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The Content Marketing Matrix

Author's avatar By Dave Chaffey 15 Mar, 2024
Essential Essential topic

A content marketing planning tool to help marketers generate a matrix of ideas for the most engaging content types for their audiences

We created our Content Marketing Matrix to help our members audit their content marketing assets as part of creating a content marketing strategy. It can also be used for content ideation, i.e. to brainstorm future content ideas to generate leads, nurture prospects, encourage sharing, and generate backlinks for SEO.

Since we created it eight years ago it's been shared many times and has inspired many 'mashups' in different formats, as this Google search shows; great to see it's been useful!

I think our Content Marketing Matrix is a powerful mindtool for marketers since it's a content mapping tool, structured to help you think through two key dimensions of which types of content will best support the path to purchase for your target audience. The two dimensions are:

  • 1. Awareness through to purchase conversion funnel shown on the horizontal axis
  • 2. Emotional to rational content engagement formats available, shown on the vertical axis

Here is our latest version:


The two dimensions used in this marketing matrix help you review how content can support the business to achieve its goals against how different formats appeal to different types of people.

As you read from left to right the matrix shows how different content assets can develop audience awareness and reach through the purchase process to nurturing and prompting purchase. This can be categorized as:

  • TOFU - Top of Funnel
  • MOFU - Middle of Funnel
  • BOFU - Bottom of Funnel

Our Free digital marketing plan template includes advice on different communications techniques you can use at each stage of the funnel.

Mapping content and customer journey

More visual, interactive content to support emotional buying triggers is shown at the top of the matrix with more static content at the bottom supporting rational decision-making, also recognized as:

  • Limbric brain - Your trust/'gut' feelings
  • Neocortex - Your rationalization and communication brain

For more detail, don't miss my blog on the Golden Circle model, ie the what, how, and why of consumer decision-making.

If you're looking to develop your approach content marketing, I strongly recommend doing so within a strategic marketing structure, such as the RACE Framework, which will help you tie together all your different assets, channels, and platforms.


Omnichannel brand strategy

Did you know - nearly half of companies don't have a clearly defined digital marketing strategy? These companies are missing opportunities for better integration and risk losing customers due to out-of-date processes. With Smart Insights, you can access ready-made tools and templates designed to help you drive performance using the latest digital marketing techniques across 6 pillars of marketing:

  1. Planning and governance
  2. Goals and measurement
  3. Media
  4. Content
  5. Experience
  6. Messaging

How to use this content marketing planning template

The recommended process we use for applying our content matrix to companies or brands is:

  • Step 1. Review how you assess the value of different types of content. Define how you will evaluate your content marketing ROI.
  • Step 2. Review the current use of content marketing within a company by plotting the different content formats you use now on the grid.
  • Step 3. Review competitor use of these content types through plotting on the grid based on the content assets they deploy on their website, social media, and email marketing
  • Step 4. Brainstorm future content types possible.
  • Step 5. Use your criteria from Step 1 to select new content types. When reviewing the potential of each content type, you should also think about its potential as evergreen content to attract inbound links and then organic visits to your site to help with SEO.

While you're at it, check out the 18 most important digital marketing techniques to make sure you're not missing any opportunities.

A more sophisticated content mapping approach will map content for each individual persona as shown in our persona template. We've also developed a Content Distribution Matrix which enables you to audit your use of digital media.

Content marketing framework example

As always, all our content marketing tools and templates are integrated across the RACE Framework, so you can confidently apply the most appropriate content techniques across all the key customer touchpoints in their decision-making journeys.

Race Planning Framework

Thousands of Smart Insights members around the world are applying the RACE Framework to their marketing campaigns, to monitor KPIs at each stage of the customer journey and use data to rapidly optimize their marketing funnel. If you haven't already, download our Free digital marketing plan template to structure your 90-day plan.

Credits - how we created our Content Marketing Matrix

We originally published this article in March 2012 when I worked with Dan Bosomworth who was our marketing director at the time. Dan, now at agency First 10,  had this graphic on a Post-It note in our office for months and we worked together and eventually published it!

We thought it was a natural follow-on from our RACE inbound marketing funnel infographic. Today, a search for 'content marketing matrix' on Google shows it's been shared many times and prompted quite a few mashups based on the original idea, which is great to see.  If you have found it useful, please spread the word by sharing it!

Author's avatar

By Dave Chaffey

Digital strategist Dr Dave Chaffey is co-founder and Content Director of online marketing training platform and publisher Smart Insights. 'Dr Dave' is known for his strategic, but practical, data-driven advice. He has trained and consulted with many business of all sizes in most sectors. These include large international B2B and B2C brands including 3M, BP, Barclaycard, Dell, Confused.com, HSBC, Mercedes-Benz, Microsoft, M&G Investment, Rentokil Initial, O2, Royal Canin (Mars Group) plus many smaller businesses. Dave is editor of the templates, guides and courses in our digital marketing resource library used by our Business members to plan, manage and optimize their marketing. Free members can access our free sample templates here. Dave is also keynote speaker, trainer and consultant who is author of 5 bestselling books on digital marketing including Digital Marketing Excellence and Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. In 2004 he was recognised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as one of 50 marketing ‘gurus’ worldwide who have helped shape the future of marketing. My personal site, DaveChaffey.com, lists my latest Digital marketing and E-commerce books and support materials including a digital marketing glossary. Please connect on LinkedIn to receive updates or ask me a question.

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