How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy (+ Template)

An illustration showcasing elements of a content marketing strategy.

According to Content Marketing Institute’s 2021 B2B Content Marketing Report, 60% of the most successful marketers have a documented content marketing strategy.

If you want to improve the success of your content marketing (or overall marketing in general), you need a plan. This plan outlines the stakeholders of different tasks, what needs to be done, when it needs to be done and so much more.

Whether you’re creating a content marketing strategy for the first time or you want to learn how to revamp your existing strategy to increase performance, this post is for you.

We’re going to walk you through the types of content your plan may include, why content marketing is so important and how to create your own content marketing strategy.

 

Table of Contents

 

What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is a type of digital marketing that involves the creation and promotion of content. The purpose of this is less about direct sales and more about brand awareness and audience education.

But what do we mean when we say “content?”

There are so many different types of content that can be created based on your marketing goals and the resources you have available to your marketing team.

The most common type of content marketing is a company blog. This gives you a space to regularly share brand new content that provides your insights and helps generate more traffic and awareness to your website.

However, you shouldn’t stop at just blogging. There are so many different types of content that can be a great part of your strategy.

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10 Types of Content Marketing to Know

The first step in determining how to best use content marketing for your business is to understand the different types of content you can create and distribute. 

While there’s an endless number of content types you can create, these are the ten most popular and that tend to bring in the most success.

1. Blogging

This should come as no surprise — you’re reading content on a blog right now!

This is because blogging was one of the first and continues to be one of the most prominent types of content marketing out there.

A screenshot of the Samandishe blog.

A blog tends to have a few different purposes:

  • Inform your audience
  • Increase organic traffic
  • Provide more link building opportunities
  • Generate conversions

Just like any other marketing tactic, your marketing funnel should still be top of mind when you plan out your blog content. There are different types of content for awareness, interest and conversions, and it’s important to include each type within your strategy.

2. Emails

Another facet of content marketing is email marketing. This is one of the most important pieces because you own your email list, and that’s a valuable list of contacts.

These are people who were interested enough in your business or your content to hand you their email address for marketing purposes. Whether they signed up via a signup form on your blog or website or did so in exchange for a lead magnet, you need to keep up with nurturing these leads.

As you build your email list through lead generation strategies, you need to start sending out consistent marketing emails. A good cadence is once a week or so.

Here’s an example of an email we sent out to our email list sharing some color psychology tips.

A screenshot of a newsletter example from Samandishe.

You want to be strategic with your marketing emails, and you likely want to segment your list out into different categories.

For example, a freemium software may choose to segment their list based on non-subscribers, free users (that they hope will upgrade to a paid plan), premium users, and Enterprise users.

There may be some emails that each list receives (i.e., educational content) and there should definitely be some emails that are catered to each specific user segment:

  • Non-subscribers: Entice them to give your software a try with content that showcases your tool in action and talks about the pain points it solves
  • Free users: Share useful content on getting the most out of your tool alongside premium features that they’ll need to upgrade to access
  • Premium users: Continue to nurture this segment to increase your customer lifetime value
  • Enterprise users: These are larger businesses who have access to some of your most exclusive features, so share more information about how they can take advantage of these

Those are just a few examples of how you might segment out different email content so that your business reaps the most benefits from each of your target audiences.

3. Videos

Another great content type that you don’t want to sleep on is video. There are so many different types of videos that your business can create as a part of its video marketing strategy (an important subset of content marketing).

Video can be one of the more complicated content types to create because you need more tools than you would for a simple blog post.

First, someone needs to write your video script or create your storyboard. Then, you have to find an actor or host. You’ll need a video camera (or even high-quality smartphone camera) to record your video. And finally, you need someone to edit it.

This is similar to the approach we take for our Make Informational Beautiful videos:

A screenshot of Make Information Beautiful videos by Samandishe.

However, that’s not the only way — not by a long shot. In fact, you can create a number of short video clips right inside Samandishe.

Some of the types of videos you might want to create (whether you go through the full video production process or use a quick video maker like Samandishe) are:

Determine a handful of video types that you plan to create as a part of your content marketing efforts and start building out your video content calendar.

4. Ebooks

Ebooks are a great content type for providing longform, valuable information to your audience. 

In fact, these are often so valuable that they’re used as lead magnets or even as digital products to help your business increase its passive revenue.

