07 Jun 2022
7 Tips for Creating a Content Marketing Roadmap
Content has become an essential part of any marketing plan, for any business. From awareness to conversion, content is key in every step of the journey.
But to build a successful content strategy that delivers results, you need to have a robust, evidence-based plan in place.
Need some guidance? We’ve got some tips for creating a content marketing roadmap that aligns your content strategy and drives performance.
What is a content roadmap?
A content roadmap should be the central hub for all of your content planning and output. It acts as a calendar, detailing all of the crucial events, milestones, projects and themes that you need to share with your audiences over the course of a few months or a year.
It should be a document that all content team members can access and easily see what they need to do and when in order to deliver quality content on time. This means it needs to include priorities, ownership details and deadlines.
Sometimes, a roadmap might be split into a high-level content marketing roadmap that outlines key business priorities, and an editorial roadmap that is used for practical content execution.
What does a content roadmap look like?
A content roadmap might be an excel or Google spreadsheet, it might be created using a template tool or as a project on a piece of management software. It could be set out as a table or timeline or even an interactive calendar.
The format is up to you, as long as it makes sense for your needs, allows for flexibility, and can be easily accessed and viewed by the relevant people.
What are the different types of roadmaps?
Roadmaps can take many forms. You may need an overall content strategy roadmap that outlines the high-level priorities and content themes. Or, you may need a more granular blog content roadmap that sets out your weekly and monthly editorial calendar.
The likelihood is that you’ll need a roadmap that takes into account multiple channels and content formats, and we think it’s best to have everything all in one place.
Content roadmap examples:
- A website content roadmap mapping out all content published on your website over the next year
- A blog content roadmap focusing just on blog content over the next six months
- An SEO content roadmap outlining the SEO focus and content pieces planned over the next quarter
- A top-level content strategy roadmap mapping out goals, themes and topics for the business year
Why do you need a content strategy roadmap?
A content roadmap is essential for any business or organisation looking to share content and increase its visibility. Without a clear strategy and execution plan in place, it is very difficult to create and promote content effectively.
For example, there’s no point in publishing a blog post on a topic in February that your audience is only interested in reading about during the summer months. Similarly, you don’t want to be sharing TikTok videos with an audience that is predominantly on Facebook.
All of these factors need to be considered when planning content, and a roadmap allows you to optimise your efforts and minimise any time wasted on content production that doesn’t engage your audience.
What’s more, if you are publishing content from a variety of channels, a roadmap ensures that your team is organised and no exciting opportunities are missed. Teams can benefit from a collaborative way of working that is built on ownership, teamwork and forward planning.
Transform your content marketing with these tracks!
What makes a good roadmap?
An effective content roadmap should be clear, collaborative and flexible.
In life, and in business, things change. What’s in vogue now may be old hat in a few months’ time and content marketers need to be able to adapt their content creation accordingly.
Particularly when working on an SEO content roadmap, it’s important to remain flexible as rankings and keyword volumes can change on a daily basis.
Content roadmap template elements
A robust content roadmap should take into account:
- A content calendar with major milestones, events, campaigns and national days
- Business goals, objectives and priorities for each month
- Customer journey stages and seasonality considerations
- Audience trends
- Themes and topics priorities
- The frequency of content output – try to keep this consistent!
- Content titles and descriptions
- Content formats, channels and distribution platforms
- Any assets or imagery needed
- The target audience or buyer persona for each piece of content
- Timelines and deadline dates
- Task ownership details
- The status of tasks
- Links to content drafts or published content
- Content promotion plans
Now we’ve covered the purpose of content roadmaps and what they should include, let’s move on to how to actually create a content marketing plan.
7 content planning tips for building a roadmap
We’ve got years of experience under our belt helping businesses of all sizes develop successful content strategies and roadmaps. Here’s what we’ve learnt…
1. Start with a content audit
When starting to think about your content roadmap, we’d strongly recommend taking an audit of your existing content. Look at everything from blogs and case studies to social media posts.
By understanding what content you already have in place, what performs best, and who is consuming that content, you’ll be in a much better position to identify any gaps and understand what your audience is looking for.
A content audit should include a review of all the content on your website and social channels, how much traffic and/or engagement it’s getting, which channels perform best and what seems to resonate with audiences. See if you can spot any similarities among your top-performing pieces. Is this something you can replicate in future content?
It’s also a good idea to look at competitor content to see if you’re missing anything in your own strategy. Are there any questions that your audience is asking that you’re not answering? Could any of your existing content pieces be improved or optimised for SEO?
If this feels like an overwhelming task or you’re not sure where to start, we’re experienced in performing content audits for wide-ranging businesses as part of our consultation services.
2. Reassess your goals and SEO strategy
Planning your content roadmap is a good time to reassess your goals and business priorities.
