Outlining the difference between content strategy and content marketing

Outlining the difference between content strategy and content marketing

Friday September 08, 2017,

5 min Read

When one is an active and avid pursuer of lucid communication, his/her attitude is positive, representing a life devoid of confusion and disorder. One such clarity of thought young entrepreneurs badly need today is to know the subtle-yet-strong difference between content marketing and content strategy. The two terms are often used interchangeably without in-depth knowledge of their meanings, and hence their roles and applications. It is imperative, therefore, to first understand what they mean and how they differ.

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

What sets them apart from each other?

To begin with, let’s see what the experts have to say about their respective meanings. According to Kristina Halvorson, CEO and Founder | Brain Traffic, “Content strategy plans for the creation, publication, and governance of useful, usable content...The content strategist must work to define not only which content will be published, but why we're publishing it in the first place. Otherwise, content strategy isn't strategy at all – it's just a glorified production line for content nobody really needs or wants.”

Joe Pulizzi, Founder | Content Marketing Institute, sheds light on the subject of content marketing. He says, “Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”

Simply put, the difference between content strategy and content marketing lies in ‘the why’ and ‘the where’ respectively. A content strategist’s most important job is to know ‘why’ a certain type of content should be created, ‘why’ does it work for the brand, and ‘why’ will the audience find it relatable or share-worthy. A content strategist must, therefore, work closely with the content development team (ideally from scratch) in order to escort their creativity in the desired direction.

On the other hand, a content marketer’s role is to take forward the insight generated by the content strategist. Once the strategy is in place, it’s up to the concerned marketer to know ‘where’ to find the people for whom the content has been created.

In short, if the content strategist is the baker, the content marketer is someone who knows everyone with a sweet tooth in the neighbourhood.

Why do both matter?

Now that we have understood the fundamental difference between the two, let’s try and understand why each matters and how.

Everything starts with asking the right questions. Content strategy and content marketing are no different. In order to find the right answers, therefore, you must first seek the right questions. According to an article on the distinguished online portal on marketing content, Search Engine Journal, here are four questions every content strategist must ask himself/herself:

  • Why should the content be published?
  • Who do we want to see it?
  • What reaction are we hoping to receive from the content?
  • What in the world do we do with the content after we’ve published it?

All poignant and relevant questions indeed, and once you have them all answered, rest assured your content will fall in line with your strategy. Coming to content marketing, here are the questions that you must ask:

  • Where are we going to publish this content?
  • What is the best time to make this content available?
  • What is the general mood of the public?

If you think these questions are too obvious to be given any serious thought, you will find yourself back to the drawing board sooner than later. We tend to ignore some of the most basic and rudimentary considerations of life and business. In trying to obsessively think out of the box, we choose to ignore questions that can bring the whole box down. Remember, sometimes, the most basic questions have hidden within them the most liberating answers. Asking them is your primary responsibility, whether you are a strategist or a marketer of content.

What can keep you from doing the right thing?

Knowing the path is one thing, walking it is another. Knowledge becomes power only when it’s put into action. However, if you take too long to put into effect that which you have considered and learned, you’ll lose out on opportunities that matter.

According to Greg Secrist, Co-founder | BKA Content, laziness is the ultimate deal breaker when it comes to lasting success. He says, “Sadly, due to how much time creating a good content strategy can take, too many people completely skip it and focus solely on content marketing (the fun stuff). While focusing on content marketing can bring you some isolated success, it will likely fall short of the overall impact you could’ve made had you assessed how your content was going to be used and implemented on every level of your business. In essence, you are relying on your creative side without taking into account your strategic side.”

Your decisions, based on knowledge, experience, patience, and will, will indeed make all the difference in whether your content fades into the murky waters of oblivion or stands the test of time that you prepared it for.

Ultimately, content strategy and content marketing must run parallel to each other in any business venture in order to ensure that time, energy, and resources are utilised to the optimum without generating and accumulating any form of incompetence or sense of waste.

Read Also: Why content will always matter