gain insights into the types of content that are popular among your target audience. You can then use this information to create more relevant and engaging content.

Using AI Tools For Content Research – Best Practices

Follow the best practices below to leverage the benefits of using AI tools for content research without compromising the quality of your content:

Know The Limitations Of AI Tools

While using AI tools can significantly improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your content research and help you gather, analyze, and generate insights from vast amounts of data, it is important to keep in mind that AI tools are still evolving and may not always provide accurate or complete results.

AI tools are also dependent on the quality and quantity of the data they are trained on and have limitations. Therefore, AI tools should not be used as a replacement for human analysis, but rather as a supplement and complement to it.

Choose The Right AI Tools

There are various AI tools available for content research, each with its own strengths and weaknesses.

Before choosing an AI tool for content research, consider your specific research needs and goals. Some tools may be better suited for keyword research, while others may be more effective for content analysis or trend analysis. It is also important to research and compare the features, pricing, and user reviews of different tools to make an informed decision.

Use AI Tools As A Complement to Human Analysis

While AI tools can help you analyze and generate insights from vast amounts of data quickly and efficiently, they should not be used as a replacement for human analysis.

AI tools complement human analysis, as they can help identify patterns and trends that may not be immediately apparent to humans. However, it is ultimately up to humans to interpret and contextualize the data generated by AI tools.

Verify AI-Generated Insights With Human Analysis

Human intelligence is still better at understanding context and making subjective judgments than Artificial Intelligence.

AI tools can generate valuable insights, but it is important to verify and contextualize these insights with human analysis. This can help ensure the accuracy and completeness of your research findings.

For more content research tools, go here: Content Research Tools


Image: AI-generated image (DALL-E)

Managing Your Affiliate Content

Learn how to manage your affiliate marketing content and affiliate links effectively to boost your affiliate earnings.

How To Manage Your Affiliate Marketing Content

Learn how to manage your affiliate marketing content and affiliate links effectively to boost your affiliate earnings.

Affiliate marketing - illustration inside laptop imageWhile there is an abundance of information online about affiliate marketing, much of it is focused on how to succeed as an affiliate promoting products and services, not on how to manage your affiliate marketing content.

Hence, affiliate marketing content management is a topic that is seldom discussed on internet marketing blogs. It is also typically overlooked by companies offering an affiliate or referral program, and generally ignored by providers of affiliate link management tools and software solutions.

In this article, we’ll briefly touch on what affiliate marketing is, discuss the challenges of managing your affiliate links and your affiliate marketing content, and show you how to build a simple affiliate link management tracking system for your digital presence to address some of these challenges.


What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is essentially earning commissions from referrals that lead to the sales of products or services of other businesses.

In a nutshell, here’s how affiliate marketing works:

Let’s say that XYZ company offers an affiliate program.

Typically, you can see if a company offers an affiliate program by looking for a link on the site’s footer or menu (e.g.”Affiliates”, “Referral Program”, etc.)

Affiliate Program link on web site footer.
Look for Affiliate Program links on website menus and footers.

When you apply to become an affiliate partner of XYZ company, if approved, you will be given a special link that includes your unique affiliate ID.

Affiliate URL with unique affiliate ID.
An example of an affiliate URL with a unique affiliate ID.

You then use this affiliate link to promote XYZ company’s products or services.

You can promote XYZ company using affiliate links in a number of ways. For example, by embedding links into your web content, content in downloadable reports, eBooks, etc., or using methods like display banners, video marketing, email marketing, etc.

Many companies also provide creatives (e.g. banners, text links, etc.) that you can use on your site, or copy and paste into emails, etc.

When a referred user clicks on your affiliate link, a cookie is placed on their web browser for a certain period of time (called the ‘cookie duration’).

XYZ company then tracks all sales and referrals made via your link and pays you affiliate commissions based on the cookie information.

Typically, companies with an affiliate program will provide a private login area where affiliates can view and edit their account details, access referral links, view referral stats, commission earnings, payout reports, download creatives, and more.

Affiliate area - statistics screen
An affiliate area lets you check your stats, referrals, payouts, and more.

So, that’s basically how affiliate marketing works.


Covering affiliate marketing as a method of generating income online is beyond the scope of this course.

If you are interested in learning how to use affiliate marketing to monetize your website or blog, there are many affiliate marketing courses and articles available online that you can refer to.

Also, if you are interested in running an affiliate program, there are many affiliate management software tools and services you can check out.

Note: Affiliate management software tools and services are not the same things as what we are discussing in this lesson. This lesson is about managing your affiliate marketing content and affiliate links, whereas most tools and services are designed for running an affiliate program and managing your affiliates.

The Challenges Of Managing Affiliate Content

While affiliate marketing is one of the fastest and easiest ways to start an online business and generate income online with no money and no products of your own, it also presents a number of challenges.

Let’s look at the main challenges of affiliate marketing from a content management perspective.

Affiliate Marketing And Your Content Strategy

If you plan to use affiliate marketing as part of your site’s monetization strategy, you will be working with affiliate links and affiliate marketing content.

As with all content, it’s essential to understand how your affiliate marketing content fits into your content strategy, content plan, content-linking management practices, and other content-related processes (i.e. production, promotion, and management).

Keeping in mind that your content strategy reflects the core values of your business, what does your strategy say about creating monetized content using affiliate marketing?

For example:

  • Will you only include or review products or services in your content that you can earn money from as an affiliate, or will you link to products and services that provide value to your audience regardless of whether or not the companies being linked to offer an affiliate program?
  • If you link to companies that offer an affiliate program, will you still promote their products or services and link to their website even if your affiliate application gets rejected?
  • Will you give prominence in your content to products or services containing affiliate links (e.g. will they feature higher in a list)?
  • If your content strategy allows guest posts or articles from external writers, will you allow the writers to insert their affiliate links into the content?
  • How will your business, site, and content comply with all the laws and regulations governing affiliate marketing, and individual company policies for promoting their products and services as an affiliate?
  • Also, some audience groups regard the presence of affiliate links as making the content seem biased (e.g. product reviews). What does your content strategy say about this?
Affiliate disclosure statements.
If you plan to monetize your content with affiliate marketing, make sure to comply with all legal requirements and add all the necessary affiliate disclosures.

Let’s look at the challenges of managing affiliate marketing content in other content-related areas.

Affiliate Marketing And Content Planning

Let’s say that you plan to create a monetized article based on reviewing the top 5 products in the XYZ niche.

After researching the topic, you find that a number of companies selling products in that niche offer an affiliate program.

Although you may be approved right away, many companies have a manual review process before they will approve new affiliates.

Affiliate application is being reviewed.
Many companies will review your application before deciding whether to accept you as an affiliate partner.

Companies can also reject your affiliate application for a number of reasons (e.g. maybe your site hasn’t launched yet or is too new, or doesn’t get enough traffic, or your niche/content isn’t aligned with their marketing or branding, etc.)

Affiliate application denied
It happens!

You have no control over these companies’ approval decisions or any of their business processes, so waiting several days or even weeks to find out whether you have been approved or not can impact your content planning.

For example, will your content team wait until you know whether a company has approved or rejected you as an affiliate before doing any further research, or will they invest time into planning, researching, and scheduling the content for production, and deal with things later?

And how will the above work if you plan to outsource your content creation?

Also, what does your content plan say about using creatives supplied by the company you are promoting as an affiliate?

For example, what if a company supplies ready-made, copy-and-paste affiliate banners but the dimensions or content are not suitable for your needs?

Will you create your own banners, edit the supplied banners using image editing software, ask the company to create new banners for you, rework your content around not using banners, or choose some other option?

Finally, what does your content plan say about using affiliate links in your content?

Will you add the affiliate links as supplied (which can sometimes be very long and ugly-looking) or use a link-shortening or link-cloaking tool or service to make your links look nicer, disguise the fact that they are affiliate links, or protect your affiliate links from being hijacked?*

* Affiliate Link Hijacking is when someone completely bypasses an affiliate’s link (usually because the full affiliate link is displayed), either by manually typing in the link’s URL into a web browser web and leaving out the part of the link containing the affiliate’s id, or replacing it with their own affiliate id. This results in the affiliate not earning a commission.

Affiliate Marketing And Content Production

Sticking with our “Top 5 XYZ products” example, let’s say that you apply to become an affiliate of all the products you plan to cover in your article and decide to go ahead and create the article before knowing whether you have been approved as an affiliate or not.

The article is published and a few days later you are informed by three out of the five companies whose products you have already reviewed in your article that your affiliate application has been denied.

What do you do with the article now? Do you…

  • Leave the content in the article as is and continue promoting the companies that rejected your application?
  • Remove the content from your article and look for new companies to promote so you can replace the deleted section?
  • Reorganize your list and move monetized content further up the page (as discussed earlier in the section on content strategy)?

Affiliate Marketing And Content Promotion

Affiliate marketing is fundamentally all about promoting other people’s products or services. After all, that’s how you earn affiliate commissions.

This has its own challenges.

For example, a company may supply you with ready-made affiliate banners or other creatives (e.g. email sequences, rebrandable reports, etc.) and declare these to be proven high-converters.

You then add them to your site and get no sales.

Has your business implemented effective content tracking methods and all the other systems and processes described in the content promotion module?

If not, how will you fix this issue, measure the performance of your affiliate content, or improve your results using any other affiliate program?

This brings us to the next content-related area of challenges.

Affiliate Marketing And Content Management

Suppose you decide to start a “review” blog promoting products and services in a profitable niche.

After doing some research, you discover that there are many great products you can review and promote as an affiliate and begin applying to all of their affiliate programs.

After several months of working hard to create original content, your blog has dozens of great product review articles monetized with affiliate links.

Then, you begin to notice things like the following happening on your site:

  • Links point to error pages – products have been removed or discontinued from being sold.
  • Product prices have changed – The product price has changed on the destination site. Your reviews have different pricing than the actual product price.
  • Product information is different – Product features and options that you promoted as being free are now premium options or part of a paid plan.
  • Bonuses are no longer being offered – Your review mentioned a whole bunch of great bonuses that were included with the product, but the product vendor has removed these from their sales page.
  • Product/Company names are different – The company offering the product has been acquired by another company and decided to rename or rebrand the product.
  • Product demo videos don’t work – The company has removed the YouTube video you added to your product review, so the video no longer shows.
  • Copy-paste banners link to a “buy this domain” page – The company has gone out of business and its domain name has expired.

Then, to make matters worse, because you have applied to so many different affiliate programs, working out which affiliate platforms manage which programs, what login details go with which platform, and which issues require fixing becomes overwhelming and time-consuming.

Currently the product that you were looking for is not able to be sold.
Uh oh…are your affiliate links sending visitors to pages like this?

As you can see, there are so many things that can go wrong with your affiliate marketing content, all of which affect your potential earnings.

As you become a more experienced affiliate marketer, you begin to realize that almost everything about affiliate marketing is outside of your control.

You have no control over the companies whose products or services you are promoting, or what they do.

Many companies that offer an affiliate program simply carry on doing their business and do not inform their affiliates about changes that can affect their affiliate campaigns, their content, and their links.

So, affiliate marketers promoting their products typically only find out that something is wrong with their affiliate content weeks or months after these events have taken place, resulting in many opportunities for earning commissions being missed.

This problem is compounded if you don’t have the systems in place (that we cover extensively in this course) to manage your content.

So, let’s begin by showing you how to develop…

A Simple System To Start Managing Your Affiliate Content

For this section, we’ll use as an example a simple system I built to manage the affiliate content and affiliate links on this website.

You may have already noticed that this course is 100% free.

As my vision is to provide high-quality information on ways to manage content effectively to as many people as possible, I decided not to create a paid membership site, but to make this course freely available to everyone.

To meet the costs of running this website and keeping it updated with regular content, I decided to monetize this website and some of the course content using methods like advertising, donations, and affiliate marketing.

As part of this site’s content strategy, the course recommends many great products, services, and resources, many of which I use and would recommend even if there was no affiliate incentive involved.

So, once we defined affiliate marketing as one of the content promotion methods used to grow and sustain this website, the next step was to work out how to go about it.

I know from years of experience that:

  1. Many affiliate programs require applications to be manually reviewed and approved,
  2. Many affiliate program managers prefer reviewing existing websites (i.e. not ‘under construction’) that are already generating traffic before approving affiliate applications,
  3. Applicants have a stronger chance of being approved as an affiliate if they can actually  provide a link to a page where the product is already being promoted, and
  4. Companies use different affiliate program management platforms, so it’s important to be able to keep track of many different dashboards, logins, etc.

The above raised the following challenges for managing affiliate links and affiliate content:

  1. How do we keep track of all the products and services mentioned in this site? This course contains over 100+ lessons and mentions hundreds of products, services, tools, and resources.
  2. Which products and services offer affiliate programs and which don’t?
  3. Which affiliate platforms are the companies mentioned in this course using to manage their affiliates?
  4. How do we keep track of which affiliate programs we’ve applied for, and whether we’ve been approved or rejected for these programs?

