Many company’s blogs, video channels, and content-driven projects fizzle out after just half a dozen posts. This is the result of employing a strategy that does not align with a project’s scope. By applying the three stage content marketing lifecycle, marketers can avoid poorly realized strategies and design a practical framework that is flexible to an organization’s needs.

What is a content marketing lifecycle?

In biology, a lifecycle is defined as, “a series of changes in form that an organism undergoes before returning to the starting state.” For content marketing, it is no different. Ideas become pieces of content that cause consumer engagement and ultimately future ideas.

As compared to a linear strategy – with a designated beginning, middle, and end – the lifecycle assumes content marketing is an ongoing concern. This is appropriate because evergreen content and repurposed posts are highly accessed pages for websites today. By creating and forgetting content with a linear strategy, marketers are missing opportunities that the content marketing lifecycle embraces.

How to use the three stage content marketing lifecycle?

Three Stage Content Marketing Lifecycle

This is a framework that can be easily integrated into any marketing strategy. It segments tasks into the following stages: Goal Setting, Content Creation, and Analysis. Within each of these stages, marketers can list all related actions. Let’s take a deeper dive.

1. Goal Setting

This is the entry point for all content marketing lifecycles. It begins with an idea, includes planning, and ends once content development begins. If recycling content, ideas and planning will consider insights and considerations collected from previous campaigns. Common priorities during this stage may include:

  • Defining intended outcomes
  • Identifying target audiences and personas
  • Conducting research and gathering insights
  • Developing KPI’s
  • Planning content calendar timeline

2. Content Creation

That’s right – this is the stage where marketers make, write, and design stuff. All content creation and curation lands here. This stage ends when content is distributed across any channel. Common priorities during this stage may include:

  • Developing content
  • Reviewing content
  • Configuring mailing lists or social media output
  • Marketing automation

3. Analysis

This stage begins when content is distributed, and it ends once new ideas for repurposing the content develop. As so, this includes all analysis, but it also includes any business development and engagement derived from the content. During this stage, marketers must decide whether to repurpose content or simply to leave as is while prioritizing other initiatives. Common priorities during this stage may include:

  • Distribution across all channels
  • Engagement and lead generation
  • Analysis of performance metrics
  • Cross-promotion with other posts

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Why the three stage content marketing lifecycle works


Many popular content marketing lifecycles lack practical application, because they are either too specific or too vague. This causes strategies to inorganically try to mold to an incompatible template. This can lead to inefficiency and disorganization for a team.

By fitting actions into just three universal stages, the process is defined and simplified. Furthermore, this allows projects to scale slowly instead of diving headfirst into the deep end.

Efficient Time Management

Three Stage Content Marketing Lifecycle - Content Focused

Content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. With only a finite amount of time to meet deadlines, marketers must pace themselves properly. As so, the content marketing lifecycle allows marketers to adjust the time allocated to each project to best address project needs and challenges.

For example, if a team anticipates a heavy content revision process, it may be wise to allocate more time to the content creation stage (as noted above). As we will dig into deeper in the next section, the size of each stage can be highly tailored to the scope of the project.


Three Stage Content Marketing Lifecycle - Nested

There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all strategy. An individual creator’s needs are different than those of a Fortune 500 corporation. However, after reviewing countless strategic models – goal setting, content creation, and analysis are universal stages that all organizations must undergo. To fine tune a strategy, marketers can nest actions within each stage.

In the example above, I demonstrate a highly customized real-world approach. In the outer ring, each stage is segmented into several sub-stages with an allocated time limit (let’s assume hours). While the strategy is high level at its core, this customization shows that strategies can be highly adapted and robust, without becoming too confusing.

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