A content strategy template includes everything you need to consider when building out your content marketing strategy. That means audience personas, content distribution, content formats, channels, categories, topics, goals, operations, and reviewing.
With the right template in place, you proactively address every conceivable facet of content marketing.
Because SEO drives 1000% more traffic than social media, marketers place a heavy focus on blog posts when allocating their content budgets.
Social media platforms, on the other hand, are designed to keep people in the app and not to drive traffic to your website. However, social media is still important for driving conversation, building community, and growing your brand awareness.
In this guide, we include a simple-to-follow content strategy template that you can copy and fill out. Plus, we show you examples of how to fill it out.
Here’s what you’ll find in this guide:
- Why you need a content strategy template
- The ideal content strategy template
- Descriptions and examples of each section
- How to execute on your strategy efficiently
Why you need a content strategy template
A content strategy template can help you cover all of your bases when it comes to content marketing. If you create your strategy without a template, you might forget important elements, like choosing content operations software or relying on Jobs to Be Done to help you ideate topics.
There are so many elements that go into developing an amazing content marketing strategy. A template makes sure that you don’t forget any of them.
The ideal content strategy template
The most important elements of any content strategy are deep knowledge of your target audience, doable content production expectations, seamless content operations, and measurable goals and results.
A content strategy isn’t just about coming up with great topics. That’s only part of the puzzle.
Copy, paste, and fill out this template!
- Persona name:
- Level of experience:
- What they need to achieve:
- How they currently handle this:
- What is difficult about their current method:
- Why our solution is better:
- What they’re able to focus on with our solution in place:
- Quantifiable results they get from our solution:
- Emotional and psychological impacts of our solution:
- Paid ad prioritization:
- Employee ambassador availability:
- SEO prioritization:
- Social-sharing prioritization:
Content Formats and Channels
- Core content formats and channels:
- Micro content formats and channels:
- Goal content formats and channels to launch later:
Content Categories and Topics
- Content Categories:
- Content Topics Per Category:
- Weekly content:
- Monthly content:
- Quarterly content:
Goals and KPIs
- Production KPIs:
- Monthly website traffic:
- Monthly demo requests:
- New monthly email subscribers:
- Content operations software:
- Collaborators per content format or channel:
- Process per content format or channel:
- Content analysis software:
- Reporting process:
- Actions to take:
Descriptions and examples of each section
Below, you’ll find a description and example for each section!
Particularly in the B2B world, audience personas are much more useful if they are based on the Jobs to Be Done theory (JTBD). This theory sets aside the classic demographic criteria like age, gender, and marital status for something more practical. Instead, you seek to understand your target audience based on what they need to achieve. For example, at StoryChief, our target audience needs to release quality content, promote it, and measure it.
- Persona name: Content Manager Carmen
- Industry: SaaS
- Role: content marketing manager, managing multiple writers, designers, and social media managers
- Level of experience: 1-5 years
- What they need to achieve: publish high quality content quickly and get measurable results
- How they currently handle this: Google docs briefs, manual Wordpress entry, struggling to understand how to use Google Analytics
- What is difficult about their current method: Time consuming, slow processes lead to fewer pieces of content published each month, unable to measure results and show the impact of their work, unable to advocate to keep or raise the allocated budget for content
- Why our solution is better: Faster and smoother content collaboration in one place, built-in analytics to make it easy to understand what is driving leads
- What they’re able to focus on with our solution in place: Stop focusing on managing people in email and spreadsheets, and start improving the quality of the content, releasing content more frequently, and measuring it regularly
- Quantifiable results they get from our solution: 2X more leads from content, 3X more pieces published per month
- Emotional and psychological impacts of our solution: Less stress and time waste, less frustration and confusion, feel like they’re in an important and impactful role and that their work truly matters to the company
If you have multiple audience personas, make sure to fill out the template for each of them. If the industries don’t affect the person’s role much, then you don’t need to make a separate persona. Instead, the persona will change if the person has a very different “job to be done.”
Before you start choosing your content formats and coming up with topics, you first need to figure out what methods of distribution you will prioritize. That’s because your distribution methods will greatly affect your topic ideation. For example, if you want to win at SEO, you’ll need to use an SEO tool to help come up with topics. But if you want to use brand journalism and inspire lots of social media shares, then you’ll want to come up with fresh, unusal topics that are cutting edge.
- Paid ad prioritization: Each month, we will boost our top-performing post, in terms of which post got the most amount of leads via organic distribution. We will continue to boost 3 - 6 posts at a time.
- Employee ambassador availability: Our marketing team will be ambassadors for every piece of content. We will request that all employees help share and comment on only 2 posts per month (the ones most likely to result in shares and social media traction).
- SEO prioritization: 80% of our blog content should target a keyphrase with search volume over 100 searches per month. All downloadable guides and resources must also have SEO opportunities, whether directly on those landing pages or for promotional blogs.
