20 steps to create a sophisticated and
impactful content strategy

Let’s come out of the gates with a truism: creating the world’s best content is unavailing without a sophisticated strategy in place.


Anyone can be a publisher. But if content is the vehicle you are using to drive sustainable, tangible business results, you need a sophisticated, data-led road map to get you there.


We’ve been banging on about this for years, and if you’ve read Consumer intent: Are you a marketing master or mendicant?, you’ll know developing a content strategy that harnesses and exploits consumer intent is crucial to achieving commercial outcomes.


With that in mind, it’s hard to get past the fact that only 41% of B2B and 33% of B2C marketers have a documented content strategy, according to the Content Marketing Institute.


Why? Formulating a strong, sound, and strategically aligned content strategy that delivers serious results requires stamina. It takes time, effort, data, stakeholder buy-in and the melding of multiple moving parts.

The fundamental mistake many businesses make is glossing over the detail and skipping to the final execution steps.

Uploading untagged and untargeted content onto your website is not content marketing – it’s a content graveyard. And it’s a great way to waste time, resources and money.


Do you want to achieve serious business and commercial returns and build meaningful relationships with customers? If yes, great! Your content must be data-led and seamlessly integrated into a paid, owned and earned ecosystem.

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The promised land

A sophisticated content marketing strategy is the ambition here.


You’re not dropping a bomb on social posts or relying on advertising to reach your audience. Instead, your audience comes for you. When done well, customers not only consume your content – they devour it because it’s relentlessly relevant to them.

And it all starts with data. When customer intent is diagnosed, you can create bespoke content which adds utility, guides, empowers, delights, and ultimately leads to sales.

This content is the lynchpin of a sophisticated strategy, seamlessly integrated across the paid, owned and earned media ecosystem.


In doing so, you build a highly engaged audience. The content doesn’t interrupt because it answers their questions and speaks to their unique wants and needs.


Your audience should look forward to consuming your content and willingly giving you their data to power an integrated marketing approach, enabling you to fuse push and pull tactics.

Formula: data + creative ideas = sophisticated content marketing

The most common question we get asked is what’s the ‘formula’ to developing a content market strategy?


While there is no one size fits all approach, we’ve developed and refined a robust methodology to help you formulate a content strategy, operationalise it, and embed it.


The journey is not linear, and many steps are undertaken in unison, but it’s a valuable framework to help accelerate your content marketing maturity.


We’ve detailed our 20-step methodology to formulate a content strategy, operationalise it, and embed it to drive commercial outcomes in our free eBook.

Integrate and accelerate your content marketing

Embedding a sophisticated, content-led strategy is typically about change management first and content second.


Therefore, securing internal buy-in is paramount when starting your planning and mapping; and is largely dependent on your ability to define the content lifecycle as a strategic business asset.


Like any good road trip, you need everyone on board, a clear route, and expectations around time frames, outcomes, and pit stops. No one likes a backseat driver.


As Confucius says, “a man who does not plan long ahead will find trouble at his door.”


That trouble may be a missed content opportunity, key messaging that doesn’t align to the brand direction, staff burnout to meet ever-changing deadlines, or confusion of your brand perception in the market (to name a few).


It might not be the sexiest part of publishing, but formulating, operationalising, and embedding a content strategy is the engine of any successful content operation – turbocharging business results and commercial outcomes.

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