In content marketing, we don’t create content “just to create content.” We are careful about what we produce and ensure that each piece of content is strategically created based on the bigger picture. We focus on where the content fits within the sales funnel and know that each piece will have its own content journey.

Now, that may sound like a lot of work going into a blog post or infographic, but in reality, if we are going to create great, effective content, why not make sure it works effectively to help achieve the business goals? That is our goal, right?

Here’s a completely made up example featuring the silliest news of the week: Consider a hypothetical photo-editing app that wants to ride the Kim Kardashian wave of narcissism and you know, #breaktheinternet. The app makers decide to create one 500-word blog post with an awesome meme that was carefully crafted, written and designed, with a primary focus on a timely topic and a secondary focus on a brand theme.

This article would have the primary focus on “newsjacking” with the intent of getting noticed within this popular “news” theme and maybe soliciting a laugh or two from their existing and prospective audience. The secondary focus would be interjecting how the app can help you, the Kim K fan (or hater), post flawless selfies, Photoshop your bum, and create funny memes – or whatever else you want to do with photos.

Before crafting this piece, the brand needs to think about the intended and probable journey of this piece of content. The brand would ask:

  1. Where will this content live? Are we publishing it in our own space or is it being submitted to another outlet?
  2. Where should we promote this post beyond just our social media outlets? Should we email it to our audience? Should we send it to specific prospects?
  3. Who could potentially pick this piece up? Will any other outlets want to link to or republish this piece? Who and where are they?
  4. Can we ever reuse this content in the future?

By answering these questions, the hypothetical photo-editing app company can figure out what their ideal content journey will be for the Kim K piece, what the realistic, more probable content journey will be, and what that journey means to the brand – really, what the end result will be based on the visibility, interactions, and placements of the piece.

Keep in mind that asking these content journey questions doesn’t have to be a strenuous process. Overall, it’s more about ensuring that creating and publishing content is a strategic function yielding the intended results, and less about just creating content and throwing it out there to see what sticks.

It’s critical that brands understand the editorial promise they’re making to their audience, and that they keep that promise.