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Content strategy: What to include, what questions to ask and the building blocks towards an effective roadmap

content strategy roadmap illustration

These days, most people won’t travel to an unknown destination without following a route that their GPS creates for them. The same is true when it comes to content strategy. Having a content roadmap will help you document where you are, where you want to be and the different paths you can take to get there.

What is a content strategy roadmap?

A content strategy roadmap is a carefully executed plan for reaching your content marketing goals. It’s a big-picture strategy document that breaks up content planning according to each stage of the marketing funnel (awareness, consideration and decision), and helps you track progress along the way. Key projects and initiatives, along with who is leading them and intended completion dates, should be included.

A content roadmap is not the same as a content calendar, however. The latter takes a much more granular approach, planning out each step of every content asset’s publishing schedule. What you’re aiming for with a content roadmap is a high-level look at your content planning.

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How to create a content roadmap

Before you get started on your content roadmap, you need to figure out your main objectives. The first being: where you’re going. Whether it’s wanting to build a customer list, get people to fill out a request form for lead generation, convert the audience into customers, engage with current customers to improve retention, or all of the above, you should include it as the end points of your content roadmap.

Next up, you’ll want to assess the content you already have—where you are right now. Determine how much of it is usable, what can be easily updated or reworked to bring into alignment with your brand voice, and what you can remove because it’s no longer relevant to your content goals. This is the starting point of your content roadmap.

From there, you can determine what type of and how much content is needed to fill in the gaps—the possible routes you can take. Part of that process will be figuring out what type of content your prospective customers find valuable so that you can become their trusted source of information. This can involve keyword research, working with your sales team to discuss customer pain points, and analyzing other customer data you may have available. Figuring out what needs to be done at a high-level will determine the various stops along your content roadmap journey.

What to include in your content roadmap

Deciding which parts of your content planning should be part of your content roadmap is up to you. Just remember: this is a big picture visualization, not a super detailed list of action steps.

That said, here are some of the things that are typically including in a content strategy roadmap:

  • Target audience: Who do you want to reach with your content?
  • Objectives: What do you want your target audience to do after checking out your content?
  • High-level content plan: What types of content will you use to engage your audience (i.e., white papers, ebooks, blog posts, infographics, etc.)? How will you distribute that content (website, e-newsletter, social media, etc.)?
  • Project milestones and end dates: Include just the major moments in the project lifecycle such as the kickoff, first draft, final draft, and publish date. Keep this part updated as you have new statuses to report.
  • Stakeholders: List who is running point on the various content projects (and who’s on their teams), and anyone else who needs to be involved (i.e., graphic design, publicists) or sign-off (i.e., legal) from outside of the content team.

What effective content roadmaps have in common

Though content strategy roadmaps can vary, there are some key attributes that each one should have:

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  • It should be visual. It can look like an actual map, a flow-chart or a color-coded calendar (not to be confused with an editorial or content calendar). But the idea is that your content roadmap should feel like you’re zooming out so you can see everything that’s happening in one place.
  • It should be organized. If you have more than one person contributing to the content roadmap, they should be adding things in a uniform way. Otherwise, it will end up being confusing and disjointed.
  • It should be accessible. Anyone looking at your content roadmap should understand what it’s saying, especially if it will be shared with other departments or the C-suite.
  • It should be fluid. Sometimes your content roadmap may have to change course for a variety of reasons. Keep it updated as objectives change or as insights point you in a new direction.

Ready to get to work on your content strategy roadmap? Having the right content management system can make it easy to assess, categorize and freshen up your assets so you can optimize them to meet your goals.

Learn more about how the right CMS can help you create and follow a content strategy roadmap:


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