The Content Marketing Roadmap started its life as a quick sketch by Bert van Loon on a whiteboard during a business meeting about marketing innovation. The term “content marketing” was then still unknown territory for many clients and it was a real challenge to explain the concept and its role in the existing business process. As always, visualising with a sketch helped to create understanding.

Quickly, that sketch became the central element of similar meetings, both to explain the role of a content marketing plan in business planning to C-level client contacts, and as a hands-on, collaborative framework for clients’ teams who were developing their own content marketing plan. As the roadmap was put into practice it gradually matured, gaining depth, nuance and further structure to become the Content Marketing Roadmap as it is published today: a six-step process, supported by organisation and technology as two enabling layers.

The Content Marketing Roadmap combines a number of functions:

BALANCE

The Content Marketing Roadmap is the marriage between analytical and creative thinking. Analytical input is needed for a solid, insight-based strategy. Creative genius is essential to ensure impact, and to guarantee that your content marketing activities will have long-lasting results. Without analytical input and a logical strategy, a creative briefing is often nothing more than just the whim of the day. Without creative craftsmanship, strategy is just drawer food, leaving your audience untouched and unmoved.

SHARED UNDERSTANDING

It also offers insight into the process of developing and implementing a content marketing plan, covering everything from setting goals to measuring results and improving the plan.

INSIGHT

First of all, it offers a ‘common language’ for shared understanding. When working together, everyone knows which stage we are operating in, so we can refer to a particular stage with the certainty that everyone is on the same page.

DOCUMENTED PROGRESS

A valuable complementary benefit of shared understanding is that everyone involved is challenged to think about the information that is needed to complete every step. Gradually, through a transparent approach, the plan comes closer to completion. Decisions about strategy are documented and shared, helping the organisation to translate decisions about opportunities to informed future decisions.

AGILE

While acting as a master-checklist of some kind, the Content Marketing Roadmap also allows for a practical balance between structure and flexibility. The framework is designed for use in an agile working environment, promoting constant improvement, adjustment to change and improvisation, without losing sight of the big picture.

As the Content Marketing Roadmap evolved it became clear that, in order to be really inviting to work with, accessible for everyone without a MBA and truly usable as a dedicated, brown-paper style teamwork tool, it needed to be more than an abstract text-book model. David van Neerbos, a specialised and experienced ‘visual translator’, took responsibility for the visuals of the Roadmap, turning a dull, off-the-shelf sketch into a unique, lively and attractive working canvas.

Next steps: crowdsourcing and the Content Marketing Roadmap book

Bert van Loon presented the first official public release of the Content Marketing Roadmap during a session at Content Marketing World in Cleveland.

The next step will be the publication of a practical book about ‘how to work with the Content Marketing Roadmap’, designed by Brenda de Graaf, currently scheduled for publication in December 2017. The Content Marketing Roadmap’s LinkedIn group serves as a platform for interested marketing professionals to share their ideas, vision and experiences to help improve on it.

If you want to stay up-to-date about the further development of the Content Marketing Roadmap you can register for the newsletter, which will be published only once a month in order to avoid mailbox congestion. You can also stay in touch by following the Content Marketing Roadmap Twitter account. Just select the channels you prefer.

Free use, under Creative Commons License

You can download a printable version of the basic model and start building and sharing your own plan under the Creative Commons License.

In formal terms, copyright on the Content Marketing Roadmap, including all visual material is retained by Bert van Loon, and the right to use the core model for non-commercial purposes in its full unaltered integrity is granted to any third party, provided citation details and author are identified. (Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial CC BY-NC-ND License 4.0).

In practical terms, this means that you can use the Content Marketing Roadmap free of charge for your own activities, as long as you don’t publish any modified versions, integrate the Content Marketing Roadmap into other products or sell the Content Marketing Roadmap (e.g. reprints, software versions, commercial products etc.), and as long as you refer and link to www.contentmarketingroadmap.com. If you want to discuss the idea of including the Roadmap in a product, a tool or any other solution, please contact us to explore the possibilities followed by written approval.

Our objective is to let the maximum number of people benefit from the work and invite as many people as possible to contribute to its future improvement and development. A short introduction to each of the six steps of the Content Marketing Roadmap is only a click away. Good luck, and please do share your experiences!