Given the above, here’s the plan used for this website:

  1. I wrote all of the initial course content before launching the website,
  2. As the course content was being written, I also created a spreadsheet listing all of the products, services, tools, and resources mentioned in the course content that offer an affiliate program but held off applying to these until after launching the site,
  3. For products and services mentioned in this course that offer an affiliate program, I used a link redirection tool to initially point the links directly to the product or service page. This makes it easier to replace links used throughout the course content once I got approved by the affiliate program (with the programs that rejected my application, there was no need to change the links, as they were already pointing to the product or service).
  4. After launching the site, I then went through the spreadsheet and began to systematically apply to all of the affiliate programs listed. To make the process easier and faster, I also created a generic “copy, paste, and edit” text template describing who we are, what the site is about, and how the site plans to promote the product or service (including the URL of the course lesson where we are already promoting it).

Affiliate Content Management Spreadsheet

To keep track of all the affiliate program applications, links, platforms, logins, etc., I created a spreadsheet with the following columns:

  • Product/Service – The affiliate product or service being promoted.
  • Description – A brief description of the product or service, also mentioning whether it is a plugin, SaaS, etc.
  • Affiliate Registration – The URL of the company’s affiliate program sign-up form.
  • Applied? – An “x” in this cell lets me know that I have applied for the affiliate program.
  • Approved? – Type “y” into this cell if approved for the affiliate program and “n” if the application was declined or rejected.
  • Affiliate Link Cloaked – The link used in the content created with a link-redirection tool.
  • Direct Link – The direct URL to the product or service.
  • Aff Link – The “raw” affiliate link supplied by the affiliate platform.
  • Where Used – The URL(s) of the post or page where the product or service is mentioned.
  • Network Dashboard – The URL of the affiliate platform dashboard where I can check stats, referrals, payouts, etc.
  • Notes – Enter any notes or comments here (e.g. “affiliate program temporarily on hold,” reason given for declining my application, etc.).
  • Login – The affiliate login username or email address.
  • Password – The affiliate login password.
  • Username – This is an additional field used if the affiliate login form accepts both an email address and a username.

In addition to the above columns, I also used color coding to make the management process using the spreadsheet easier:

  • Green – Affiliate program application accepted. Affiliate link replaced in affiliate link redirection tool.
  • Yellow – Affiliate application submitted – application pending review and approval.
  • White – Haven’t applied yet to the affiliate program. This can also signify that the affiliate program is currently unavailable. If so, this is recorded in the “Notes” column.
  • Red – Application initially rejected or declined. This can also signify that the affiliate program has permanently closed down.
Affiliate Content Management Spreadsheet
Use a spreadsheet to keep track of your affiliate program application process.


  • There are various reasons why applications get declined or rejected. Sometimes it’s because the site is too new and hasn’t generated sufficient traffic yet. If a company rejects or declines my application, I will wait a little while and then apply again for their affiliate program or contact their affiliate manager via email.
  • Some affiliate platforms won’t allow you to apply for other programs until your site produces results for the existing programs you are promoting.

Managing Your Affiliate Links

Using a spreadsheet to keep track of all your affiliate programs with a password management tool and a link tracking tool may be all you need to manage your affiliate links.

At least, you will have a master document for your records.

From here, you can then access all of the various affiliate management platforms that companies use to run their affiliate programs from.

As well as providing you with access to your affiliate account, affiliate links, marketing creatives, and displaying your referral stats and earnings, many platforms also provide additional tools and useful reports, such as status updates on your applications, merchants, etc.

Shareasale dashboard - merchant status.
Shareasale provides reports and merchant status notifications.

Managing Your Affiliate Content

Once you have implemented the above system for managing your affiliate programs and affiliate links, use the content management lessons described in this course to help you manage your affiliate marketing content.

This is important because as was mentioned earlier, many of the companies you will be promoting as an affiliate will not keep you informed of changes they make in their business that can impact your earnings.

For example, having a content tracking system, good content link management practices, and doing regular content reviews will help you detect and address issues like noticing significant or sudden drops in affiliate revenue, links to error pages, outdated creatives, etc.

Additionally, having good content organization and content documentation systems in addition to streamlined content planning, content production, and content promotion processes can help you take advantage of special affiliate promotions that could give you a significant boost in affiliate earnings.

For example, many companies run special affiliate promotions during major online sales events like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, etc.

These events usually have very small windows of opportunity and if your business lacks sound content management systems and organization, these opportunities will come and go before you can even act on them.

With an effective content management system in place, your business can capitalize on these events by scheduling content to be created ahead of time in your content calendar (e.g. blog and social media posts) and published at a later date in your CMS, swapping out banners and creatives in your media storage services, planning email marketing campaigns, etc.


Affiliate marketing provides a great opportunity to monetize your content but it also presents many challenges for managing your affiliate content and affiliate links.

Sound content management can help you capitalize on affiliate marketing opportunities to boost your online revenue.

If your content strategy includes affiliate marketing as a method of promotion, then it’s important to implement good systems for managing your affiliate links and affiliate content.

Action Step

  • Follow the recommendations in this lesson to create a master document listing all of your affiliate programs, links, logins, etc., and add this to your content documentation.



Image: Affiliate Marketing

Managing Your Content Ideas

Learn how to set up a simple and effective system for generating, storing, organizing, and managing your content ideas.

Managing Your Content Ideas

Learn how to set up a simple and effective system for generating, storing, organizing, and managing your content ideas.

How To Store, Plan And Organize Your Content IdeasYour business needs content. Your website needs content. Your social media needs content. Your blog, newsletters, product descriptions, post headlines, sales copy, social media, ads, articles, promotional pieces, news releases, customer training sections, FAQs, forum signatures, SEO meta descriptions, etc. all need content.

There’s no way around it…to have a successful digital presence, you will need lots of content!

Whether you plan to create this content in-house, outsource it, or a mix of both, having an effective system for generating, storing, organizing, and managing your content ideas will help your business immensely in areas like content planning and content production.

In this article, we’ll show you how to set up a basic, simple, and cost-effective system that will keep new ideas for content flowing regularly in your business.


A Simple System For Turning Content Ideas Into Published Content

Man writing ideas down in notepad.
Coming up with new ideas and publishing new content regularly will help to improve your online business results.

Fact: Businesses that publish new content regularly get better results online. 

The most effective way to manage the content in your business is to turn every content-related area into a process and then turn your content-related processes into systems.

This includes having a system for generating new content ideas.

Illustration of gears - Content Ideas - Content Planning - Content Production
Turn your content creation process into a system.

By focusing on managing systems, your business can improve its results and realize its goals and objectives.

When using content to grow your business, it’s important to think of the processes involved in generating, storing, organizing, and managing your content ideas as a system.

This will allow you and your content team to continually generate new ideas and easily store, organize, and manage these so they can be accessed, retrieved, and added at any time to your content planning and content production systems.

Where Content Ideas Fit In Your Content System

As explained in other lessons throughout our free content management course, ideally, every content-related activity in your business should flow from your content strategy.

Your content strategy is the blueprint that describes how your business will use content to achieve its overall strategic goals and objectives.

Your content plan is the document that specifies how your content team will execute the content strategy.

Once your business has created a content strategy and content plan, you can then begin to turn your content ideas into published content through your content planning and content production systems.

Process flow: Content Ideas - Content Planning - Content Production
Where your Content Ideas System fits in with other areas of your overall Content System.

Your Content Ideas System, then, connects your Content Plan to your Content Planning processes.

Your Content Ideas System, however also requires processes for generating, storing, organizing, and managing your content ideas.

Let’s have a look at these processes and how we turn these into a simple and practical system.

A System For Generating Content Ideas

Image: man and woman at a coffee shop.
Great content ideas can strike at any time!

There are many ways, methods, and techniques for generating new content ideas for your business.

To save you a massive amount of time, we have created a comprehensive and 100% free content ideas course that you can subscribe to if you need help coming up with new ideas and topics for articles, blog posts, and newsletters.

All you have to do to start receiving our +120-part email course on how to generate endless content ideas delivered straight to your inbox is go here and signup.

With this process out of the way, let’s look at the next step.

A System For Storing, Organizing, And Managing Content Ideas

Image of woman working on a laptop.
How are you going to store, organize, and manage your content ideas?

Turning your content ideas into published content typically involves a lot of researching, planning, organizing, editing, and refining a bunch of notes, files, links, media content, etc.

All of these activities can get in the way of the creative process or require putting ideas on hold until they can be further developed.

Suppose you suddenly get an idea for a new article or blog post but you’re too busy to expand further on it or do something with it.

What do you do? Do you write it down on the nearest piece of paper you can find? Do you not write it down and hope that you will still remember it later?

Your business will struggle to improve its results and grow with content if your approach is to let ideas come to you spontaneously, work through them chaotically, and publish content only when you feel inspired or have the time to write.

Too many of your competitors are regularly publishing information online to make a “spontaneous and chaotic” approach effective.

So the first step is to have a simple, practical, and cost-effective way to effectively:

  1. Jot content ideas down.
  2. Store, organize, and manage these ideas.
  3. Outline and draft (i.e. flesh out) ideas into content, and,
  4. Have these ideas ready to publish.

For this example, we’ll set up a simple process like the one shown below using free/inexpensive tools and the WordPress CMS...

Chart: content idea organization system.
A simple and effective process for storing, organizing, and managing your content ideas.

For a comprehensive list of useful tools and apps that can help you research and organize your thoughts and ideas, see our Content Research Tools lesson.

1. Jotting Down Your Content Ideas

Image of man working on a laptop and writing on a notebook.
Got an idea? Jot it down!

You can be struck with a great idea for a new article, blog post, video, podcast, ebook, lead generation report, etc. anywhere, at any time.

This could happen while you’re in the shower, getting ready in the morning, going on a walk, shopping, standing in a queue, on your way to or from work, sitting in a meeting, watching TV, just before falling asleep…even while you are sleeping!

Knowing that this can happen, then, it’s important to be prepared.

When an idea suddenly comes to you, you need an easy tool that will let you quickly jot down your idea.

This can be an app on your phone that lets you create and save simple memos, a small writing pad that you carry in your purse, briefcase, or in your pocket, etc.

Whatever tool you choose to use just make sure that you keep it handy so you can record your ideas when inspiration strikes.

For example, years ago, I spoke with a business owner after a business networking event who didn’t have a website. When I asked him why he didn’t have a website, he replied that he doesn’t believe a website would help him grow his business.

I was intrigued by this answer, so I asked him to tell me more. He then told me that a website was just something businesses need for ‘credibility.’

This business owner couldn’t see how a website would help his business grow but believed that if he didn’t have a website, prospects would doubt the credibility of his business (or even whether the business existed).

As a non-technical website owner who has spent years helping businesses grow using WordPress websites, this naturally got me thinking about how I could educate other non-techies about the benefits of using a WordPress website to educate their prospects about their business and generate new business leads.

Knowing the importance of jotting down ideas as soon as these come into my head (instead of telling myself that I’ll “remember these” for later), I took out my phone while waiting for the lift to take me down to the car park, and fired up the ‘Memo’ app I have installed specifically to record new content ideas…

Image of phone with apps installed, including a Memo app.
You can use a memo app to record your content ideas.

I then quickly jotted down some rough ideas for an article on “how to use a website as more than just a credibility tool”…

Mobile phone with content ideas for blog articles.
When inspiration strikes, you need some way to record your content ideas immediately.


Note: At this stage of the process, it doesn’t matter if you know the ‘5 ways to do XYZ’ or not … the important thing is to simply record the idea as soon as you can.

I certainly didn’t know what the ‘5 ways’ were going to be when I wrote the idea down. By the time the content is written it may very well end up being the ‘3 ways,’ or the ’19 ways,’ to do XYZ, or it may become something completely different altogether.

The end result is not important at this stage, only the process of recording the idea down. This should become a habit, so you need to have some type of tool or way to document your ideas.

2. Storing Your Content Ideas

After writing an idea down, the next step is to store it in a way that it can be easily found and retrieved when it’s time to expand on it further.

A phone app makes it easy to email the idea to yourself or to your content team, and, depending on which tools you use, even to add it directly into your content planning or production systems.

Phone screen with 'Share via' feature highlighted.
Email the idea to yourself, to your content team, or add it directly into your content workflow.

Work out with your content team a process for storing and adding ideas to your content workflow and make sure to document this process.

3. Organizing & Managing Your Content Ideas

At the time I jotted down the example idea being used here, I was also using a tool called TreePad to keep my ideas organized.

This tool is no longer available, but there are other excellent content organization tools you can use.

