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How to use project management for your content marketing plan

Discover how project management can streamline your content marketing plan. Boost productivity, stay organized, and achieve your marketing goals efficiently.

Rose McMillan · June 28, 2024
How to use project management for your content marketing planHow to use project management for your content marketing plan

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Whether you’re a small startup or an international business, content marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to reach your ideal customers. From short videos on social media to in-depth articles, you can use content to share valuable advice and showcase your solution.

However, while it’s free to post content on your website or socials, it still comes with other costs. Creating and distributing unique content that stands out from the sea of other posts takes time and energy.

In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at some of the common challenges to making an effective content marketing plan. We’ll then show you how to overcome those obstacles with the right skills, software and project management best practices.

Why creating (and sticking to) a content marketing plan is so challenging

Content marketing can be incredibly effective, but it involves more than just recording random videos or throwing up AI-generated articles. Good content adds tangible value to a specific audience. What that value is and what that audience looks like will depend on your overall business objectives.

Creating content that consistently aligns with your business goals is one of the biggest challenges when making a content marketing plan. You need absolute clarity on:

  • What those goals are
  • Who your target audience is
  • Your target audience’s goals
  • What kind of content will meet both those goals.

Time management is another constant challenge. Good content takes time, but you can’t afford to wait for inspiration to hit before you start making content. You’ll need to set deadlines as part of your content marketing plan, and then ensure that you and your team consistently meet those deadlines to keep your content calendar on track

Finally, measuring the impact of your content marketing plan is rarely straightforward. Working out which metrics are relevant and which are purely vanity metrics can be confusing, making it hard to track your content’s ROI.

These challenges can all easily derail your content efforts if left unchecked. Fortunately, by using the principles of effective project management, you can tackle all of these obstacles and consistently create content that benefits you and your customers.

notes on a board

The project management toolbox for effective content marketing

Creating a content marketing plan requires practical project management. The content plan itself is one large ongoing project, while each piece of content can be viewed as a smaller individual project. If you can master your project management skills, your content marketing plan will benefit significantly.

Good project management means you must be adept at organizing, planning and executing multiple projects while balancing your resources. You need to keep an eye on the big picture of how your content plan contributes to your overall business goals. At the same time, you need to pay attention to the smaller details, ensuring that each piece of content is high quality and valuable to your reader.

For the content plan, you need a blend of creative flair and data-driven precision. Your topics and the content itself need to be engaging and interesting, something your audience can’t find anywhere else. Using data to inform your content decisions and measure performance can help you find the right topics, but creativity is just as important to ensure you deliver something unique and memorable.

In addition to developing the right skills, certain tools can exponentially elevate your content marketing. While you can technically create your content marketing plan using pen and paper, the right tools will make your job easier.

SEO tools like SurferSEO, SEMrush and Ahrefs help you do keyword research to identify high-traffic and/or low-traffic topics. You can then optimize your content to increase the chances of it showing up in the search engines.

Whether you’re creating unique content for social media or simply want to share your new content, social media management tools like Kontentino and SocialPilot allow you to schedule posts and distribute them across multiple platforms.

Project management tools allow you to outline and execute your content plan. While there are dedicated project management apps you can use for this, customer relationship management (CRM) software also enables you to track and manage your content marketing as it works to generate leads.

The best project management CRMs build on your business relationships and help you organize your projects while taking your customers into account.

For example, Capsule CRM powers up your content marketing projects with:

  • Streamlined task management
  • Team collaboration
  • Workflow management
  • Analytics and insights.

Capsule’s mobile app means you can carry out CRM tasks and manage your content projects wherever you are, while the advanced integrations connect with your favorite software tools to collate all your important data in one place.

Best practices using project management for content marketing

With the right skills and tools, you have everything you need to get started on your content marketing plan. Here are some best practices to help you get the best results.

Get strategic with your planning

As the famous saying goes, failing to plan is planning to fail. There’s a reason we talk about a content marketing plan; you need to give thought to each piece of content, considering how it’ll align with your overarching business objectives and resonate with your target audience.

Start by conducting thorough market research to understand your customer’s needs, preferences and pain points. Send out customer surveys, set up interviews and review analytics to see what your website visitors are most interested in. These insights will help you choose themes and topics relevant to your target market.

Content marketing shouldn’t just be about new content though. Audit your existing content to identify any gaps, redundancies and opportunities for improvement. This audit will help you determine what types of content have performed well and where there’s potential to meet your audience’s needs better.

post-its on a calendar

Focus on quality over quantity

In a world where anyone can upload a blog post or video, creating and curating high-quality content is essential for engaging your audience and standing out.

Start by developing a content calendar to organize and schedule your content production. This helps ensure you’re consistently publishing fresh and relevant content.

Invest time in researching, writing and editing to produce content that provides real value to your audience.

You might also consider additional training for your team to upgrade content marketing skills and techniques. For example, by developing your storytelling skills, your content will be more engaging and relatable. Learning how to create and use different visual elements (such as images, infographics and videos) can also enhance your content, making it more appealing and shareable.

