By: Emily Murphy

It’s 2018, and there’s a good chance that by now you’ve heard (if not seen first hand) the impact an effective content marketing strategy can have on a business.

With stats like “content marketing rakes in conversion rates SIX times higher than other marketing methods” and “78% of CMOs see content as the future of marketing”  floating around, plus brands like LinkedIn and Marriott acting as living (and thriving) proof that content marketing works–no one can deny the power content marketing provides businesses with today.

The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience–and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer actions.

As your content marketing curiosity grows, the obvious question becomes “how?”. “How do I build an effective content marketing strategy?”.

Set content marketing goals and success will follow

First, never create content just for the sake of creating content–or because you “know” content is important–that mentality won’t get you and your “content marketing strategy” very far.

Second, have an understanding of what you want your content to achieve. In other words, set goals for your content marketing.

Goals will look different from business to business. While I’ve provided general examples of content marketing goals below, keep in mind your goals will be more specific to your business’ marketing priorities.

Because it’s not enough just to set goals, I’ve recommended KPIs (key performance indicators) you can tie to your goals and measure the impact your content marketing efforts have on your business.  

1. Brand awareness

A common goal for (and benefit of) content marketing is brand awareness. By creating original content that is both relevant and interesting, you will help prospects and customers not only find your brand but get to know your brand.

Content provides your brand with an opportunity to establish voice, industry expertise, and authority with prospects. Take that opportunity and go with it! Hey, you might even choose to have a little fun with it.

Check in with your content:

  • Does it accurately reflects your brand, mission, and values?
  • Does it represent your brand in a positive way?
  • Is it noteworthy enough to draw attention to your brand?
  • Does it encourage sharing? You’ve seen what happens when brands go viral.

Types of brand awareness content:

  • Infographics–done well of course.
  • Funny images, memes, or video. (Humor is a great way to connect with any audience, plus it encourages sharing)
  • Interviews with thought influencer, an industry leader, VIPs, or high ranked individual from your company. (Piggybacking off of someone else’s positive reputation might just give your content and brand a boost)
  • Have you seen my blog on creating share-worthy content?


  • Social shares
  • Views (bonus points for views and shares from influencers or industry thought leaders)
  • CTA clicks

2. Drive website traffic

Content should be created with the goal of driving traffic to your website in mind.

When people are driven to your site, you’re able to show them the value your company has to offer.

Check in with your content:

  • Is it optimized to drive the reader to your website?
  • Is it optimized for SEO (which will rank your site higher an ultimately drive website traffic)

Types of content that drive traffic:

  • Social media posts that link to your site or blog
  • Blog posts with CTAs that direct to your site
  • Webinars


  • Number of blog page visits per month
  • Percentage of returning blog readers
  • Total numbers of website visits
  • Engaged time on site

3. Generate inbound marketing leads

Not only does content have the potential to drive website traffic, but it can also help generate leads for your business. This kind of content is called lead generating content.

Lead generating content requires a potential viewer to complete a form in order to access the content. The viewer is granted access to your content and you’re left with a lead in your database–win-win!

Tip: If you’re thinking that you’re going to have to start content marketing from scratch, think again. It’s likely that your business has accumulated a few valuable pieces of content over the years. As long as those content pieces are still relevant, give them a landing page with a lead generation form–wa-la!

Check in with your content:

  • Will a viewer consider it valuable enough to provide their information in exchange? (There’s a lot riding on this one. You could potentially lose a lead’s trust if they don’t see the content’s worth)
  • Does it answer questions potential leads might have? (Your sales team will know what your customer’s problem areas are–solve those problems in your lead generating content and you’ll see conversions)
  • Will it nurture your leads through your funnel into sales qualified leads and customers? (When focusing on lead generation, think “TOFU”, or top of the funnel content as we inbounder’s like to call it)

Types of lead generating content:

  • E-books and guides
  • Checklists and cheat sheets
  • Contests and free apps
  • Tools and resources


  • Number of leads generated from each piece of content
  • Landing-page conversion rates

4. Convert leads into customers

Once you’ve begun generating a database of qualified leads, you should aim to create content that will nurture leads further down your funnel into customers. Content that converts leads into customers will educate the lead about your company and how your products or services are valuable to them.

Check in with your content:

  • Would this be useful in helping my sales team close a deal?
  • Does it actually educate the lead? Does it really have value? (Your lead doesn’t want to feel like they’re being pushed into a sale)

Types of content that will convert leads into customers:


  • Lead-to-customer conversion rate (for each nurturing campaign or piece of content delivered)
  • Average time to close for new customers.

At last, your content marketing efforts equal revenue for your business–it’s worth, we promise. Read about our start with content marketing.

5. Delight customers

When a customer is happy with your product or service, support, and communication efforts, you’ll gain their loyalty.

A delighted and loyal customer tells their friends about you, becomes a repeat customer, is easily upsold, and if you’re lucky–creates their own content promoting your brand (we call this user-generated content).  

A delighted customer should be your ultimate goal and you do this with relevant and valuable content that educates and keeps customers well informed.

Check in with your content:

  • Will it make your customers feel special?
  • Will it make your customers feel like you go above and beyond for them?
  • Does it inform your customers of product updates, company news, and tools?

Types of content that delights customers:

  • Monthly company newsletters
  • Video tutorials for new product releases
  • Free, exclusive e-book and webinar for customers only
  • Exclusive deals


  • Customer retention rate
  • Revenue from customer upsell
  • Percentage of repeat customers

Now take some time to figure out your own goals, then map out a strategy to help you get there–your content marketing strategy.

When developing your content marketing strategy, don’t lose sight of your goals. Your goals should be the foundation for your strategy. And of course, don’t forget to tie KPIs to your goals so you can measure your progress.

Creating content is just one of the many tasks associated with kicking off an inbound marketing campaign. Download our Marketing 101 Checklist which we created to help you keep track of all the various tasks.