The Science Behind Successful Content Marketing

Conversation Prism? Here’s Our Content-Marketing Prism: Content Cartography

“Anyone can do content marketing.” “Anyone can post to social media.” “Anyone can create, schedule and automate content.” “Anyone can blog.” “Anyone can blah blah blah marketing buzzword #synergy.”

While some of these statements may carry a bit of validity, the overarching missing component is usually strategy.

Without strategy you will fail, because you haven’t defined your success.

It is true that anyone can post to social media. Anyone can create a schedule for multichannel distribution of digital content. That part is true. However, if these are the criteria for what content marketing is being judged by, then we’re failing. We’re failing our clients and ourselves.

You might have heard about the Conversation Prism, created by Brian Solis. It’s a graphic that gives you the macrovision of all the different social and digital tools that exist (updated frequently). It’s an overwhelming visual that shows the sheer size and inventory of tools and resources that exist.

We took this approach and created our own Conversation Prism. But ours doesn’t cover social and digital tools. It covers the marketing strategy of content marketing.

Content marketing is creating content that is made to engage an audience segment without pushing a saleslike call to action. There are many definitions, but the macroview of what content marketing is is constant. It’s creating content in the hopes that the content is engaging enough to create an action. Pull marketing instead of push marketing. Passive marketing instead of direct marketing.

Britton Marketing & Design Group’s first year of going all in on content marketing supplied us with case study after case study of testing, honing and refining our content-marketing formula. So far, the results have been incredibly positive.

What Makes Content Marketing Strategic?

Strategy. That’s what makes content marketing strategic. That’s a snarky but direct description. If you don’t take a strategic approach to your content marketing, you’re not thinking, well, strategically. And without strategy you can’t measure your success. You can’t measure your ROI. Without strategy you will fail, because you haven’t defined your success.

Content Cartography Aggregation

How Do I Make My Content Marketing More Actionable and Strategic?

By creating goals, measuring and adapting. Every content-marketing campaign is different and requires different metrics. These are metrics that we tie to our goals — the goals that we strive to reach.

We first have to understand the main components of a content-marketing strategy in order to be able to set goals. We have to create a formula that is consistent and uses consistent processes for aggregating, creating, curating, repurposing and sharing content. These are the overarching components that make up content marketing.

Content Cartography Creation

Is Content Strategy Simply Content Marketing Strategized?

No. Content strategy can be a component of content marketing (usually the part that deals with content planning, aggregation, curation and distribution). But content marketing doesn’t always have a content strategy associated to it. In my opinion, it should because just about everything will benefit from incorporating the pillars of content strategy (and its focus on governance, structure, workflow, people and structured content) into your business.

Content Cartography Editorial

How Do I Create a Content-Marketing Strategy?

Well, this depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. As in every form of marketing, your strategy should be dedicated to achieving your goals. Content marketing is a form of marketing, so that same principle applies. Some of the questions you should be asking include how you will create and share content, what channels to use, how to best use channels, and the frequency of your social posts. Once you have defined what your business objective is, you can decide what metrics you will judge your success on.

Content Cartography Curation

What Does Optimization Mean?

Optimization can be defined as “making the best of anything.” So in theory, optimizing is something you should be doing every day. In content marketing, it means that you use best practices when creating and sharing content. This is the aspect where great content marketers are separated from merely good ones. Optimization is where your strategic approaches and processes thrive. Optimization is where you go from “anyone can do content marketing” to qualifying ROI for your brand or client.

Optimization means having researched and quantified answers to the following questions (these and a thousand more):

  • What channels should we use to share content?
  • How many times should we share?
  • What time should we share our content?
  • Why should we share this content?
  • How do we respond to customers, leads and interaction on digital channels?
  • How often should we publish a blog post?
  • Should we use images when sharing our content?
  • How do we get the best organic reach out of a tweet?
  • How many hashtags should we use when sharing content?
  • What channels should we autopublish to?
  • When do I tag people, places?

Consistency in Content Marketing Yields Patterns

These patterns are decipherable. They allow for agile movement and adapting. Consistency empowers you to see patterns in your distribution model and in your engagement and organic reach. Consistency enables easy testing of new content features. Consistency justifies your changes. Consistency gives you ammunition to make hard choices. Consistency makes it easy to spot the good and the bad so that you can stop doing the bad and do more of the good.

A Map for Optimization — Content Cartography

We like to refer to our strategic content strategy formula as “Content Cartography.” It is the map, the content model, that guides our creation of content (and the processes of creating content), curation and sharing of content (and the governance, channels and editorial management), distribution of content (and optimizing native channel features, frequencies, management and listening) and repurposing of content.

We have created a graphic that highlights the many touch points and efforts that go into our content marketing. It’s exhaustive and it’s thorough. It lets us be consistent across all channels. It lets us share with native features in mind. It lets us create content and capitalize on peak organic reach with our editorial workflow and management. It also visualizes the tremendous amount of effort and calculated choices that go into every piece of content that we publish.

Content Cartography Full Version

We hope that you like our Content Cartography graphic. We hope that it gives you a macroview of the scope and size of a proven content marketing formula.


If your company is interested in content marketing but doesn’t know where to begin, give us a call at 866-357-6687 or email us at Storytelling and branding can be hard. Let us help.

Photos/Graphic: BMDG

Niclas Hulting

Niclas Hulting

Director of online content strategy who enjoys the strategic part and feels content about the other. Loves to read fantasy and industry books. Writes about social media and content strategy most of the time.

Meet Niclas Hulting