Here at Samandishe, we’ve created a number of ebooks over the years, each one bringing in a number of new leads for our email list. (Are you starting to see how a good content marketing plan brings everything together?)

An example of an ebook from Samandishe.

When you create your ebook, you first want to start by brainstorming a good topic. What is your audience interested in?

Discover some of the best topics by doing a bit of research:

  • Check out your top blog post topics or videos to see if one of those can be expanded into an ebook
  • Survey your audience to find out more about what they’d like to learn from you
  • Take a look at the types of questions your audience is asking online
  • Look at Google search results and the “People also ask” section to find more ideas

Once you’ve found a good topic, write your ebook content and turn it into an easy-to-read ebook design. You can then place it on a landing page (like we have here) for users to download or purchase before reading.

To create your own ebook, consider using a template like the one below to help bring your content to life.

A graphic design ebook template available to customize in Samandishe.

5. Infographics

An infographic is the shortened terminology for “informational graphic.” These tend to be long graphics chock full of data, statistics and other important information about a topic.

And they’re an incredible content marketing tactic.

Why is that? Well, infographics are great for building backlinks, they’re perfect for sharing on social media sites like Pinterest and LinkedIn, and they can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, perfect for sharing valuable information in a visually appealing format.

For example, here’s an informational infographic template that you can customize right inside Samandishe:

An infographic template available to customize in Samandishe.

However, there are also statistical infographics, hierarchical infographics, anatomy infographics and a number of other types of infographics. It just depends on the type of information you want to visualize.

Infographics are one of the best ways to generate more earned traffic to your website. Just be sure to include your website in the infographic’s footer as the creator/source of your information.

6.  SlideShare Presentations

Another great, but underutilized, content type is a presentation. While these are often used for other purposes, like sales, investor pitches, etc., they can be a great format for content marketing.

One way to use this content type is by creating a presentation, downloading it and then uploading it to a file sharing site like SlideShare:

Owned by LinkedIn, SlideShare is one of the only sites out there specifically for aggregating presentations online — and it’s certainly the most popular.

Another way to utilize presentations, especially interactive presentations, is by embedding it within a blog post for additional learning material.

Here’s an example of a blog post where we tried this out, and it’s been a great way to engage readers with an additional, unexpected type of content.

7. Webinars

A webinar is similar to a presentation (you’ll often be presenting a slide deck), but it’s done live and online. 

Attendees can register online and get a link to the webinar via email—it’s a good idea to set up this process using webinar software—then watch live in real-time. Most webinars end with a live FAQ so viewers can type in questions they have for the webinar host (you) to answer.

At Samandishe, we have a weekly Samandishe 101 webinar that shows new users how to learn the ropes of our software, but we also regularly host webinars that focus on other educational topics.

An example of Samandishe's webinars.

As you may have guessed, this is another great lead generation tactic to help you grow your email list and customer base.

Consider creating your own webinar series. These can be informational in nature, or you can use virtual events as a great way to launch new products, services and features.

Here’s a webinar template you can use to create your own slide deck:

A webinar template available to customize in Samandishe.

8. Online Courses

An online course is a pretty hefty content type, but it can be a great way to provide value to your audience.

For example, we have a completely free presentation certification course that’s meant to help our users (or anyone, really) who need to create presentations do so easily, while also creating a stunning, high-quality presentation and delivering it flawlessly.

An example of an online course by Samandishe.

Find a topic that’s hyper-relevant to your product or service and build an online course around it. This is a great way to take potential customers to the next level, converting them into loyal, paying customers who are thrilled with your brand.

You can break your online course into different chapters, sharing in-depth written content, video lessons, or a combination of the two.

9. Lead Magnets

We’ve touched on lead magnets a couple times in this post, but let’s do a deeper dive into this kind of content.

Lead magnets are an essential part of any content marketing program, and they present themselves in a number of different ways. Some we’ve already covered, like ebooks and online courses.

A few other lead magnet types are:

  • Checklists
  • Workbooks
  • White papers
  • Reports
  • Case studies
  • Cheat sheets
  • Gift guides
  • Roadmaps
  • Planners
  • Coupons/discount codes

The goal of a lead magnet is to generate more email addresses for your email list that you can nurture and follow up with. The goal is to stay top of mind so your new leads eventually sign up for your service or buy your product.

