We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Content marketing isn’t about creating content. It’s about creating the right type of content—content that grabs attention, connects with people, and keeps them coming back for more. To be successful, you need to serve quality content consistently and give people what they need at every stage of the customer journey. In short, you need to produce the right content marketing mix. But how do you figure out what that is? Good thing you’ve come to the right place.
Good Content Marketing = Good Content Strategy
As much as we wish there were one single formula for the right marketing mix, it really depends on a specific brand’s needs. The problem is that many brands don’t have a solid content marketing plan—or even goals—and so they struggle to create content that is truly effective.
This is evident in the Content Marketing Institute’s 2021 B2B Content Marketing: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report, where marketers cited the top two biggest challenges that hindered their success:
- Content creation challenges
- Strategy challenges
Without the right strategy, creating the right content is incredibly difficult. Hence, we take a strategy-first approach to creating the right content mix.
How to Curate the Right Marketing Mix
The steps we’ve outlined here will help you craft an editorial plan to reach the right audience across all channels—and avoid some of the common pitfalls in content creation. Naturally, the ideas you come up with will be unique to your brand, but following these steps will ensure you’re creating a well-rounded editorial calendar from the jump.
1) Understand what content your audience needs at each stage of the customer journey.
Look, a long-time brand loyalist doesn’t need to hear the same messaging that someone who’s never encountered your brand before does. Take a look at your content operation as a whole, and make sure you’re addressing customers across the journey: awareness, consideration, analysis, purchase, and loyalty. For example, you may be putting all your energy toward awareness content when you should create a little more consideration or analysis content. Look for the content gaps in your journey, and brainstorm ideas to fill them.
Tip: Use our free template to craft marketing personas that outline who your audience is, what they need, and how you solve their pain points. Then use our guide to map your customer journey at each stage. With this insight, you can brainstorm a better variety of ideas that will truly fit your audience’s needs and wants.
2) Experiment with different formats.
The marketing world is constantly evolving. Trends change, distribution platforms change, and consumer tastes change. This is especially true when it comes to content formats. You probably know firsthand that just because one type of content was popular a few years ago doesn’t mean it will be popular forever (hi, BuzzFeed quizzes!). If you want to be successful in content marketing, you need to deliver the right message via the right package.
There are so many formats that can help you engage your audience, from infographics and ebooks to motion graphics and videos. As you brainstorm ideas, think critically about the most effective way to present them. (This is especially important depending on the distribution channels you’re using. Things like video are better for certain platforms over others.)
This is by no means a comprehensive list, and some formats can fit well into other stages, but here is a general example of how different formats can help you connect at different stages of the customer journey:
- Awareness: Infographics, whitepapers, e-books
- Consideration: Blog posts, social posts, online articles
- Analysis: Webinars, demos, explainer videos
- Purchase: Case studies, testimonials, free trials
- Loyalty: Newsletters, special offers, follow-up consultations
Tip: For more ideas, find out how to create different campaigns for your customer journey.
3) Choose a sustainable publishing cadence.
To publish the right content marketing mix, you need to serve the right content consistently. This is where editorial planning, resource management, and project coordinating come in. The keys to making this happen:
- Publishing frequency: This is where many brands get tripped up. If you’re overscheduling content but undersupported in creating that content, your publishing presence will be inconsistent. It’s better to start with a sustainable cadence, then scale from there. What would the sweet spot be for publishing on your blog? Newsletter? Social media? What kinds of posts do people expect to see regularly, semi-regularly, and just every once in a while? This should inform your marketing mix.
- Scheduling: According to the CMI B2B report, 30% of marketers don’t even use an editorial calendar—yikes. The more organized you are, the easier it will be to publish content consistently, establish a presence, and cultivate the right audience. Use our free editorial calendar template to start. And make sure you’ve built a comprehensive timeline to ensure you move smoothly through each page of production.
Tip: Find out how a divisible content strategy can help you get more mileage from every piece of content you create.
4) Establish a production process to maximize content creation efficiency.
You may have grand plant to create a documentary series, custom whitepapers, or a comprehensive how-to guide for your service. But if you don’t have the time, funds, or people power to produce it, it doesn’t belong in your marketing mix. If you want to create good content, you have three options:
- In-house: To do this, you need to cultivate a solid infrastructure and process to create content—no matter the medium. Every member of your team should have the knowledge and resources to produce that type of content. For more tips, see our guide to master content creation effectively.
- Freelancer: They are often easy to get on board, but they make lack the expertise and ability to scale.
- Agency: Successful agencies have expert teams on hand to produce a wide range of content. They are most helpful if you’re looking to create and execute a large content strategy. Find out more about the benefits of working with an agency.
5) Measure and study what worked.
Guesswork has no place in content marketing. Knowing your goal and choosing the metrics to measure your success is crucial. Whereas many brands focus on pushing out more and more content, understanding what content is worth putting out is much more important.
For example, for our own marketing, we’ve sunk weeks of work into interactive content that is beautiful and thorough yet less successful than our simple template toolkits. If we didn’t take an analytical look at the results—or were too stubborn to acknowledge that it didn’t resonate the way we hoped it would—we would continue to sink time, energy, and resources into projects that don’t give us the ROI we want. Instead, we’ve chosen to work smarter, not harder on the content we create.
Tip: Find out how to choose the right metrics for your content strategy to track your success effectively, and hold regular post-mortems to review the content you’ve created. Ask yourself:
- What pieces of content were most successful?
- What platforms did they live on, and where were they promoted?
- On what day and time were they published?
- What made them work?
- What can you learn from this?
Once you start to deconstruct what does work, it will be easier to brainstorm your best ideas.
Always Put Strategy First
Finding the perfect content marketing mix is both an art and a science. Ultimately, it takes both critical thinking and courage to try something new. If you’re not sure what your next move should be, focus on the basics:
- What are your goals?
- What does your audience need?
- What content would best deliver what they need?
But if you’re overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, consider turning to the pros. Here are 12 things to look for in a content marketing agency. You can also holler at us. We’d love to help you bring your content strategy to life.