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The 3 Stages of the Content Marketing Lifecycle: What to Expect as Your Website Grows

A lifecycle of a butterfly
Master Content Strategy book covers

In my third book — Master Content Strategy: How to Maximize Your Reach and Boost Your Bottom Line Every Time You Hit Publish you’ll discover an overarching theme: the content marketing lifecycle.

Master Content Strategy is a companion to my first book, Master Content Marketing, which is about how to get your content created.

Master Content Strategy shows you how to create a sustainable, long-term content strategy that helps you achieve your larger business goals.

Today we’ll explore one of the core concepts of Master Content Strategy: the content marketing lifecycle.

It begins with an unexpected story.

Imagine standing at the brink of an exhilarating (and confusing) time of your life — the imminent birth of your first child.

When I was on the threshold of motherhood, my saving grace was the book What to Expect When You’re Expecting.

It helped me navigate the strange things my body was doing. The women in my life didn’t live close enough to confide in, so the book was an invaluable resource.

Understanding that my new — and rapidly evolving— reality was normal helped me move forward with a lot more confidence.

Later I realized that same approach can be applied to business.

The lessons learned from What to Expect… resonates through the core of Master Content Strategy.

It acknowledges that every business is a unique entity, with unique needs.

A one-size-fits-all approach to content strategy isn’t the answer for any business.

Think of your content strategy as an evolving, living thing.

Today we’re going to talk about the changes your website undergoes as it moves through its own content marketing lifecycle, starting from day one.

Understanding the lifecycle approach to content strategy

The need to adapt content strategy came about during the time I turned my attention from my own website (this one!) to spearheading the content division at Copyblogger.

It was 2015, and I was entrusted with the mammoth task of managing the mature, decade-old Copyblogger blog — a stark contrast to the strategy I applied to my much smaller, five-year-old website.

What I learned from that experience will help you understand how to adapt a content strategy to align with your own website’s age, and the stages of its lifecycle.

The content marketing lifecycle: A brief overview

Before we get into the specifics of your website’s growth, let’s take a moment to understand the broader concept of the content marketing lifecycle.

The lifecycle is a carefully planned mix of strategies. The goal is to encourage your audience to become — and remain — your customers. There are strategies for each touchpoint of the customer journey, from attraction through to cultivating brand advocacy.

  • In the attraction (or awareness) phase, the focus is on creating awareness and generating leads through quality content.
  • The nurturing phase uses engaging, personalized content to develop relationships and guide prospects down the sales funnel.
  • The retention phase begins once customers have made purchases. Creating quality content that adds value keeps satisfied buyers coming back for more.
  • Finally, the advocacy phase comes from consistently delivering exceptional customer experiences. Do it right, and you can transform buyers into brand ambassadors.

The content you publish on your website is a crucial component in each phase of the customer journey and your content marketing lifecycle.

A content lifecycle strategy is pivotal in ensuring you’re connecting with your audience at the right time with the right content, enhancing their experience with your brand.

A quick review of your content marketing lifecycle and how it evolves during each stage of your website growth.

Related: The Complete Guide to Lifecycle Marketing

The 3 stages of your website content marketing lifecycle

Your business will always be in a state of evolution. That means your content marketing strategy isn’t static — it’s a dynamic entity, adapting as your needs change.

A thorough understanding of your website’s marketing lifecycle can pave the way to better strategy by aligning your content marketing with your business objectives.

Master Content Strategy will help you anticipate and plan for each stage of your website’s growth. You’ll have a clear idea of what to aim for so you can build toward the right goals with every piece of content you create.

Now let’s take a look at how that applies to your website’s content marketing lifecycle.

3 stages content marketing lifestyle

Stage 1: Your new website (launch through year 1)

As your website takes its first steps, it’s crucial to create helpful content that establishes your authority.

Aim for:

  • Weekly content additions, so by the end of the first year, you’ll be an experienced content creator and your website will contain content you’ll link to — and from — for years to come.
  • Clear, consistent categories, so people arriving on your website understand who you serve and what you’re offering.
  • Quality content. As you move forward, you’ll refine your unique voice with every post.

Stage 2: Your growing website (years 2 through 5)

Your website is still relatively new, but you will have established an audience. You can interact with them and create content that meets their real-life needs.

Aim for:

  • Bi-weekly content that provides useful, engaging information.
  • Deep-dives into specific topics that resonate with your prospective customers.
  • Content that expands your message to other media and platforms. (If you haven’t begun to repurpose your content, now’s the time to begin.)

Stage 3: Your mature site (year 6 and beyond)

As your site matures, you may have a robust collection of 300+ pieces of content. It’s now time to switch gears, transitioning from a content creator to a content curator.

You may continue to publish every other week — but there’s more to be done.

Aim to:

  • Update existing content regularly, ensuring its continued relevance and positive impact on your business.
  • Identify your most popular content, creating a web of links from and to new pieces.
  • Master the art of multimedia content and expand your brand’s presence across various platforms.

The content marketing lifecycle might seem daunting, but remember, it’s a journey you navigate one stage at a time.

Your website is a critical component in this lifecycle. Each phase of the customer journey: attraction, nurturing, retention, and advocacy comes into play as you create consistent, quality content for your customers.

As your business matures, so does your content strategy. You can adapt this approach to create an invaluable roadmap to help you reach your broader business goals.

Pamela Wilson

Pamela Wilson is the Chief Marketing Officer at DCS. She’s the creator of the Offer Accelerator Program. Learn more about Pamela’s content marketing books, and read reviews of the tools used to run this site.
Pamela Wilson coaches people in midlife to build profitable online businesses
I’m Pamela Wilson

In 2010, at the age of 45, I started this site and grew it into a business that offers freedom, flexibility — and consistent revenue.


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