Looking for the perfect template to create a content marketing strategy?
You won’t find one here, so just close this tab.
In my years of experience in content marketing, I’ve learned that there is simply NO SUCH THING. In general, the best solution for you would be to create your own strategy template that meets all YOUR requirements. But first, you need to look around and study the templates of other marketers to make yours more effective and appropriate for you.
Why would you want to use a template at all? Well, for one thing, it helps reduce brainpower because it organizes and standardizes content strategy creation. And for another, if you’re working with multiple teams at once, the interaction between them can be easier if there’s a single sample template.
So I decided to look online for content strategy templates, tried a few of them, and decided to pick the best ones for a wide variety of cases, types of companies, and both the in-house content marketer and the agency in mind.
I tried so hard to create my list of user-friendly, flexible, and free content marketing templates and examples, available in Excel, Word, PDF, and Google Docs formats.
So… (oh my gosh; this is so exciting!) here’s my review article, folks!
|You need to figure out what’s what before drawing up a strategy: there are links to key terms or useful resources here
|2. CMI’s Strategy for Metro
|You want to see what needs to be included in the client project’s content marketing strategy and how to present it
|3. Uptown Studios’ Template
|You need to orient your content strategy for further promotion in social media
|4. Zapier’s Template
|You need to make a content strategy based on the current opportunities and investment
|5. Builtvisible’s Template
|You are looking for a flexible content marketing template for circumstances changing and goal posts moving
|6. CoSchedule’s Template
|You need a ready-made presentation to easilt fill in and demonstrate to a customer
|7. HubSpot’s Template
|You need a content strategy for a trading company or a company related to sales
|8. Contently’s Template
|You are looking for a strategy template providing you with full distribution and tracking of content release
I can’t wait to tell you more about each example in more detail, so let’s get started!
1. Backlinko’s Long-Term Content Strategy Template
Well, Brian Dean… A master of content marketing. I think almost everyone watched his video tutorials. I personally admire his work, that is why his template is in the first place in my list!
This is a great example for both beginners and experienced marketers.
What Got Me Hooked on the Backlinko’s Template
You all know the reason we, as marketers, don’t just crank out content willy-nilly. That is why being strategic is key and Backlino’s content plan puts that concept at the forefront.
When you think about a great content strategy, the first thing I think about is typically an exceptional outcome with measurable results. Putting together a long-term approach gives you the power to be consistently producing great content while always keeping what’s on the horizon in clear view.
Another key takeaway from this strategy I found was the value in content repurposing. A truly great piece of content can be repurposed to for multi-channel distribution. A long-form blog post or case study can easily be repurposed into multiple email campaigns, social media posts, a post by an influencer, a video or podcast, and highlighted to show multiple value propositions showcased in the original content.
- Let the data and results be your guide
- Run a content audit on yourself
- Double down on what your “winners” are and stop wasting time with the “losers”
- Repurpose, repurpose, repuspose
2. Robert Rose’s Content Marketing Analysis & Recommendations for Metro
During his tenure as Chief Strategist for the illustrious Content Marketing Institute (CMI), Robert Rose and his team were engaged by Metro’s marketing team to analyze existing content marketing efforts and provide guidance to develop a transformative strategy.
Robert Rose has spent decades as a thought leader in the realm of creative content that resonates with audiences and drives tangible results. The results were laid out in a unique CMI strategy for Metro.
What Got Me Hooked on the CMI’s Example
The first question on everyone’s mind is the same as the one you may be having: where do we begin?
Aligning with CMI’s established content marketing framework, Rose and his team began by focusing on the seven strategic parts of the framework: Plan, Audience, Story, Channels, Process, Conversations, and Measurement. Metro had completed a thorough amount of research on its audience and had established a previous plan for their content.
What is your business’s core content goal that will delight all audiences? For Metro, the core goal was showcasing the Trusted Value that Metro provides consumers.
After establishing Trusted Value as the content focus, CMI focused on three distinct pillars for the “My Metro” content: Awareness, Consumer Persuasion/Sales, and Brand Loyalty. These pillars were weaved into content that was designed to be shared across established channels ranging from digital (website, email, social, mobile) to traditional marketing elements (direct mail, weekly flyers, coupons, print advertisements, and in-store display). Finally, Rose and the CMI team provided 10 achievable recommendations that followed the seven strategic parts of the initial framework. These 10 recommendations were consolidated into two major initiatives.
- Segment your content marketing strategy into numbered parts, each building on the one before
- Find a core focus that your content and brand messaging will center around
- Compile a numeric list of go-forward strategy recommendations
Uptown Studios is a leader in visual communications that fuels content through creativity. Since 1992, Uptown Studios has been providing strategy for companies across a wide variety of verticals to improve brand messaging and fuel their clients’ positive digital presence.
