Having trouble building or optimizing your content strategy? You’re not alone. Almost every company in the world grapples with this same struggle for a few reasons.

The term “content strategy” in itself is vague and open ended—is it blog posts, ebooks, landing pages, or sales enablement collateral? The short answer is that a content strategy encompasses all of these.

Because the term “content strategy” is so open ended—and an art meets science function at heart—it can be challenging for teams or individual marketers to wrap their minds around what they need to build. Content marketing is a continuously moving target.

Ideation and editing cycles can quickly escalate from structured processes to endless “too many cooks in the kitchen” loops, especially when you’re sourcing feedback from cross-functional stakeholders who all have opinions (and value to add).

Success with content marketing requires a healthy blend of strategic, creative, and analytical thinking. Here are three steps to help you design a workflow that enables your storytelling efforts to shine.

Step 1: Define Your Business Use Cases

Content marketing, just like any other type of marketing, is a tool to help your target audiences get from point A to point B in their buyer journeys. As a content strategist, demand gen marketer, or whatever your job title may be, your job is to provide a guided, structured process—to help target audiences self-direct their own experiences with your brand.

First, start with your business objectives and needs to ensure that your content fulfills a purpose. Here are some tips to help you build the right resources for your market:

  • Ask your sales team to share frequently asked questions from prospects
  • Research trends that your target audiences find compelling
  • Examine points of friction in your sales cycle from awareness through conversion
  • Create content that targets each of those stages

Step 2: Finalize Your Asset List

When building a content strategy, it can be easy to get stuck in a cycle of perpetual ideation. After a few months of debating potential story and sales enablement ideas with your team, you’ll find yourself stuck at stage 0.

But thanks to step 1, you now know how to define some constraints to guide your brainstorming.

The exercise for step 2 is simple: brainstorm potential content ideas for each business use case. Then, narrow down your list to the topics that are most important to your audience as they self-direct their paths through your company’s sales funnel.

This approach will help you align your budget with your most important business goals. And if your budget increases? Write about the topics that didn’t make it to your original list.

Step 3: Unleash Your Creativity

Chances are, what your company has to say has already been said before–and your audiences don’t want to reread the same boring topic. You need to stand out.

The key here is not to fixate on being hyper-original. Instead, focus on giving a known pain point or established topic a new spin.

Take this blog post as an example. It could have very well turned into a listicle with generic tips and best practices. Instead, what you’ve now read is an actionable framework that you can adapt to become your own.

Tweet @Kapost to share how you’ll be implementing this strategy.

Streamline Your Content Workflow

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Ritika Puri

About Ritika Puri

Ritika Puri is an entrepreneur who founded Storyhackers, a company that helps business create impactful and inspiring content programs. She enjoys writing about data, teaching others things that she’s learning, and helping other business owners succeed. In past lives, she built enterprise analytics programs and created revenue streams for an ad tech company. She is also an advisor to a mobile app startup, Sortly.