The Difference Between a Content Strategy and a Content Marketing Strategy

October 8, 2018
October 8, 2018 Madeleine

Starting a business is not an easy task, especially if you have never started one before. There is a lot of business jargon that has the potential to cause some confusion. Content strategy and content marketing strategy are two phrases that confuse people. In fact, many long-time business owners also struggle with the ins-and-outs of the two.

You may think that content strategy and content marketing strategy is the same concept but with interchangeable wording- this is not the case. Simply put, a content strategy refers to your business plans in their entirety while a content marketing strategy refers to a specific aspect of your content strategy at one time. They have many differences and similarities.

What is a Content Strategy?

A content strategy by definition is “the planning, development, and management of content—written or in other media” according to Wikipedia. This essentially means that your content strategy is the blueprint for the content you will be using in every area of your business.

It will list why and how you are creating specific content pertaining to various areas of your business. It will also detail what your short and long-term goals are and what you will do to accomplish each step.

Forming a content strategy takes time and in-depth research. A great content strategy will outline the why’s, what’s, and how’s of your business plan for the content you will put out. A content strategy includes questions such as:

  • Why are we publishing this content and where will it be published?
  • When will we be publishing our content?
  • Who is our target audience?
  • How will we promote our published content?
  • Who will create our content?
  • What type of content will we produce?
  • How will we maintain our social media presence?
  • How will this business be unique?

Not everyone’s content strategy will look the same. Everything should be tailored to fit your specific company. Part of your content strategy includes discovering what your business’s values and core strengths are. Who do you want to help and why are you creating this business?

It’s also vital to learn who your target audience is. What do they need and want and why should they purchase it from you? Where and when is your audience obtaining most of their online content. Through this, you learn how to cater to your target audience and understand what platforms you should be posting on.

Lastly, you need to understand your competition. What values do they have and how do they communicate with their audience? All this information is needed in order to create a strong content strategy.

 What is a Content Marketing Strategy?

If a content strategy is like a blueprint, then the content marketing strategy is what you will do to implement each step of that blueprint. It is smaller strategies that make up the larger one.

The Content Marketing Institute defines a content marketing strategy as “…a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience- and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

Everything about a content marketing strategy has to do with the execution of how you will achieve the goals the content strategy maps out. It may be helpful to think of it as the action stage. This is also where you begin assigning employees tasks and seeing if any external businesses may need to be hired for a specific role.

A content marketing strategy involves sale techniques and organic marketing, and naturally attracting customers/traffic over time. This is where you begin to build relationships with your customers and learn who your top customers are. A content marketing strategy attracts traffic, and that can be done through:

  • Social media marketing
  • Blog posts
  • Whitepapers
  • SEO
  • eBooks
  • Landing page copy
  • Case studies
  • Public relations
  • Pay-per-click
  • Inbound marketing

A lot of content and marketing strategies involve trial-and-error, mostly due to the ever-changing market. A content marketing strategy also has many components that are best understood after viewing your analytics.

A content marketing strategy should also map out components such as:

  • Content planning and scheduling
  • Creating an inventory of information, existing content, and resources for producing content
  • Creating a buyer persona
  • Establishing the tone and voice of your business
  • Planning campaigns
  • Determining the right call-to-action

All of this is especially helpful after launching your business and discovering weak spots in your strategies, although it can be determined in the initial stages of the strategic planning as well. This will help you produce relevant content for your buyer at every step of the customer journey. The research doesn’t stop after creating your content strategy.

How do They Overlap?

Many people use content strategy and content marketing strategy interchangeably. This is largely due to the fact that they do have a few similarities. Both strategies involve determining your vision and goals for the business.

You never stop researching your audience because their habits and platforms change- meaning both strategies involve determining what your customers want and need frequently.

Knowing your audience, what channels are driving them to you, and their habits are crucial for your business.

Final Thoughts

A content strategy and content marketing strategy complement one another. A content marketing strategy can only be beneficial with a great content strategy. Without the content strategy, you are creating content that may not line up with your business goals.

A content marketing strategy makes it, so you still see what your overall business goals are without only thinking about the content-never losing sight of the direction you want your business to go in.

Once you find the right content and content marketing strategy that works for you, it is highly advised to change it each year. No, this doesn’t mean you need to scrap the whole thing.

The market is always changing and the methods that worked for you in a previous year may not prove beneficial for the next. Adjustments and changes should be made where they are necessary to ensure your strategy is fresh and can handle the current market.

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