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The Building Blocks of a Content Plan

A couple of years ago I put together a mind-map of marketing touchpoints. It took into account all the ways a lead could interact with our brand. Not surprisingly, at the core was content.

I’m not talking about content for the sake of content. I’m talking about strategically planned and coordinated content that rolls up to business strategy.

Understanding that content is the nucleus of everything will help prioritize it’s development. All too often content is seen as an afterthought or simple task, even in the era of content marketing.

And if content is the nucleus of everything we do, then it’s sub-atomic makeup are the elements that make up a content strategy.

The building blocks of a content plan are buyer personas, content types, distribution, production and content topics. Once combined they create the content strategy. That strategy becomes the touchstone that great content will be built upon.

Let’s look at these components in-depth.

The Building Blocks

Buyer Personas – A good content strategy starts here. I’ve written about buyer personas extensively, so I won’t dive too deep into the details. Basically the persona represents the ideal buyer of your product. What you want to do is understand what they care about.

Content Types – These are the types of content you’ll be producing. All types of content can be incorporated here: blog posts, core site content, video, slides, surveys, research papers.

Content Topics – This is what you’ll be writing about. At this phase you want to address the buyer persona’s interests and connect your brand’s expertise with those interests. They are the strata of topics that interconnect and likely to peak your audiences interest.

Production – The who and how of content production. You’ll likely produce some content in-house, but some content assets may require external expertise, like graphic designers or video expert. Having this process documented will help keep things moving.

Distribution – This is where you’ll send the content you produce. For core site content like home, about or product tour pages, your distribution target is your CMS or website. Other content will be more specialized, like presentations to SlideDeck or Video to YouTube.

Measurement – How are you going to measure what content is effective is just as important as producing it. Some content will have different intents like brand awareness or lead generation. You’ll want to flush this out ahead of time so there is no ambiguity during your retrospective.

If brand awareness is your goal, then # of social shares during a period of time is what you measure. If it’s lead generation, then the number of leads produced or the number of signups tied to content.

For a good breakdown of content marketing measurement, checkout the SmartInsights post.

The Plan

With the building blocks all working together, you now have yourself a plan.

A solid content strategy removes doubt on who you’re writing for, what they care about and who’s responsible for getting it done and out the door.

Your content strategy will also serve as a touchstone for any new hires or freelancers that you bring on board. Operationally this will cut down the learning curve and get people creating.

The Core

Creating content that references a plan makes it infinitely easier to produce. It also ensures that the content produced for different channels stays on-point and relevant to whom it’s intended.

Like I’ve said, content sits at the middle of everything. The content produced here will be used in every marketing touchpoint you have.

So, whether you’re plan includes simple blog posts or complex, multi-channel campaigns, start with the building blocks and create great content.

For more about content marketing check out the Content Marketing Institute’s resources.

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I'm a skier, hiker, biker and runner. In my free time I write about the world of marketing. I also started this company, but who cares.