Having a thorough content marketing strategy is an important part of building a business online.
Content marketing is an important component of any SEO strategy. Your content marketing strategy allows you to connect with your target audience and showcase your value proposition.
There is more to writing content than keyword research. Content that is optimised for organic search should be written with your audience in mind.
Your content marketing strategy should consist of more than just keyword-optimised blog posts and landing pages. It should be a data-led plan that allows you to build awareness, improve your visibility, generate leads, and increase conversions.
Having an intent-focused strategy for your content marketing is helpful in many ways – by being deliberate about what you’re posting and when you can improve your SEO performance and ensure you are consistently creating high-value content.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, 65% of the most successful content marketers have a documented strategy. They say it keeps their teams focused and able to work out priorities while allocating resources.
So, how can you ensure you have a clear content marketing strategy for your business?
The Content Marketing Matrix is a simple framework that can further boost your content marketing strategy- and we’re here to explain what it is!
What is the Content Marketing Matrix?
The Content Marketing Matrix is a content marketing planning tool, originally created by SmartInsights, which helps marketers to plan content for specific objectives.
It allows you to work out what sort of content you need to produce for your target audience depending on where they are in the customer sales funnel. This makes it a great framework to use in the early stages of your content ideation.
You can reach your business goals more easily by creating content that is tailored to your audience, shareable, and most importantly, beneficial for your SEO.
How to use the Content Marketing Matrix to boost your content strategy
The Content Marketing Matrix has two co-axes that work together to represent the customer journey – content can be made to push customers along this path to an eventual purchase.
One axis is ‘awareness – purchase’ and the other is ‘emotional – rational’. These axes measure what different types of content can do. From raising awareness all the way to securing a purchase, and from evoking emotion to providing a logical/rational reason to buy.
There are also four quadrants: entertain, inspire, educate and convince.
The quadrants complement the axes so you can always pinpoint what type of content you should create to meet your marketing objectives.
The Smart Insights site says: “As you read from left to right the matrix shows how different content assets can develop audience awareness and reach through the purchase process to nurturing and prompting purchase. More visual, interactive content to support emotional buying triggers is shown at the top of the matrix with more static content at the bottom supporting rational decision making.”
With the Content Marketing Matrix, you can review your existing content to work out where it fits into the axes and quadrants. From there you can analyse what has performed well and what may need more work.
You can also use the Content Marketing Matrix as part of your competitor analysis by reviewing content from other businesses in your niche to see how they value and use each of these content types. This is a useful exercise for determining your value proposition compared to other businesses in your market.
As for content ideation, you can use the Content Marketing Matrix to plan new content across various content types and prioritise this based on their value. Some content formats will fall into multiple areas on the grid, meaning they can be aimed at different customers at different points in their journey.
Entertaining content is perfect for people at the very beginning of their customer journey – not necessarily those who are looking to make a purchase.
It allows you to have fun as a brand and increase awareness of who you are, what you do, and what you’re all about. In terms of relation to the axis, entertaining content tends to fall in the top left-hand corner – the emotional end of the vertical axis, and the awareness side of the horizontal axis.
Entertaining content can include games and quizzes, branded videos, viral campaigns, competitions, and more. For example, fashion brands often share relatable memes on Twitter which blurs the line between company and audience as it is the sort of thing the general public would post and isn’t directly advertising their clothing.
Entertaining content doesn’t have to be reserved for B2C or product-based businesses. Service-based businesses could, for example, create branded videos that connect with their audience and make their brand memorable.
The Education quadrant is another important part of the Content Marketing Matrix for people at the start of the customer journey.
Educational content allows you to solve peoples’ problems and cater to their pain points by providing information. While educational content may not necessarily have a direct sales objective, it is still a valuable part of any content marketing strategy.
Unlike entertaining content which is emotional, educational content falls at the rational end of the vertical axis. As this type of content isn’t purchase-focused, it also sits at the awareness end of the horizontal axis.