I used TreePad (no longer available) but now there are newer and better content organization tools available.

Essentially, all you need is a tool that lets you create a hierarchical structure of folders where you can store text snippets, images, links, etc.

If you create different folders for each section of an article or ebook, for example, you can then easily rearrange or organize these sections by moving folders up, down, or nest these inside other folders.

With an organization tool, you can easily add, organize, prioritize, and keep track of unlimited new content ideas, and make these immediately accessible when required.

In my earlier example, after sending the content idea from my phone app to my email inbox, I then added it to a simple content production planner I created using nested folders…

A simple content production planner created using nested folders.
You can easily keep track of your content ideas using a simple content production planner created using nested folders.

As you can see from the above screenshot, this is nothing more than a folder I’ve created and labeled “Content Production” with new folders created for every new content idea.

A simple content production planner like this lets you easily:

  • Add content ideas with a rough working title (you can change it anytime)
  • Work on developing any idea you have stored further at any time it suits you.
  • Prioritize ideas in the content production schedule (just move folders up or down to prioritize items)
  • Add rough notes and bullet point sections, play with title ideas, etc.
  • Add and save research notes, URLs of videos, images, additional references, resource links, etc.
  • Archive the folder containing all of your notes for the content idea once you have completed and published it (just create an “Archive” folder and move completed projects into it.)
  • Delete the content idea folder if the idea turns out not to be worth pursuing further.

Once the idea has been safely stored and saved in your simple content planning system, you can get on with other things and come back to it anytime to work on the idea and develop it further.

Whenever you come across new information that would be useful to add or help expand on the idea, simply open the tool, paste in the content, save, and continue working on it later.

For a list of great tools you can use for this step, refer to the Content Research Tools section.

4. Outlining And Drafting Your Content Ideas

Image of woman blogging on WordPress
What tool will you use to flesh out your new content ideas?

An important part of your content ideas system is to set aside time on a regular basis to either work on coming up with new content ideas or to develop your content ideas further.

When the time comes to develop an idea further, you will want to retrieve your idea file from its stored place and select the item to work on next.

You can then create an outline with the main points your will cover in your content, and assemble all the information and research you have gathered into a draft article, blog post, video/audio script, etc.

During the outline creation and draft stage, don’t waste time worrying about things like formatting, styling, typefaces, font colors, font sizes, etc. These are unnecessary time-wasting distractions at this point.

The best way to create a draft of your content is to write it out using a plain text file. You can format this later.

Some tools you can use for this step of the process include:

Plain Text Editor

Windows text editor.
A plain text editor lets you create draft content without distractions.

Your computer comes with a built-in plain text editor like Notepad (Windows) or TextEdit (Apple). Using these free tools lets you focus entirely on what you want to say and create content quickly and without distractions.


NoteTab Pro
NoteTab lets you work on multiple text files at once.

NoteTab is a plain text file editing tool that lets you work on multiple text files at once. This is like using your computer’s plain text file editor on steroids.

NoteTab is great for organizing your ideas during the initial draft phase. You can build your article in one open tab and paste in snippets of text like lists, quotes, research URLs, tags, etc. into other open tabs and perform a whole range of other functions while you work and assemble your content.

For more information about this tool, see this section: NoteTab – Text And HTML Editor

Word Processor

If you are more comfortable fleshing out your content ideas using a word processor application like MS Word or Google Docs, you can use these tools instead to create your outlines or drafts

Google Docs
Google Docs is a free word-processing tool.

If using a word processing tool, just keep in mind that all of the formatting options and features can become a distraction (remember, when working on content ideas, it’s best to focus on the message, not the formatting of the content, which is why we strongly suggest using a plain text editing tool.)

Also, some word-processing tools add hidden formatting code to the content which needs to be removed before publishing.

For example, when pasting content from Google Docs into WordPress, you will often see a bunch of hidden formatting code added to the content (switch to ‘Text’ mode in the content editor to see this).

Google Docs formatting code
Look out for hidden formatting code when copying and pasting content from word processors into your CMS.

Speaking of which…


WordPress content editor
Jot down and flesh out your content ideas directly in WordPress.

If you’re familiar with using WordPress, you can simply jot down and flesh out your content ideas directly in the WordPress content editor and save these as draft posts.

This method works well if your website has other posts or pages that you plan to link to in your new content.

Working directly in WordPress also helps you flesh out your outline or draft content and get it closer to the initial draft stage.

You can also use the WordPress mobile app or post your content ideas to WordPress using email.

5. Publishing Your Ideas As Finished Content

After creating your article outline or draft, the next step is to move it into the content planning and content production stages with the view of getting it published.

If you are working on an article or blog post, for example, using WordPress lets you easily create a new post, paste in your draft content from a plain text file, and format it using built-in formatting tools.

WordPress classic content editor
The WordPress ‘classic’ editor has formatting tools that look similar to MS Word.

WordPress has two content editors:

The older editor (called the WordPress Classic Editor) lets you format text by clicking on menu buttons that are similar to using a word processing application like MS Word.

The newer editor (called the WordPress Block Editor) uses ‘blocks’ to add content. You then format your content using the tools and options available in each block.

Remember to save your new article or blog post as a draft in WordPress until you are done editing, formatting, and checking it for spelling or grammatical errors and are ready to publish it.

If you need help using WordPress, we recommend going through our WordPress User Manual tutorials.

If you need a grammar and spelling-checking tool, see the Content Editing Tools section of the course or check out the tool listed below.


Grammarly - Free Grammar Checking Software
Grammarly – Free Grammar Checking Software

Grammarly is a powerful grammar-checking tool for creating web content, reports, e-books, presentations, etc. You can install the free version of Grammarly on your web browser, Microsoft Word, etc.

After writing your content, run it through Grammarly and it will not only pick up all of your spelling and grammatical errors but also point out errors in your punctuation (e.g. wrong use of commas, double spacing between words, duplicated words, etc), poor sentence structure, style, etc.

As you scroll through each error, Grammarly shows you what’s wrong and gives you the option of automatically fixing errors with one click. You can also ignore the correction suggestions if you want and keep scrolling through to the next item.

The paid version of the software takes your content checking to a whole new level and lists advanced issues, suggests vocabulary enhancements, detects instances of plagiarism, etc.

For more information, go here: Grammarly – Free Grammar Checking Software

Your Content Ideas System: Summary

Image: Finger poised on Enter key on laptop.
Having a content ideas system will help your business publish new content regularly.

To get results online with content, your business needs to publish content regularly.

This requires having a system for coming up with new content ideas on a regular basis, then storing, organizing, and managing these ideas.

This lesson provides a simple, inexpensive, and cost-effective system you can use to do this.

Here are the steps again:

  1. Jot your ideas down on a writing pad or phone memo app as soon as new ideas present themselves to you.
  2. Add your ideas to a content tool that lets you store, organize, prioritize, and add research notes and additional information.
  3. When you are ready to create an outline or draft of your article, blog post, or video/audio script, use a plain text editor like Notepad, TextEdit, or NoteTab to flesh out your content ideas with no distractions.
  4. After writing your draft content, create a new WordPress post or page (if using WordPress) and paste your content in, then format it using the WordPress Content Editor. Save it as a draft until you are ready to publish it.
  5. After you are done editing your content and checking it for spelling and grammatical errors (e.g. using a tool like Grammarly), you are ready to publish your content.


  • Free Content Ideas Course – Subscribe to this free and comprehensive course for endless new content ideas for your website, blog, or newsletter.

Next Step

We hope that you have found the above information useful. Now you have a simple and effective system for generating, storing, organizing, and managing your content ideas.

How To Store, Plan And Organize Your Content Ideas
Coming up with new content ideas and being able to store and organize these are all part of effective content management.


Images: Notebook, New Idea, Inspiration Strikes, Draft Content, Content Summary, Article Writing, Enter Key

Content Research

Learn how to perform effective content research before investing time and effort into creating content for your business. 

Content Research

Learn how to perform effective content research before investing time and effort into creating content for your business. 

Content research - Woman researching content online.One of the best ways to avoid creating content that may end up delivering poor results is to learn how to perform effective content research before investing time and effort into creating it.

Content research is part of the content planning process and should be done after the business has developed its content strategy and before going into content production.

In this lesson, we will cover:

  • Why Do Content Research?
  • Key Areas Of Effective Content Research
  • How To Do Content Research

Before You Begin

Please review and complete the Content Planning lesson before starting this lesson.

What Is Content Research?

Content research is the process of gathering and analyzing information about a specific topic or audience in order to inform the creation of your content.

Why Do Content Research?

The goal of doing content research is to analyze content online and use your analysis and conclusions to help develop a unique content strategy that will benefit the long-term growth and brand visibility of your business.

By performing content research, you can make informed decisions about what type of content to create, how to create it, and how to promote it. This helps you produce content that is more likely to be read, shared, and ultimately drive the desired outcomes of your business.

Content research can include things like looking at the top posts ranking in search engines for your industry, niche, or topic, content that is attracting lots of social shares and engagement, what your competitors are writing about, discussing, or sharing online, etc.

Some of the reasons why content research matters include:

  • Helping your business understand its target audience, what kind of information it consumes, shares, and engages with on social media, and what content works best for reaching it. You can use this to build a content library of information and resources for users.
  • It helps to shape your content marketing strategy.
  • It helps you understand how to build authority, credibility, and trust online with users.
  • It lets you identify third-party resources your target audience likes and tends to gravitate toward.
  • It shows you what content you need to build to carry prospects through their entire buying journey.
  • It gives you insights on how to build sustainable growth for your brand, increase organic search traffic and social media visibility, and improve your lead generation activities.

Content Research Goals And Objectives

The goals and objectives of performing content research include:

  • Understanding your audience: Identifying the characteristics, needs, and preferences of the target audience in order to create content that resonates with them. This can be achieved by surveying a group of potential customers to learn about their pain points and what type of content they prefer to consume.
  • Identifying gaps in existing content: Analyzing existing content in order to identify areas where new or additional content is needed. This can be achieved by performing a content audit and reviewing the content on your company’s website to identify topics that are under-represented or missing.
  • Identifying competitors: Analyzing the content produced by your competitors in order to identify opportunities and strategies for creating unique and valuable content. This can be achieved by reviewing the blog posts, social media posts, and e-books of your direct competitor(s) to identify common themes and formats that they use.
  • Identifying trends and topics: Researching industry trends, news, and popular topics in order to inform the creation of timely and relevant content. This can be achieved by monitoring social media channels, search engines, and news articles to identify trending topics and keywords to include in your content.
  • Optimizing search engine visibility: Researching keywords and phrases that are relevant to the content and audience in order to optimize the content for search engines. This can be achieved by using keyword research tools to identify keywords and phrases that are frequently searched for by the target audience and incorporating them into the content.
  • Measuring the effectiveness of your content: Gathering data on how your content is performing in terms of engagement, shares, clicks, conversions, etc., in order to determine how well it is meeting your goals and objectives. This can be achieved by using analytics tools to track the number of views, shares, and engagement on a blog post or social media post.

Key Areas Of Effective Content Research

Effective content research focuses on three key areas:

  • Your Market
  • Your Audience
  • Your Competition
Content Research - Three Key Areas
Focus on each of these key areas when doing content research.

Let’s take a brief look at each of these key areas:

Your Market

Focusing on gaining a better understanding of the market will help you answer questions about:

  • The environment the business operates and sells its products or services in (e.g. is it a growing or shrinking market? How do political or global events affect it?)
  • Technological disruptions, changes, and innovations in the industry or niche that the business should be aware of and prepare for or begin to embrace.
  • Emerging opportunities (new product development, new territories, new sectors, etc.)
  • Current limitations and barriers to growth or expansion.
  • Which distribution channels are available to or work best for the business.
  • Industry best practices.

Your Audience

Focusing on gaining a better understanding of the audience the business is targeting will help you answer questions like:

  • Who is the ideal target audience? What do they look like? What are their values and preferences? What do they like or dislike?
  • Where does your audience congregate online? How can you reach them? What are the most cost-effective ways to reach them?
  • What type of content does your audience consume? What is their preferred content format?
  • What are their pain points, concerns, and challenges? How can your business help them solve these?

Some of the ways to know your audience better and get to understand their desires, goals, fears, frustrations, and pain points include:

  • Keep an eye on your competitors.
  • Monitor audience feedback, engagements, and comments through surveys, online forms, and how they engage and comment on your blog, social media channels, community forums, and customer support channels.
  • Craft buyer personas to understand the main customer categories that convert for your brand.

Your Competition

Knowing which content channels your competitors are targeting, what topics their content is addressing, and where they spend their marketing and advertising budgets can tell you a lot about where you should be focusing your content marketing efforts.

