This Content Strategy Canvas Is What You've Been Missing

This Content Strategy Canvas Is What You've Been Missing

In my work with early stage startups, I've seen some of the ways that they approach their content strategies. Sometimes there's structure, but usually it's all over the place.

It's not their fault, though.

I haven't really seen any visual diagrams that would help startup founders and marketing teams build this out. Nothing too fancy, but at least some kind of easy to use, systematic approach that brings it all together. 

Sure, there's a lot of logical information out there already, for example:

  • you should have a unique POV
  • you should start with your pillar content
  • you should distribute snippets of your pillar content across your marketing channels

Nobody disagrees with that. And while I think that's helpful info, it's not helpful visually. When I work with my clients, I like to use visuals for different frameworks and approaches.

Before you fill out your Content Strategy Canvas, it's important to start with your Marketing Foundation. This is something I always work on with my clients as part of the MaaS Method.

Marketing Foundation

Your Marketing Foundation could be documented in slides format (that's what I do) and should include:

  1. The Problem: what's the big problem your target buyer has right now that ties into what you're building?
  2. Why Do We Exist: what are we even doing here and why does it matter. Some call this Mission/Vision.
  3. Who Are We For: who specifically is loving what you're building for them?
  4. What Is The Tool: describe it but don't take too long, what words matter?
  5. Top Unique Benefits: what's the differentiated value for the buyer?
  6. Top Unique Features: what are the features of the product that matter?
  7. Positioning: For [target buyer] who [problem they want to solve], [our company] is [what] that [top 3 benefits for the customer].
  8. Business Objectives: There are 4 ways to grow. New market segments, more market share in current market segment, increase conversion rates, or increase revenue per customer (CLV).
  9. GTM Strategy: the ways in which, not just marketing, but the entire GTM team will create awareness, nurture relationships, close deals and create world class experiences for customers to spread WOM.
  10. Content Strategy: now we're ready.


I like this canvas because it really does simplify all the things you should be thinking about when it comes to your content strategy. Let's start from the top.

  1. Original Thinking: what's your unique POV? This sits at the very top along with Original Research because they are most important.
  2. Original Research: this could be your podcast, reports you put together by yourself or collaborating with others, any experiments and learnings, any IP you might have based on the product you're building.
  3. Questions from customers and prospects: a lot of times this comes from your sales team and also might include ideas from customers and prospects.
  4. Buyer goals and motivations: buyers have plenty of goals and motivations that go beyond getting educated on a topic. For example they want to be inspired, they're looking for recommendations, or they need help with execution (how to get something done).
  5. Marketing channels: there are so many marketing channels, but what are the 1-2 that we should prioritize?
  6. Content formats: what are the best ways to showcase the content across those prioritized channels? (e.g. carousel, GIF, video, audio, image, infographic, etc.)

There you have it

Now you have a Content Strategy Canvas that you can start using today to tighten up your content strategy and make sure it's tied to your business objectives. Content and Marketing shouldn't sit in a silo, otherwise the efforts will be useless. First, work on your Marketing Foundation, and then the Content Strategy will be way easier. Promise. 

As always, reach out with any questions! I'm around.

Big thank you to John Bonini and Erin Balsa for some of the ideas included in this article.

Marketing, simplified.

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