The Content Marketing Matrix

A content marketing planning tool to help marketers generate ideas for the most engaging content types for their audiences

We created our Content Marketing Matrix to help our members audit their content marketing assets as part of creating a content marketing strategy. It can also be used for content ideation, i.e. to brainstorm future content ideas to generate leads, nurture prospects, encourage sharing and generate backlinks for SEO.

Since we created it eight years ago it’s been shared many times and has inspired many ‘mashups’ in different formats as this Google search shows; great to see it’s been useful!

I think the CMM is a powerful mindtool for marketers since it’s a content mapping tool, structured to help you think through two key dimensions of which types of content will best support the path to purchase for your target audience. The two dimensions are:

  • 1. Awareness through to purchase conversion funnel shown on the horizontal axis
  • 2. Emotional to rational content engagement formats available shown on the vertical axis

Here is our latest version:

Smart-Insights-Content-Marketing-matrixSmart-Insights-Content-Marketing-matrix

The two dimensions used in the matrix help you review how content can support the business to achieve its goals against how different formats appeal to different types of people.

As you read from left to right the matrix shows how different content assets can develop audience awareness and reach through the purchase process to nurturing and prompting purchase. More visual, interactive content to support emotional buying triggers is shown at the top of the matrix with more static content at the bottom supporting rational decision making.

If you’re looking to develop your approach content marketing, I strongly recommend doing so within a strategic marketing structure, such as the RACE Framework, which will help you tie together all your different assets, channels, and platforms. Find out more about our dedicated RACE content marketing solutions.

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How to use this content marketing planning template

The recommended process we use for applying this matrix to companies or brands is:

  • Step 1. Review how you assess the value of different types of content. Define how you will evaluate your content marketing ROI.
  • Step 2. Review the current use of content within a company by plotting the different content formats you use now on the grid.
  • Step 3. Review competitor use of these content types through plotting on the grid based on the content assets they deploy on their website, social media, and email marketing
  • Step 4. Brainstorm future content types possible.
  • Step 5. Use your criteria from Step 1 to select new content types. When reviewing the potential of each content type, you should also think about its potential as evergreen content to attract inbound links and then organic visits to your site to help with SEO.

A more sophisticated content mapping approach will map content for each individual persona as shown in our persona template. We’ve also developed a Content Distribution Matrix which enables you to audit your use of digital media.

As always, all our content marketing tools and templates are integrated across the RACE Framework so you can confidently apply the most appropriate content techniques across all the key customer touchpoints in their decision-making journeys.

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Need a plan to create a winning marketing strategy?

Get started today using a tried and tested step-by-step process to optimize your marketing.

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Credits – how we created our CMM

We originally published this article in March 2012 when I worked with Dan Bosomworth who was our marketing director at the time. Dan, now at agency First 10,  had this graphic on a Post-It note in our office for months and we worked together and eventually published it!

We thought it was a natural follow-on from our RACE inbound marketing funnel infographic. Today, a search for ‘content marketing matrix’ on Google shows it’s been shared many times and prompted quite a few mashups based on the original idea, which is great to see.  If you have found it useful, please spread the word by sharing it!