Every successful marketing team knows the value and influence of quality content. Most successful marketing campaigns have dexterous content at their core, although crafting a well-planned content strategy can be more difficult than it looks. Understanding why certain content is underperforming can often feel like a guessing game. The good news is that there is a way to know where you went wrong. Oftentimes content underperforms when it is used outside of its designated scope of purpose. This is where the content marketing matrix comes in. This strategy was originally designed by SmartInsights (1) to help marketers have a better understanding of the objective of content as well as what format it should take. Read below to learn more about how to utilise the content marketing matrix to strengthen your digital marketing strategy.


  1. What is The Content Marketing Matrix?
  • How do I Use The Content Marketing Matrix?
  • The Content Marketing Matrix In Detail
    • Entertain
    • Inspire
    • Educate
    • Convince
  • Conclusion
  • Resources

What is The Content Marketing Matrix?

The content marketing matrix was originally designed by SmartInsights as a way to help content marketers decide who their target audience is and which content they should create for which platforms. It is a useful cheatsheet that marketing teams can consult when they are planning out a digital marketing strategy. This content mapping tool is a framework for everything from social media posts and videos, to articles and photos. It was created to help businesses think creatively when planning their future content.

The objective of the content marketing matrix is to pair content with the most suitable platform and format. It can help you to audit your pre-existing content as well as plan for upcoming content creation. With the appropriate amount of organisation and creative thinking, content can be your number one strategy for generating leads. It encourages sharing on social media and creates backlinks on your website. Nurturing the content on your website by using the correct format and reaching the desired target audience can be a game changer for your online business.

How do I Use The Content Marketing Matrix?

Start by considering whether your product, service, or subscription is an emotional or rational driven purchase. This is an important categorisation as it will determine how your content will work within the marketing matrix. Next you must consider what outcome you would like from the content you are producing. Are you promoting a new product, or influencing consumers to buy a product? Are you looking to spread informative content? Are your target audiences experts or novices in your industry? The type of content you produce will be based on which section of the matrix you think the answers to these questions fit. Let’s examine the matrix in more detail so you can get the most out of this content marketing tool.

The Content Marketing Matrix in Detail

The content marketing matrix exists on axes on a graph running horizontally and vertically from the centre. The vertical axis goes from emotional to rational and the horizontal axis goes from understanding to positive action. The horizontal axis depicts the customer’s journey from finding out about a service or product, all the way to buying it. The content you create should align with where the audience is on the buyer’s path, which corresponds with the horizontal and vertical axes. You must choose content formats that influence potential customers through the different stages until they become sales-ready. The matrix illustrates where your content will perform the best, making it an indispensable tool.

Each section of the graph represents the purpose of the content created: Entertain, Inspire, Educate, and Convince. These sections illustrate what your content is trying to achieve for the reader, i.e. entertain them, etc. The axes work in tandem with content format and intention leading audiences from explanation and emotion, to purchasing and rational decision making. Below we will examine each of the quadrant topics to better understand how to create content that aligns with these intentions.

  • Entertain

Entertaining content is created with the intention of engaging readers and creating interest. When customers begin their buyer’s journey they are not shopping for a heavy sales pitch. Engaging the reader’s emotional side will keep their attention longer than a detailed product description. By entertaining audiences with your content they will spend more time on your site, which will hopefully encourage repeat visits. Competitions, quizzes, games, and articles are helpful content formats for this. By appealing to the audience’s emotional side, you will generate awareness about your content.

  • Educate

Educating your customers helps to build trust with potential buyers. Sharing the knowledge you have about your industry is a useful way to demonstrate your authority in your field. If there is a lot of data driven information, make sure that it is easy to follow, otherwise you may lose potential customers at this stage. Sharing relevant and informative content that will empower your audiences to make informed decisions will help to build trust with your customers. Customers are looking for personal growth at this stage of the buyer’s journey so you shouldn’t sell your brand too aggressively. Helpful content formats for this are articles, infographics, trend reports, and white papers. This is the first step away from the emotional connection – created by your entertaining content – towards rational thinking.

  • Inspire

The intention of inspiring content is to make the reader feel something. It should tug on the proverbial heart strings of potential customers. Helpful formats include videos or articles as well as social media posts about your team or ethos. This strategy works best when it is employed later on in the buyer’s journey, when you have already built a level of trust with your potential buyers. The content should be relatable and appeal to a customer’s personal or moral interests. A helpful way to inspiring customers is through positive reviews of your brand on forums, or on your website, as well as personal statements from other people who have used your service or product. Events and endorsements are also a good way to inspire audiences and to encourage engagement with your business. Attaching your brand to an inspiring person helps to elevate the perception of your business.

  • Convince

If a potential customer has reached this part of the buyer’s journey then it is time for you to close the deal. In order to make a lead sales-ready, your content must be convincing and persuasive. It is vital that you know what your audience wants so that you can create content that is accessible and authoritative. It should reiterate things that they already know about your brand, and guide them towards a positive buying decision. This section of the content market matrix is about persuasion. Helpful content formats for this are checklists, product features, white papers, case studies, and pricing guides. They should prove that your product or service works well. This is the last moment before a customer makes a purchase so make it count.

You may have noticed that some of the content formats overlap from quadrant to quadrant. Some content formats can useful at all stages of a buyer’s journey. When you have to decide between formats that serve multiple functions you should appeal to the persona of your buyer. Articles can be both entertaining and informative for example. If they are experts in their field you may want to choose a fact-driven tone rather than an emotional piece. The success of the content will depend on whether it is performing the intended function for the target audience. What works for one consumer may not work for the next; it is vital you know and understand the needs of your target audience. By keeping the intention of your content in mind when creating a digital content marketing strategy, your content is more likely to succeed.


The content marketing matrix is a tried and tested framework. It is a reliable tool that will streamline your content marketing strategy. Excellent marketing is driven by excellent content. In order to create excellent content you need direction and intention. The matrix provides that direction by highlighting where your content is succeeding and failing. The matrix is designed to help you achieve your specific content marketing goals. Entertain, educate, inspire, and convince your audience towards engagement in a direct and purposeful way.

Content marketing is an excellent asset for any business trying to implement a prosperous digital marketing strategy. Although it can be difficult to plan and achieve the desired results, it is worth the investment. The next time your business is struggling to plan content marketing, make use of the content marketing matrix. Isolate a specific consumer demographic to get started and map the buyer’s journey through the matrix. By knowing how to reassure your audience and influence their buying potential, you will secure more leads and reap the benefits of content-lead strategies.

Resources 1. www.smartinsights.com/content-management/content-marketing-strategy/the-content-marketing-matrix-new-infographic/