The Blueprint for a Real Content Marketing Plan

  |  January 6, 2014   |  Comments

Aaron Kahlow shares his cliff notes, down and dirty version of a content marketing blueprint, with everything important for content marketing in 2014.

blueprints1Welcome to my cliff notes, down and dirty content marketing blueprint, with each of the important considerations for your content marketing success in 2014.

Last week, someone asked me, "Aaron, do you know much about content marketing?" It's like asking a zookeeper of 20 years if they know much about elephants.

Yes! I've watched numerous classes; I get to work with tons of incredible content marketing thought leaders every day and, in fact, do a bit of teaching in various workshops on just that.

Then it hit me: I don't really write about it as much as I'd like. So, after reading our latest Blueprint for Content Marketing Planning Guide, I revisited all the content OMI has created around content marketing and realized we have EVERYTHING and ANYTHING anyone would want to know about content marketing. Literally, it's more than any other resource I know of; I felt compelled to summarize what I've learned and pass on to you good folks.

So much is said and written about content marketing that it's sometimes hard to grasp what to do and where to start. Even for the mature digital or B2B marketer, content marketing can be a bit of a conundrum without the right plan in place. You really need a blueprint - a guide - to help you get and stay on track.

With that in mind, I did some research and took the best practices from OMI's Content Marketing Certification program, tried and true fundamentals from the Blueprint for Content Marketing Guide and top tips and tactics from over 50 content marketing classes. Here is what I came up with:

Get to Know Your Audience

First, go back to the basics of your target market. Reevaluate who you are targeting, what they are doing and their personal and professional motivations, likes/dislikes and areas of interest. As I learned from the best - Joe Pulizzi, in his introductory Content Marketing Planning class - without audience, you got nothing.

Tie in Buying Cycle

Next, tie in their role in the buying cycle. Do they search for solutions/products like yours, or does one of their folks hand them the short list of offerings?

Audit Your Content Assets

Move on to do an assessment on your content marketing assets. What do you have by way of blog posts, webcasts, power points, videos, testimonials, ebooks, whitepapers, etc.? Determine which are really evergreen and which could be tweaked to be more relevant today.


Next, start mapping content types back to your personas and do a quick Gap Analysis on the areas of interest and stages of the buying cycle that are missing and what are most important.

Plan Your Content

Finally, create the calendar and ownership of when and who will create this content. Much can be outsourced, curated or partnered with, so it does not all need to come from within the organization.

On that note, you do need to consider whether hiring a writer or content marketing manager is something of core importance to your goals. Pulling it all together and then thinking about the next step - how to distribute - is brilliantly illuminated in the How to Integrate Social Media & Content Marketing class.

Social Sharing & Distribution

After this is all done (and yes, it's a bit more complex than above), it's time to distribute the content. Social media is a great place to start, so begin by thinking about what content is best for what channel.

For example, our Cisco Video Case Study class research shows that people are 10x more likely to watch a video on Facebook than Twitter, so put your testimonial video on Facebook and maybe your whitepaper download on Twitter.

Ads & Retargeting

After you get your social integration strategy in place, start thinking about re-targeted ads on Google Display and YouTube. Of course, tying it all back to a smart email marketing campaign with drips and triggers to make it all seamless will really put you on the sustainable path to success. For most, this means truly mapping this back to your marketing automation and lead scoring efforts.

Janet Driscoll Miller does a beautiful job explaining this from the B2B perspective in her Retarget to Leads class and shows how true success comes to those that plan.

Measurement & Attribution

Don't forget the tracking! Attribution and attribution modeling for social media and all other channels is critical. You'll need to make sure you weight all the touch points in the buying cycles, from someone seeing your add on Facebook, to clicking on the download in your YouTube channel. All deserve credit and not just that last click; this is where 90 percent of marketers fail.

Ok, there you have it: my down and dirty, cliff notes version of a content marketing guide. If you want access to the full guide (see, here I am doing some content marketing!), email me at


Aaron Kahlow

After selling the Online Marking Summit (OMS) event company in 2011, Aaron is now leading the charge of the newest venture, the Online Marketing Institute - an e-learning platform and training destination for digital marketing education.

Kahlow is one of the most recognized thought-leaders in the digital marketing and social media space. Having founded, funded, and built three prolific and highly profitable digital marketing companies, Kahlow has also delivered hundreds of marquee keynote speeches around the globe. He is a recognized author, columnist (ClickZ, NYT) and authority on social media marketing, sales and marketing integration, demand generation, business-to-business marketing, search marketing, usability, analytics, and digital marketing strategy.

Today, Aaron can be found in his new home city of San Francisco, working on the global expansion of "Teaching the World Digital" in his e-learning technology venture, the Online Marketing Institute. Facebook and LinkedIn are his preferred places to connect.

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