Researching your competition can help you answer questions like:

  • Who are the main competitors in your niche?
  • What are they doing that your business isn’t? Similarly, what is your business doing that your competitors aren’t (yet)?
  • What are they doing right? What are they doing wrong?
  • Is your competition doing anything that your business can’t match because it lacks the resources, budget, etc.?
  • Is there anything unique about your business that your competitors can’t match?

Some of the ways you can research your competition includes:

  • Signing up to receive their email updates.
  • Analyzing their video content.
  • Tracking their social media activity.
  • Reviewing their top-performing content (post titles, subheadings, main keywords, word count, social shares,  meta descriptions, etc.).
  • Attending their webinars and other events.
  • Tracking changes to their website.

According to BuzzSumo here are the data insights you need to create the best content:

  • The content volumes and trends for your industry topics.
  • The most successful articles in terms of shares and links.
  • The content types and formats that your audience shares.
  • The evergreen content that gains shares and links over time.
  • Influential sites for content in your industry.
  • Competitors’ most successful content.
  • The networks where your audience shares content.
  • Identify social influencers and backlink opportunities for your content.
  • Engagement benchmarks.

Researching the key areas and gaining the insights above will provide your business with the valuable information needed to create a content strategy and a content plan.

How To Do Content Research

The best way to do content research is to begin the process and record your findings, thoughts, snippets, ideas, links, quotes, URLs, etc. as you go in an organized manner. This allows you to immerse yourself in the process, document your research, and retrieve the information when it’s time to create the content.

Let’s break this down into doable steps:

1. Begin The Content Research Process

If you don’t know where to begin your content research, you can start with Google Search.

You could begin by simply typing in a keyword search term related to the topic you are researching and looking at the first page (i.e. top 10) search results for your content’s topic. This will give you an idea of what it will take for your content to outrank your competitors.

For example, let’s say that your business sells supplies for coffee drinkers and you want to create content on ways to make “barista-like” coffee at home.

You could begin the content research process by simply typing in something like “how to make barista coffee at home” into Google…

Content Research - Google Search results
Begin your content research with a Google search.

This immediately provides you with lots of useful information and ideas for new content topics and ways to present content to your target audience.

For example, you can do further research into areas like:

  • Similar or related article topics.
  • Article titles, excerpts, and meta descriptions.
  • Similar or complementary products that users are looking to buy.
  • Video topics.
  • Additional information that users are searching for (e.g. the “People also ask” section).
  • Ideas for new images, infographics, artwork, ad banners, etc.
  • Opportunities to fill in gaps in your content strategy.

This is a simple yet great way to start. However, you can use Google to dig even deeper into your content research work.

For example:

Look For Paid Search Ads

Businesses don’t spend money advertising on unprofitable keyword searches. Ads displaying on search queries indicate there is commercial intent behind the keyword or topic, so it may be worth researching further into ways to try and rank for the keyword in Google’s organic search results.

Google Search - paid ads
Paid ads indicate that the topic you are researching may be profitable to rank for in organic searches.

Check Autocomplete Suggestions

Google’s predictive search feature (Autocomplete) is a great way to find ideas for long-tail keywords or topics related to your research.

Google predictive search feature - autocomplete suggestions.
Google’s Autocomplete feature is a great way to research content ideas related to your searches.

You will also want to research and analyze:

  • What your target audience shares and engages with on social media, the social influencers they follow, etc.
  • What your competitors and industry leaders are writing about or discussing on social media.
  • Forums, industry publications (whitepapers, reports, published research), expert interviews, news sites, case studies, surveys, polls, statistics, etc.
  • Keywords, including paid ads, related searches, etc.

See this excellent article for more information on completing this step:  30 Best Content Research Tips That Will Make You More Influential

2. Save Time Using Content Research Tools

There are many great time-saving tools and resources available online to help you research content topics and ideas, find sources of authoritative information, analyze keywords, gather data and stats, and more.

For example, in addition to search, Google provides other content research tools you may not have thought of using, such as Google Trends, Google Alerts, Google Scholar, and Looker Studio (formerly Google Data Studio).

Google Trends
Google Trends is a useful tool for researching user interest in content topics.
Looker Studio dashboard
Looker Studio (formerly Google Data Studio) is a powerful data-driven content research tool.

You can use different data sources for your keyword research projects.

For example, you can use Google Analytics to analyze user behavior and site interaction, Google Search Console data to identify mismatches in search intent, Google Trends to identify search behavior for spelling variations (e.g. eCommerce vs e-Commerce) or regional variations, etc.

See the Content Research Tools section for tools and resources that will help you with your content research.

3. Organize & Document Your Content Ideas

In addition to knowing where to go for research and using tools to help speed up your content research, it helps to have a system for organizing and accessing your research information quickly and easily.

For example, you can use tools like your web browser’s bookmarks to store useful website URLs…

Chrome Bookmarks
Chrome Bookmarks

Content organization tools or apps like Microsoft OneNote let you build up a collection of research notes, copy and paste snippets, ideas for blog posts and web pages, etc. …

Microsoft OneNote
Microsoft OneNote

For additional tools and tips on organizing and storing your content research notes and information, see the Content Research Tools section.

4. Perform A Content Audit Of Your Existing Content

When researching new content topics and ideas, remember to look at the existing content too. There may already be similar content written that has been previously published by your business.

A content audit can provide valuable information about the state of the content of your business and help you answer questions about what may be missing in the current content compared to your research that needs to be developed, whether the business has already published similar articles, what can be updated, rewritten, consolidated, or discarded, etc.

For more information about creating a content inventory or auditing your existing content, see this lesson: Content Audit

5. Add Topics And Ideas For Discussion To Your Content Planning process

As you gather more research from different sources for your content plan, make sure to update the relevant information in your editorial calendar and communicate these to your team via your content collaboration tools and channels, like your content production team meetings.


Content research is invaluable to strategic content planning. It can tell you what content to create, how often to create it, where to distribute it, and how to best promote it.

Well-researched content that shows that the business understands the market and the competitive landscape and that connects with its audience can make a significant and sustainable difference to brand visibility, web traffic, lead generation, and revenue.

Action Steps

Review the following sections before you begin researching content. It will help you create great content for your audience:



The articles below contain additional information that you may find useful to complete this lesson:

Next Lesson


Image: Woman researching content online.

Linking Content On Multiple Web Pages

How do you interlink content across many web pages when the content on those pages hasn’t even been written yet? Here’s how…

Linking Content On Multiple Web Pages

How do you interlink content across many web pages when the content on those pages hasn’t even been written yet? This article provides helpful content-linking planning tips for larger content projects.

Laptop with network image - Creating Interlinked ContentContent linking is not only good for SEO, it’s also what makes the World Wide Web possible.

While interlinking topic-related content in existing web pages is easy to do, how do you link to content that has not been created yet?

This creates challenges when planning larger content projects with fully interlinked content such as an article series or an online course.

Planning a site like ContentManagementCourse.com is a great example of how challenging this can be. This site launched with over 100 fully interlinked course lessons.

In this article, we show you step-by-step how we created the course content for this site as a practical example of interlinking content across many pages.

ContentManagementCourse.com Content Planning Process

Here’s the planning process we used to create the content for ContentManagementCourse.com:

Step 1 – Set Goals

Our goal is to provide a comprehensive and practical online course to help businesses learn how to manage their content more effectively.

Achieving this goal required planning several course modules with many interlinked lessons covering several content-related areas.

Step 2 – Create A Content Strategy

Based on the goals described above, we defined a content strategy for this site that included creating the following content:

  1. Site Pages – Create standard website ‘must-have’ pages (e.g. Home Page, About Us, Contact Us, Legal Pages, etc.)
  2. Course Modules – Create comprehensive course modules with fully interlinked course lessons across six categories:
  3. Email Lessons – Create a series of emails aimed at helping users to understand and apply all of the course lessons on this site.
  4. Blog – Create and publish new content that expands on the content of existing course lessons, with practical tips and additional information o help users improve their content management skills.
A chart depicting ContentManagementCourse.com's Content Strategy
The main content sections of this site. All sections contain fully interlinked content.

Once the main content sections were defined, the strategy was to implement the creation of the course content and the launch of this site into the following stages:

  1. Set up the site with ‘must-have’ navigational pages.
  2. Create all course modules and lessons with fully interlinked content prior to launching the site.
  3. Launch the site, and
  4. Continually add new content on a regular basis expanding and linking to existing course content.

Stage #2 above is the challenging part and the focus of this article. The other stages are fairly common when developing business websites (i.e. set up and launch the website, then start publishing new content).

After defining the content strategy, the next step was to plan the course content outline describing the modules, lessons, and topics covered in each of these sections.

Step 3 – Planning The Course Content Outline

A simple spreadsheet was used to plan the course content outline, with columns to classify and organize course modules and lessons, track content production, and record information about each item of content created for the site.

The spreadsheet also employed a simple color-coding scheme:

  • White (No highlight) – Lesson planned but not worked on yet.
  • Yellow – Lesson worked on but not completed yet.
  • Green – Lesson completed.
  • Purple – New lesson or blog article to be added later (the content is not required to launch the course. It can be created, published, then linked to and from the main course content afterward).
ContentManagementCourse.com - course content planning spreadsheet.
The course content planning spreadsheet for ContentManagementCourse.com.

Note: In addition to adding course content planning columns, other columns were included for additional information about each content item, so this spreadsheet can be used to perform a content audit and content reviews.

Planning the course and creating the course content outline took several weeks.

Step 4 – Developing The Course Website

Here’s a breakdown of the steps required to complete this stage:

1 – Build The Website

As explained throughout this course, one of the most effective tools for managing content is to use a Content Management System (CMS) and WordPress is the world’s most widely used CMS platform.

So, this site was built with WordPress. All the steps are documented on our free WordPress training sites for non-technical users: WPCompendium.org (free tutorials on how to build a WordPress site without coding skills) and WPTrainingManual.com (free tutorials on how to use WordPress).

2 – Put Site In Under Construction Mode

After building the site and adding basic pages (e.g. Contact Us, Legal Pages, etc.), I then installed and activated an “Under Maintenance” plugin so I could work on the content without making it public.

3 – Add Placeholder Pages For Content

This step is really important for your content linking strategy to work. Careful planning is required before building your content pages.

After setting up and configuring the website (about a week’s work), I then returned to the spreadsheet and began to add “placeholder” pages (pages without content) to the website for each content item that would need to be created.

Note: We used WordPress Posts, not WordPress Pages for our course modules and lessons.

This step was comprised of the following tasks:

After creating a placeholder post for the content as per the above, I then published the page.

The reason for publishing pages instead of keeping these unpublished (i.e. in ‘draft’ mode) was to obtain the actual URL of each course module or lesson and record this on the spreadsheet.

I then used these URLs to link to other course content later.

I repeated this process until all the ‘placeholder’ pages (100+ pages) required to launch this course were created (about a week’s work).

Step 5 – Course Content Production

After creating all the placeholders for course modules and lessons listed on the course planning spreadsheet, the process of researching and writing the course content began.

The aim of this stage was to flesh out each lesson as much as possible and worry about final editing and putting the finishing touches later, so I used the content planning spreadsheet to track content production with most of the content being worked on highlighted in yellow.

While working on the lessons, new content ideas came to mind, and I recorded these on the spreadsheet for later.

ContentManagementCourse.com - Tracking content production on the content planning spreadsheet.
Going from content planning to content production.

Writing the course content for this site took about a year.

After creating all the course content, I then went back and reviewed each lesson, making final tweaks and edits to the content, formatting, and structure, checking that the links worked, etc.

As each item was completed, I added the details to the spreadsheet and highlighted them in green.

When all the rows of the spreadsheet were green, the site was then ready to launch.

ContentManagementCourse.com - Content production tracking spreadsheet.
Tracking content production on the content planning spreadsheet. When all rows were highlighted in green, the site was ready to launch.

As you build out your content, you may discover that you need to make changes to the page URLs that you are linking to (e.g. you may need to assign the lesson to a different post category or edit the post slug).

Changing the URL of a page, however, can affect the existing links in your content. With WordPress, you can easily fix this using plugins like Better Search Replace and Redirection.

Step 6 – Launch Website

With all the initial content created and fully interlinked, the site was ready to launch.

All we needed to make the content public was to deactivate the “Under Construction” plugin. The site then immediately became “live”.

After this, we simply began to implement some basic content promotion methods like notifying the search engines (e.g. by submitting sitemaps to Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools, etc.) to get the pages crawled and indexed.

Step 7 – Add New Content With Links To Existing Content

The hardest part of creating a large project with extensive content interlinking is getting the content planning right and then building out all of your initial content.

Once this is done, adding new content (e.g. via the blog section) and linking it to existing pages is relatively easy, as the main content structure is already in place.

For example, this article was written after the site was launched. All the links you see on this page were easy to add as all of the content being linked to was already written.

