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Content MKT
Hasse Jansen, 10 Nov '16

Content Marketing Template - 10 Popular Options Compared

We analyzed 10 popular content marketing templates, revealed 31 different elements and condensed them into one master template.

72% of marketers have a content marketing strategy. But 70% of marketers say their content marketing strategy is inconsistent or unaligned.

How to create a consistent Content Marketing Strategy that fuels team alignment? The easiest way is to use a template. So we did a deep dive into Content Marketing Strategy templates on offer, as you may expect from us by now.

We looked at 10 popular Content Marketing templates and found that experts haven’t reached a consensus about what a solid content marketing strategy looks like.

Most templates excel in one area (mostly related to the product the author company is selling) but are sub-par in other areas.

So, ideally, what you need is a template that combines all the goodness that can be found in separate templates combined into one, right? If only someone would find the time to do that for you…

Guess what? We’ve done the hard part for you. We’ve crunched the ‘numbers’ and created one “Best Of Content Marketing Strategy Checklist”.

You can now craft a superior content marketing strategy in a minimum amount of time. Being better than your competitors generally takes a lot of effort, but not this time. Sometimes all it takes is coming across the right blog post at the right time.

Slicing and dicing through 10 Content Marketing templates

Trembling from caffeine, we compared 10 of the most popular content marketing strategy templates, taking a particularly structured approach. To remain as methodical as possible, we’ve taken the presence of a clear sub header in one of the original templates as one element, exceptions aside.

We displayed the Content Marketing Strategy Checklists on one axis by mentioning the author company’s name. In the column below each name we’ve listed the sub header titles within that article.

This is what it looks like in a matrix.

content-marketing-strategy-checklist-research-matrix-boardviewClick the image to enlarge.

The long tail of Content Marketing Strategy elements

We identified 31 different checklist items. By counting how many times each of these different checklist items were mentioned over the 10 Checklist Templates we used as sources, we can now tell which items are most popular.

Interestingly, we also found that 60% of checklist items are only mentioned in 1 or 2 templates. Although some items are found in the majority of templates, there is also a clear long-tail of checklist items.

Discover future Content Marketing classics now

The long tail is an indication that content marketing is still a young discipline. We expect that a large part of what will become best practices in the future are still to be discovered.

The list we compiled shows popular ‘must have’ items as well as some rare ones. If you want to build a solid content marketing strategy, we recommend you to include most if not all of the most popular items. That way you can be sure you’re at least on par with your competitors.

If you’re looking to really expand your market share, consider including some less popular (that is, less frequently mentioned) items in your strategy. The only way to get ahead is to try new things and look for hidden gems. Now is the time to discover future content marketing classics. 

All the Content Marketing template goodness listed

Now sit back and take a minute to read through the list below.

The descriptions accompanying each strategy item are the common denominator for each of the individual templates’ item descriptions.

The number aside the item title indicates in how many of the templates that item is featured.

  1. Business goals, mission 9/10

Determine which commercial goal your content should help to achieve

  1. Content management system, dates 7/10

Use an editorial calendar to create consistency in content production and publication 

  1. Audience 5/10

Keep the receiver of your content in mind at all times

  1. Expertise, USP, relevance 5/10

Find what you’re good at and stick to that niche 

  1. Style, engagement 4/10

Find a particular style and tone that engages your audience

  1. Content goals 4/10

Create success criteria for each content piece or collection of pieces 

  1. Measure changes, testing 4/10

Keep a finger on the pulse and find ways to make small improvements anywhere in the operation 

  1. Existing content audit 3/10

Investigate which content you have now to discover what you should add 

  1. Channels 3/10

Decide via which platform to interact with your audience

  1. Assign roles and responsibilities 3/10

Make clear who’s responsible for the success of what

  1. Track operational success (process) 3/10

Write down the steps needed for project completion

  1. Lead nurturing 3/10

Specify criteria for when a particular lead should receive which message 

  1. Competitive advantage 2/10

Make sure your content sets you apart from the competition 

  1. Content formats 2/10

Consider the most suitable content types and media 

  1. Ideas 2/10

Generate ideas for each persona for each content goal 

  1. SEO key phrases 2/10

Start with a SEO phrase in mind before you start writing

  1. Promotion 2/10

Share content wherever possible 

  1. Atomization 2/10

Turn each major content piece into multiple smaller spin-offs 

  1. Challenging for producers 1/10

Make sure content producers don’t get bored; it means your content is too predictable for consumers 

  1. Types of content 1/10

Use a variety of content types      

  1. Consistency 1/10

Safeguard a consistent content quality

  1. Efficiency 1/10

Create a consistent process for coming up with new content topics 

  1. Maintenance 1/10

Check to see if your organization is running smoothly from time to time

  1. Budget 1/10

Assign budgets to projects before departure

  1. Buying stage 1/10

Keep in mind which funnel stage your content should appeal to 

  1. Trigger events 1/10

Think about specific triggers that trigger interest in your service

  1. Wider topic focus 1/10

Widen your topic scope to attract a new audience every once in a while 

  1. Information source 1/10

Identify your favorite, most used information sources 

  1. Own your publishing platform 1/10

Make sure you own your platform so you can sail your own course 

  1. Site security 1/10

Give content a secure environment

  1. Call to action 1/10

Use phrases to activate your audience for every content piece 

The 10 source Content Marketing Strategy templates

These are the Content Marketing templates we used in our analysis, in alphabetical order. 

  1. ContentFirst: "8 step content marketing plan with ka-pow!"
  2. ContentMarketingInstitute: "Launch your own content marketing program. Why. Who. How" (E-Book)
  3. ContentMarketingInstitute: "A checklist for measuring content marketing success"
  4. CopyBlogger: "The 10:Step Content Marketing Checklist"
  5. "Content Marketing Project Management Checklist"
  6. Hubspot: "How to build an unbeatable content marketing plan?"
  7. MarketingLand: "Your 6-point spring cleaning content marketing checklist"
  8. MarketingTechBlog: "Your Complete Content Marketing Checklist"
  9. VelocityPartners: "The content marketing strategy checklist"
  10. Vertical Measures: "Content marketing strategy template"

Do this to align your Content Marketing Strategy

Content marketing is widely used but there are still surprisingly many opportunities to rise above the competition.

Boardview helps you to align content marketing operations to business goals, incorporating the majority of the 31 items listed above.

As item #31 of our content marketing checklist recommends, here’s our call to action:

Try Boardview! You won’t regret it.