- A content strategy is a high-level roadmap that guides your content marketing program and keeps it in sync with your business objectives.
- A content strategy template provides the framework so you can draft a comprehensive plan more quickly.
- Your content strategy template should be a flexible document that contains everything you need to develop, manage, and deploy your content.
If it’s your job to create a content marketing strategy, then you probably feel overwhelmed right now. Your mind must be buzzing with questions like: Where do I start? What should I include? Who should be involved? Can’t I just download a content strategy template?
We’ve all been there, and it’s scary.
To be honest, most executives have a narrow view of content strategy. They think it’s just a list of blog posts in an editorial calendar. But it’s so much more than that. A comprehensive strategy should include personas, journey maps, keyword research, content audits, messaging frameworks, content governance, and distribution channels. And a content strategy template helps keep it all organized.
If I just made your anxiety worse, don’t worry.
I’ll explain everything you need to include in your content strategy template. By the end of this article, you’ll have an actionable plan as well as the confidence to execute it. As a bonus, download Terakeet’s Content Strategy Playbook below to get a full suite of templates to help you draft your plan.
Why use a content strategy template?
A content strategy is a high-level roadmap that guides your content marketing program and keeps it in sync with your business objectives. Without a detailed plan, you’ll struggle to connect with your audience or move them through the content marketing funnel. As a result, you’ll fail to achieve vital performance goals.
However, it can be incredibly challenging to develop a plan from scratch. The solution? Use a content strategy template. It provides a framework to:
- Set clear, achievable content marketing goals
- Align your content with business objectives
- Identify your target audience (and audience segments)
- Map content to customer journey stages
- Decide where and how to distribute your content
- Establish guidelines for your brand voice and tone
- Clarify roles and responsibilities
- Define success metrics (KPIs)
The primary benefit of using a content strategy template is that it provides the scaffolding to develop a plan more quickly. It’s also highly customizable and adaptable so it evolves with your marketing strategy.
Finally, a content strategy template offers a bird’s eye view of all your content marketing efforts. It brings structure and organization to your content department, so you always know the who, what, where, when, how, and why of your content.
What to include in your content strategy template
Here’s a step-by-step guide that covers everything you should include in your template.
1. Business objectives
Having clear business objectives is the foundation for every content marketing plan. This includes both objectives for the business, as well as specific marketing objectives. If you don’t first clearly define your objectives, your content production will be aimless and haphazard. Your marketing ROI will also be much lower and you’ll have difficulty securing the support of important stakeholders.
Include the following objectives in your content strategy template:
- Generate leads or sales
- Build brand awareness
- Increase web traffic
- Engage customers/prospects
- Nurture relationships with customers/prospects
- Improve customer retention
Each objective should be clear, and they should serve as the guiding force for your content marketing goals. Many of the decisions you make as you map out your content strategy will be determined by your overarching business goals.
Before you perform any other content marketing actions, make sure you have absolute clarity on the primary business objectives.
2. Content marketing goals
Your content marketing strategy should support your brand’s business objectives. In other words, all your content creation and marketing efforts should help achieve the primary business goals.
For example, if a primary goal is to grow brand awareness, how will the content you create support that goal? There are numerous ways your content plan could help you achieve this, including:
- Creating blog posts that target top of the funnel keywords
- Running shareable social media campaigns
- Publishing thought leadership articles on external sites
- Creating a podcast
- Appearing as a guest on podcasts
You’ll create different types of content depending on your objectives. For example, if you want to improve your SEO to get more traffic to your website, you’ll need to create and optimize high-quality content. If you want to get more leads, you need to produce relevant content that’s geared towards sign-ups, downloads, registrations, free trials, etc.
Every goal you include in your content strategy template should be connected to a business objective. Don’t chase vanity metrics (likes, shares, followers, etc.) that don’t offer tangible benefits to your brand. Instead, remain laser focused on what you’re really trying to accomplish.
3. Team responsibilities
Content marketing is a team sport. In other words, no one person can create successful content marketing campaigns by themselves. It takes a collaborative effort from various content team members, each playing their own specific role.
For example, think about all that’s required just to write, publish, and promote one blog post:
- Topic and keyword research
- Competitive analysis
- SERP analysis
- Content brainstorming
- Adding content ideas to editorial calendar
- Outline creation
- Editing and formatting
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Adding images/media
- Distribution and content amplification
- Tracking and reporting
An effective content strategy template clearly defines each person’s responsibilities in the content creation process. The responsibilities will vary depending on the type of content you produce, but common ones include:
- Creating and managing the content calendar
- Topic ideation and selection
- Creating (writing, video shoots and production, recording, etc.)
- Performance analysis
4. Establish workflows and processes
After team responsibilities have been determined, establish workflows and processes that will ensure you always create great content and that nothing slips through the cracks.
For example, you might have a process in place for how topics are selected and assigned to team members. This could include conducting a monthly brainstorming meeting where everyone on the team pitches ideas. Then, after the ideas have been collected, the content marketing manager can assign topics to content creators and others on the marketing team based on their strengths, interests, and availability.
The processes should also specify lengths of time so that key dates and milestones can be established and placed on the content calendar. For example, the topic ideation and selection process could happen the first week of every quarter. Topic assignment could happen immediately following that, and so on.
What is essential is that everyone knows when specific tasks need to be done, who is responsible for those tasks, and what steps need to be followed to keep everything running smoothly.
5. Audience personas
One of the most important aspects of a successful content strategy is understanding your audience. If you don’t know who you’re writing for, then it’s impossible to create content that attracts, resonates with, or compels them to take action.