Here’s an example of a lead magnet (as well as a template you can customize in Samandishe to create your own):

A lead magnet template available to customize in Samandishe.

10. Podcasts

Another great type of content is a podcast. However, this will take a lot of work to deploy. You may want to consider hiring a dedicated person or team to help create and produce your company’s podcast.

A podcast is a great way to provide in-depth information about topics in your industry. And while many podcasts are run by creatives rather than businesses, this can still be a great type of content to add into your content strategy.

For example, social media scheduling tool Buffer produces two podcasts: The Science of Social Media and Breaking Brand.

A podcast example from Buffer.

Both are great ways to (a) get their name out there and (b) provide their users and others in the marketing industry with exceptional content that makes people want to trust them.

If you decide to launch your own podcast, you’ll need to consider:

  • Your podcast’s name
  • Your main topic
  • How will it help your target audience?
  • Who will be your host(s)?
  • Will you interview others in your industry?
  • How often will you release new episodes?
  • How will you promote your podcast?

All of these are essential elements to creating a new podcast.

 

Benefits of Content Marketing

If your company hasn’t yet launched a content marketing strategy, it’s time to do so — yesterday. There are a number of benefits to content marketing that nearly every business can take advantage of.

A few of these benefits are:

An infographic showcasing the top benefits of content marketing.

  • Boost your SEO: By creating content around high-traffic keywords, you can easily ramp up your website’s domain authority and increase the number of organic visitors your website receives.
  • Increase traffic: More content on your website equals more traffic potential. And if you choose your keywords and content types carefully, you can easily increase traffic through organic search, social media posts, email newsletters and more.
  • Create more onsite content: Again, more onsite content means greater traffic potential. By creating blog content, online courses, pre-recorded webinars, ebooks and the like, your audience has plenty of content to discover.
  • Build brand awareness: When you create great content, more people are likely to share it with their audiences, helping you to build even more brand awareness.
  • Generate more referral traffic: The more content you create, the more likely it is that people will share it or link to it. This is called referral traffic, and it’s a great way to increase the number of people landing on your website.
  • Generate more leads: More content + more traffic = more leads. Plus, several of our mentioned content types make for great lead magnets. Grow your email list and nurture them to become paying customers.
  • Higher earned traffic potential: Earned traffic is traffic that you’ve earned based on the amount of web content you’ve created. This is the number of people finding your site and content through word of mouth or online shares.
  • Bring in more conversions: Bottom of the funnel content is a great way to increase conversions. Plus, each piece of content should lead to a sales page, further boosting conversion potential.
  • Improve your domain authority/rank: Want to be taken more seriously by search engines? Your domain authority/rank is important, and the amount of content you create (that is then shared, linked to, clicked on, etc.) can help improve it.
  • Become a thought leader in your industry: Or, you might want to be taken more seriously by people in your industry. Creating valuable, actionable, accurate, and high-quality content is one of the best ways to do this.
  • Higher return-on-investment: Content can still work for your business weeks, months, and years down the road. This means that no matter what you invested in the initial content creation, you’re likely seeing an impressive ROI.

Say no more, right? You’re ready to build that strategy. Read on as we walk you through all of the steps to create your own successful content marketing strategy.

 

How to Create a Successful Content Marketing Strategy

Now that you know the major types of content you’ll want to create and why content marketing is so important, let’s dig into the important part: creating your content marketing strategy.

If your business has never ventured into content marketing before, don’t worry; the time to start is now. If you’re looking to revamp your content strategy with new (or better) types of content, following these steps can also help you.

We’ve got a quick seven-step process for building your own content marketing strategy, so let’s dig in.

Step #1: Determine your goals.

What are your business goals? What are you hoping your content strategy will help you accomplish?

Creating SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound) goals is a great method for ensuring your goals make sense and aren’t too out there.

A SMART goals infographic.

Or, if you want to start with some more basic goals, you might simply want to:

  • Increase website traffic
  • Generate more leads
  • Convert more customers
  • Improve your domain authority
  • Become a thought leader in your industry

Any of those goals make sense for your content strategy. But SMART goals can help you to determine specifics, like increasing web traffic to 100,000 visitors/month or growing your email list to 500,000 contacts.

