Content Marketing Templates

Written on 31 October 2021

In the past few years, I have come to rely on a few documents and processes to plan and manage our content marketing at Buffer and ReferralCandy.

I benefited a lot from the templates that other marketers created, so I want to share the ones I use with you. While these templates have served me well, you might want to adapt them to your needs.

Let's dive in!

1. Content strategy doc

Content marketing strategy doc

Link to template

This is a high-level document that describes our content marketing strategy and how we write, distribute, and so on. The key sections are:

  • Audience
  • Topics and categories
  • Writing
  • Editing
  • Distribution
  • Measurement

This is also linked to our content style guide, which includes the following:

  • Our branding, voice, and tone
  • How we write titles, numbers, and certain
  • How we use punctuations (e.g. Oxford comma, em dash)

2. Content planning spreadsheet

Content planning spreadsheet

Link to template

When I want to plan our content for a quarter or several months, I would use this spreadsheet. I adapted this from the templates by the kind folks at companies like HubSpot and Databox.

Here's what each column is for:

  • Suggested Title: Working title
  • Topic: Which of the X topics in our content strategy doc
  • Topic Cluster: If any (
  • Primary Keyword: Main keyword we think our audience is searching for (if it is a search piece)
  • Search Vol: Monthly search volume for the head term
  • Category: Which of the X categories in our content strategy doc
  • Status: Not started, in progress, or done
  • Action: Create a new post or update an old post
  • DRI: Who's responsible for this
  • Suggested Sections: Brief structure to show the key information to include
  • Suggested URL: Concise URL
  • Posts to Update/Consolidate: If we have similar blog posts on the same topic and want to redirect them to this
  • Notes: E.g. Presentation opp: We could turn this into a presentation deck. Timely: Merchants are really struggling with this now.

3. Editorial calendar

Editorial calendar

Link to template

After I plan the content in the spreadsheet, I would transfer them into our editorial calendar. I like using Trello (with the calendar power-up) because it has a kanban board for visualizing progress and a calendar for seeing the schedule at a glance. I know many folks like using Asana too.

Here are the stages of our editorial process:

  • Ideas
  • Forming the idea and researching
  • Outlining
  • Writing
  • Editing
  • Ready to ship
  • Published

4. Content brief

Content brief template

Link to template

Sometimes, I would also create a more detailed brief, especially if I'm not the person writing the article.

I would copy most of the information from the spreadsheet and add more detailed thoughts on how I might approach the article. But I always tell the writers those are just my suggestions and they should change things if they think there's a better way to write it.

This is how it looks like for a recent article:

Content brief example

If you have any questions about any of these templates, feel free to let me know!