Create a power content marketing plan with these 6 free templates

Inbound Marketing centers around you regularly publishing original, helpful content that has real value for your potential customers. In fact, your content strategy is a major part of how successful your overall Inbound Marketing strategy will be, so it’s really important to find ways to systematize your processes and nail it.

So…how do you get your content right? 

You guessed it: by developing an amazing Content Marketing Plan

A well-thought-out and thorough Content Marketing Plan will help you: 

  • Ensure tasks aren’t forgotten or abandoned
  • Help you execute quickly, efficiently, and effectively
  • Understand successes and failures
  • Know when and where to rectify problems 
  • Have visibility on content gaps. 

Ultimately, the net result of these will be that you start to drive more (and better) leads to your site.

The trick here is to not reinvent the wheel. There are tried and tested methods and formulas out there. 

In this article, we’ve pulled together a bunch of really effective (and totally free) templates and guides to get your content show on the road.

Happy planning!

Content audit template

What is a content audit?

In a nutshell, a content audit will allow you to assess what content you currently have, how that content is performing, how it could be performing better, and any content gaps you have. Importantly, this isn’t subjective work – you’re getting into the data of your site performance.  

Conducting a content audit can be a hefty task. In the same way that we think of financial audits as being lengthy, granular processes that look under every rock and into every cranny to get to the details, your content audit also involves a lot of research.

Why is it important? 

A content audit template is fundamental to any content marketing strategy, as you cannot know how or where to improve if you do not have an accurate understanding of where you are today. If you have no baseline awareness, it’s super hard to know if or when you are improving or failing in the future. It will also show you clearly where the immediate improvements are to be found. 

Which free template should you use? 

We’re big fans of the Curata Content Audit Template.

the Curata Content Audit Template

This resource is great because it provides you with a number of resources to conduct a full audit, including tools, documents, and processes. You might need to set up some of the excel sheets yourself from the example they give, but everything you need to know to do a full content audit is here!‍

Buyer persona template

What is a buyer persona? 

Your Buyer Persona is essentially a semi-fictitious person that represents your ideal customers. We say ‘semi-fictitious’ because they are not actual individuals, but their characteristics model a very real person. The way you should create them will be in part based on your experiences of real people who like or buy your product or service.  Check out our guide to inbound marketing for more info on what a persona is and how to create one.

Why is it important? 

Buyer Personas are key because they help you target your ideal audience most effectively. Your marketing efforts, and also your product and feature developments, will be more precise when you can visualize a ‘real’ person behind the marketing. 

Essentially: personas give you empathy for your end user. 

Every time you, as a business, say or do anything, you always contextualize it in a frame of ‘Would Esther [buyer persona] think this was cool/interesting/useful?’. 

Which free template should you use? 

The xtensio persona template is one of our favorites. You have to sign up to Xtensio to access it, but their free subscription includes an excellent buyer persona template that is beautifully laid out, covering every angle needed for an in depth and relevant buyer persona profile.  

The xtensio persona template

Content calendar template

What is it? 

Your content calendar is effectively your content marketing roadmap. It is the schedule of the content you’ll be creating, the channels you’ll be publishing to, the topics you’ll cover, and the dates you’ll be going live. Your content calendar may also include additional details such as the personas and keywords each piece of content is targeting.

Why is it important? 

We have all been in situations where on Monday we have an idea in our head to do some content that week, but if it’s not written down, suddenly it’s Friday and it didn’t get done. You content calendar keeps you on track and held to account, ensuring you never miss a post – when you keep to your calendar diligently, that is 🙂

Which free template should you use?

Your content calendar doesn’t need to be overly complicated, which is why we love this simple one week template from Hootsuite that you can copy-paste for each week of the year, using simple color-coding to keep your activities and channels clear and easily readable. Access the social media template here.

social media template

Blog post template

What is it?

Blogging is a cornerstone of both your content and inbound marketing strategies. It is the bread and butter of informative and educative content that will attract, engage and delight your customers, so you need to be doing it regularly and to a high standard. 

Why is it important?

Many people feel stuck when it comes to blogging as they think it’s something only a professional writer can do. And let’s face it, writer’s block is a real pain…

Happily, there is actually a way of writing blogs that is repeatable, but that will continue to work really well for your readers (and your ranking). By using a blogging template you can start to take away that fear of the blank page and produce content more quickly — and effectively. 

Which free template should you use?

Hubspot have created a ‘fill in the blanks’ method to creating blogs. You may not wish to write all of your blog posts this way, but to get you going, or to consistently create many posts over a short time, this template can really help. Access the free blogging template here.

free blogging template

eBook template 

What is it? 

An eBook is a PDF document that contains guides, tips, advice or acts as a resource of information that you give away to a customer or website visitor, usually in exchange for contact details. 

It often contains educational material that will help your readers to either define a problem, or learn more about one. Crucially, eBooks enable you to demonstrate your expertise and industry leadership, which is a crucial factor in helping potential new customers to trust that you’re the solution they need

Why is it important? 

A well-thought-out and well-written eBook enables you to become a trusted and valuable source of information around a problem you solve. If you can establish yourself as an authority around a topic, it is highly likely the reader will trust you with their purchase decision. 

Which free template should you use?

The visual aesthetic of your eBook will be important, as the professionalism that it exudes will help the reader toward a purchase. These free templates on Venngage offer a great way to create exceptional-looking content, without spending lots of time and money. 

free ebook templates

Onsite SEO template

What is it? 

Onsite SEO audits are an excellent way to check how the content on your site is performing. As we have discussed in other articles, how your pages rank is made up of (in very simplistic terms) how search engines assess your relevance and your authority. Trust and authority come from backlinks, and relevance comes from what you say onsite. 

Why is it important? 

It’s important to continually assess if your on site content actually targets the search terms that you want to be found for. 

Now, while its true that trust (backlinks) and authority (your domain authority) have a huge influence on how your pages will rank, these take a long time to build. However, your onsite SEO, i.e. things that are written on your page and in your tags, can be updated immediately by your team. So make sure you’re nailing your onsite SEO by undertaking regular audits!

Which free template should you use? 

This free onsite SEO template is a hugely comprehensive page which tells you everything from how to do onsite SEO checks, why you do them and all the tools, steps and actions you need to take. 

free SEO templates

So there you have it: a huge number of totally free templates, tools, and advice to help you get creating a powerful Content Marketing Plan! However, if you need extra advice, support, and guidance – this is exactly what we do. We would love to hear from you, so get in touch with us today.