In time, this article may also link to content that has yet to be written.

When/if this content eventually does get written, it will simply be a matter of referring to the notes in the content planning spreadsheet, editing this article, adding a link to the newly-created content, and marking the task as done (i.e. highlighting it in green on the spreadsheet ).


While linking content between existing web pages is simple and easy to do, planning how to fully interlink content on larger projects can be challenging, as it may require linking to content that hasn’t been created yet.

Here’s the strategy for addressing this challenge in a nutshell:

  1. Create and publish ‘placeholder’ pages to get all the web addresses you will link to in your content project.
  2. After obtaining the URL of all your interlinking pages, start building the content for those pages.
  3. As you build out the content on each of your ‘placeholder’ pages, link your content to other content using their page URLs.
Interlinking content strategy
Creating content placeholders allows you to build out fully interlinked content for larger projects

We hope that you have found this article useful.


Images: Network, Web Page

Editorial Calendar

Learn how to create, use, and manage an editorial calendar, and how it can help with your content planning, scheduling, and production.

Editorial Calendar

Learn how to create, use, and manage an editorial calendar, and how it can help with your content planning, scheduling, and production.


An editorial calendar is a powerful content planningcontent production, content promotion, and content management tool that lets you organize and schedule all the content your business or organization needs to produce and publish to meet its strategic goals.

In this lesson, we’ll cover:

  • What Is An Editorial Calendar?
  • Why Use An Editorial Calendar?
  • Benefits Of Using An Editorial Calendar
  • How To Create An Editorial Calendar
  • How To Use An Editorial Calendar

Before You Begin

Please review the Content Planning Overview before starting this lesson.

Editorial Calendar vs Content Calendar

Editorial calendars are sometimes also referred to as content calendars. However, according to Neil Patel, there is a difference:

“These terms are often used interchangeably. However, an editorial calendar generally outlines each step of the process, while a content calendar usually covers one aspect—such as when posts are published or shared to social media.”

Source: NeilPatel.com

AirTable content calendar demo
You can use a template to build your content calendar. Image: Airtable.

Let’s briefly cover what a content calendar is and how to create one, and then we’ll focus on the editorial calendar.

What Is A Content Calendar?

A content calendar is a schedule for creating, publishing, and promoting your business’s content.

A content calendar helps your business stay organized and on schedule when creating content and ensures that you have a steady stream of relevant, high-quality content to share with your audience.

How To Plan And Create A Content Calendar

Follow the steps below to plan a content calendar for your business and see the rest of this lesson for more detailed instructions on how to create one:

  • Define your audience: Identify the demographics and psychographics of the people you want to target with your content. Understanding your audience will help you create content that resonates with them.
  • Set your goals: Determine what you want to achieve with your content. Goals can include increasing website traffic, generating leads, boosting brand awareness, or improving engagement on social media.
  • Research your competitors: Look at what other businesses in your industry are doing with their content. This can give you an idea of what has worked well in the past, and what strategies you might want to avoid.
  • Identify your topics: Choose the topics you will create content around. This might include product- or service-related information, industry news, or thought leadership pieces.
  • Plan your content: Decide on the format of your content (e.g. blog post, video, podcast, infographics) and schedule out when you will publish it.
  • Create a production plan: Decide how you will produce your content, and include it in your content calendar.
  • Create a promotion plan: Decide how and when you will promote your content, and include it in your content calendar.
  • Use a tool: Use a content calendar tool or spreadsheet to organize and schedule your content, and to make it easy to track progress and make adjustments as needed.

Example Of A Content Calendar

Here is an example of what type of information might be included in a content calendar for a marketing agency:

  • Audience: Small to medium-sized business owners
  • Goals: Increase website traffic, generate leads
  • Competitors: other marketing agencies
  • Topics:
    • Inbound marketing
    • Content marketing
    • Social media marketing
  • Plan:
    • Blog post: once a week
    • YouTube video: once a month
    • Webinar: Once a quarter
  • Promotion plan:
    • Social media: LinkedIn, Facebook
    • Email marketing: send a newsletter once a month
    • Paid Advertising: Google Ads, Facebook ads
    • Tool: Google Sheet

By following these steps, the marketing agency will be able to create a content calendar that helps them achieve its business goals while engaging its target audience with relevant and valuable content aligned with its overall promotion and distribution strategy.

Also, by using a tool to organize the calendar, it will be easy to track progress, make adjustments as needed and share it with the team members.

What Is An Editorial Calendar?

“An editorial calendar is a visual workflow that helps a team of content creators schedule their work on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Editorial calendars can help you track content types, promotional channels, authors, and most importantly, publish dates.”

Source: HubSpot

An editorial calendar:

  • Records how, when, and where you plan to publish upcoming content.
  • Lays out every step of the content planning and production process from idea to publication.
  • Lets you track and manage different content types (e.g. articles, videos) and promotional channels (e.g. blogs, social media, emails).


Editorial Calendar example - Asana
Editorial calendars are typically used to track upcoming pieces, planned promotions, and social media posts. Image: Asana

An editorial calendar should be the single version of the truth, and only projects that are actually going to be created should be added to the calendar.

Note: You can have a column in your calendar where content topics or ideas for review and discussion can be added and then either moved into production or discarded if the team decides not to go ahead with it.

Why Use An Editorial Calendar

According to Forbes.com

“The editorial process for a business can be surprisingly complex; it’s not just a way to plan a few content ideas ahead of time, but rather it implies establishing content marketing objectives, developing a strategy and carefully strategizing all of your content ahead of time so that you can generate better results for your business – whether it’s an improved search engine ranking, more traffic, more social shares or more leads and conversions.”

Source: Forbes.com

If you are working with a team of content creators, you need organization, structure, and a system for planning, writing, and scheduling content on a regular basis to avoid missing deadlines, miscommunication with team members, and the accumulation of a growing pile of unfinished content.

If your business is serious about using content marketing (e.g. blogs, social media, email marketing campaigns, etc.) to improve its results, then it needs to plan, strategize, create, publish, and promote content in an organized manner, keep track of its content production in one place, and give its team complete visibility into the process.

An editorial calendar allows businesses to do this effectively.

Content Calendar Goals And Objectives

Common content calendar goals and objectives include:

  • Content planning: The goal is to plan and strategize the creation, distribution, and promotion of content. This can be achieved by creating an editorial calendar, identifying your target audience, and defining KPIs.
  • Timeliness: The goal is to ensure that content is created and published in a timely manner. This can be achieved by scheduling blog posts, social media posts, and other content well in advance, and creating deadlines for content creation and review.
  • Consistency: The goal is to ensure a consistent flow of content to keep your audience engaged and interested. This can be achieved by publishing regular blog posts, scheduling recurring social media posts, and creating a content calendar that covers the year/month.
  • Brand alignment: The goal is to align content with your company’s brand messaging and values. This can be achieved by creating and sharing branded graphics, videos and infographics, and guest blogging on relevant websites.
  • Audience engagement: The goal is to engage your target audience by creating and publishing content that is relevant and valuable to them. This can be achieved by creating a calendar that includes a mix of different types of content, such as blog posts, videos, infographics, and social media posts.
  • Content optimization: The goal is to improve the visibility and performance of content by ensuring it is well-written, visually appealing, and optimized for search engines and social media. This can be achieved by optimizing headlines, meta descriptions, and images, using keywords and hashtags, and making sure the content is mobile-friendly
  • Integration: The goal is to integrate your content calendar with other systems and tools to improve efficiency, collaboration, and automation. This can be achieved by integrating with a CRM system, integrating with social media platforms, and integrating with analytics and reporting tools.
  • Flexibility: The goal is to ensure that your content calendar can be easily adapted to changing business needs and goals. This can be achieved by incorporating a feedback and testing process, making it easy for stakeholders to provide input and feedback, and implementing agile methodologies.
  • Collaboration: The goal is to promote collaboration and communication among team members to ensure that content is created and reviewed in a timely and effective manner. This can be achieved by using shared tools for content creation, review and publishing, setting up regular meetings and check-ins, and providing clear guidelines and instructions
  • Budget and resources allocation: The goal is to plan and allocate the budget and resources needed to achieve your content goals. This can be achieved by identifying the cost of creating, distributing and measuring the content, and allocating resources to create, review, and publish your content.

Benefits Of Using An Editorial Calendar

Some of the benefits of using an editorial calendar include:

Better Planning

Better planning creates better content.

With an editorial calendar, you can include content research information in the planning process that content writers and creators need to create in-depth content targeted to the right audience, like supporting sources, quotes, stats, and references, keyword research, editorial briefs, notes from other team members, competitive intelligence data, etc.

Screenshot of Jira board used as a content calendar.
An editorial calendar lets you include all the background information your team needs to create high-quality targeted content.

This can save valuable time and help generate an ongoing pipeline for the production of high-quality content.

One Place To Organize, Delegate, And Manage Everything

Depending on your content strategy, after a certain point, it can become unwieldy to keep track of all content production activities using spreadsheets, emails, text files, word docs, or sticky notes.

An editorial calendar allows businesses to plan, organize, delegate, track, and manage all of their content production effectively from one place.

It also allows a content production team to plan and work collaboratively and break the process into manageable workflow steps, assign tasks to individual team members, set priorities and deadlines for each item, adjust shifts in content needs and timing, and communicate with each other during each stage and level of production through notes and comments.

Keep in mind, however, that while some businesses may choose to use one ‘source of truth’ application for managing all of their content production, other organizations may have different departments or teams with different calendars to meet their content schedules.

For example, an organization may have a team of writers focused on creating content for their blog, a team (or individuals) managing their social media campaigns, and a marketing team or person running email campaigns and newsletters.

In this case, the organization could have different calendars to manage different content needs and all these separate content schedules would need to be coordinated to make sure that every team meets its targets and deadlines.

Content Schedule chart with multiple content calendars.
Some organizations may need to run multiple schedules and calendars to meet their content needs.

Helps Achieve Strategic Goals

An editorial calendar can assist a business to achieve goals set in its content strategy in a number of ways, including helping to:

  • Improve focus.
  • Meet critical milestones.
  • Track promotional activities.
  • Grow leads and improve conversion rates.
  • Increase sales and sign-ups on newsletters and registrations.
  • Build brand awareness.
  • Determine whether sufficient content is being produced for each persona being targeted by the business.

Meet Deadlines

An editorial calendar can help team members plan content ahead of time to meet specific timeframes and deadlines.

This is especially important if the business strategy requires new content to be published by a certain date to coincide with product launches, sales, or other time-based events.

It can also help to eliminate writer’s block. If the topic is set, a brief is clearly stated, and all background information is provided, the content writer can log in for the day, check the calendar, and begin working immediately on their project or assignment.

Managing Your Content Calendar

As a content manager working with a content production team, you will probably be the person responsible for managing the content calendar (unless someone else is appointed as calendar manager).

Even if you allow team members to add and edit items on the calendar, it’s helpful to have one person managing it and being accountable for it.

The calendar manager is responsible for deciding:

  • Who manages the calendar
  • Who can access the calendar (view only, view and edit, etc.)
  • Which projects will be added to the calendar
  • How often the calendar will be reviewed, updated, and cleaned up

Additionally, the calendar owner/manager is responsible for:

  • Making sure that deadlines are being set and met.
  • Nudging team members as deadlines approach.
  • Calling out anything that doesn’t look right.

How To Create An Editorial Calendar

Before creating an editorial calendar, make sure that the following processes are already in place:

  1. Goals, audiences, budgets, etc. have been defined in your content strategy.
  2. content plan has been created for your team.
  3. You have set up a schedule for your content production team. See this lesson for an example of what this step might look like: Content Production Team Schedule.

Once these processes are in place, you are ready to create your editorial calendar. The video below provides an overview of the process.

Source: coschedule.com

Let’s go through the steps:

1. Decide On Content Types

Check your content plan and decide on the content types your team will create.

For example:

  • Blog posts and articles
  • Social Media posts
  • Emails
  • Videos
  • Infographics
  • Lead Gen Reports
  • Guides and Ebooks
  • Webinars
  • Podcasts
  • Print magazines, brochures, or newsletters.
  • Other marketing projects.

2. Choose Your Tools

You can use a range of tools to create and track content production. Often, a combination of tools is needed to achieve the best results and these can vary from organization to organization and even from team to team.

Your business may or may not have already invested in some of these tools. If it has, then learn to use these tools. If not, refer to the Content Production Tools section for free and paid tools that will help you build and manage a content production workflow.

Types Of Content Calendars

An editorial calendar doesn’t have to be a digital tool to begin the process. Depending on what the business wants to do and how much content it plans to create to start with, you could begin with a diary, printed calendars and/or a whiteboard.

Stock image of diary on a desk with a pen, paper clips, mobile phone and glasses.
This is a step in the right direction if you’re just getting started but has many limitations for content planning and production. Image: Pixabay.