This strategy focuses on social media presence as well as establishing and meeting identified goals, all done with the infusion of Uptown Studios’ talents as a creative powerhouse.
What Got Me Hooked on the Uptown Studios’ Template
Like CMI’s strategy, Uptown Studios also sets out a clear framework for strategy development. Theirs is divided into four parts: Think, Plan, Do, and Evaluate.
As I break down each of the four parts, consider how they can be implemented into your brand messaging and content.
First, Thinking consists of analyzing your company’s core focuses including things like your mission, vision, audiences, positioning, strengths/weaknesses, and competitor analysis. Next, the Planning component sets goals for your social media strategy by creating a list of key objectives and how you will achieve them, all measurable on a three-month, post-launch timeline.
The next part, Doing, is the execution of a robust social media strategy across all platforms, followed by the final part, Evaluating the success through stablished criteria after three months.
- Utilize your social media platforms as a stage to show yourself as an industry leader by sharing, engaging, and influencing
- A content marketing strategy isn’t simply content, it is visual through creative and enticing design and brand continuity
- Four specific parts build the framework: Think, Plan, Do, and Evaluate.
4. Zapier’s Content Strategy Template by Lane Scott Jones
Lane Scott Jones has seen great success in leading an team of writers and editors at Zapier as Head of Content Marketing.
Her mission is to help companies work smarter, not harder to deliver exemplary content that will engage audiences and deliver results.
She utilizes this template to communicate strategy to company executives and key stakeholders.
What Got Me Hooked on the Zapier’s Template
This strategy template starts with an exceptional concept stating that while writing out a content strategy is usually the easy part, creating that strategy is a totally different beast. This content plan revolves around opportunities, with each one having a set of goals designed to move the needle for your company.
I know that great content only becomes great when it resonates with your audience and delivers results, so just how well do you truly understand your audience?
A good example is to understand what can be accomplished by creating content campaigns specifically targeted to a certain segment of your audience, capturing their attention, and creating affinity for your business.
I appreciate the approach taken to lay out key areas of investment, whether that be time, resources, or funds, and to determine how content can be cross-functional, with each piece of content bolstering others.
- Begin with a problem statement, then focus on finding opportunities that already exist for your company to showcase its value propositions
- Set up a listening tour with various decision-makers in your company, allowing you truly listen to content goals from executives, stakeholders, and your content team
- Set clear KPIs that align with your goals
- Establish not only what you would like to achieve, but how you will know when you have achieved it
- Develop multiple audiences (primary, secondary, and so on)
5. Builtvisible’s Flexible Content Strategy by Emily Clayfield
As the leader of Builtvisible’s content and creative teams, Emily Clayfield established herself as a leader through a relentless commitment to the highest quality of content and a focus on progress.
Builtvisible team creates content strategies that leave clients blown away and is accompanied by truly jaw-dropping creative. See their content marketing strategy clicking the link above.
What Got Me Hooked on the Builtvisible’s Tempate
What is a major cornerstone we haven’t touched on yet when it comes to a truly awesome content strategy? Flexibility. Emily’s content strategy template serves as a framework to re-position and re-build your content plans to get things back on track at the drop of a hat.
This strategy takes a no-nonsense approach to analyze where content stands, where we want it to go, how to make that happen, and how to measure results. It is outlined in 7 actionable steps that can easily be revisited to ensure flexibility as changes arise or goals and priorities shift.
Those 7 steps are:
- Diagnose the situation
- Reflect on mission/values
- List 3 most important goals and how content can help achieve those goals
- Speak to your audience by performing research with real customers and team members that frequently interact with customers like sales and customer service
- Find your sweet spot with a ven diagram consisting of audience needs on one side and your area of expertise/unique offerings on the other, and then find the overlap
- Define content production and distribution process, laying out your team’s roles and responsibilities
- Prepare avenues to analyze and measure results
- Allow your approach to content to be flexible, circumstances and priorities shift and your content approach should be able to pivot relatively easily
- Using a ven diagram with audience needs and your expertise/unique offerings will find you the “sweet spot” in the middle to best focus your content goals
- Get specific about 3 current top-priority business goals your content should help achieve
CoSchedule is a suite of marketing management software trusted by more than 30,000 marketers worldwide.
CoSchedule utilizes highly unique tools like a Headline Creation Studio and Headline Analyzer to help companies immediately grab their audience’s attention and spur engagement.
What Got Me Hooked on the CoSchedules’s Template
CoSchedule’s content strategy sets itself apart by focusing on an objective-first approach. You need to know specifically what you’re aiming to achieve and then layer in content goals to achieve those objectives.