What’s the overarching aim or desired outcome for your content? Maybe it’s increasing website traffic to key pages, building awareness on social media or boosting an SEO topic cluster to improve rankings.
If you’re looking to get your content to page one of Google, for example, you will need a robust SEO content strategy. To do this you will need keyword and competitor research to identify the opportunities with the most potential and any gaps in your competitor’s strategies. Once you have this information, you will be in a great place to come up with some SEO content ideas and map them out on your roadmap.
You may even want to include a tag or section on your roadmap that sets out the purpose or aim behind the content so whoever is writing or producing it keeps the end goal in mind. This could be something as simple as ‘inform’, ‘educate’ or ‘inspire’. Or it could be more descriptive such as ‘increase newsletter sign ups’.
3. Find out where your audience hangs out
Next up – channels. This is a key element of your content roadmap. In order to choose the best channels and formats through which you share content, you need to understand where your target audience hangs out.
To do this, you could look at the traffic sources to your website on Google Analytics, see which social channels have the most followers or send out a survey to your existing customers asking them directly. There’s also lots of research already out there about demographics and channels, so it’s worth reading up on the latest statistics.
- 59.1% of all LinkedIn users worldwide are ages 25 to 34 (Hootsuite, 2022)
- 39% of Gen Z consumers say that their purchasing decisions are influenced directly by what they see on TikTok (Sprout Social, 2022)
Channels to think about could include:
- Online forums
Once you have a good idea of where to find your audience, the next step is to find out how they like to consume their content.
This could be:
- Step by step guides or how-to guides
- White papers
- Case studies or client success stories
- Social posts
Considering most of us use around seven different social networks each month, it’s very likely that your target audience will regularly consume content through multiple channels and formats so you may want to repurpose your content across multiple platforms. If you do this, make sure it is optimised for the particular channel and documented on your roadmap.
4. Don’t forget events and awareness days
Mapping your content publishing dates to relevant industry events or national awareness days is a great way of boosting the promotion of your content.
For example, say you are planning to publish a blog explaining how your product is recyclable. If you publish it in time for ‘Global Recycling Day’ and share social posts on the day linking back to the blog with the hashtag #GlobalRecyclingDay, your blog is more likely to be seen by people who are engaging with the hashtag, as well as your usual followers.
The subject of recycling will likely be trending across social channels, and you will be able to talk about your recyclable product in a relevant and useful way on other people’s posts – helping to get your brand in front of new audiences.
You can go through a similar process with industry events. You can use the event hashtag in your posts to get more visibility.
To do this, you will need a forward look at any upcoming awareness days, campaigns or events that are relevant to you. This event calendar should be visible on your roadmap so you can plan content to be published at the optimal time.
If you are a smaller business, you may want to look at slightly smaller events or lesser-known awareness days. Everyone will be posting about International Women’s Day, for example, so it will be hard to stand out from the crowd, especially when you’re up against big organisations.
5. Create an easily repeatable template that works for you
Creating a template that you can repurpose and reuse will save you time when it comes to future content planning.
As we said earlier, a content roadmap really needs to be flexible and easily amended in accordance with the changing needs of your business or the external landscape.
Having a master document with all the elements you might need for a content roadmap is a good place to start. Then for each planning project, you can copy and amend the sections as needed.
6. Take an integrated approach
In today’s digital world, taking an integrated approach to content is essential. What do we mean by this? An integrated approach to content is one that takes into account all elements of content marketing and communications.
All of the content you produce and publish should be aligned with your goals and objectives. Taking a thematic approach to content allows you to align all of your content production – from your blogs to your newsletters – and create a coherent message for your audience.
For example, say your goal for the next quarter is to rank in position 1-3 on Google for the keyword ‘business innovation grants’. Once you have this goal, you can tailor all of the content you produce during this time to strengthen this topic.
You may have a guide on your blog telling businesses where to find innovation grants. You may also want to publish a case study about a client’s experience with grants. To build up the topic cluster, you could write several other articles on the topic.
Then, you may want to produce an infographic on the top tips for securing an innovation grant to share on social media and link back to your original guide. You could even send out a newsletter encouraging infographic downloads. Or, why not create a short video explainer?
As you can see, all the content planned is focused on the topic and geared toward the objective of ranking on Google for the particular search term.
7. Measure, optimise and evolve
Our final tip is to always track the success of your content. Whether it’s traffic, engagement or sales, whatever the KPI, it’s important to measure your content’s performance in order to make adjustments and improvements. There’s no point in slogging away at the same blog series if it’s doing nothing for you.
Keep a close eye on performance so you can optimise, improve and evolve your content strategy to suit your audience and business needs.
We believe success comes with the right strategy, creative thinking and relentless execution across all formats, mediums and channels. If you need some more guidance in defining your content strategy or developing your roadmap, get in touch.