Audience personas help you define your ideal customers and understand their needs, pain points, and desires. As a result, you’re better equipped to produce content your audience wants and values. They help you understand the goals, desires, aspirations, and pain points of your audience, allowing you to shape your content marketing efforts accordingly.
Even though personas are fictionalized representations of those in your customer base, they should be based on real data. This data usually comes from a variety of sources, including:
- Customer interviews
- Feedback from your sales team
- Insights from customer service
- Market research
Once you’ve gathered sufficient data, you can begin to assemble your audience personas. The information you include will depend on your industry, audience, etc. Your personas might include things like:
- Age range
- Income / revenue
- Job title
Sources of information
Preferred social media platform
The purpose of creating personas is to see things through the eyes of your customers and ensure that you’re creating the right content that appeals to their needs and interests.
6. Content types
After you analyze your audience, the next step is to determine what types of content you’ll create. Consider your audience personas, business objectives, and content marketing goals.
You should also know how to do a website content audit to evaluate your performance and identify gaps in the customer journey. Retail brands often have plenty of existing content for the bottom of the funnel. But they tend to ignore the top of the funnel.
Let’s look at a TOFU, MOFU, BOFU strategy below.
Top of the funnel
The content you create for the top of the funnel should focus on helping prospects better understand their problem or objective. It shouldn’t require a significant investment of time since people at this stage are still trying to understand the basics of the situation.
Common top of the funnel content includes:
- Social media posts
- Blog posts optimized for TOFU keywords
- Byline articles
- Informational videos
Middle of the funnel
As people move further down the funnel, they become more informed, and their interests start to narrow. Content for the middle of the funnel should continue to educate prospects on the nature of their problems, as well as possible solutions to it. You’re not trying to sell them your product or service yet, but you are trying to demonstrate that your solution is superior to other solutions.
Effective middle of the funnel (MOFU) content includes:
- In-depth blog posts or articles
- White papers
- Product pages
- Case studies
In a recent survey done by Content Marketing Institute, 58% of respondents noted virtual events, webinars, and online courses provided the best results.
Bottom of the funnel
At the bottom of the funnel, prospects are well-informed, have decided on a solution, and are ready to buy a specific product or service. However, they often need one final nudge to take action. Content at this stage should focus on how your product or service solves the customer’s problem.
Bottom of the funnel (BOFU) content often includes:
- Live demos
- Free trials
- ROI or TCO calculators
- Competitor comparisons
Keep your audience, primary business objectives, and content marketing goals in mind while you map out the types of content you plan to create. Every piece of content must align with these three things in addition to helping prospects reach the next stage of the funnel.
7. Content distribution channels
Your content strategy template should include a clear content distribution strategy. Decide which channels to leverage and outline your plan to amplify visibility.
When choosing which distribution channels to use, consider two key factors: where your audience spends their time and what stage of the funnel prospects are in.
Your audience research should give you a good idea of which channels your audience prefers. For example, if you’re targeting Gen Z, you may choose TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, or influencer marketing as your primary channels.
If you’re targeting C-Suite executives, you might focus on creating executive briefings and promoting them on LinkedIn.
The distribution channels you choose will also depend on which stage of the funnel you’re targeting. At the top of the funnel, focus on channels that drive awareness like social media or informational keywords. For prospects in the middle of the funnel, create email marketing campaigns, in-depth articles, or webinars. Finally, for conversion-focused content, publish side-by-side comparisons and product demos.
8. Brand voice and tone
A good content strategy template clarifies brand voice and tone. Brand voice is your brand’s personality. Tone, on the other hand, is the emotion conveyed in your message.
It’s important to specify brand tone and voice to maintain consistency across your digital marketing channels. When several strategists collaborate on long-form content, your messaging could become fragmented. Regardless of where a person encounters your brand, you want them to have the same experience.
When deciding on the voice and tone you want to use, consider the following questions:
- Do we already have a defined voice and tone, whether explicit or implicit?
- Do we want to maintain our current tone or is it time for a shift?
- What are our core values?
- What voice and tone best fit those values?
- How does our target audience speak?
- What voice and tone will resonate best with them?
Your answers to these questions will help you decide on the right voice and tone for your brand.
9. KPIs to measure content marketing ROI
Finally, your content strategy template should include key performance indicators (KPIs). Use these metrics to measure the success of your content marketing efforts over time. Do your best to connect KPIs directly to your content marketing goals.
Some common content marketing KPIs include:
- Website traffic from
- New website visitors
- Leads generated
- Social media engagement
- Content downloads/views
- Conversion rate
- Time on page
- Page views
- Sales that follow content consumption
It’s also important that your KPIs align with the customer journey. For example, even if your goal is to generate more conversions, you shouldn’t evaluate top-of-the-funnel content by conversion rate.
Rather, use metrics that reflect whether you’re effectively connecting with prospects in the awareness stage and moving them on to the next stage in the customer journey.
For example, TOFU KPIs could include:
- Social media engagement
- Organic traffic for TOFU keywords
- Click-through-rate (CTR) to landing pages
- Leads generated through landing pages
What matters is that you measure content performance by the right metrics at the right time. Otherwise, you’ll have a skewed view of how your content marketing efforts are really going.
Customize your content strategy template
To get the most out of your content strategy template, customize it to fit your industry, brand, audience, etc. Use the above elements as a starting point and then make modifications so that the template is even more useful to you.
Obviously, a content marketing strategy template can’t do the work for you. But it certainly makes it easier to know where you’re headed and what you need to include.
- Why use a content strategy template?
- What to include
- Customize your content strategy template