While this is a step in the right direction toward organizing your content workflow if you’re just getting started, non-digital tools are limited in what they can do. You can’t edit these easily, or use them to coordinate assigning editorial work or move projects through different stages of content planning and production.

In this case, using a spreadsheet is a better option to start with. You can make your own content calendar or use a spreadsheet template. There are many editorial and content calendar spreadsheet templates available and we provide links to these in the “Resources” section of this lesson.

Content Calendar Excel Spreadsheet Template
You can use a spreadsheet template to create a content calendar. Source: Vertex42

You can also use a tool like Google Calendar to schedule your content.

Google Calendar
Image source: Google Calendar

Using a spreadsheet template or Google calendar is not a bad way to start, especially if you’re designing a prototype for your content scheduling or production workflow.

You can also use a Kanban board to create your content calendar. A Kanban board application looks like a virtual whiteboard with digital post-it notes that contain information about each project and can be moved across different columns after each stage of the process is completed.

Editorial Calendar Template - Trello
Editorial calendar template from Trello. Image source.

For more information on different types of tools you can use for editorial and content calendars, see this article: How to Create an Editorial Calendar [Examples & Template]

Additionally, see this excellent article on creating a social media content calendar.


For a list of free and paid tools you can use to create and run an editorial calendar that lets you assign tasks to individual team members or authors, set publishing schedules, allow your entire team access to track content through different stages of production, and know what and when content is being published, see these sections:

3. Set Up Content Production Processes And Workflows

The easiest way to get your marketing/content team involved in using the editorial calendar is to build workflows for your standard content creation processes into it.

To do this, you need to:

  1. List all the individual steps (processes) in your content production process,
  2. Organize these in a logical sequence, and
  3. Set up a workflow in your calendar tool.

For example, the following processes and team members may be involved in the production of new blog posts or articles:

  1. Add a new topic. (Editor)
  2. Research background information (e.g. create a content brief, do topic research, competitive analysis, keyword research, linking opportunities, etc.) and add these to the item. (Editor/SEO)
  3. Assign an author. (Editor)
  4. Create an outline of the post or article. (Author)
  5. Approve outline. (Editor)
  6. Write an initial draft. (Author)
  7. Design/create/source visual content. (Illustrator/Graphic Designer)
  8. Create/source media [optional]. (Video Producer)
  9. Review/Edit initial draft. (Editor)
  10. Make changes to draft and submit for review. (Author)
  11. Review/edit amended draft. (Editor)
  12. Make changes to draft, then transfer to CMS, format content, and add additional elements like artwork, media, etc. (Author)
  13. Submit draft for technical review [optional]. (Author)
  14. Technical review/edit. (Product Manager)
  15. Make changes and submit the final draft for review. (Author)
  16. Approve content in the final draft. (Editor/Product Manager)
  17. Publish. (Editor/Author)
  18. Schedule content for promotion. (Editor/Marketing Team)

So, documenting the above workflow would look something like this…

Flowchart - Blog Content Production Workflow.
Example of a content production workflow for creating new blog posts.

Once you have figured out your content production workflow, set the processes up in your content planning tool/editorial calendar as columns in your spreadsheet, kanban board, etc.

Blog Production Spreadsheet - Workflow
Add the workflow processes to your content planning tool.

Note: Some workflow processes include subtasks that need to be completed before content production can proceed to the next stage, so make sure to document these as well.

For example, adding a new task to production can involve completing subtasks like:

  • Gathering research sources and references
  • Performing keyword research
  • Analyzing content from the competition
  • Creating an editorial brief for authors
  • Sourcing internal linking opportunities
  • etc.

And creating an initial draft can involve subtasks like:

  • Requesting visual artwork (images, banners, etc.) from illustrators or graphic designers
  • Requesting media (e.g. videos) to be created
  • Interviewing subject experts
  • etc.

Some tools allow you to add checklists and templates to explain the workflow and ensure that all essential or required tasks and subtasks are completed successfully at each stage.

CoSchedule task templates
Task templates help to ensure that workflow processes get followed and tasks get completed on time. Source: Coschedule

4. Create A List Of Content Ideas

After deciding on the editorial calendar tool(s) you will use, the next step is to build a content backlog (i.e. a list of content ideas) to start organizing and tracking ideas and topics for articles and other content.

You can use a spreadsheet for this or just create a column on your content planning board for adding content ideas and topics for team discussion that may or may not make it to production.

Screenshot of Jira board used for content planning.
Add a column to your content planning board for content ideas and topics for discussion. Source: WPMU DEV

Next, start adding a few headings to organize your content.

For example:

  • Title – Article title or content topic
  • Author – Assign an author (if there are multiple writers)
  • Status – Set the project status here (e.g. discussion, assigned, draft, review, published, etc.)
  • Date – Add the publication date

Additional headings you can add include special dates and anniversaries, themes and distribution channels, trending topics/new launches relevant to your industry or niche, seasonal content, and key sales dates.

Once you have this information, you are ready to begin using your editorial calendar.

How To Use An Editorial Calendar

With the prerequisite Content Strategy and Content Planning steps done, you can avoid the chaotic, disorganized, and often stressful scramble to come up with content at the last minute, begin the more methodical and effective route of scheduling content in advance, and get your content production pipeline rolling.

5. Schedule Your Initial Content

Ideally, you would schedule anywhere from 2-6 weeks’ worth of content ahead of time, depending on how much content you plan to produce and how many people are on your team.

Set up your content tasks into your content production tool, allowing enough time for each step of the process to meet content production targets and deadlines.

6 . Move Content Into Production

After scheduling your initial content, your team can begin to produce it. Make sure that every member of your team knows how to access and use your content production tool to move things along when each stage is completed (e.g. from writing an initial draft of an article to initial review).


Color-Code Content

Color coding the content on your calendar helps to keep your content activities organized, and allows your team to quickly identify content types, projects, or other agreed-upon ways to classify your processes.

You can color-code your editorial calendar however you like, as long as the color scheme is consistent and everyone in the team understands what the colors refer to. Some tools offer built-in color-coding functionality and allow you to specify custom colors and color schemes.

Some examples of using color-coding in your calendar include classifying content by:

  • Campaign, theme, or category
  • Team member/author
  • Content marketing channel
  • Any content-related activity where there is more than one type involved.
Infographic: Color code your way to an organized workspace with office products.
Use a color-coding scheme to organize your content calendar. Source: Quill.com

7. Build Your Content Pipeline

If the goal of your organization is to keep publishing content on a regular basis, then you need to build a forward-looking content pipeline into your editorial calendar.

You should be continually adding and queuing up new content for production, moving things along each stage of the pipeline, and having articles or other content ready for publication coming out at the other end.

If you’re just getting started with your content production process, you will probably need to put in extra work at the beginning to start filling your editorial calendar and feed your content pipeline.

This might mean getting a team of in-house or outsourced writers to create extra content until you have a suitable volume of content to publish or spending some time each day or week creating additional content.

8. Optimize & Refine Your Content Process

Content production is not a “set and forget” process. It needs to operate like a well-oiled machine. And like all machines, your content process needs to be periodically reviewed, maintained, and adjusted.

This means identifying and eliminating unnecessary processes, removing bottlenecks, making sure that all tools being used are fit for their purpose, reviewing processes and procedures with your team, and ensuring that the editorial process works for everyone.

In addition to making sure that your content team isn’t being slowed down or affected by a lack of skills or training on using tools or understanding processes,  some of the more common areas to review periodically include:

  • Your content production schedule
  • Your content production tools
  • The volume of content that’s backed up and why it’s not getting published
  • The average time the content sits in the pipeline between each stage of production.
  • Other metrics that the business is tracking.

For an excellent step-by-step tutorial on setting up an editorial calendar, see this article: How To Create An Editorial Calendar The Best Way

Editorial Calendar - Infographic
Infographic: How to plan a perfect editorial calendar. Source: Co-Schedule

Content Calendar Checklist

  • Define the goals and objectives of your content calendar: Clearly define the goals and objectives of the content calendar, such as ensuring a consistent flow of content and aligning with business objectives.
  • Identify key themes: Identify the key themes that align with your business goals and audience interests.
  • Gather existing content: Gather existing content, such as blog posts, videos, and social media updates, that can be repurposed or used as a starting point for new content.
  • Research content ideas: Research content ideas based on the themes and audience interests identified earlier.
  • Create a content calendar template: Create a content calendar template that includes columns for the content type, topic, target audience, deadline, and any other relevant information.
  • Fill in the calendar: Fill in the content calendar with the content ideas and existing content.
  • Set a publishing schedule: Set a publishing schedule for the content, taking into account the desired frequency and the target audience’s behavior.
  • Allocate resources: Allocate resources for creating, publishing, and promoting your content.
  • Coordinate with other teams: Coordinate with other teams, such as marketing and product development, to ensure the content aligns with the overall company goals and objectives.
  • Continuously monitor and update: Continuously monitor and update the content calendar based on the results and feedback.


Creating and managing a content strategy can be daunting and trying to maintain a regular publishing schedule without a tool for planning, tracking, and coordinating content activities can be challenging.

An editorial calendar is an ideal tool for managing content planning and streamlining content production activities from a central hub. It will help your team stay focused and on track and ensure the consistent delivery and publishing of high-quality content for your business.

Action Steps

Decide on the right editorial calendar tool for your business, set up a content production schedule, get your content team involved in using it to build a content pipeline and publish regular new content, and periodically review and improve your processes.


Visit our tools and resources section for additional courses, guides, and helpful tools and resources for content managers.


Next Lesson


Source: Calendar

Content Planning

Learn how to create a content plan and manage your content planning process effectively to meet your organization’s strategic outcomes.

Content Planning

Learn how to create a content plan and manage your content planning process effectively to meet your organization’s strategic outcomes.

ContentManagementCourse.com - Content Planning Module

Man with laptop and writing pad.An effective content strategy requires an actionable content plan that allows your business or organization to create and regularly publish content that targets the right audience and meets strategic goals.

In this lesson, we’ll cover:

  • What is a content plan?
  • Why do you need a content plan?
  • Benefits of developing a content plan for your organization
  • The content planning process
  • How to create a content plan


Before You Begin

Make sure to review and complete the lessons in the Content Strategy module before you begin.

Additionally, we recommend subscribing to our free content management course email lessons if you haven’t already, as these provide a practical step-by-step way to implement the lessons in this course.

As a subscriber, you will also get notified when new posts (containing practical information and valuable content management tips) are added to our blog.

What Is A Content Plan?

A content plan is a document that specifies:

  1. What content your business will create to target potential customers at all stages of their buyer journey, and
  2. How this content will be created.

A content plan also outlines:

  • Who is responsible for creating the content
  • What the purpose of the content is
  • How the content impacts your content strategy.

Content planning is the structure by which your company determines which content initiatives to execute and when. It’s all about processes and workflows

Source: Divvyhq

A content plan is integral to your marketing activity and should be consulted regularly as the business builds its content marketing funnel.

It’s important to note that content strategy and content planning are two different things.

A content strategy is the overarching plan for creating, publishing, and managing content that aligns with the goals and objectives of your organization. It defines the goals for the content, the audience it will target, and the overall tone and style of the content.

A content plan, on the other hand, is the tactical plan for executing your content strategy. It outlines the specific pieces of content that will be created, the channels through which they will be distributed, and the schedule for publishing and promoting the content. It also includes tasks and responsibilities for creating, editing, and publishing the content.

In short, a content strategy is the “why” and “what” of content creation, while a content plan is the “how” and “when”.

Your content strategy directs all of your marketing channels where your content lives. It’s where you outline all the different marketing goals you have and how you plan to achieve these goals.

When your strategy’s ready to go, you’ll turn to content planning to determine how you’ll execute that plan. Your content plan will outline all of the assets and data you need to achieve the goals you set in your strategy.

Source: SemRush

Why Do You Need A Content Plan?

To understand why having a content plan is essential, consider what can happen to businesses that create and publish content without a content strategy and a content plan.

Let’s suppose that a small business has a blog where it can publish articles to increase its visibility on search engines and attract new customers.

The business owner has ideas for topics to write articles about and begins to write and publish content on the blog. She soon finds that she is too busy attending to other areas of the business, however, and delegates this task to one of her staff members.

The staff member, however, doesn’t have the “full picture” of the business like the owner has, and so is unaware of all the areas that could benefit from using content to educate, inform, train, and attract new customers. He is also busy and after a short time, he too starts running out of ideas for new article topics to write about.

The business owner then decides to outsource its content creation. Lacking the budget to hire a full-service marketing agency that can develop a content strategy for the business and take over and manage their blog, they hire a person with SEO skills to come up with new content for the blog.

