Marketing Monday – The 3 Tiers of Content Marketing

Marketing Mondays will – you guessed it – focus on some of the basics of content marketing. Today I’m going to outline what I see as the three tiers of content marketing, and show how a better understanding of them, and how they interact, can help you develop successful content.

I don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach to content marketing. Different businesses have different goals, which can be affected by everything from size and cashflow to values and mission statements. Goals, and the time allotted to accomplish them, have a big impact on marketing strategies; and content marketing is no exception.

That said, content marketing has its basic principles, and a good understanding of these is necessary to start building a strategy that works for you. At the most basic level, it’s important to grasp the difference between the three tiers of content marketing, and how they relate to each other. The three tiers are as follows:

  1. Content marketing strategy
  2. Content strategy
  3. Content plan

Think of them like a Matryoshka doll (pictured): your content marketing strategy is your largest doll, with your content strategy nesting inside that and your content plan even smaller and more focused. Your content marketing strategy, therefore, will determine the shape of your content strategy, which will in turn affect your content plan.

So what’s involved in each tier?

  1. Content marketing strategy. This is your largest doll; your macro-level strategy. Who are you creating content for? How is your content going to attract and help them? What’s the long-term benefit you’re aiming for? Typically, content marketing at its heart is about building an audience; ideally, an audience who are going to be likely to invest in your product or services.
  2. Content strategy. The next level down from your marketing strategy, your content strategy is concerned with putting your answers to the above questions into practice. A strong content strategy will define your brand’s voice, which should remain as consistent as possible. It will also involve fleshing out client personas, to nail down the image of your ideal target audience (age, gender, income, location and beliefs can all be part of this). Fundamentally, your content strategy will guide your content plan: the more rigorous and detailed you can be when defining the image you want to present to the world, the better.
  3. Content plan. Driven by your content strategy, the content plan is where you move to the tactical level. This means getting right down to deciding what you’re going to publish, when: valuable first steps for devising a content plan include keyword research, building content timelines around your client personas, and writing editorial rules (such as including external hyperlinks in specific situations, establishing a word limit, guidelines for formatting, and so on).

With a content marketing strategy driving your content strategy, and the brand voice and client personas developed as part of your content strategy structuring your content plan, you’re in a good position to start publishing regular content. Without applying this knowledge of the three tiers, it’s easy to publish haphazardly and inconsistently: not only does this have a negative impact in terms of SEO, it knocks your chances of keeping any interest you manage to drum up.

Here at Barton Writes, I’m publishing content across a few different fields:

  • Marketing Mondays
  • Writing Wednesdays
  • Freestyle Fridays
  • Stoic Saturdays

Consistency, regularity and quality are all more important than sticking to a single topic. If you’re doing your own content marketing, start with your marketing strategy and work your way down the tiers to put yourself in the strongest starting position.

If you have any questions or comments please don’t hesitate to leave them below; and if you’re interested in developing a bespoke marketing strategy that works for you, drop me a line. It’s what I do.

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