Content Strategy for CMOs

A CMO’s Guide to Setting Up A Content Marketing Department

So this happened in June 2016.


Global Google searches for Content Strategy were up 30% in June.

Content Strategy Searches

And check out a decade of rapid growth related to search interest in “Content Marketing.”


Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 10.58.33 AM


“Content Strategy” and “Content Marketing” are definitely having a (prolonged) celebrity moment.

CMOs, trade show executives, and agency heads everywhere are madly Googling and adding themselves to every newsletter possible to try and figure out what this means and how to use it to drive customer acquisition.


We’ve officially entered the phase where all industries and companies know they need guidance on implementation.

Focusing on content and the context of communication is now at the root of any successful customer acquisition strategy – especially now that “traditional” methods have led to some serious flatlining. Cue: Panic Mode.



A Pitch Around Content Strategy: The Intro

Content strategy broadly refers to how you use editorial content to drive business objectives that direct sales and traditional marketing no longer can.

Specifically, it refers to using insights and data to solve creative dilemmas, inform content creation, distribute content to the right audience – and measure how everything converts so you can refine what works and what doesn’t.

Brands, B2B businesses, and trade events also need to create high-quality, search-friendly editorial content as a foundation to increase global web traffic, which can then be converted into paying customers.  The tools now exist to help us understand how and why content resonates — or not.




This is How You Track Content Performance (It’s Personal)

There are hundreds of analytics tools out there (and more popping up every day). That said, start by properly setting up Google Analytics and build UTM links to track your campaigns, conversions, and content performance.

Analytics, especially around social content, are kind of like food preferences. They can be very “personal” to each brand and usage depends largely on business goals, types of content, volume, or desired calls-to-action. Also, certain brands will already be using analytics tools they really like (or think they like). Once you’ve rocked Google Analytics properly then you can start getting into things like Buffer and link shorteners like Bitly.

Proper tracking and optimization is crucial to mitigating the disappearance of the content you’ve labored (so lovingly) to create.


(Content Marketing Institute)

Content marketing, when done well, solves the above problem very effectively – via an elegant blend of creative excellence and sophisticated data.


The Set-Up: A Typical Content Strategy Process – Where Does Your Company Capability Fit?

  • Target Audience identification – Insights, Focus Groups, Content Audits, Competitive Analysis
  • Goal Setting & Attaching a Business Goal to each piece of content
  • Channel Selection & Development
  • Content Creation (SEO and Insights-driven) and Distribution (unpaid and paid)
  • Strategic Landing Pages
  • Social Advertising, Paid Distribution, Retargeting, User Acquisition via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc)
  • Ongoing Content production and governance plans
  • Measurement | Conversion Rate Optimization | Content ROI


Test Period

The idea here is to collect enough data and test 3-5 channels so that some real-time strategy and some tactical things can happen concurrently.

Competitive analysis and target audience identification allow you to create appropriate content.  Conversion measurement enables you to learn what works and what doesn’t.  At the end of the test period, you’ll be able to take key learnings and document a much more comprehensive and informed content strategy – which you can then execute internally or hire an agency to do so.


Creating Your Own Content Strategy and Marketing Dept.

As a brand, you may not realize it, but you may already have all the key players necessary to create your own content strategy and marketing department. If these folks are already at their limit, it’s time to hire an agency until you can beef up in these core areas.

Get the people who already work with you oriented around Content Strategy and Marketing;

  • Research: Insights, Focus Groups, and Competitive Analysis
  • Tracking, Analytics, and Data Visualization
  • SEO and SEO-writing
  • PR & Media Relations (influencer outreach and content distro)
  • Managing Brand Editor (editorial calendar, quality assurance, objective-alignment)
  • Strategic Content Creators (writers, video, graphic designers)*
  • UX/UI and WordPress Specialists
  • Social Media team
  • Paid Media and Content Distro specialists (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin, Outbrain, et al)
  • A Collaboration platform just for Content Marketing and Strategy efforts/team – Google Drive, Dropbox, plus Asana, Basecamp, Wunderlist, and/or Teamwork will get you sorted. Slack is the internal team messaging and collab standard.

*it’s always good to also work with outside writers/creators who can bring their unique perspectives to your storytelling (i.e. not yet drinking the internal, over-salesy kool aid).

And Introducing……Someone to Bring it all together

A Chief Content Officer (reports to the CMO) > ok, so you’ll have to create this position. This person really knows how to work with editorial, insight, and data teams and rocks when it comes to writing and continually revising company content strategy. He or she also makes sure everything that goes out is aligned with corporate business objectives. At a smaller brand, this is the CMO (or owner).  All good.

You may have noticed that content marketing touches all parts of your business.

As a CMO or VP, if you run more than one brand or trade event it makes sense to have associate content chiefs for each brand and content calendar, so a distinct brand voice is maintained and content strategy can be properly tailored within the mothership.

Content Strategy Development – The Playbook

After going through the above process you’ll be able to take your findings to develop and document a comprehensive, scalable, kick-a** content strategy playbook (with a cost structure) for your brand team or clients.  The main question is: how much does each quality lead cost? This playbook is something you and/or your agency can execute together over the longer term.

“that content strategy tho…..”

By Jed Wexler, CEO of 818 Agency. Creative B2B content marketing, social advertising, and on-site workshops for trade shows, brands and businesses. Get in touch with us here.


Some Amazing Resources (Get Your Learn on):

A Really Good Article called The Content Marketing Revolution


Content Marketing Institute – the OGs of this discipline, founded by Joe Pulizzi in 2007 (workshops, conferences, and seminars). These guys were just bought by one of the largest global B2B trade event organizers in the world, UBM. Content marketing is now essential to trade show marketing.

The Cure to CMOs’ Top 3 Concerns? Smarter Content Marketing.


Stay Tuned: “PR, Say Hello to Content Strategy – How Content Marketing and PR go Hand-in-Hand” – Sign up to receive more just like it straight to your inbox


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