The SEO expert, however, also doesn’t have the “full picture” of the business, so he does some content research about the industry, niche, and its competitors, and supplies the business with a list of article topics based on keywords it could potentially rank for.

The SEO expert doesn’t write the actual content, so the business outsources its article writing to freelance writers. After a while, they also begin to accept submissions from guest bloggers.

Although the business is getting content published on its blog, the content doesn’t seem to be effective at driving traffic or attracting new customers. So, the business owner assigns another staff member to perform a content audit.

The content audit reveals that many articles are simply too general to rank competitively in the search engines and are not addressing the specific needs and pain points of their target audience. It also reveals that multiple articles are targeting the same keywords and ‘cannibalizing’ each other. Many of the articles submitted by guest bloggers also link to sites that are not relevant to the business.

Instead of using content strategically to grow the business, the business now has a bunch of content that doesn’t contribute to helping the business achieve its goals and a blog that needs cleaning up.

Just think how much more productive and effective this whole effort would have been had the business first invested in researching and creating a content strategy and incorporated its goals and research into a plan to drive content production before writing even a single piece of content.

Content Strategy Map
A content strategy map. Source: @CarlaGates247. Click on the image to enlarge it.

A content plan, then, is essential for ensuring that your business puts the right systems and workflow processes in place to create the right content, delivered to the right audience at the right time, using the right distribution channels, to achieve its strategic goals.

Content Plan Goals
The goal of your Content Plan is to deliver the goals of your Content Strategy.

Benefits Of Developing A Content Plan

Think about the benefits of having a content plan this way…

One well-planned piece of content (e.g. a blog post, video, etc.) that is perfectly aligned with the strategic goals and objectives of the business, that hits the spot with the right target audience, and that gets picked up by search engines and/or linked to from other websites, can continue driving new traffic, leads, sales, and subscribers long after it’s been published.

Additionally, a content plan:

  • Addresses each step of the content creation process and how to research, create, publish, and track the content.
  • Helps to create content that will target the right audience, increase engagement and retention, and drive more traffic and sales to the business.
  • Makes it easier for teams to create, collaborate on, and share information about the content.
  • Helps to avoid unnecessary costs or delays in important strategic areas, like preparing a budget or requesting additional resources.

Content Planning Goals And Objectives

Common content planning goals and objectives include:

  • Audience understanding: The goal is to understand the target audience and create content that meets their needs, interests, and preferences. This can be achieved by conducting market research, creating buyer personas, and analyzing website traffic data.
  • Content creation: The goal is to create high-quality, engaging, and relevant content that meets your target audience’s needs. This can be achieved by writing blog posts, creating videos, and designing graphics and infographics.
  • Content optimization: The goal is to improve the quality and performance of content by ensuring it is well-written, visually appealing, and optimized for search engines and social media. This can be achieved by optimizing headlines, meta descriptions, and images, using keywords and hashtags, and making sure the content is mobile-friendly.
  • Content distribution: The goal is to distribute and promote content through various channels, such as social media, email, and other digital platforms. This can be achieved by publishing content on the website, sharing it on social media, and sending newsletters.
  • Content measurement and analytics: The goal is to track and measure your content’s performance in terms of engagement, conversion, and other key performance indicators (KPIs). This can be achieved by using analytics tools to track website traffic, social media engagement, and conversion rates.
  • Content repurposing: The goal is to repurpose existing content in new and different formats for different channels and audiences. This can be achieved by republishing a blog post as a video, creating an e-book from a series of blog posts, or turning a podcast episode into a transcript.
  • Content updating: The goal is to keep your content up-to-date and relevant by updating or removing outdated information. This can be achieved by updating a blog post with new information, removing a broken link, or revising an old video.
  • Content governance: The goal is to ensure that all content is accurate, up-to-date, and compliant with legal, ethical, and brand guidelines. This can be achieved by creating and enforcing a content style guide, regularly reviewing and updating content, and ensuring that all content is accessible and inclusive.
  • Budget and resources allocation: The goal is to plan and allocate the budget and resources needed to achieve your content goals. This can be achieved by identifying the cost of creating, distributing, and measuring the content, and allocating resources to create, review, and publish the content.
  • Content calendar: The goal is to plan and organize your content creation and publishing schedule. This can be achieved by creating an editorial calendar, scheduling the publishing of blog posts, and creating a plan for the distribution of your content.

The Content Planning Process

Your content planning process should flow from your content strategy.

Before creating your content plan, your business should have already defined its content strategy with clear goals, performed an audience analysis and competitive analysis, assessed its resources, determined a content budget, and specified ways to track and analyze results.

If you need help in this area, see our lesson on how to create a content strategy.

Once this is done, you can create a content plan (see next section below) that will help your business align its content with its customer’s buyer journey and identify the topics, needs, and questions to address in the content.

The content planning process also involves doing a content audit to determine if the existing content can be used as-is or if it needs to be updated and to identify any content gaps or new opportunities that can be created or developed.

The content planning process also needs to incorporate elements like:

  • A content production plan to determine the format of each content piece it will produce and identify who the subject experts, authors, and contributors will be for each item.
  • A content measurement plan with performance measures to determine the objective of each item of content created and how its performance will be tracked and measured, as this will help to assess whether the content is delivering its strategic goals.
  • A content distribution plan to identify which online and offline channels will be used to get the content in front of your intended target audience.
Content Planning Process
An effective content planning process.

Different approaches to creating a content plan can also include additional elements like onboarding and training and communication processes.

Elements of Content Planning - DivvyHQ
Your content plan can also incorporate additional elements like onboarding and training team members and communication tools and processes for better collaboration. Source: DivvyHQ.com

Example Of A Content Plan

Below is an example of what a simple content plan for a  software company might look like:

  • Audience: Small business owners looking for an easy-to-use accounting software
  • Goal: Increase website traffic, generate leads
  • Competitors: Quickbooks, Xero
  • Topics:
    • How to streamline your invoicing process
    • Tips for managing your business finances
    • How to get the most out of your accounting software
  • Plan:
    • Blog post: once a week
    • YouTube video: once a month
    • Infographic: Once a quarter
  • Distribution:
    • Social media: LinkedIn, Facebook
    • Email marketing: Weekly newsletter
    • Paid Advertising: Google Ads, Facebook ads

Now that we have covered what a content plan is and why businesses need one, let’s look at how to create one.

How To Create A Content Plan

Here are the steps for creating an effective content plan for your business or organization:

1. Ask Content Planning Questions

Once you have a content strategy in place, begin the content planning process by asking questions like:

  • Who is the content for?
  • Where will the content be published?
  • What problem(s)/challenge(s) does the content help to solve?
  • Why/how is your business different?
  • How will you deliver your message?
  • How will you create the content?

See this excellent content planning article for more details on how to answer the above questions: Content Planning: How to Create a Content Plan That Brings Results.

2. What To Include In Your Content Plan

Your Content Plan will most likely consist of a document that includes all the research, analysis, and marketing collateral laid out in the content strategy, with information such as:

Content Planning Templates

There are different content planning templates you can use and various workflow tools provide content planning templates that can be imported into the tool and then customized to suit your needs.

Content Planning Template - Monday.com
Use a content planning template to present and communicate your content plan to team members. Source: Monday.com

Some templates, for example, suit Kanban-style content workflows…

Content Planning Template - Teamwork.com
Content Planning Template for Kanban-style workflow processes – Source: Teamwork.com

Other templates are suitable for spreadsheet-like content workflows…

Content Plan Sample Template - Smartsheet.com
Prefer working with spreadsheets? Then use a more spreadsheet-like content plan template. Source: Smartsheet.com

For links to various content planning templates, see the Resources section at the end of this lesson.

3. Create Your Content Plan

As mentioned earlier, there are different approaches you can take to create your content plan.

To keep things simple, we’ll go through the basic steps of creating a content plan that involves the following steps:

  1. Define your goals
  2. Set the content frequency
  3. Choose your content types
  4. Choose your content topics
  5. Choose your content distribution channels
  6. Allocate your resources
  7. Set up your team communications
  8. Choose your content management tools
  9. Set up a content publishing schedule and create a content calendar
  10. Assign tasks and deadlines to members
  11. Create a content measurement plan
  12. Schedule a periodic review of your content plan

Let’s go briefly through each of these steps:

1. Define Your Goals

Think about why you are developing a content plan and why you want to produce content. Knowing your goals will make determining what’s best for your strategy easier and clearer.

Defining goals for your content plan is easier if you have already defined your target audience (including your buyer persona) and performed a content audit to assess and understand your best- and worst-content types.

For a downloadable template that can help you with this step, go here: How To Determine Your SMART Marketing Goals

2. Set Your Content Frequency

“How often should you be publishing new content?”

If you run a news website, you’ll likely need to publish multiple articles a day to keep up with the latest developments. On the other hand, if you’re running a personal blog or a small business, you might only have the capacity to publish once or twice a week or a few times a month.

Also, when it comes to content, more isn’t always better. It’s important to find a balance between producing enough content to keep your audience engaged, but not so much that it becomes overwhelming or low quality.

Consider your audience, your resources, and your goals when determining the frequency of your content. In general, it’s a good idea to find a frequency that can be sustained over the long term. Consistency is key when it comes to content marketing, so it’s better to publish on a regular schedule rather than trying to push out as much content as possible and then burn out.

3. Choose Your Content Types

There are a number of options you can choose to create content, including:

  • Blog posts
  • Videos
  • Social media
  • Emails
  • eBooks
  • Case studies
  • Infographics
  • Podcasts
  • Templates
  • etc.

The type of content you create will depend on how your audience prefers to consume information and which stage they are at in your marketing funnel.

For example, social media posts work well for increasing brand awareness and targeting TOFU (top-of-the-funnel) users, while publishing content using blog posts is more effective at targeting MOFU (middle-of-the-funnel) users and increasing organic search traffic, and email marketing is best used for converting a BOFU (bottom-of-the-funnel) audience who may be ready to buy products and services your business.

Content Plan
Make sure to specify in your content plan what type of content you plan to create, and for what purpose. Source: SemRush.com

For more information on the different content types that you can use in your content marketing strategy, see this lesson: Content Marketing

4. Choose Your Content Topics

“What content should you be writing or talking about?”

Again, this will depend on your goals and audience.

If you’re running a business, you’ll want to focus on topics that are relevant to your products or services. For example, if you sell outdoor gear, you might want to write about hiking, camping, and other outdoor activities.

It’s also a good idea to consider what your audience is interested in. You can use social media polls, surveys, and other tools to get a sense of what your followers want to see more of.

It’s important to consider what your audience is interested in and what will be relevant to them. This can involve researching industry trends, keeping an eye on your competitors, and seeking feedback from your audience. You should also consider what topics align with your business or organization’s goals and values.

5. Choose Your Content Distribution Channels

“How should you be getting your content out into the world?

Content distribution channels are the channels through which content is shared and promoted. There are many channels you can choose to publish and share your content on, depending on your audience and resources.

For example:

Distribution channels can be divided into three main types: owned, earned, and paid.

Content Distribution Channels - HubSpot
Content distribution channels can be owned, paid, or earned. Source: HubSpot

Using one or more of these channels can increase the effectiveness of your published content and help you reach your goals.

It’s important to find the right mix of distribution channels for your business or personal brand. For example, if you’re targeting a younger audience, you might want to focus on social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok. If you’re targeting a more professional audience, LinkedIn might be a better fit.

For more information on using different content channels to distribute and promote your content, see this lesson: Content Distribution

6. Allocate Your Resources

An effective content plan requires allocating both financial and personnel resources.

A budget should be allocated for creating and distributing your content. This may involve hiring writers, designers, and marketers to produce and promote the content.

In addition, your business may need to invest in tools such as a content management system, social media management platforms, and analytics software to effectively manage and measure the success of the content.

Also, personnel resources should be allocated to ensure that all aspects of the content plan are effectively executed.

This may include assigning a dedicated content manager or team to oversee the creation and distribution of the content. Your content team should be composed of individuals with diverse skills such as writing, design, marketing, and analytics, and may even extend to subject experts, experienced authors, and guest contributors.

Your content strategy should provide you with an assessment of business resources and a budget for creating and promoting content using either a dedicated in-house team and/or outsourced resources.

How your business chooses to allocate its resources will have a significant impact on the implementation and execution of your content plan.

For example, if you plan to create articles for your blog, who will write them? Will blog writing be assigned to an employee who is already performing in a different role as an additional responsibility (because your business lacks resources to set up a content team), a dedicated blog writer, an outsourced freelance article writer, or a guest blogger?

Content Team - Organization Chart
What kind of budget does your business have to put a content team together? Click image to enlarge

7. Set Up Your Team Communications

Having a consistent and cohesive content plan is essential for any business or organization looking to effectively communicate with its audience.