Make use of automation

Creating a comprehensive content marketing plan is a time-consuming process, so anything you can do to reduce your workload and free up time is worth considering. When used correctly, workflow automation can help you offload many of the repetitive tasks that come along with content marketing, like updating records and tracking progress.

Review the different tasks that need to be done and look for any basic activities that could potentially be automated. For example, Capsule’s Growth plan lets you automatically assign tasks to your team, update task statuses, send templated emails for surveying your audience and more.

But don’t automate everything

It seems that every day there’s some new technology promising to save you time. Advancements in AI mean more tasks can be automated without compromising on quality. For example, Capsule’s AI content assistant helps users quickly put together the first draft of their email copy. Free AI tools like ChatGPT can be used for various content marketing tasks, from ideation to outlining.

However, just because you can automate a task, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should. As impressive as AI might be, it still can’t replicate your unique viewpoints and expertise, the very things needed to set your content apart from the competition.

Similarly, setting up your content projects and monitoring progress is still something that’s best handled by a person.

“Workflow automations are great because they standardize your admin,” explains Keith Weir, Customer Success Team Lead at Capsule. “But sometimes people want everything automated. They’ll create loads of automated projects, then they can’t keep on top of them all. You still want to be on top of the work that you’re generating and take responsibility for it.”

desk full of notes

A step-by-step guide to better project management for content marketing

Creating a content marketing plan is just like any other project. It may seem daunting at first but, by following these project management steps, you can plan out your content in a structured way while still keeping that spark of creativity.

Step 1: Define your project scope and objectives

For any plan to succeed, you need to know what success looks like. By setting clearly defined goals from the very beginning, you can plan out your content so that every piece moves you closer to your objectives. Typical content marketing goals might be to increase website traffic, generate leads or establish your expertise.

To ensure your goals are meaningful, it helps to follow the SMART framework:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

For example, your goal might be to increase sign-ups for your newsletter by 15% within the next three months (assuming that this is realistic based on your current sign-up rate and aligns with your overall business objectives).

Step 2: Develop a project plan

Now that you have your destination in mind, it’s time to create the roadmap to get you there. Work backward to identify the different tasks you’ll need to complete, breaking the project into manageable tasks.

For example, a simple plan might be:

  1. Survey customers to find out their biggest pain points
  2. Use the responses to identify key content topics
  3. Brainstorm a selection of different post ideas for each topic
  4. Create a content calendar to decide when each piece will be published
  5. Create, edit and publish the content
  6. Optimize sign-up forms and CTAs for the content
  7. Distribute content on different channels

With Capsule’s CRM, you can create detailed project plans and assign tasks to your team, including deadlines and all the necessary details to complete the task.

Step 3: Monitor and adjust as necessary

Even the best content marketing plan will need to be adjusted at some point as customers face new challenges and your business goals change. Regularly monitoring and reviewing your project progress means your hard work won’t be in vain.

As part of the measurable goal(s) you identified in step one, you should already have metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) for tracking your success. For example, using our earlier goal of increasing newsletter signups by 15%, you’d obviously monitor newsletter signups. However, you might choose additional metrics, such as bounce rate or engagement, to get a more nuanced view of how your content is performing.

It’s essential that you can see at a glance how your content projects are going. Look for tools that give you different views (e.g., checklists, Kanban boards), providing you with fresh perspectives and helping you track progress effectively.

a group working at a desk

Step 4: Maintain clear and continuous communication

Whether you’re the sole marketer in a small startup or you’re managing multiple marketing teams, you need a way to stay connected with the rest of your business. This might mean collaborating with others on your team or checking in with management to ensure everything is on track.

Establish clear directions for sharing updates and handover. For example, when it comes to written content, you could have guidelines for the author to hand the first draft over to an editor and mark the task as done in your chosen project management tool or CRM. You can then use the same software to automate communication and ensure everyone on the team is promptly informed about project milestones and transitions

Step 5: Close the project and reflect

When you’ve finished a project, it’s always a good opportunity to take a moment and reflect on how it went. This applies to the smaller individual projects (i.e., each piece of content) as well as the larger overall content marketing project.

Was the project a success, based on the original objective? What went well? Could you have done things differently to get a better outcome? The goal is to take an objective look at your results to see what you can change to improve future content.

Great project management leads to great content

Content marketing is a constantly changing field, and there are always new channels, techniques and approaches to consider. By using the principles and best practices of project management, you can create a strong content marketing plan that prospects and customers love, all while contributing to your business goals.

The most successful content marketers understand that creativity and strategic planning are not opposing forces — they go hand-in-hand. With the right blend of creative spark and rigorous processes managed through capable project management tools, you can elevate your content to engage more prospects, delight more customers, and grow your business.

Discover how a CRM can help you create more effective content marketing plans. Enjoy Capsule’s free starter package or start a 14-day free trial and see how Capsule’s features help marketing teams collaborate and connect with your customers.