3 Steps to Developing a Winning Content Marketing Strategy

A content marketing road map can and should be a nice blend between strategy and execution. To get started, think about your content marketing road map as a document with the following table of contents:

  1. What do you want to achieve? (Content marketing strategy)
  2. How will you achieve it? (Content marketing tactics)
  3. Who will do what to help you make those tactics a reality? (A content calendar, for example)

Now all you have to do is fill out your TOC. Here’s how:

What Do You Want to Achieve? (Content Marketing Strategy)

Or in other words, what are your goals? If you’re having trouble formulating an actionable goal, pick a version of one of the following:

  1. Drive more new unique users to my site.
  2. Get visitors, leads, and/or existing customers to increase how much they engage with my content or product (trial downloads, shares, likes, tweets, etc.).
  3. Convert visitors into leads or leads into sales or both.

These sample goals are a good start, but I encourage you to get as specific as possible. Make your goals easy to measure by specifying quantities and time frames wherever possible. Also, don’t forget to make sure that each goal is well-researched to contribute to your overall business strategy. After all, content marketing should only be one component of your total marketing mix.

How Will You Achieve Your Goals? (Content Marketing Tactics)

Next, you have to align content marketing tactics to each goal that you want to achieve. How many goals and how many tactics you choose will depend on the amount of people, money, and technology you have at your disposable. I personally recommend focusing on a few goals and tactics at a time. By staggering your goals, you can build a long-term road map where each phase can be informed by what you learned prior.

Examples of content marketing tactics are:

  1. Rewrite site content to target high volume or long-tail keywords.
  2. Write a whitepaper or eBook that can be distributed via social media or other paid channels.
  3. Build a blog section targeted to leads who are considering a purchase (e.g., more in-depth product walk-throughs, implementation best practices, etc.).
  4. Create gated content to collect email addresses.
  5. Recruit influencers to write syndicated content for your blog and to share each blog post with their countless followers.

The important thing is to map each specific tactic to one, and only one, goal from section 1 above. Of course, you can have different tactics support a single goal. This will help keep your content road map focused and easy to execute.

Be thoughtful about which tactics you choose to support each goal. Make sure that you understand what tactics are most effective for what types of goals.

Who Will Do What to Help Make Your Tactics a Reality? (A Content Calendar, for Example)

A content calendar may sound cumbersome to create, but it’s not, and it can be a great tool to keep everyone organized and on schedule. A content calendar outlines a number of basic needs:

  1. What content pieces will be created for each content tactic you choose to pursue—For example, ‘Write a whitepaper explaining how to calculate build vs. buy for enterprise analytics software.’
  2. When each content piece will go live—For example, ‘Whitepaper will be published by mm/dd/yy.’ Time each content piece in a way that makes sense for your overall marketing strategy. If you plan to run a traffic campaign, make sure you’ve got all your best lead generating content pieces live by then.
  3. Who is assigned to write or work with a vendor to create each content piece -For example, ‘The CEO will write a blog post announcing XYZ product launch. The content manager will recruit influencers to try the new product and write syndicated content.’

I used bullet form to explain my point, but it’s best to use a spreadsheet for planning purposes, where each content piece is tied to a tactic and each tactic is tied to a strategic goal.

These days, content is being created faster and in more volume than people know what to do with. Instead of creating content volume, focus on building content for the right time, at the right point in the sales funnel, and for the right audience.