Planning is a pivotal step in the implementation of any successful content marketing campaign.

When CMOs and their teams first contemplate content marketing campaigns, the end result – a dynamic website rich with original, diverse content – usually occupies their mind first. To get there, though, a deliberate, strategic process that includes proper planning for content writers and a successful strategy must be the first consideration, Tracy Gold of the Content Marketing Institute said on Thursday.

Curation, creativity and coordination are the three steps Gold cites as essential to the planning process. Curation refers to the industry and audience research needed to achieve success. The goals of successful initiatives often include SEO and the establishment of the company as a thought leader. Positioning content writers to gain the knowledge and skills required can be a difficult process, but the benefits should outweigh the early issues.

Creativity is equally important, Gold found. Simply writing stories with some keywords won’t be enough to appeal to both prospects and search engine crawlers. Additionally, Brafton reported on Thursday that varied social media content is more likely to create a strong social following and dedicated readership.

Both content writers and their managers should develop new models for content delivery. Landing pages and informative content will provide readers knowledge that is needed for conversions, while blogs, white papers and webinars will put a face to the company and deliver content and calls to action in a more personal tone.

Ultimately, coordination is critical. Scheduling content to avoid publishing too much or too little at a certain point eliminates the possibility of users questioning the process and the company’s position as a thought leader.

Another element of content marketing coordination is accounting for prospect behavior. Last week, Brafton reported that some businesses struggle because their site content treats all readers and prospects the same. For businesses targeting one audience, this may not be highly hazardous. However, any company, whether B2B or B2C, hoping to speak to multiple demographics needs to understand the behavior of each audience and customize every element of their content to each group’s behavior.

Joe Meloni is Brafton's former Executive News and Content Writer. He studied journalism at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has written for a number of print and web-based publications.