A clear content marketing strategy defines its purpose, who it serves, and its format.

Achieving a goal most often begins with having a plan. In the case of content marketing, this plan — or content marketing strategy — will depend on how large your company is and how much money and time is invested. For small and mid-sized businesses, a content marketing strategy may be the documented and thoughtful answers to several questions or thought exercises.


If a content marketing strategy is a plan of action, understand what it is you’re planning to do. Define some specific things to accomplish.

For example, an online store may want to reach more potential customers. That could happen if the store’s website ranked in search engines better or ranked for more terms. Thus, better search engine performance could be a goal.

A company selling an expensive, unfamiliar, or complex product may want to move potential customers through the sales cycle. Content that answers questions or concerns might help.

Start your company’s content marketing strategy with goals, and document them.

How Content Marketing Helps

“If you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”

That saying represents what is known as the law of the instrument or “Maslow’s hammer.” It describes a bias toward using a familiar or desired tool, instrument, or method to solve every problem.

This can happen with content marketing. A company has heard about content marketing. The company’s competitors have a blog, and so the business decides it wants to do “content marketing.” But then that business chooses a goal such as “boost sales 10 percent next month.”

But content marketing is not the best tool for boosting short-term sales. If the aim were to grow sales 10 percent over the next year, content marketing could be in the mix. But to grow sales next month, other tools such as pay-per-click advertising or email marketing would likely work much better.

In general, content marketing is good at establishing your business’s position in the market. It can help to attract, engage, and retain customers. It builds a sense of reciprocity, so that consumers may become loyal, repeat purchasers. It moves shoppers along a complex buyer’s journey. It can lead to much better search engine rankings.

Thus your content marketing strategy should document how it will help your business achieve its goals. This is particularly important in a large or mid-sized business to convince other departments or co-workers.

Document why your business should produce content.

Target Audience

Unfortunately, phrases like “understand your customer,” “know your audience,” and similar have become vague clichés.

Conversely, some marketers advocate…