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What Is a Content Strategy Framework (and Why Do You Need One?)

Date published: December 15, 2023
Last updated: March 7, 2024

A content marketing strategy gives you the “why” behind all of your marketing activities. It unifies and focuses your brand’s promotional efforts, ensuring that every piece of content, paid ad, and other marketing assets is working toward the same goal.

While a content strategy is important, it can be vague or consist of high-minded content ideas and hopeful hypotheticals. To be truly effective, you must build each strategy around a solid content marketing strategy framework.

Let’s dig into what it means to build a framework for your content strategy, why it’s important, and how you can use this potent growth marketing tool to infuse every piece of content that you create with a unique sense of purpose. 

What Is a Content Strategy Framework?

A content marketing strategy framework gives you a 10,000-foot perspective of your content marketing activity. It steps back and considers how you can take unspecific plans and strategic initiatives and put them into motion.

A good framework for content marketing takes all of your content-related marketing elements into account. On a big-picture scale, this includes your brand’s mission, values, and goals. 

On a nitty-gritty level, it also includes the content marketing resources that you have available to execute that vision. What skills, tools, and techniques do you have at your disposal to turn your content marketing vision into a bonafide reality?

A content framework takes both the minute details and the sweeping generalities into account. It creates the structure within which your content strategy can thrive not just with a single piece of content but across all of your related content marketing endeavors.

How Does a Framework Fit Into Your Larger Content Marketing Strategy?

If a framework brings your vision and resources together, how does it fit into the larger content marketing strategy process? To fully grasp where a framework fits in, let’s consider why you want to create a content strategy in the first place.  

Content marketing strategies are powerful ways to create synergy and purpose behind marketing efforts. However, without structure, they can quickly fall apart. 

This is especially true in an era where marketers are cobbling together campaigns using highly fractionalized digital marketing channels, tools, and strategies. Without a framework in place, a content strategy can splinter into a confusion of disconnected marketing efforts, assets, and activities. When marketing becomes decentralized and disconnected like this, nothing moves you toward your goals in meaningful or measurable ways.

 This is where a framework brings a much-needed degree of predictability and organization. It gives you a clear path to put your content creation into motion.

Of course, content marketing doesn’t stop with a good framework. This provides a blueprint to follow, but to build on those plans, you must create content strategy templates, as well. These are highly practical preset formulas that you can use to intimately guide your content creation. 

You can create templates to inform your content for specific events, campaigns, and even seasons of your business activity. Whatever the specific reason, a template provides a repeatable and distinct way you can utilize your larger framework to translate your content strategy into a variety of marketing assets.

Why Is a Content Strategy Framework Important?

Understanding how a framework fits into the picture is one thing. But that doesn’t explain why it matters in the first place. 

Is it really necessary to create a content strategy, a framework for that strategy, and then templates for your framework? Isn’t the framework just a middleman between your strategy and the implementation of that strategy through templates?

No, it isn’t. Here’s why.

It’s a big jump to go from the vagueness of a larger content strategy to the specificities required to create individual pieces of content. Your content marketing strategy may serve as a roadmap connecting marketing goals to correlating tactics, but it doesn’t go into enough detail to explain how those tactics can achieve those goals.

Your framework fills in those details with documented clarity. This documentation serves as a North Star, bridging the gap from a 10,000-foot strategy to intricate text, visual, and audible content details. 

A framework helps you remember your branded mission, content marketing goals, and target audience. At the same time, it provides you with the specific personnel, budgets, skills, tools, and techniques required to achieve those each business goal, not just in one specific time or place but in many circumstances. 

In other words, you can use your framework to inform specific content creation templates for social media, a blog post, video content, and so on. It is able to adapt to the needs of each specific format, helping you create tailored templates based on the needs and restrictions of each situation. 

A framework also makes it possible to pivot from underperforming marketing activities without derailing entire marketing initiatives in the process. You can tweak and adjust your content strategy over time by changing your framework. This ensures that each change is beneficial for your entire strategy and not just a single template, asset, or application. 

The result is a comprehensive and resilient structure that allows you to hone your entire content strategy over time. It enables you to make targeted adjustments to your strategy and codify them into an actionable plan that connects resources with end goals.

What Is the Structure of a Content Framework?

A content framework is a documented and specific manifestation of your content marketing strategy. It should detail everything from your goals and audience to the platforms, topics, and kinds of content that you can use.

Frameworks should also dig into the specifics of how your strategy will play out. It should include your budget, your team members, and their roles. 

You should also consider the promotion channels you can use as well as the publishing schedules and timelines you’re working with. It should include the stages of your marketing funnel. Do you have a system for creating and posting content? That should be in there, too.