I also appreciated the focus on developing a set of performance standards for content. This includes keywords, brand voice, and comprehensiveness, among other elements. Coschedule rounds out its content approach with the development of task-based workflows and processes to ensure each piece of content is assigned and that team members are working succinctly to execute the delivery of amazing content.
- Think objective-fist
- Really analyze your audience through more than just demographics
- Start by developing a content core consisting of topics most closely related to your business’s products or services
- Create a publishing schedule including frequency
- Use Google Analytics to determine the days and times your audience is most highly engaged
Most likely, you have already heard something about HubSpot (or maybe even used it?), as it is one of the most popular CPM platforms for marketers. You know, I use it myself sometimes.
This time, HubSpot and Litmus joined forces to give you a detailed step-by-step on how to create a successful content marketing plan.
What Got Me Hooked on the HubSpot’s Template
One of the greatest strengths I saw in Hubsport’s template was the inclusion of the tried-and-true SWOT analysis. By using a visual SWOT chart to outline your content’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats you have essentially laid solid groundwork for every step to follow when it comes to mastering exceptional content.
So, you’ve done your SWOT analysis, now what?
According to HubSpot’s Content Planning Template, the next and always-essential step is to define buyer personas. Take a deep dive here. Your buyer personas aren’t simply confined to age/sex/income level/location/family dynamic and so on. Think of the “why” behind why your target audience looks to what you offer in the first place and determine how you can appeal to that. Hubspot’s content plan maps out marketing objectives and highly-specific KPIs and develops a fluid content timeline created to keep the plan on track.
- Use a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) of your current content marketing efforts
- Dig need into your buyer personas and don’t be afraid to think outside the box
- Create a content timeline that keeps your content on a consistent trajectory while also being flexible enough to be fluid as opportunities arise or goals shift
Contently is a thought leader in the content creation process and works with companies all over the world.
It merges tech, insight, and data analysis to give marketers a content-first approach to building an engaged audience.
What Got Me Hooked on the Contently’s Template
The key focus of this strategy is to keep it simple. Organization and actionable goals put a stop to the overwhelming nature of many strategies that can often take marketers down rabbit holes or hinder the completion of a truly successful content development and dissemination strategy.
As a marketer, you know what you care about and what your goals are, but what does your audience care about and how can the two co-exist to build your core content pillars?
This is where HubSpot smartly recommends a traditional ven diagram. What your brand cares about is on the left side and what your audience cares about is on the right. The overlap creates your content pillars.
- Keep it simple
- Content pillars are created when you find the overlap between what your brand is passionate about and what your audience/consumers are passionate about
- Content calendar makes life easier
6 Tools for Creating Your Content Marketing Strategy
There are hundreds of different software for marketers now, but how do you find exactly the ones you need to solve specific tasks? No worries, I’ve picked up a few (six to be precise) that will help you in creating a content strategy.
- Ahrefs: the data lover’s dream content analysis tool. With technical elements incorporating site crawl data, Google Search Console integration, and keyword position monitoring, Ahrefs is essential to the measurement of any great content plan.
- Answer The Public: created by SEO Legend Neil Patel, so you know it’s good. An unbelievably simple tool that cranks out literally every potentially useful question, phrase, and search that people are asking about relating to your specific keywords.
- LongtailPro: Find the low-hanging keyword fruit that actually generates high-converting traffic. This platform finds less competitive keywords that can reap tons of qualified, high-converting traffic no matter what vertical your business is in.
- Trends.Google.com: don’t limit yourself. Discover what searchers are over the world are looking for at any given period of time. Incorporating XMind to create a semantic core map that can be overlaid into your unique content.
- DemandJump: create content with a first-page focus. DemandJump gives you the tools to create a strategy centralized around getting your content on the ever-coveted first page of search results.
- Similarweb: effortlessly analyze your competitors’ digital landscape. Easily understand how you stack up against the competition in terms of site traffic and key engagement statistics.
Content Marketing Strategy Case Study by Grow With Will
Over the last 21 months, Will has built a website from scratch from a 10-year-old existing domain. Was it worth it? The end result of 30,000 unique visits increased from near-zero says yes.
This video includes great lessons on the growth potential that can be applied to any website. In this case, Will found a website over a decade old that had a good amount of high-authority backlinks but lacked high-quality content. After reaching out to the original site owner via Twitter, the domain rights were transferred and his work began. Follow exactly what he did to transform this one-stagnant website into a thriving digital presence with 250 carefully-crafted blog posts and a strong content strategy.
There are limitless examples of content marketing strategies available at your digital fingertips. I have found these 8 to stand out as outstanding and creative examples that, when implemented with care and commitment, create a content strategy that will blow your audiences away and leave them engaged with your brand.