Key Elements for Building A Content Strategy

We often see teams produce all kinds of content, but with very little sense of which type works best.

If you’re creating content as an organization, chances are you’re creating too much of it. And most of it isn’t really working for you or the customer. According to a report by Sirius Decisions, 60—70% of content produced by B2B companies goes unused, and Forrester found that 87% of B2B marketers say they struggle to produce content that truly engages their buyers.

It’s never been easier to produce high-quality digital content and distribute it at an unprecedented scale to an audience using an endless number of digital platforms. That’s great news for companies who want to engage their audiences and bypass the tyranny of advertising platforms and budgets. But what that does is create immense pressure to produce all of the content, all of the time, with only a vague sense of what’s working and what’s not. As a result, we often see content marketing teams produce all manner of content. Some of it is thought leadership, some of it is entertainment, some of it customer service and some of it is user generated.  But in our research, we found that the companies who excel at content have one major commonality. They pick only one type of content to serve one type of audience.

In our latest research report “Key Elements for Building A Content Strategy,”my co-author Mat Zucker and I found that there are actually five different content strategy archetypes that companies can choose from. These five archetypes are:

Content as Presence: Engaging, entertaining and educational content that serves to establish awareness, health and equity for a brand.

Content as a Window: Content that serves to build trust and loyalty by highlighting the brand’s practices, ethics and values.

Content as Currency: High quality, unique content that helps the customer achieve expertise in a personal or professional aspect of their lives, and as a result consider the brand producing it as an expert, trusted resource.

Content as Community: Content that serves a platform where a niche community for a shared interest, lifestyle or hobby interacts and exchanges peer knowledge.

Content as Support: Educational, service-oriented or product-focused content that gives customers consistent, easily accessible knowledge about items they have purchased and how to use them.

At first glance, it’s extremely tempting for brands to say “We do/should produce all of these!” But in our report, we’re proposing a framework that forces brands to think only of the customer, and which one of these content archetypes is best equipped to serve their need. By choosing one, and only one content archetype, brands can minimize content waste, establish strong criteria for what they will and won’t publish, and truly create the most value for their customers.

“By choosing one, and only one content archetype, brands can minimize content waste.”


The archetypes work as a forcing mechanism for brands to prioritize the kind of content they need to produce. It’s a difficult, often contentions thing to do, but we’ve developed a clear roadmap for companies to follow as they build their unified content strategy. As a result, brands can come out with a central vision for what they want their content to be, a vision that multiple stakeholders in the company can embrace and operate off.

Download our report (at no cost) to find out how leading content producing companies such as REI, Charles Schwab, Nespresso, and General Motors did exactly that, along with a methodology for determining which content strategy archetype is the right one for your brand.