7 steps to a Content Marketing strategy

Our research has shown that many marketers are now advocates of Content Marketing, but don’t have a Content Marketing strategy. I believe that since content marketing should be at the heart of digital marketing, a content strategy is essential, since specific tactics for other digital channels should flow from here. Content marketing can fuel SEO, Social media marketing, email marketing and conversion strategies too, meaning that they can managed together. From a customer point-of-view, a content marketing strategy supports customer engagement across the customer lifecycle.

So, what’s involved with developing and implementing a content marketing strategy? We cover this in our Smart Insights Content Strategy guide and I have also summarised it in this infographic which we have illustrated with our Content Marketing 2015 research report (free download) published with HubSpot.


The 4 pillars of inbound marketing

I haven’t done any live blogging for a while, but have a chance before my talk at #DMXDublin from the Marketing Institute of Ireland and  interesting to hear Mike Volpe CMO of Hubspot share their mindset – so I thought I’d share the  4 pillars that Hubspot’s marketing is based on.

So here are the four pillars:

ONE. Free Tools

An example of a tool created by Hubspot is Marketing Grader which although developed for  just $5,000, originally has now been used more than 5 million times.

These should be:

  • Fast (short time to value),
  • Simple,
  • Shareable (Virality)

HubSpot also have a new tool for Inbound Marketing ranking which we featured on the Smart Insights blog recently.

Solar winds – IT is an equivalent

TWO. Freemium model

Well-known examples or SurveyMonkey, Dropbox or publishers, e.g. Smart Insights.

Hubspot example – Sidekick – profiles in Email and Hubspot CRM


  • Usage – get adoption before usage
  • Tripwire – what is the perfect line between free and paid?
  • Viraliity – product usage drives growth

THREE. Content

Tips for Content Marketing

  • Persona – focus on what your buyers want to consumer
  • Media – not your direct competitors your competing with other media for attention
  • Quality – highest quality wins the audience

FOUR. Context

This is ‘basically personalisation’ based on the stage in the buying process and their profile and how they interact with you. It also depend on device – mobile growing at 100% on site. Important for C-level for mobile.

Customers provide personalisation through browsing sites, clicking on emails. Mike gave the example of Acura a car brand where

The other aim is to make it human through social media too through real-time marketing.

Another insight was the ongoing impact of these activities – for Hubspot, 56% of leads  are from more content assets or marketing campaigns created than than 1 month ago.

State of Digital Marketing 2015 – Podcast


Earlier in February I was interviewed by Daniel Rowles of the excellent Digital Marketing podcast – Daniel and Ciaran Rogers have been running this podcast since 2010 and their interviews have become of one of the best ways of learning about the latest developments in Digital Marketing… particularly, if like many, you have a commute and a podcast is an efficient way of learning the latest. 

In the discussion I discuss the latest trends, techniques and tools for getting better results from integrating digital marketing. Do let me know if you have any comments or questions in the comments or via social.

In the interview I summarise the research with the Technology for Marketing and Advertising Conference – 25th and 26th February London, where I will also be presenting it.

Resources mentioned in our discussion

State of Digital Marketing 2015 infographic

Here is the full State of digital marketing 2015 infographic we first shared on Smart Insights summarising the research we discussed in the report.

State of Digital Marketing 2015 Smart Insights

Digital Strategy in 2015

In the latest editions of my books on Digital Marketing, we feature the SmartInsights.com RACE framework for creating and managing a Digital Strategy. The idea behind RACE is to provide a simple structure for companies to develop a digital plan which meets the challenges of reaching and engaging online audiences to prompt conversion to online or offline sales.

To mark the start of 2015 we asked our friends at First 10 to update it to change from a focus on content marketing to a Digital Strategy focus as explained in the post where we launched it. I have added an introductory section on Digital Planning and reviewed and updated some of the KPIs, for example to reference the full range of VQVC KPIs for Digital. You can see that each stage of the visual gives an overview of the focus, tools and KPIs used to measure and control.

Digital Strategy - The RACE framework

This RACE Digital Strategy infographic is one of a series of 10 infographics we have developed to help manage digital marketing. Smart Insights members can download all in this free compilation of digital marketing infographics.

New content marketing plan template

Smart Insights  have published a new free content planning template developed in collaboration with HubSpot,

It has worked examples like the one below in a 4 Step process you can follow in the Content Marketing Planning Template – explained here on Smart Insights. It available for free download via HubSpot – it also links through to the Content Marketing Planning research we completed earlier in the year.

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