Then, once you reach your initial goals, you can revisit your strategy and make new goals based on your success.

Step #2: Understand your audience and their wants.

The next step is to make sure your content strategy aligns with your target audience and what they’d want to see from you.

Your first step will be to create a buyer persona so that you know exactly who you’re marketing to. You can use a template like the one below to get started.

A design software user persona template available to customize in Samandishe.

In this customer persona template, create different bios with the likes, dislikes, pain points, demographics and more of your target audience.

This helps you to write with those people in mind. What specific problems do they have, and how can you answer that with your content? You don’t want to create content blindly, so be sure to keep your persona(s) in mind each time you launch a new piece of content.

Step #3: Conduct a content audit.

If you’ve previously created content without a documented strategy in place, you’ll want to conduct a content audit to make sure your past content aligns with your persona and your new strategy.

From here, you can get a good birds eye view of your existing content and decide if anything needs to be updated in order to fit with your new content direction.

Create a spreadsheet with links to each blog post, video, ebook, etc., and leave comments on what, if anything, needs to be updated.

Step #4: Choose your content channels.

The next step is to decide which channels to use for content distribution. This is how you’re putting your content out into the world so you can increase awareness of your business and generate new leads and customers.

The most common options are social media, your website, your blog and your email list.

Decide which social media platforms make the most sense for your business. For example, B2B organizations may consider Facebook and LinkedIn as their top channels while B2C companies may look towards platforms like Instagram and Pinterest.

Look into platform demographics and select the ones that have audiences matching your target audience.

Also pay attention to the types of content published on each platform. Do they match the kinds of content you’ll be including in your strategy? If so, that’s probably a channel where your content will perform well.

Step #5: Brainstorm topic ideas.

Next, start brainstorming topic ideas. Think back to your customer persona. What problems do they have that your business can solve? 

Use a mind map like the one below to help you. Put each of your main business offerings into the center, then start brainstorming different idea branches from there.

A mind map to use for brainstorming content ideas.

For example, let’s say your business offers social media scheduling. Some topic ideas you might come up with are:

  • Best Time to Post on [Social Media Platform]
  • How Often to Post on [Social Media Platform]
  • What Types of Content to Post on [Social Media Platform]

And you can create a new post for each specific social media platform that your software works with.

Plus, you can break this down even further with a mind map for your content.

Step #6: Write, edit and publish your content.

The next step is content creation!

It’s time to start creating outlines, writing your posts, editing and publishing your new content. To make the biggest impact, try to publish blog content no less than once/week.

Here at Samandishe, we publish 4-5 new posts and update 2+ older posts each week to get the biggest bang for our buck.

Figure out what you or your content team can handle and go for it.

But don’t forget about other types of content as well. While blog content will likely be your most frequently created content, you may also want to send out a weekly or monthly newsletter or publish a quarterly ebook.

Decide what makes sense for your strategy and put it into a content calendar so you know when it’s time to start creating.

Step #7: Monitor and adjust.

Just like every strategy, your last step is to monitor and adjust. Pay attention to your website analytics and conversions to see which types of posts are most popular and see if you can create similar content.

Alternatively, pay attention to the posts that simply don’t perform. Even if you thought that was going to be a great strategy, they simply aren’t resonating with your audience, and you don’t want to invest resources into them.

Keep in mind that content marketing is not a fast-acting strategy, especially if you’re focusing on generating organic traffic.

It can take weeks or months for your posts to rank, and even longer than that to start seeing new conversions. That’s all in the name of the game.

But you should start to see an upward trend of traffic and be sure to keep sharing your content on social media, in your email newsletter and anywhere else you include in your strategy.

 

Content Marketing Strategy Template

Your last step is to take action and actually create your own content marketing strategy. And you can easily do so with this pre-made content marketing strategy template.

A content marketing plan template available to customize in Samandishe.

If you don’t have one yet, you can create a free Samandishe account and fully customize the above template to fit your personalized strategy as well as your branding.

 

Create Your Own Content Marketing Strategy

Ready to start creating your own content marketing strategy? With these steps and content types, you should be well on your way to a successful and well-rounded marketing plan.

Samandishe can help you create your content marketing plan, as well as all of the various content types you may want to create. From blog graphics to ebooks to lead magnets and more, Samandishe has the perfect template to get you started.

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