Free Content Plan Templates and Samples

Smartsheet Contributor Joe Weller on Jul 27, 2020

In this article, we’ve compiled the most useful expert-tested and expert-approved content plan templates available to download in Word, PDF, and Excel formats.

Included on this page, you’ll find a content plan sample, a content planning calendar template, a digital content plan, and more. We’ve also included content planning tips to boost your content creation efforts.


Content Plan Sample Template

Content Plan Sample Template

Use this content plan template to organize and prioritize potential topics by theme or by any category that suits your needs. Provide a brief summary of a topic, identify the content’s unique angle, pinpoint your target reader, decide which types of content you’ll need, and describe your main goal. Next, add a benefit and cost score value using the provided keys. Once you enter those values, the built-in formula auto-calculates a topic score to help you decide if a topic is worth pursuing.

Download Content Plan Sample Template - Excel

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Content Planning Calendar Template

Content Planning Calendar Template

Use this content planning calendar template to map out and organize your content plan by content type or any category that suits your needs. Add the content title, description, and theme, then assign ownership and key dates. You can track the status of each content piece, along with monthly performance metrics to determine which pieces are high performers and which need updates.

Download Content Planning Calendar Template

Excel | Smartsheet


Content Planning and Documentation Template

Content Planning and Documentation Template

This customizable template is ideal for establishing and tracking documentation for all aspects of the content planning process in one location. Add the name and description of guidelines and processes, assign ownership, input the key dates and status for documents that you need to create or modify, then add the location or link where users can access the documents. Use this template to manage your team’s resources and to ensure all policies and procedures are up to date.

Download Content Planning and Documentation Template

ExcelWord | PDF | Smartsheet


Monthly Content Plan Template

Monthly Content Plan Template

Use this template to plan and track content topics and ideas monthly. Provide a summary of the topic, identify opportunities that exist with current search trends and seasonal patterns, then outline the content types, keywords, distribution channels, and more. You also have room to assign the topic, establish the start and publish date, and designate a status using the provided key.

Download Monthly Content Plan Template

Excel | Word | PDF


Annual Content Planning Template Set

Annual Content Planning Template

This customizable template set serves as a tool to brainstorm, plan, and track content ideas for each month of the year. This set includes a content calendar to execute on topics approved in the brainstorming phase, and it provides space to assign and schedule topics, determine measurements of success, and much more. The template also has a tab you can use to track previous posts and archived content in a central location.

Download Annual Content Planning Template Set - Excel


Digital Content Plan Template

Digital Content Plan Template

Use this customizable digital content plan template to plan, assign, and track digital content ideas on a monthly basis for the entire year. In the space provided, you can add the content topic, type, category, goal, and unique angle that sets the piece apart from the competition. Then assign an owner, due date, and status to ensure your plan stays on track.

Download Digital Content Plan Template - Excel


Social Media Content Plan Template

Social Media Content Plan Template

This customizable social media template can help you plan and categorize your content across social platforms for each month of the year. Add the content idea or theme, choose the content category, detail the stage of the buyer journey for your targeted leads, then add the date posted. There is also space to include post details for multiple platforms, including the post title, author, link, key performance metrics, and other pertinent information.

Download Social Media Content Plan Template - Excel

For additional resources, visit “Free Social Media Templates for Excel.”


Marketing Content Plan Template

Marketing Content Plan Template

This template is useful for planning and tracking marketing content monthly and annually according to the stage of the buyer’s journey your content is targeting. This template helps you plan for each topic by outlining its theme, category, and target audience, along with the content type, owner, due date, and status. There is also space for you to add details associated with marketing distribution channels for each piece of content, including the channel type, publish date, and key performance metrics.

Download Marketing Marketing Content Plan Template - Excel

For additional resources, visit “The 61 Best Free Content Marketing Templates to Drive Performance.”


Blog Content Plan Template

Blog Content Plan Template

Use this blog content plan template to develop a strategy for blog posts on a weekly, monthly, or yearly basis. Add content details by theme, determine a category, pinpoint the target audience, assign and schedule content, track the status of each piece, and more. This template also provides space to include details for each marketing distribution channel, such as the post title, date, link, performance metrics, and important notes. 