- Social-sharing prioritization: 20% of our blog content does not need to have an SEO element, and can instead be more like brand journalism, to inspire sharing and feature customers and target customers.
Content Formats and Channels
With greater clarity around your budget and resources for distribution, you can now choose your content formats and channels. It’s smart to decide which channels you can tackle now, and which ones are goals for later, like launching a podcast.
- Core content formats and channels: Blog posts, segmented email nurturing sequences, downloadable guides, templates
- Micro content formats and channels: Twitter posts, Instagram feed posts, Instagram stories, Instagram lives, Facebook lives, LinkedIn posts, LinkedIn video posts
- Goal content formats and channels to launch later: Podcast, YouTube
Content Categories and Topics
Next, you can start coming up with your content categories and topics. This will be something that you do regularly. Every week or every month, you’ll need to come up with fresh content to post on your channels. Think of this section like examples that will help guide collaborators in the right direction when they ideate later. Essentially, you’re offering a starting point, and clarifying the type of content your want to publish.
- Content Categories: content operations, content marketing, content management
- Example Content Topics for Content Operations: How to Improve Content Operations, Why Content Operations Is Essential for Great Content Marketing
- Example Content Topics for Content Marketing: How to Allocate Your Content Marketing Budget, How to Help Sales Nurture Leads with Content Marketing
- Example Content Topics for Content Management: 5 Tools to Uplevel Your Content Management Process, The Easiest Content Management Workflow for B2B Content Teams
How frequently will you release content? Setting expectations around what you will publish and when is important. This helps keep collaborators on track, and it can motivate you to get more done in less time. So, instead of saying you’ll publish a blog post when you get to it, you’ll have very specific expectations in place.
- Weekly content: 2 blog posts per week, 20 social posts per week across all channels
- Monthly content: 2 customer stories per month, 2 blog content updates per month
- Quarterly content: 2 lead magnets per quarter and 1 fully executed SEO topic cluster per quarter, review and update all email nurture sequences monthly
Goals and KPIs
In addition to a plan for your content schedule, you also need to set goals and KPIs for your content. How many leads do you hope to generate each month? By how much do you want to grow your email list? Take a look at your current numbers and past trajectory to determine new goals that are aspirational and nearly doable.
- Production KPIs: Release minimum content pieces, as per the weekly, monthly, and quarterly plan above
- Monthly website traffic: 100,000 monthly views
- Monthly demo requests: 200 demo requests per month
- New monthly email subscribers: 1,500 new email subscribers per month
For best results, use a content operations software that makes it easy to assign, review, publish, and promote content all in one place.
How will you produce content? Too often, content strategy templates don’t take this into consideration. But without clear content operations, you won’t be able to meet your production goals or KPIs. For best results, use a content operations software that makes it easy to assign, review, publish, and promote content all in one place.
- Content operations software: StoryChief
- Collaborators for blog content: Dayana, Brik, Carmen, Toby
- Process per content format or channel: Dayana does SEO keyphrase research and pitches topics for Brik to approve. Once approved, Dayana assigns half of the topics to freelance writers using StoryChief, then checks the SEO and readabilitiy scores in StoryChief and publishes to the site and all social media channels using StoryChief.
And of course, your content strategy should also include metrics and reporting. You need to choose which tools you’ll use to analyze your content, how you will review results, and what decisions you’ll make based on what you find in those results.
- Content analysis software: StoryChief
- Reporting process: Review StoryChief Insights monthly and discuss on 30-minute synch with the content team
- Actions to take: Determine which content pieces to boost with paid social, which pieces to improve, which to continually promote orgically on social, and which should inspire further pieces; also review channel success and which social channels need more attention or strategy tweaking
How to execute on your strategy efficiently
Anyone who’s been in content marketing for an extended period of time has probably seen inefficient processes.
Some of the common pitfalls with content marketing include:
- Lack of consistency with briefs
- Manually copying and pasting content into a CMS
- Manually downloading and uploading photos into the CMS
- Difficulty finding and repurposing existing assets
- Confusion over what stage content is in the production process
- Slow approvals and content that gets stuck in the process
To solve these issues, you need content operations software that includes these features all in one place:
- Content brief templates and assignments
- Content collaboration
- SEO and readability optimization
- Reviewing and commenting
- Approval workflows
- Integrations to CMS and promotion channels
- One-click publishing to CMS
- One-off and evergreen social media promotions
- Employee advocacy management
- Content analysis
Here’s a graphic representation of how easy it can be to publish and promote your content:
Just like you wouldn’t manage your social media captions in spreadsheets, you shouldn’t do this with your content marketing either.
With the right software, your content team can release optimized pieces faster than ever.
Ready to speed up your content workflows? Try StoryChief for free.