Does it seem like your team is churning out content without any means of prioritizing what to work on next?
We see this often within companies that have recently merged or made an acquisition and have a central marketing team. Teams can slip into the habit of working on each product line in a siloed way and lose sight of the projects that can best benefit the business as a whole.
Instead, the output of Marketing needs to be managed across product lines by focusing on measurable results. Building a cross-product content marketing roadmap allows you to strategically allocate your resources and drive leads in the most efficient way.
Many companies with multiple product lines or brands face three common challenges:
Creating content for each product line in a siloed way or without reviewing existing content can bloat your library with multiple versions of similar assets. This is an unnecessary duplication of effort and, if you’re using external agencies, of budget too.
A content plan that addresses each product line separately is likely to result in a fragmented customer experience without a clear path between products. If the messaging and design of the content is inconsistent, it can also undermine the brand image. This can be confusing and frustrating for potential customers, particularly if cross-selling is part of your sales strategy
Without stepping back to develop a big-picture strategy, it’s impossible to see where the content team’s time and resources should be spent to deliver the best ROI. You may miss opportunities for efficiency, such as sharing content across product lines, or overlook issues in the marketing funnel that need urgent attention.
To avoid these issues, use your marketing data to create a roadmap that addresses content in a holistic way across brands and product lines. This gives a much-needed big picture approach to how you use content resources, and helps build a smoother, more complete customer journey.
The first stage of developing this roadmap is to build a list of high-value content projects for all product lines based on the performance of existing content. The second stage is to organize these projects into a detailed plan with proposed dates and resources.
The goal of this exercise is to create a single document listing all the content that needs to be upgraded or created for the whole business, ranked in order of priority.
Start by creating a content inventory, listing and categorizing the assets you already have for all product lines.
Particularly if they’re taking on the marketing of a recent acquisition, the content team may not have a complete view of what has already been created for each product line. The quick-fix option is to focus on churning out new content rather than digging into the existing inventory. However, without a plan that looks backward as well as forward, your content strategy will be based on assumptions rather than data.
The inventory should cover all content types, including downloadable assets, videos, recorded webinars, and sales enablement materials. This helps build a complete picture of the customer experience at each step.
For each piece of content, add detail about the purpose and audience of the piece. These will let you filter the list and see which categories have a shortage or excess of content support.
If you’re interested in creating a highly detailed inventory or automating this process, it may be worth investing in one of the content inventory tools on the market. Alternatively, you can create a simple, functional database in spreadsheet software like Google sheets or Excel.
If you have an extensive content library to audit, this step can be time consuming. However, it’s a one-off investment of resources that brings ongoing benefits. Once you’ve created a comprehensive inventory, this list should be regularly updated with the new content you produce so it’s ready to use for strategy and roadmapping in the future. This step is also easily outsourced to a freelancer or agency if you don’t have the bandwidth within your content team.
To show which assets need to be upgraded, a complete audit should include both a micro-level analysis of how each piece is performing on KPIs and a macro-level analysis of how the content library as a whole is performing. This relies on metrics pulled from Google Analytics, your SEO software, and your CRM.
For each piece of content, review:
Make a note of pieces that are underperforming and should be optimized, merged, or removed. Also note which pieces are performing particularly well and could be boosted by being refreshed, adapted for other product lines, or leveraged in other formats, like a downloadable checklist or video.
For your content as a whole, review:
This analysis will help identify ways to improve the coverage of your content and increase your reach.
Together, the inventory and audit give a complete view of your existing content for all product lines in a single document. The content marketing roadmap is based on the gaps in this inventory and the upgrades needed for existing content, including valuable assets that could be leveraged better and outdated or low quality assets that are underperforming.
Your content team may have already produced hundreds of pieces of excellent content. But we often see companies where a huge portion of the content is focused on the same funnel stage or product line. This approach may consistently generate blog posts that get high traffic, but you could be missing out on sales opportunities by undersupplying other areas.
For example, if 80% of the content is top of funnel assets, prospects won’t be nurtured through the funnel stages and you’re likely to lose leads at an early stage. If the content is heavily weighted towards one or two verticals, you could be duplicating effort by creating similar content multiple times over.
Building a content roadmap that specifically addresses inventory gaps ensures you have assets that support the customer journey from all angles. In the example above, a gap analysis would highlight projects for the middle and bottom of the funnel and for verticals that are lacking content support.
Note where the gaps are in your existing content inventory by considering:
Start building out your roadmap by listing each of these gaps and proposing content pieces that could fill them.
As well as new assets, a comprehensive content marketing roadmap should include any upgrades needed to make your library cohesive and optimize underperforming pieces.
The performance audit may highlight some assets that are outdated or low quality. These can give a negative customer experience and make it harder for other content on your site to rank. Generally, the best option is to upgrade those pieces.
