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How to Create a Documented Content Marketing Strategy: 36 Questions

36 questions to answer-coverIn this year’s content marketing research, one new question we asked was whether organizations were creating more or less content, compared to a year ago — and the majority of marketers are doing just that. Does that sound intimidating? Do you feel this is a positive trend, or one that just creates greater challenges?

This debate leads off our second roundtable discussion on the results of our B2C content marketing study. But, hold tight — what we learned holds lessons for anyone who is using content marketing, including those who work in B2B and nonprofit industries. 

Watch as our participants Andrew Davis (author of Brandscaping), Julie Fleischer (Kraft Foods), David Germano (Empower MediaMarketing), Buddy Scalera (Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide), Michael Weiss (Content Marketing Institute/figure18), and Karen Budell (Imagination Publishing) discuss the trend of increased content creation in the video below:

CMW B2C Roundtable, part 2 from Content Marketing Institute on Vimeo.

Andrew Davis summarized the call to action from the discussion nicely:

My hope is that we start focusing on less content, bigger success, and higher quality content over just high quantity.

But how exactly should you do this? You need a documented content marketing strategy in order to be successful. As we’ve seen in the responses to our annual survey, those with a documented content marketing strategy:

  • Are far more likely to consider themselves effective at content marketing
  • Feel significantly less challenged with every aspect of content marketing
  • Generally are more likely to consider themselves more effective in their use of all content marketing tactics and social media channels
  • Were able to justify spending a higher percentage of their marketing budget on content marketing

Of course, this leads to questions that we, at Content Marketing Institute, receive frequently: What exactly is a documented content marketing strategy, and what does it consist of?

In short, to develop a documented content marketing strategy, you’ll need to work through the following key activities:

  • Get buy-in for an innovative process such as content marketing
  • Make the case to your key stakeholders
  • Develop buyer personas
  • Map your content
  • Create your brand story
  • Develop your channel plan

Because each organization has unique opportunities, resources and challenges, no “template” exists for building a content marketing strategy. However, there is a set of questions that you can use to help guide you through the process.

Similarly, there is no singular “right way” to document your content marketing strategy. For instance, we have seen that both small businesses and those with simpler content marketing plans have found it adequate to work through the key questions, without much need for explicit documentation. For larger organizations, or more complex initiatives in which there are more stakeholders, documenting everything may make more sense.

To help you determine what documentation processes will be most effective for your organization’s content marketing strategy, our newest 16-page guide, The Essentials of a Content Marketing Strategy: 36 Questions to Answer, explains the basics.

What do you think is essential to include in your content marketing strategy? What questions do you have? Let us know in the comments below.