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    The value of content strategy in a robust digital marketing plan is pretty well understood now. Savvy marketers recognize the benefits of regular content audits, aligning content with audience needs and brand messaging. It’s the epitome of working smarter rather than just harder.

    So let’s add a layer to that: While you’re reviewing existing and planning new content, take into account how content supports your audience throughout the purchase cycle. We know we need lots of shareable, “snackable” content on social media (awareness), but we should put just as much thought into what content will resonate with user intent (decision) and keep them happy and loyal after purchase (repurchase).

    There’s a lot of information to put together here, so I did what any content strategist reflexively does: I made a spreadsheet.

    Caveats

    These purchase cycle stages are a high-level generalization. There are many hairs that could be split as far as industry-specific tasks in each stage, the overlap between stages, etc. I smushed together the best parts of the most reputable sources I could find.

    Similarly, there’s a lot of room for interpretation in content type/format. I erred on the side of including more types that may be substantively similar, for reader ease of use in finding the term most recognizable for your research.

    content spreadsheet

    Regardless of content format, consider the human goals for whatever you’re creating. In general, you want to publish content that will serve your audience:

    • Entertain
    • Educate
    • Inspire
    • Convert

    As part of a balanced digital marketing diet, consider these factors as well:

    • Image-to-text ratio: Should this piece be more visual, or wordy?
    • Interactivity: How well are you incorporating static and interactive content in your content library?

    Go Forth and Create!

    As you plan out your content calendar, factor in the user journey and create content types that will support users throughout the process.

    We also encourage you to try breaking a few rules along the way: Instead of just relegating infographics to awareness and initial research, try brainstorming how an infographic could inspire post-purchase loyalty with an existing customer.

    Discussion (Your Turn to Talk!)

    • What are the content types your organization creates? Have you designed them to intentionally support specific stages of the purchase cycle?
    • Which types of content do you use differently than how we’ve tagged them? What’s your approach?
    • Which type of content has the best ROI for your organization? Videos are expensive, but they may be worth it. Conversely, paid ads can be relatively inexpensive and still pack a big punch.

    Share your successes (and “learning opportunities”)!