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5 steps for developing a winning content marketing strategy

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Creating a successful content marketing strategy requires mastering the basics. Here is a how-to guide on creating a content marketing strategy that can support your evolving business and changing market dynamics.


Content strategies should always be evolving. It's not something you can set and forget, not with how quickly channels, customer expectations and market dynamics are evolving today.

Consider the increasing demand for personalized experiences that cater to the specific preferences, needs, and wants of consumers and the strategy and infrastructure it takes to deliver on those expectations time and time again. There's also been a rise in user-generated content and social media and influencer marketing that content teams are attempting to learn and adapt to so they don't fall behind their competitors. We're seeing growing adoption of voice search and virtual assistants as well, putting pressure on content marketers to optimize their content for voice-based queries to ensure their content is discoverable and relevant to those users. The list could go on and on.

How can content marketers be expected to keep up? Between content overload, changing algorithms, resource constraints and more, it can feel next to impossible. However, when content teams return to the basics—when they master the basics—they'll be set up for success no matter what comes their way.

Read on to find out more.

Whether creating a net-new content marketing strategy with today's market in mind—or revisiting and revamping an existing one—here are five key steps to follow.

Understand your business objectives—and how your content marketing strategy will align.

Ensure they align with your content marketing objectives. Content should never exist in isolation. It should serve a larger strategic purpose for your business, whether driving site traffic, generating leads, or increasing brand awareness. Importantly, to ensure content always directly contributes and ties back to business objectives, content teams will need to collaborate with other business functions across the organization and set clear KPIs to measure the impact of each piece.

#1 - Content marketing strategy starter questions for your team to ask and answer

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What are the topline company objectives that we need to account for?
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Have we connected with all critical business functions?
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How can we make our content objectives tie back to company objectives?
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How can we make content goals measurable?

Conduct upfront research to align you content marketing strategy with target audience expectations.

Understanding your target audience—their preferences and priorities, their challenges and the things that keep them up at night—is critical for creating content that will resonate with them and that will entice them to act. All too often, organizations skip this step, don't conduct thorough enough research or don't pull in all the right stakeholders from the company to create a holistic understanding of their buyers. This research is absolutely vital for content creators, though, helping them tailor various content types to meet the specific needs and interests of the target audience—and ultimately, helping to reach (or ideally exceed) the team's set KPIs.

#2 - Content marketing strategy starter questions for your team to ask and answer

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Who are our target buyers?
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What channels are they on?
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If there's a long list of target buyers, how do we prioritize their different needs and wants?
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What challenges do our buyers experience?
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How can we provide value to our buyers through content?
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Which tone will resonate with our audience?
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What channels are they on?

Determine critical content types, channels, topics, etc. as part of your content marketing strategy.

When creating a tangible and adaptable content marketing strategy document, it's important to consider the evolving needs of your target audience, industry trends, and business goals. The document should serve as a roadmap for creating, distributing and measuring content that aligns with your overall marketing and business objectives. The following elements should be included:

  • Content types that interest your target audience and align with business goals, such as blog posts, infographics, videos, case studies, webinars, podcasts and social media.
  • Content channels that will reach your target audience, including website, email campaigns, newsletters, events, advertising and social media.
  • Content topics that speak to the interests of your target audience, such as their pain points, interests, industry trends and gaps in your existing content. These answers should become clearer during your upfront research.

#3 - Content marketing strategy starter questions for your team to ask and answer

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Are there any channel trends we need to stay ahead of?
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What content types and formats are most effective?
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Are they still serving our needs?
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What existing content do we have to work with?
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What topics do our target audiences care about?

    Align on your execution approach, leveraging a modern CMS to streamline the entire process.

    It's important to leverage the right tools and technologies to execute your content strategy effectively and efficiently. Legacy systems might slow you down, but a modern content management solution (CMS) can help fix that. Today's CMS solutions offer content templates and workflow automation to streamline the end-to-end content process. They support true personalization and provide targeting capabilities to ensure content reaches its intended audience with the right message. They also support distribution and multi-channel publishing as well as content governance and security. Modern, flexible CMS solutions can help ensure everything stays on course in content management.

    #4 - Content marketing strategy starter questions for your team to ask and answer

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    Which solutions or applications are we using to execute our strategy?
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    Are they still serving our needs?
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    Who owns creation, approval, publication and measurement of the content?
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    Where can we make improvements to our content management process?

    Measure everything, and apply insights to refine your content-marketing strategy.

    Measure everything and apply insights to refine your strategy. Remember the KPIs you set at the beginning of this process? It's critical to always be tracking those so that your team can pivot as needed if goals aren't within reach. Whether measuring engagement, conversion, audience, SEO, or social media metrics, have an always-on measurement approach in place and leverage those insights to refine your strategy as needed.

    #5 - Content marketing strategy starter questions for your team to ask and answer

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    What's our measurement strategy?
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    How often are we measuring?
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    Who is responsible for sharing results with other business functions?
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    When and how do we apply insights to our strategy?

    Following these five steps and truly honing in on the basics that make content strategies successful will always be important, no matter how many industry changes and trends are on the horizon.

    We know that content strategies are a big lift. That's why Brightspot was designed to fit into your content strategy and publishing process, freeing content experts and creators to distribute content quickly to every channel without the need for IT.

    Our platform streamlines the entire process by providing planning, collaboration, performance assessment, brand consistency, and analytics features (to name a few) so that you can create content that resonates with your audience and more easily achieve your content marketing goals.

    Interested in learning more about how Brightspot can help you create and execute a content strategy for your business? Let's connect!

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    Anne Neubauer
    About the Author
    Anne is a writer for Brightspot. She specializes in translating business-to-business technology insights into digestible, actionable takeaways for readers. She has expertise across a variety of vertical markets and content types, having spent 10+ years in the PR and communications agency world. She's based in Minneapolis, Minnesota—and yes, she loves to talk about the weather.

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