Understanding Content Marketing Strategy

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Content marketing is a fundamental element in digital marketing. Essentially, without content, no digital marketing strategy can work effectively. Having a content marketing strategy improves efficiency and results. Having focused content goals based on meeting the needs of your target consumers, keeps the marketer focused and motivated and brings consistent results.

A documented well-organized content marketing strategy inspires action and allows the marketer to analyze and improve it.  Content marketing aims to attract and retain relevant people (often best understood through developing ‘personas’. To achieve this a business produces valuable and high-quality content and distributes it across different marketing channels.

The goal of content marketing is to get the visitors to take profitable action – how profit is defined can vary across enterprises, with social enterprise seeking sustainable profitability as opposed to shareholder value. As highlighted earlier, studies show that successful content marketers have a documented strategy, a group/person to coordinate content marketing efforts, and metrics tools to analyze performance.

How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy?

Objective Setting

The first step is to set appropriate marketing objectives. It tells what is important and what is not in a measurable way. These objectives will promote focus and give clarity of purpose.

These include target customers (personas), how a business delivers its message (content type), and what content to deliver.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

KPIs indicate that a business is going in the right direction. Achieving KPIs motivates the team/individual working on the content marketing strategy.

Measuring the performance of a business is essential to improve across all facets of the business and therefore content marketing strategy is a critical aspect of measurability also.

An example of KPI would be to get a certain number of signups on a webpage in a month or to convert a set number of engaged contacts to actual paying customers.

Knowing your Audience

Before getting into content creation, it’s important to get an idea of what the target audience is like. Demographic data like age, gender, income, and education tell a lot but even more impactful are Psychographics – like personality traits, attitudes, values are powerful if well understood.

Getting feedback from existing customers is a great way to optimize communications to the target audience. It lets a business improve its conception of buyer personas along the way.

Identifying the Best Content Channel

A business shouldn’t focus on all the content channels at first. Identifying where the target customer spends time is necessary to have a focused content marketing strategy.

Having a focused approach keeps things simple. Successful marketers focus on one content marketing platform before expanding to others.

Identifying Impactful Content Types

Not all content types are suitable for every context. There are also so many different forms in which content is consumed these days. Some critical one include blog posts, videos, infographics, social media posts, and more.

The content type for a particular business will depend on its goals and target audience.  For example, a blog post can answer visitors’ questions, provide an in-depth guide, or give the information they require to make a purchase. It’s arguably the most lucrative content type as it cost effectively brings people through search behaviours that are already looking for a solution.

Content Creation and Marketing

A content marketing strategy can’t be successful without high-quality content Moreover, search engine optimization is necessary to attract the relevant audience when creating blog posts. Proper keyword research helps a blogger to write content that has the chance to rank in key search engines increasing opportunities to be found.

Marketing of content includes distributing it on social media platforms and sending emails to subscribers. It’s success is dependent on being part of a holistic approach to delivering on digital marketing strategy.


This was a small introduction to content marketing and how a business can develop its content marketing strategy for maximum results.

  • Learn more about common mistakes in content marketing strategy here.
  • Learn how to be creative while developing a content marketing strategy here.
  • As well as excellent resources and a free course on Content Marketing by HubSpot here , there is a further detailed free course on content marketing by Google here.

Here is a case study focusing on JP Morgan’s Content Marketing leveraging video.

Article co-authored with Zain Khan


  • Chaffey, D. and Ellis-Chadwick, E. (2016) Digital marketing: strategy, implementation and practice. 6th ed. New York: Pearson.
  • Chaffey, D. and Smith, P. R. (2017) Digital marketing excellence: Planning, optimizing and integrating online marketing. 5th ed. London: Routledge.
  • Ryan, D. (2020) Understanding digital marketing: marketing strategies for engaging the digital generation. Kogan Page Publishers.
  • Hanlon, A. (2019) Digital marketing: Strategic planning & integration. Sage.


  • Drummond, C., McGrath, H. and O’Toole, T. (2020) Digital engagement strategies and tactics in social media marketing, European Journal of Marketing, 54(6), 1247-1280.
  • Harrigan, P., Miles, M.P., Fang, Y. and Roy, S.K. (2020) The role of social media in the engagement and information processes of social CRM, International Journal of Information Management, 54, 102-151.

Published by Dr John Bustard

I am currently a Lecturer in Digital Transformation within Ulster University Business School, specifically within the school's largest department: Management, Leadership and Marketing. Previously, as a researcher, lecturer and doctoral candidate I focused on digital events and delivered classes to MSc & BSc level. My duties have included coordinating and guest lecturing on Marketing Communications, Enterprise & New Venture Creation, e-Business Strategy, Research Methods. My particular passion is through exploring Digital Marketing approaches which enhance student awareness and appreciation of the impact of digital and an enquiring mind to understand future technology applications. *All views are my own*

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