While content marketing offers tremendous benefits, it also requires intense focus, insightful strategy, and careful planning. From finding the right publishers and analyzing the competition to establishing calendars and determining messaging themes, the myriad of tasks involved in developing a content marketing plan can easily overwhelm content teams.
That’s where content planning software comes in. Content planning software can ensure the content you create serves your broader marketing strategy. It can also help your team stay organized, focused, and efficient.
In this guide, we’ll provide you with some content planning software solutions so that you can reap the full benefits of your content marketing plan. But first, let’s learn a bit more about the challenges associated with content planning, and how content planning software can help.
The Challenge of Content Marketing Planning
Developing a superior plan for your content marketing is critical to achieving content objectives while meeting budget goals. Content marketing requires a significant investment of time and resources, and a solid plan can help to ensure your investment is productive.
Critical elements of content planning include:
- Identifying publishers and partners: When working with paid content, finding the right publishers is essential for reaching your target customers most efficiently. You’ll need to identify publishers based on audience demographics, publishing frequency, content categories, and engagement history. You’ll also want to find and vet distribution partners you can trust to reliably deliver content to your segmented audiences at the ideal cadence.
- Discovering competitive intelligence: Understanding what your competitors are doing with content is essential to taking stock of the competitive landscape in addition to crafting differentiated content and campaigns. By identifying whitespace in the market, you can carve out new opportunities and reach new customers by refining messages and themes and developing new types of content.
- Developing a calendar: You’ll not only need to determine the appropriate cadence for each audience, theme, and content piece—but you’ll also need to find publishers, industries, and partners that can help you disseminate content at your ideal frequency.
- Determining KPIs: Establishing the objectives for your content, the metrics for determining success, and the tools you’ll rely on to measure them will help to focus the oversight and management of your content campaign. Content measurement that offers real-time data is essential to adjusting content quickly in order to increase audience engagement.
How Content Planning Software Can Help
Content marketing planning software is an application or platform (or multiple platforms) that helps content marketers to execute strategy by determining the best content publishers and partners, understanding the content efforts of competitors, and scheduling content at the most effective cadence for you.
The right content planning tool can help to match a brand with the publishers that will reach target audiences most effectively and cost-efficiently. Content planning software can also help to identify whitespace in the market, allowing brands to craft messages and build campaigns that can create differentiation and exploit new opportunities. What’s more, good content planning software can help you test content ideas before you commit to them, saving you time and money.
As you can see, content planning software can offer a myriad of benefits. If you’re ready to invest in your own content planning software, here are some options worth your consideration.
The 7 Best Content Planning Softwares
Not all content planning tools are built equal. The right content planning software for your business depends on your goals, budget, size of your business, and type of content you produce. Fortunately, we’ve compiled a list of options that can suit a variety of business needs.
Here are our content planning software recommendations:
Monday.com is what we here at Knotch use for our content calendar. It’s an intuitive project management tool that enables large teams to manage tasks and projects efficiently and transparently. We use it to plan and schedule articles, assign stakeholders, and keep everyone looped in on the progress of each project.
Monday.com also allows us to create custom forms that members of the team can use to submit content ideas or suggestions. Those suggestions are then automatically added to a board in Monday.com and assigned to a specific team member.
Monday.com can also streamline workflows by integrating with other apps, including Google Docs, Excel, and Slack.
At a previous employer, I used Trello to manage my content marketing calendar. It’s another great project management tool that comes with a lot of the same functionality as Monday.com (although the Basic plan is also free—Monday.com isn’t).
Whereas Monday.com uses a list structure, Trello offers a kanban board structure to organize your work. You can still assign team members to tasks, add comments and attachments, and track progress on multi-step projects.
AirTable brands itself as “part spreadsheet, part database.” You can organize your content calendar using either a calendar, grid, gallery, or kanban style format. Each AirTable “Block” allows you to add attachments, long text, checkboxes, links, or whatever else you need to stay organized.
Like Trello, AirTable has a free plan, although you unlock more functionality with the paid plans.
CoSchedule is a marketing-specific tool that allows organizations to arrange calendars, store assets and files, track progress on projects, manage marketing requests, and automate certain workflows. It’s used by major brands like Yamaha and Microsoft to manage their content operations.
You can also manage all of your social media marketing directly from CoSchedule, which is another nice layer of functionality. What’s more, CoSchedule comes with analytics tools that can track your efficiency and identify improvements.
CoSchedule has pricing for both SMBs and enterprise businesses. Visit their website to learn more.
Loomly markets itself as a “brand success platform.” Using this SaaS tool, brands can receive suggestions on content to post that aligns with their brand, view all of their content assets in an organized library, receive tips on how to optimize posts and ads, automate publishing, and view reports related to marketing performance.
Pricing starts at $300 per year.
GatherContent is a content operations platform that allows you to create content templates and briefs to ensure alignment with your content governance plan. You can also assign content roles and permissions, disseminate style guides, and schedule and publish content directly to your owned content hubs.
Pricing starts at $1,188 on an annual basis.
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention our own content planning software!
Knotch is the independent content intelligence platform that enables CMOs and marketing teams to measure and impact the outcome of their content efforts with real-time actionable intelligence. Our end-to-end content intelligence platform lets marketers plan, measure, optimize, and benchmark content efforts across all owned and paid strategies.
Our AI content planning platform, Knotch Blueprint, is the only solution that supports content planning with real-time insights. Offering a content search discovery engine that delivers competitor and publisher intelligence, Blueprint content planning software helps brands and agencies to strengthen the ROI of branded content campaigns.
With the predictive intelligence of the Blueprint content planning platform you can:
- Find your ideal audience by identifying the best publishers for your brand based on target demographics, KPIs, and creative goals.
- Research a comprehensive catalog of publishers with access to historical data about themes, audiences, content categories, and engagement.
- Develop your content calendar by applying our enhanced transparency to content planning.
- Find verified partners by plugging into the content cycles of current and potential partners, based on Blueprint’s inside knowledge of the most effective times and frequencies to publish content.
- Glean insight into your competition’s content strategy, publishing cadence, and themes.
- Identify whitespace and gaps in messaging, refining your content to reach more customers.
- Review competitors’ content investments across brands, publishers, and industries.
- Find inspiration in the best content campaigns within your industry vertical.
- Vet potential publishers and partners while planning new content.
Pricing starts at $500 per seat.
Try Out Knotch Blueprint for Free
If you’re interested in optimizing your content marketing strategy using competitive content intelligence, request a free 7-day trial and see if it’s a fit for your organization.