Educational content includes guides and infographics, fast facts, press releases, trend reports, eBooks, and more. They are informational and, again, aren’t too sales-y in their approach.
Articles that answer questions of “how to…” will be classed as educational content. While they may not be sales-focused, they will provide value for your audience and may encourage them to return at a later date when they are ready to convert.
Creating content with a specific objective in mind is important – especially when that objective is to get sales.
Inspirational content fits into the emotional end of the vertical axis, similar to entertaining content. However, the purpose here is to encourage people to purchase. As a result, inspirational content is targeted towards those further along in their customer journey.
This is why you’ll find this quadrant at the ‘purchase’ end of the horizontal axis. This type of content is created to make people want to buy from you – so it has to be good.
Inspirational content includes community forums and celebrity endorsements alongside widgets and e-news, ratings, and more. Reviews, ratings, and customer testimonials are a great way to inspire others to become actions.
These types of content build trust and demonstrate the success of your products or services. Encouraging customers to leave a review on your Google My Business listing will also boost your Local SEO rankings by signalling to Google that you are a trusted and valued business.
This is the content most likely to drive conversions. Let’s be honest, as a business owner, your main goal is to make money. This is where content with persuasion or “convince” intent comes in.
This content fits into the bottom right-hand corner of the graph – in the rational end of the vertical axis, and the purchase end of the horizontal axis. All of the types of content that fit into this category are the best at leading to sales.
Webinars, checklists, price guides, case studies, demo videos… All of these are examples of content that aims to convince people to take action. Similar to educational content, these content types provide users with information but with a purchase intention.
IKEA did a great demo video for their augmented reality app, Place, which you can watch here. It shows exactly what the app does, which is obviously a great way to get people to download the app (that’s one conversion goal achieved) and use it which can lead to sales (that’s another conversion goal achieved).
Case studies are another powerful type of content for driving conversions. At Common Ground, we love to shout about the PPC and SEO results we’ve achieved for our clients. Case studies allow potential new customers to get an insight into the type of results they can expect to see for their business, helping them with their purchase decisions.
Content Marketing Matrix: Next Steps
Now that you have a deep understanding of the different types of content within the Content Marketing Matrix, it’s time to put those learnings into action.
You should use the Content Marketing Matrix to refresh your content marketing strategy – allowing you to create content that speaks to both the emotional and purchase intent of your target audience.
You can use the Content Marketing Matrix to:
- Improve existing content
- Increase the effectiveness of upcoming content
- Review content created by competitors
Improve existing content
If you have content that is underperforming or in need of a refresh, the Content Marketing Matrix can be a useful tool for improving your existing content. Review your existing content by considering whether the content format used is appropriate for the associated customer intent and purchase decision. This will then help you identify opportunities for improvement and where you can update the content format to better meet the intentions of your audience.
Increase the effectiveness of upcoming content
When reviewing your content strategy, you may also want to use the Content Marketing Matrix to make sure you choose the right content types for your upcoming content. You can do this by plotting the different content formats on the matrix and cross-referencing this with the emotional and purchase intent of your upcoming content. This is a great way to make sure the content you produce meets the needs of your target audience.
Review content created by competitors
You can also use the Content Marketing Matrix as part of your competitor content analysis. To do this, review how your competitors currently use various content formats by plotting on the matrix the different content pieces they publish through their website, social media channels, and email marketing.
From here, you can then use this knowledge to make sure the content you create outperforms your competitors by better aligning with your audience’s needs.
Final thoughts on boosting your content strategy
The Content Marketing Matrix is a simple yet effective way to boost the performance of your content strategy. By familiarising yourself with the Content Marketing Matrix, you will be able to confidently produce appropriate content formats for each of the various touchpoints in the customer journey. In turn, this will help you harness positive results from your content marketing strategy.
If you are looking for help with your content strategy, we are here for you. When it comes to unlocking the power of your content marketing strategy, our data-led SEO campaigns use a hyper-focused framework to produce long-lasting results for your business.
If you are looking to generate powerful results through content marketing, get in touch to learn how we can help.