Summary

Make sure your content works for users, meets your organisation’s aims and provides a consistent experience across channels.


What it is

A content plan outlines the content you’re going to create, the user needs it answers, who’ll need to be involved and key dates.

Your content plan is created in line with your organisation’s content strategy and is based on findings from the discovery stage.

Why it’s important

A content plan helps make sure the content production process runs smoothly by making it clear who’s doing what and when.

It helps:

  • you plan what resource you’ll need
  • make sure each piece of content meets your users’ needs
  • increase the transparency of your work with your stakeholders and the wider organisation
  • focus you on your goal

How do you do it?

Inventory

It is useful to begin by carrying out a content inventory. Documenting the content which is already available helps you understand the landscape and identify where changes might be made. Speaking to subject matter experts will also help you understand more about the context you are working in.

User needs

Find out what high level user needs have been identified in discovery and document these in your content plan, along with things like user journey maps.

Format and purpose

Think about what your content needs to do and how to structure it. Mapping your content to the different parts of your organisation may not necessarily be the best way.

Users may not be familiar with how your organisation’s set up, or it may not reflect their thought processes about what they’re trying to do/watch/find. You should design your plan around tasks or problems your users are trying to solve and make your content accessible to everyone.

Content items

When you’re planning your content, think about:

  • format – what content format best answers user needs
  • acceptance criteria – what is needed for a user need to be met
  • success criteria – how you can measure that the content meets user needs
  • user needs and user stories for each piece of content
  • who will write, peer review, fact check and own the content
  • when the content can be published
  • when the content needs to be archived

Workshops

Leading workshops is a good way to show people what you’re doing and why. It also gives you a chance to clarify what you’re asking people to do. Use your stakeholder map to help you get the right people in the room.

Helpful resources:

Digital First Service Standard

This article offers guidance relevant to the following criteria from the Digital First service standard: