Content Marketing vs Content Strategy: Clearing Blurred Lines

The art of storytelling has an everlasting presence throughout history. Even as the world quickly and with little to no warning evolves on a digital platform, one thing that rings true is the importance of storytelling. Whether through song, a TV show or book an engaging piece is what distinguishes good content from bad.

In the world of marketing there are many ways content is produced and distributed, depending on the specific goal. To ensure it is produced and properly distributed we rely on content strategy and content marketing. These terms are commonly used interchangeably and although they may overlap, making a clear distinction between the two may very well be the difference between a successful marketing campaign and a failed one.

Content Strategy

Content strategy can be referred to as the backbone or base to marketing content.  This is where all the planning and creation comes into effect separating good, well-written content from useless blabber. This may be a bit of a broad distinction because a lot of different variables come into play when reaching your ‘good content’.

Content strategists usually specialize in a multitude of areas which include:

  • Content analysis
  • Editorial strategy
  • Web writing
  • Metadata strategy
  • Search engine optimization
  • Content management strategy

In short, content strategy is there from inception to retirement and every step in between – it is what makes content marketing operative.

“The main goal of content strategy is to use words and data to create unambiguous content that supports meaningful, interactive experiences. We have to be experts in all aspects of communication in order to do this effectively” (Content Strategy: the Philosophy of Data, Rachel Lovinger).”

Content Marketing

Content marketing is step two in the grand scheme of things – focusing on the output of content and most importantly the audience and customer needs. Content marketers choose the channels where the information will be distributed bringing the strategy into the limelight.

This is heavily focused around building lasting relationships (i.e. sharing values and understanding the audience’s needs), and creating profit potential not just for short-term goals but for future campaigns.

Specific areas content marketers are involved in usually include:

  • Social media marketing
  • Search engine optimization
  • Public relations
  • Pay-Per-Click
  • Inbound marketing
  • Content marketing strategy

“I can tell you that all great, spontaneous, and effortless-looking content marketing strategies are formed and scaled with a smart content strategy at their core” (Robert Rose, How Content Strategy and Content Marketing Are Separate But Connected)

Successful Content Marketing Depends on Content Strategy

While content strategy can lead a life of its own, content marketing ceases to exist alone. Clearly identifying each role and differentiating between the two makes a huge impact if you want to complete tasks in a timely manner with the highest of quality – otherwise, scrambling for content never bodes well for the company or client.

Engaging your audience with quality and well researched information aids in the development of your audiences shared identity with your brand. The idea that the focus on promoting product is now secondary to understanding customer behaviour or relation is catching on – so invest the time, budget and the necessary talent in reeling in the catch, and holding onto it for the long run.

What’s your take? Share your comments below!

This article was originally written by Angelika Joachimowicz.