Download Blog Content Plan Template - Excel

For additional resources, including expert tips and checklists, take a look at the tools and advice for creating an effective blog strategy and plan.


Video Content Plan Template

Use this customizable video content plan template to identify and classify ideas that align with your business and marketing goals during each stage of the buyer’s journey. There’s space to add the video category, content topic, key audience takeaways, topic owner, estimated release date, and marketing platforms used to reach your target audience.

Download Video Content Plan Template

Excel | Word


Website Content Plan Template

Website Content Plan Template

Use this template to plan and organize your website content into groups. In the space provided, modify the main categories according to sitemap and business needs, then determine the pages that fall under each category to establish a hierarchy. Add a description and purpose for each entry, and detail the audience takeaway to ensure you’ve structured your content in a way that is useful for visitors. There is also room to include the content goal, call to action, ownership, status, and key dates to keep the plan on track.

Download Website Content Plan Template - Excel


Content Curation Plan Template

Use this content curation plan template to create standards on the process of compiling and selecting topics that align with business and marketing goals. In the space included, you can establish process guidelines, assign role ownership, and set deadlines to identify key opportunities for adding value to existing content.

Download Content Curation Plan Template

Excel | Word


Content Inventory Audit Worksheet

Use this content inventory audit worksheet to track content inventory and to use in conjunction with your content curation plan. This worksheet helps you organize all of your content and provides space to add the page title, page type, topic, meta description, keywords, page author, and more. You can also track search data and performance metrics to identify existing content that you can update and improve.

Download Content Inventory Audit Worksheet Template

Excel | Smartsheet


Content Decision-Making Matrix Template

This content decision-making matrix template is useful for evaluating potential content topics ideas that align closely with criteria you establish. Add criteria descriptions at the top of the matrix, then list topic ideas to analyze. Determine the rating scale you’ll use for rankings and assign a score to each topic. Once you input values, the built-in formulas calculate the total scores. Use this information to determine which topics have the potential to bring the most value.

Download Content Decision-Making Matrix Template - Excel


Content Planning Tips

The content you produce connects your business to your audience. It also requires careful planning in order to effectively attract customers and reach business goals. 

The following tips can help you create a streamlined process to develop a successful content plan.

  • Research, Research, Research: Conduct research on the themes and topics outlined in your content strategy to identify opportunities. Take a look at what competitors are offering for inspiration, and be sure to account for industry trends and seasonal patterns.
  • Prioritize Content Ideas: Tackle the low-hanging fruit first. List, evaluate, and score topic ideas (see the content decision-making matrix template above), then identify your high-value, low-cost topics for quick wins. 
  • Focus on Your Audience: Plan your content around your intended reader. Consider the problem you are solving or the question that you are answering for the viewer. Determine who is seeking out and consuming your content, and create your content accordingly.
  • Know Your Goal: Determine what you are trying to achieve before you execute to avoid losing time and wasting resources on efforts that don’t align with goals. Are you trying to raise awareness about your brand? Are you educating a group of people on a particular topic? By understanding what you’re trying to achieve, you can decide on a direction and determine the type of content to produce (e.g. video, infographic, blog content).
  • Hold Brainstorming Sessions: Create an environment to get creative juices flowing and to encourage others to share fresh ideas. Learn effective ways to brainstorm to find ways to produce better, more valuable content than what’s currently available. This includes looking at your content inventory to find ways to repurpose and improve upon existing assets, which leads to the next tip.
  • Check Your Content Inventory: Don’t waste time reinventing the wheel when you have current pieces available that you can modify to satisfy current search trends and business goals. Use the content inventory audit worksheet above to organize and list published assets in one place. Then pinpoint which pieces are high performers and which ones you can update to better align with present-day marketing and business objectives.
  • Prepare for Plan Execution: Decide if you will create content in-house or outsource it. Prepare a creative brief to provide a clear action plan to writers and designers. The brief also helps ensure the content “voice” and style are consistent with the brand.

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