In some situations, however, there might not be much to save from the piece. In this case, the most efficient solution is to remove it from your website.
Before you remove a piece, consider:
If the content isn’t delivering anything useful, remove it from your website. Redirect the URL to a higher quality asset so visitors don’t get a frustrating 404 ‘Page Not Found’ error.
If the answer to any of the questions above is ‘yes’, the piece should be edited rather than removed. Consider whether it could be merged with other content, updated to add more value, or repurposed in a different location on your site, and add these projects to the roadmap.
For companies merging or rebranding following an acquisition, there’s likely to be a lot of existing pieces that need to be redesigned or adapted to give customers a unified experience across products. Including these within the roadmap ensures that you’re factoring in the time and resources these will take away from new content creation.
Particularly if the company has been in business for several years, a content audit may identify multiple pieces of overlapping content within and between each product line.
Rather than have these pieces competing for the same keywords, consider combining the content into a single high-quality in-depth post that will be easier to rank. You can retain the existing SEO value by using the merged content to update the asset that already has the highest traffic and backlinks, and redirect the other pieces to the new merged asset.
Some of the missing content identified in the gap analysis may be similar to pieces already in your content library. You can save time and effort by adapting existing assets to fill these gaps. For example, a one-pager that’s performing well for one product line could be repurposed for the other product lines too.
The opportunities identified by the gap analysis and merge/repurpose review should form the basis of your content roadmap. It should include:
Before the content team dives into creating these pieces, the projects need to be organized in order of priority. The prioritization should take into account:
Optimizing content for SEO can be an easy win if an asset isn’t getting enough traffic. Content that only needs to be optimized rather than rewritten or redesigned should go towards the top of the list as it offers high potential reward for low effort.
In-depth content tends to get more backlinks and more organic traffic. Consider building out content on high-value keywords to cover the topic more comprehensively.
The RICE prioritization framework shows which assets have the biggest potential return for your effort, and therefore should be prioritized.
To calculate the RICE score for each piece:
A top of funnel blog post might get 200 visits in a month, but the impact on purchase intent is fairly low. We’ve published dozens of posts like this before, so we’re confident about how it will perform, and know it will only take half a “person-month” to create.
(200 x 0.5 x 100) / 0.5 = 20,000 RICE score
A bottom of funnel downloadable asset might be downloaded 50 times in a month, but the impact on purchase intent is likely to be high. We’ve only tried a few of these posts before, so we’re not certain how well it will perform, and we think that the writing and design will take two “person-months” to create.
(50 x 2 x 80) / 2 = 4,000 RICE score
In this case, the top of funnel post should be prioritized as it’s likely to deliver a bigger potential return for the effort.
When a central team is producing content for all product lines, there are often multiple sales and customer success teams demanding assets from them. Rather than trying to guess whose needs should take priority, the holistic approach to content in this roadmap assesses the priority of each project on a case-by-case basis. However, some product lines are likely to have more of an impact than others, and this should be taken into account.
If there’s a section of the marketing funnel that is particularly leaky, that’s an indication that the content supporting this stage could be incomplete or not performing effectively.
If it’s unclear where in the funnel the issues are, start at the bottom of the funnel and work backward. Are you getting a good number of opportunities but they’re not converting to closed won deals at a high enough rate? Or are you generating lots of traffic that isn’t translating to lots of MQLs?
The stage of your funnel that needs extra support suggests which types of content you should prioritize:
To determine what the highest value keywords are for your business, ask these questions:
Content that is based on bottom of funnel, low-hanging fruit, or ranking keywords is likely to bring in the most opportunities, so should be prioritized over lower value keywords in the roadmap.
To order your content roadmap in a way that takes all these factors into account, determine whether each content piece is high or low priority for each category.
By assigning colors for high priority and low priority, you can scan through your roadmap and see at a glance which pieces should be at the top of the list. For example, a piece with ‘high priority’ coding in four of the five categories should be higher on the list than a piece with ‘high priority’ coding in two of the five categories.
For each piece in the content roadmap, include:
This establishes a realistic timeline that can be used for content team OKRs or targets to monitor progress. It also indicates whether your current content team has the bandwidth needed to produce the high priority content at a fast enough rate. You may need to staff-up the content team or engage an agency to complete these projects on schedule. If this is the case, the roadmap gives you data to support increasing or reconfiguring the marketing budget.
By the end of this process, you’ll have a single spreadsheet that lists all the content that needs to be created or updated. It will be ordered by priority and include key details to help create each asset, including the type of content, the funnel stage, and the time required. From here, your content team should be equipped to start working on each project in order.
Because this plan takes into account content from all product lines and is informed by multiple data points, you can be confident your content team is putting their time and resources into the projects that will deliver the biggest ROI for the business.
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