Using The Content Planner Spreadsheet

Content creation can be a daunting and arduous task. It’s not just the act of writing an article, but also the process of planning, collaboration, and research. If you’re working with a team or in a large company, it can get even more challenging.

So how can you streamline the content creation process and keep everything organized?

One simple tactic that will lay the groundwork for a powerful content marketing strategy is to create a content planner/guide. I understand that you want to jump right into content creation and start writing right away but at some point, you need to fully understand why you create content and what you are trying to achieve with it.

With a clear set of goals, you can confidently plan and create your content, knowing that you’re creating the type of content that will keep your readers engaged and will help grow your business.

In my case, I make it a habit to create a content guide for each of my websites even before they are launched. I send it to my content writers and I follow it myself when writing.

Throughout this course, you will learn how to structure and manage content creation by using the content planner spreadsheet.

Here’s an example for one of my new sites (FocusAmped.com):

Step 1:

Start a new Excel document. You can name it Content Plan/Content Guide. You can also add the month or year if you need to update this document on a monthly or yearly basis.

Content guide

Step 2:

Name the first tab SITE INFO.

Site Info

In separate rows, type in the following headers:

  • Site Name
  • URL (yourdomain.com)
  • Style/Tone (Formal? Informal? Business-like? Personal?)
  • Contributors (If you have multiple writers, you can write down their names here)
  • WordPress Username
  • WordPress Password
  • Notes/Description (Describe what your website is all about; important reminders for writers, etc.)
  • Research Docs for Writers (Links to any helpful and informative resources/research to help writers)
  • Other Important Links

headers

You can add more details, if necessary.

Step 3:

Add another tab (Click on the + button next to your first tab) for PAGES. Here, you will write down all important details, instructions, and reminders for adding content in specific pages in your website.

pages

In separate columns, type in the following headers:

  • Topic (Homepage, About page, Contact page, Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, Review Submissions, etc.)
  • Notes (Write down instructions for the writer)
  • Status (Is the content still in writing or is it already published?)
  • Published URL (the link where your writer posted the content after he/she finished writing it)
  • Title Tag
  • Research Doc/Links

Topics

 Step 4:

Add another tab for BLOG POSTS. Here, you’ll list down posts/articles that are going to be posted to your Blogs section.

blog

Do the same as in Step 3. In separate columns, type the following headers:

  • Topic (Potential topics/titles you want to assign to your writers)
  • Notes
  • Status
  • Published URL
  • Title Tag
  • Research Doc/Links

Step 5:

Add a new tab for REVIEWS.

review

Add the following headers in separate columns:

  • Title (Title of the article or name of the product being reviewed)
  • Status
  • Research Link(s) (Useful resources/research links where you or a writer can get more information about the product/service)
  • Published URL
  • Tone (Serious? Little bit of humor? Business-like?)
  • Number of Words (Minimum and maximum length of the content)
  • Important Docs/Links
  • Notes (Important reminders for the writer/product reviewer)

Titles

Step 6:

Add another tab for DETAILS/FEATURES. These are sub-pages or sub-topics of product reviews.

Features

Add the following headers for each column:

  • Title (title for the featured page/topic)
  • Associated Review (Title of the related article or name of the product being reviewed)
  • Status
  • Published URL
  • Title Tag
  • Important Docs/Links
  • Notes

You can do this for each product review that’s going to be published on your website.

Step 7:

Create a tab for TYPES. Here, you can list down the types of products relevant to your niche or industry.

Types

For each column, you need to add the following headers:

  • Title (specific type of product i.e. vitamins, prescription drugs)
  • Status
  • Published URL
  • Title Tag
  • Number of Words
  • Important Docs/Links
  • Notes

Step 8:

Add another tab for GUIDES. In this tab, you can specify sub-topics for the different types of products.

Guides

Add the following headers for each column:

  • Topic (title/subject of the sub-topic for each type of product)
  • Status
  • Associated Type (the specific type of product associated with the sub-topic)
  • Published URL
  • Tone
  • Number of Words
  • Important Docs/Links
  • Notes

 

Every time you make decisions for your website, you need to write them down. Creating a content guide for your website(s) lets you have a simple, actionable content marketing plan that will guide you throughout the process of content creation. A content guide gives your content focus and clarity, which is what makes you stand out as a content publishing guru.

The content planner spreadsheet serves as our editorial calendar. Once we’ve got everything figured out, we’ll start mapping ideas. Whenever I plan content, I do a lot of brainstorming and mind-mapping. And once I’ve got concrete ideas, I’ll refine them with keyword research using a handy tool called FreshKey. This fast and easy-to-use software gives you a whole plethora of ideas and combinations of words and letters. Not only does it look on Google, it also milks keyword suggestions from Amazon, Etsy, and other popular websites. What’s more, it gives you the keyword ranking. Perfect for blog and SEO titles.

Anyway, when setting up a content planner, you need to decide on topics and who to assign them to. Who is in charge for updating the content planner and who produces the content? You may have one person who does the managing or you may let your writers suggest ideas.

Are you ready to set up your own content guide?

12 thoughts on “Using The Content Planner Spreadsheet”

    1. whoa! Same issue for me here too! That video was working fine until today. Thanks for letting me know!

      Today, we actually talked with Wistia (the company that hosts the videos) because for some reason, none of them were playing in HD. They said this led them to discover a deeper issue, so they bandaided it today but will be working to resolve in the next few days completely.

      Their bandaid fixed must have caused this. I’ve notified Jordan at Wistia, and I’ll get our team on trying to get it working somehow on our end.

      I apologize for the inconvenience and will send you a message through Intercom once there is some progress.

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