Content Marketing Operating System Part 4: Developing a Strategy

To be strong in your strategy component, you need to have a written strategy. So only about 40 percent of B2C marketers and 37 percent of B2B marketers have a documented content strategy.

The fundamental purpose of your content marketing strategy is quite simple: It’s about drawing a clear path from your business and marketing goals to the content you create. It’s as simple as that.

So your content marketing strategy should focus on your core business and marketing goals and how content can help you achieve them.

[RELATED: 3 Core Elements of a Content Marketing Strategy]

Creating a strategy statement

We recently revised our own strategy and we started with a content marketing statement.

Full disclosure: We completely stole this exercise from Kristina Halverson. She literally wrote the book on Content Strategy for the Web, and if you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it.

So, your strategy statement should look at the following elements:

  • Your business goals
  • How you’re going to use content to deliver on those goals
  • Your audience
  • Your audience needs as we just talked about

When we did this exercise and created our strategy statement, this is what we developed.

There’s a lot to unpack here, but it’s a critical lens through which we look at the rest of our strategy. If you and your stakeholders can agree on this, building your entire strategy (and your content plan) becomes a lot more straightforward.

Once you have this statement down, you can start to layer on other important elements.

Developing content themes

Next, start thinking about content themes, topics and types that support that statement that you just made.

  • Identify the core themes for your business.
  • Identify the core questions you can answer for your audience.
  • And then, what are the topics that bring those two things together?

Once you have this nailed down, you can start thinking about what content types are best suited for each one of your topics.

Here’s an example of what that looks like:

Say you manufacture a line of clothing that is made in Minnesota. One of your themes of your business might be “Made in Minnesota.” Common questions your audience might ask would be, “Why do the Vikings break our hearts every year?” They might ask that, but some more on point ones are:

  • What are some made in Minnesota holiday gift ideas?
  • Who is actually making the clothing?
  • How do you support the local economy? And so on.

So from those questions, you can develop interesting topics that directly relate to those questions:

  • You could produce a video series featuring the people who make the clothing.
  • You could do a blog series featuring different Minnesota-based artists who help you design the clothing.
  • You could do a blog post around Minnesota-made gift ideas for different budget levels.
  • You could produce an infographic that maps out how your revenue goes back into the Minnesota economy.

Once you’ve identified your content opportunities, you can map it all out on an editorial calendar.

Using an editorial calendar

You can certainly do this in Excel or Google sheets, but this is where a content marketing platform will really come in handy. Whatever you use, you’re going to want to capture the following:

  • Who are you writing for?
  • What’s your goal (whether it’s thought leadership, traffic, lead generation, social engagement, etc.)?
  • What’s the topic and headline?
  • Who is going to create the content?
  • Who needs to be involved in the creation, design, and approval of the content?
  • What’s the target publish date?

Having all those things represented on your editorial calendar will help remove some of the guesswork around your content creation process. It will also help get you on a publishing schedule and develop a regular cadence.

The Content Marketing Operating System is a six-part actionable guide to help you build a foundational and systematic content marketing practice.


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