However, with multiple teams and stakeholders involved, it can be a challenge to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

Content planning involves extensive communication with stakeholders across different areas of the organization and coordinating and collaborating with your content production team, so it’s important to make sure that you can communicate easily and exchange information promptly and transparently with everyone involved in the process.

First, it’s important to establish clear lines of communication and establish a central point of contact for content-related issues. This could be a content manager or a designated member of the marketing team.

Next, consider setting up regular meetings or check-ins with all relevant teams and stakeholders to discuss the content plan. This can help ensure that everyone is on the same page and can provide an opportunity to address any concerns or issues.

It’s also a good idea to establish clear guidelines and processes for creating and approving content. This can include things like a content calendar, editorial guidelines, and a review and approval process.

Finally, it’s important to choose the right tools to make sure that everyone has access to the latest version of the content plan and can communicate effectively. For example, a document management system.

Most likely your business will have already set up team communication channels (e.g. Slack and email for exchanging information, and Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, or Skype, for live video conference calls and online presentations – especially if your team includes members working remotely), so use these tools and your content production team meetings to keep everyone informed and up-to-date on the progress and any changes or new developments made to your content plan.

8. Choose Your Content Management Tools

If you’re responsible for creating and managing content for your business or organization, it’s important to have the right tools in place to make the process as efficient and effective as possible.

Consider using tools like project management software or a content management system to help coordinate content creation and ensure that everyone has access to the latest version of the content plan.

Project management software helps individuals and teams plan, organize, and manage tasks and resources for projects.

These tools typically include features such as task assignments, calendars, timelines, and communication tools to keep team members on track and informed. They also often include tools for tracking time, expenses, and progress, as well as the ability to generate reports and analytics.

Some popular examples of project management software include Monday.com, Asana, and Trello. See more project management tools.

A content management system (CMS) is a software application that enables users to create, manage, and publish digital content, typically for websites.

The content could be in form of text, images, audio, and video files. A CMS typically includes a user-friendly interface that allows non-technical users to easily create, edit, and publish content without the need for extensive technical knowledge.

It also provides tools for organizing and categorizing content, and for controlling access and permissions for different users. Some popular examples of CMS include WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla.

Some key considerations when choosing the right content management tools include:

  • Budget: There is a wide range of content management tools available, ranging from free options to more expensive enterprise-level solutions. Determine what you can afford and look for tools that offer the features you need at a price that fits your budget.
  • Your team and their needs: Does your team need a tool that is user-friendly and easy to learn, or are they more tech-savvy and comfortable with more advanced features? Make sure to choose a tool that meets the needs of your team and will be easy for them to use.
  • Your content workflow: Which features do you need to support your content workflow? For example, do you need a tool that allows for collaboration, organization, distribution, and version control, or do you just need something simple to store and organize your content? Make a list of your must-have features and look for a tool that meets those needs.

Don’t be afraid to try out different tools and see what works best for you. It may take some trial and error to find the right fit, but it’s worth the effort to find a tool that makes your content management process as efficient and effective as possible.

9. Set Up A Content Publishing Schedule

A content publishing schedule is an important part of any content marketing strategy. It helps you plan and organize your content in advance, so you can consistently publish high-quality content for your audience.

Whether you are publishing blog posts, social media updates, or videos, having a set schedule for when you release new content can help you stay organized and attract and retain an audience.

An editorial calendar or content calendar lets you organize and schedule all the content your business or organization needs to produce and publish.

See our in-depth lesson on creating an editorial or content calendar here: Editorial Calendar

Establishing a content publishing schedule is only effective if you stick to it. Make sure to set a sustainable content frequency and allocate enough time and resources to create and publish your content on a consistent basis.

10. Assign Tasks And Deadlines To Members

Effective task assignment is an important part of managing a team. It helps ensure that work is completed efficiently and on schedule.

As a  team leader or manager, it’s important to know how to assign tasks and deadlines to your team members in a way that is clear, organized, and fair.

Here are some steps you can follow to effectively assign tasks and deadlines to your team:

Clearly define the task

Make sure to provide clear and detailed descriptions of the task and ensure that everyone on the team understands the expected outcomes. Include any necessary resources or instructions.

Consider each team member’s skills and workload:

Think about which team member is best suited to complete the task and assign the task to the right person.

Consider their current workload and capacity. It’s important to balance the workload among team members to prevent burnout.

Set a realistic deadline

Deadlines help ensure that tasks are completed in a timely manner. Consider how long tasks will take to complete and set deadlines accordingly.

Take into account the complexity of the task and the availability of the team member. It’s important to be realistic about what can be achieved within a certain time frame, as setting unrealistic deadlines can lead to frustration and missed expectations.

If it takes 5 to 7 days to create, review, and approve a comprehensive, well-researched and authoritative article, don’t expect it to be published in two days. It just puts unnecessary pressure on everyone.

Communicate the task and deadline

Make sure to clearly communicate the task and deadlines to the team members in your content brief.

Use team meetings, email, or an online project management tool to follow up and ensure that they understand the task and have everything they need to complete it.

Monitor progress and provide support

Check-in with your team members periodically to make sure the task is on track to be completed by the deadline.

Keep track of their progress and offer assistance and support as needed. This might involve providing additional resources or answering questions.

By following these steps, you can effectively assign tasks and deadlines to your team, helping everyone work together efficiently to ensure that the work is completed efficiently and on schedule.

Create guidelines for assigning tasks

Create guidelines for assigning tasks to members that include the points mentioned above and add these guidelines to your team’s workflow documentation.

11. Create a Content Measurement And Content ROI Plan

A content strategy requires a way to measure the performance of all content created to help the business achieve its overall objectives. This is necessary to justify both the investment (i.e. budget) and the methods used to create and distribute content.

The content plan is where you formulate a plan to measure your content performance in terms of meeting strategic goals and content marketing ROI.

Measuring content performance typically involves analyzing metrics such as engagement (e.g. likes, shares, comments), traffic (e.g. page views, unique visitors), lead generation (e.g. email signups, demo requests), conversions, bounce rate, etc.

To measure content ROI, you need to track the revenue generated from your content marketing activities and compare it to the costs associated with creating and promoting the content.

For example, if your company spends $5,000 on creating and promoting a blog post and that post generated $10,000 in revenue from leads generated, the content ROI would be 100%.

Another example is A/B testing for website landing pages. You can measure the conversion rate of the different versions of the landing page, and see which one performed better in terms of lead generation or sales.

It is also important to track and measure your content’s performance over time. You can do this using analytics tools such as Google Analytics and social media analytics to track engagement and traffic, and by monitoring lead generation metrics such as email signups, demo requests, and sales.

Learn more about content metrics and content tracking.

Meeting Strategic Goals

A content measurement plan provides an objective way that everyone in the organization can use to:

  • Measure the success and effectiveness of its content strategies based on setting KPIs and identifying metrics,
  • Make more informed decisions about the content channels and methods being used, and
  • Identify areas that need addressing or gaps that need filling.
Content Measurement Plan
A content measurement plan lets you know if you are meeting your content goals. Source: CSR

For more details on how to create and implement a plan to meet strategic content goals, see this article: How To Create A Content Measurement Plan

Return On Investment

A plan for measuring the return on investment of your content involves:

1. Calculating how much was spent producing the content.
2: Figuring out the cost to distribute the content.
3: Working out how much the content generated in revenue.
4: Calculating the content marketing ROI.

How To Calculate Content Marketing ROI
Content Marketing ROI formula. Source: OptinMonster

For more details on how to create this 4-step formula, see this excellent article: How To Measure Your Content Marketing ROI

12. Schedule A Periodic Review Of Your Content Plan

The last step is to schedule a periodic review of your content plan (e.g. quarterly, half-yearly, annually) to make sure that everything set out in the plan is progressing along, that all strategic goals are being met, and to figure out how to improve things if goals are not being met.

Make sure to include content reviews as part of your periodic content plan review.

Content Planning Challenges

While content planning helps your business to identify the goals, topics, and formats of the content that will be created and is a crucial step in the content creation process, it can also present some challenges.

Here are some of the challenges of content planning:

  1. Setting clear goals: Setting clear and measurable goals for the content can be challenging, as it requires a good understanding of the target audience, the industry, and the business objectives.
  2. Identifying relevant topics: Identifying relevant topics that will engage the target audience and align with the goals of the content can be challenging, as it requires a good understanding of the audience’s interests, pain points, and industry trends.
  3. Content format: Deciding on the format of the content that will be created can be challenging, as it requires understanding the audience’s preferences and the goals of the content.
  4. Scheduling: Scheduling the content creation and publishing process can be challenging, as it requires balancing the need for timely and relevant content with the resources and capabilities of the team.
  5. Collaboration: Collaborating with different teams and stakeholders can be challenging, as it requires effective communication and coordination to ensure that the content aligns with the overall goals and objectives of the organization.
  6. Budgeting: Allocating the necessary budget for the content creation process can be challenging, as it requires balancing the costs with the expected return on investment.
  7. Measuring success: Measuring the success of the content can be challenging, as it requires tracking metrics such as engagement, traffic, and conversion rates, and then using that data to improve future content planning.

As you can see, content planning requires a good understanding of your target audience, your industry, and your business objectives, as well as effective communication and coordination between all members of your content team.

Content Planning Checklist

  • Define goals and objectives: Clearly define the goals and objectives for the content, such as increasing brand awareness or driving website traffic.
  • Audience research: Conduct research to understand the demographics, interests, and pain points of your target audience. This will help inform the topics and tone of your content.
  • Competitive research: Analyze the content of your competitors to understand what topics and formats are resonating with your target audience and how you can differentiate your content.
  • Topic generation: Generate a list of potential topics for your content, based on your audience research and competitive analysis.
  • Content calendar: Create a content calendar that outlines the topics, formats, and publishing schedule for your content. This will help you stay organized and ensure a consistent flow of content.
  • Format and medium: Determine the format and medium that best suits your content and audience, such as blog posts, videos, podcasts, or infographics.
  • Keyword research: Research keywords related to your content topics to optimize for search engines and increase visibility.
  • Content creation: Create the content using the information gathered in the previous steps.
  • Review and approval: Review and get approval from relevant stakeholders before publishing
  • Promote and distribute: Develop a plan to promote and distribute your content through various channels such as social media, email, and paid advertising.
  • Measure and analyze: Use analytics tools to measure the success of your content and gather insights for future planning.


A content plan ensures that every piece of content you create is aligned with your content strategy and flows through the right stages in the right order, to the right people in order to meet strategic objectives.

Using a content plan template and a content calendar allows your business to execute its content plan while getting stakeholder feedback at the right times, and ensuring that everyone on the team can collaborate and see how each piece of content is progressing along.

Content planning also has challenges. Understanding your target audience, your industry, and your business objectives, and maintaining effective communication and coordination between the members of your content team can help your business overcome these challenges.

Action Steps

Follow the steps in this lesson and use the simple checklist below to create a content plan for your business:

  • Define your audience: Identify the demographics and psychographics of the people you want to target with your content. Understanding your audience will help you create content that resonates with them.
  • Set your goals: Determine what you want to achieve with your content. Goals can include increasing website traffic, generating leads, boosting brand awareness, or improving engagement on social media.
  • Research your competitors: Look at what other businesses in your industry are doing with their content. This can give you an idea of what has worked well in the past, and what strategies you might want to avoid.
  • Identify your topics: Choose the topics you will create content around. This might include product- or service-related information, industry news, or thought leadership pieces.
  • Plan your content: Decide on the content type (e.g. blog post, video, podcast, infographics) and schedule when you will publish it.
  • Create a distribution plan: Outline the channels you will use to distribute your content. For example, you might use social media, email marketing, or paid advertising.
  • Measure and evaluate: Create a content measurement plan. Define key metrics and implement content tracking methods to track the success of your content and regularly evaluate your results. Use this information to optimize your content and distribution strategy over time.



The articles below contain additional information that you may find useful to complete this lesson:

Next Lesson

The list below contains all the lessons included in this module:

Managing Content Ideas

Managing Your Content Ideas

Learn how to set up a simple and effective system for generating, storing, organizing, and managing your content ideas.
Content Planning

Content Planning

Learn how to create a content plan and manage your content planning process effectively to meet your organization's strategic outcomes.
Content Research

Content Research

Learn how to perform effective content research before investing time and effort into creating content for your business. 
Editorial Calendar

Editorial Calendar

Learn how to create, use, and manage an editorial calendar, and how it can help with your content planning, scheduling, and production.
Content Linking Planning Tips For Large Content Projects

Linking Content On Multiple Web Pages

How do you interlink content across many web pages when the content on those pages hasn't even been written yet? Here's how...
Mind Mapping

Mind Mapping

Use mind mapping to streamline your content planning and content creation process.
Content Planning Automation

Content Planning Automation

Streamline your content planning process and maximize your team's productivity with content planning automation.


Image: Man writing.