“Are We There Yet?” – Developing a Content Marketing Maturity Model

“It’s just around the corner.” – When I was a youngster travelling the highways and byways of the British road system in the back of my parents’ car that was my father’s stock answer to the toddler’s favorite lament of “Are we there yet?” – The thing was he never specified exactly which corner he was talking about. It kept me quiet for a while until I realized that we had been around several more corners since I last asked and we still hadn’t arrived at our destination. It didn’t take me long to learn that as much as I loved travelling as a kid, and still do, that not having context for where we were on those journeys drove me crazy. I still eschew the inflight movie choices on the seat back screens when flying long distances in favor of the moving map display. I like to know where I am.

The same could be said of developing a Content Marketing Strategy, I like to know where I am on the journey.

The obvious answer for knowing where you are is to have a map; something that helps you connect the start and end points.

When you are working on the tactical implementations of content creation, management, and distribution those maps are your editorial calendars, and project plans – But what about at a higher level? How do you know where you are in the development and execution of your overall strategy? Do you have something that will guide you and your team to stay on the right path?

The best answer is to measure yourself against your goals and the steps it takes to get there. Just how mature is your current process when measured against your overall vision? For this you need to develop a maturity model.

The best way to start is to seek out some existing maturity models and see if they align with your journey. A quick Google search brings back over a million hits on the term “content marketing maturity model,” that’s a lot to choose from.

One of my personal models is the one developed by Robert Rose of the Content Marketing Institute and referenced in Joe Pulizzi’s excellent book “Epic Content Marketing.” It’s an excellent starting point, but I found it missing something when aligning it to business goals.

On the other hand the model developed by Top Rank OnLine Marketing , which I also like, is maybe a bit too linear and business focused to the detriment of the broader vision.

So in the best traditions of hip-hop artists everywhere (of which I am most certainly not one), I created a mash-up of the two models; making a few changes here and there, putting a slightly different spin on some items.

Below is my version of a Content Marketing Maturity Model that I believe covers most needs and will help you map out your content marketing journey.

Content Marketing Maturity Model

In the next post I’ll dig deeper into how you decide where you are on that journey, and figure out where to place the “You Are Here” pin on the model.