You can present this as a visual table for quick and easy reference. This should be headlined by your brand goals alongside your mission and values. Below that, you can list each element of your framework in vertical columns, including:

Brand missions and goals one must have in place to create a content strategy framework

Keeping all of this in a single visual framework gives you a central repository for all of the elements that you will need to execute your content strategy. This serves as the blueprint that you can return to again and again as your strategy plays out.

What Is an Example of a Content Strategy Framework?

To help all of this make sense, let’s go over a content strategy framework example. Consider an online retailer that sells nutraceuticals. They are about to release a new line of premium collagen supplements, and they want to promote it.

To do so effectively, the marketing team creates a quality content strategy that functions as a roadmap for the upcoming marketing campaign. It identifies the “why” behind the promotional initiative (to promote the new collagen products). From there, it connects that overarching goal with correlating content marketing tactics, such as building out an educational blog post or using social media posts and emails.

At that point, it’s time to create a framework. The CMO begins to gather documentation that outlines specific goals for the campaign. They ensure that these align with the company’s overall vision and mission as well as the budget they have available. They also consider who should be on the team for the campaign and what portion of the brand’s audience they should target.

From there, the CMO digs deeper. They consider the different platforms, formats, tools, and schedules required to execute the campaign. This collection of documentation creates a framework that the team can reference every time they go to create a content template in relation to the collagen product launch in the coming months. 

Regardless of whether a particular template is for a long-form LinkedIn post, a short Twitter blurb, a 3,000-word white paper, or a brief email, they can reference the same framework to stay on track and move toward the same goals.

How Do You Create a Content Strategy Framework?

So, how do you put all of this information into a framework for your specific content strategy? Let’s go through building out a content strategy framework step by step. You can use this process every time you need a framework to flesh out a new content strategy you’re working with.

1. Consider Your Audience and Goals

Start with the big-picture stuff. As you prepare to build your framework, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are your company’s mission, vision, and values?
  • What are your content strategy specific goals?
  • How do these influence your current content strategy?
  • What segment of your audience is the most important to target?
  • Do you have up-to-date research on this group?

As you answer these questions, use that information to ensure you have solid KPIs and SMART goals in place. A good rule of thumb is to consider each goal you want to achieve and align it with a specific result. 

These are called OKRs or “objectives and key results.” OKRs are a powerful goal-setting tool that provides their own framework within your content marketing framework. They force you to define your goals in detail and keep you accountable as you work toward them. 

2. Identify Your Content Marketing Resources

Next up, consider the specific resources that you have available to execute your content marketing strategy. This includes things like: 

Graph showing what resources are needed to create a content strategy framework

Identifying your current resources sets the stage for a smooth and effective execution of your successful content strategy.

3. Choose Your Team

At this point, you have a fairly clear picture of what you’re trying to accomplish and the resources you have with which to do so. Now it’s time to consider the team you need to put everything into action.

Along with choosing the right people for your content marketing team, consider the roles that everyone will have. Make these clear to everyone on the team, too. Empowering your marketing team and helping them interact together is the best way to ensure you achieve your strategy as quickly and efficiently as possible.

4. Identify Ideal Content Topics

Once you’ve set the stage, it’s time to consider what kind of topics you should cover in your larger content plan. Remember, you aren’t choosing topics for specific pieces of content at this point. That comes later once you’ve used your framework to create reusable a content strategy template.

For now, consider the overarching topics that address your content goals, no matter what channel or piece of content your team is creating at any given moment. 

Why are you creating content in the first place? Who are you creating content for? What content type will help reach potential customers? Use the answers to hone in on the topics that are central to your upcoming campaign. Then, integrate them as central themes of your framework.

5. Create a Schedule and Check-In Regularly

 Finally, consider how your content distribution will play out. Remember, the when is just as important as the why here, and it will vary depending on which part of your strategy you’re working on. 

For example, on the one hand, if you’re creating social media content for campaigns, spread out your content calendar. On the other hand, if your strategy is to build your site’s SEO by creating educational, keyword-rich content, you should post it as soon as possible.

Schedule when you’ll circle back around to measure results, too. For something like an email or social media post, you should be able to check metrics like engagement and reach fairly quickly. For something like search engine optimization, though, give it a few months to start ranking in the search engines.

Building an Effective Content Strategy Framework

Once you have a good content marketing strategy in place, it’s tempting to jump straight to the content creation process. If you need an expert’s advice, consider working with a content marketing agency that can help give you an inside look into what an effective content strategy framework looks like. They can take the time to lay the structural foundation for that process by building out a content strategy framework first.

This gives you a blueprint that you can return to over and over again as you put your larger strategy into action over time. It allows you to make purposeful and holistic changes when necessary and ensures that you’re bringing the full weight of your marketing capabilities to bear as you seek to turn strategic hopes into real-world marketing results.

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