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Tips & Tricks

Guide to the Most Effective Content Marketing Process

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With a well-defined content marketing process, you can help ensure your efforts are an effective use of time and money. Wondering what an effective content marketing process looks like? Here’s a look at the steps your process should include:

Goal setting

What’s the goal of your content? Think about the big picture. What do you want your content to accomplish? Sound content marketing goals are SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based. 

Write down your specific goal and list the KPIs to measure it. Make sure it’s a goal you can achieve; don’t aim too high. Make sure the goal is relevant to your business and serves the needs of your customers, and set a deadline to meet your goal. 

Example goal: Improve the number of leads captured on website forms by 10% over the next six months. 

Why get so specific? The more specific your goal is, the more effective your process will become.

Audience identification and analysis

Before you can create content, you need to know who you’re creating it for. You need a well-defined audience beyond generic descriptions like “Women over 50” or “Men who like tech gadgets.” You need to build an audience profile.

Gather data 

Data collection is a priority for brands. Many companies use a CRM (customer relationship management) to track customers. With a CRM, you can see things like what customers buy, where they go on your site, and how they engage with your emails. You can collect and store demographic data, like a customer’s sex, location, and income, and behavioral data, like browsing habits. 

Tools to help: Popular CRMs include Salesforce and Zendesk.

Leverage ways to supplement data

You can collect data from other sources, like surveys, focus groups, interviews, or questionnaires. You can tailor these tactics to your specific needs. For instance, you might use a survey to ask customers what kind of content they’d like to see. 

Build a customer persona

Using this data, you can create a customer persona or a profile of your ideal customer. A persona gives you a detailed look at who’s buying from you. 

Tools to help: Use a customer persona template. SEMRush and Hubspot both have templates.  

To start, build one core persona. As you evolve, mine your data to identify smaller niche segments, too. 

You’ll use your customer persona to drive your content planning process. 

Content planning

With your goals and audience in mind, start planning content. You’ll need to ideate and assign content to creators. 

Brainstorm ideas

Get your team together and start brainstorming content ideas. If you work with freelancers or influencers, ask them to participate, too. 

Tools to help: Topic-generating tools might help, like this one from Hootsuite.

Set up a calendar and assign tasks

To stay organized, many brands use a project management tool to list specific assignments, assign a creator, and set due dates. If multiple team members are involved, like graphic designers, animators, or interns who post the content to the site, add them to the workflow. You can use the software to track projects and keep a calendar of completion and publication dates. 

Tools to help:, Trello, and Asana are all popular project management tools that marketers commonly use. 

A content calendar helps you stay organized, but it also helps you: 

  • Collaborate with multiple team members at once
  • Identify problems quickly and make a solution
  • Evaluate your content and identify possible holes or repetitious content
  • Align your publications with other efforts like social posts and email

Content creation

Content creation looks different for each company. Some teams have internal creators, while others rely on freelancers or an external company to manage content needs

Content creation takes time. Whether an animator is tasked with making a how-to video or a writer is working on a blog post, creators work through a process to generate content. Creators will: 

  • Review the goals, audience, and brand tone
  • Gather information and conduct research
  • Outline their plan
  • Create a rough draft
  • Review, edit, and polish the content

Types of content and their uses

Brands have many content types to choose from. Blogs, case studies, testimonials, eBooks, emails, guides, infographics, podcasts – the list goes on. While your brand can dabble in all of them, most tend to lean on a few. The most common types of content and uses are: 


Uses: How-to, educational, thought leadership

Most brands have a blog. They use written articles to educate customers and establish their authority in a niche. 

Educational blogs can be a listicle, like 5 Ways to Retain Customers with Email or offer step-by-step instructions like 15 Steps to Become a Professional Landscaper. 

Thought leadership positions your brand as an authority. Posts might focus on industry news, the CEO’s take on new trends, or how your company manages challenges in the niche. 


Uses: Educate or entertain

Videos, like blogs, can have many purposes. You can use them to educate your audience about your brand and its mission, highlight new products, or answer common questions. To entertain, your brand might join a new dance challenge or promote a giveaway. 


Uses: Education, lead generation

eBooks are in-depth content meant to provide relevant information to your target. Many brands use them as lead magnets, as a way to acquire prospective leads. The eBook’s focus is often on a topic that’s important to a prospect and is given away in exchange for contact information. 

Content optimization

Given the time and effort your team puts into content creation, you must ensure your audience sees it. Ensure it shows up in search engine results by optimizing your content. 

You’ll likely use a platform to help you identify keywords relevant to your industry, niche, and audience. 

Tools to help: SEMRush Keyword Magic Tool and can help you identify keywords to use. 

Additional tips to optimize content include:

  • Make sure the content covers the topic well
  • Use timely statistics; nothing dated
  • Write metadata descriptions and title tags
  • Add internal and external links to content
    • Internal = your brand’s content; external = outside links (not competitors)
  • Format content so it’s easy to digest
    • Use subheads for blogs, break videos up into sections
  • Add images

Content distribution

It’s time to get your content in front of customers, clients, or subscribers. Most brands use a variety of distribution channels rather than relying on a singular source. 

Once a piece of content is published, you can distribute it by:

  • Sharing it on social media
  • Incorporating it into a company newsletter
  • Asking an influencer to share it on their channels
  • Ask employees to share it on their social channels
  • Use assets in paid ads

Measure your results

The only way to know if your efforts are successful is to check your metrics. Review your goals and see which KPIs you should check on, and check them regularly. Over time, you should be able to see what’s working and what’s not. You can make adjustments based on the data at hand. 

Common KPIs to track include: 

  • Website traffic
  • Social engagement (likes, shares, follows) 
  • Leads
  • Conversions
  • Sales 

An effective content marketing process helps brands produce volumes of relevant content. It’s difficult to produce content consistently, so lean on platforms or apps to remove tedious chores so you can focus on more important aspects.