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Content strategy vs content marketing – are you sure you are using these words correctly?

These words are often used interchangeably. But you need to understand that there are major differences between content strategy and content marketing.

Let’s start with content marketing first.

What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is the process of creating, publishing, promoting and distributing your content. It supports organic marketing to a great extent. You can rely on your content marketing efforts to bring in qualified leads to your website.

Working with blogs, social media posts, email marketing content, landing page content, ebooks, whitepapers, etc are all part of content marketing.

You can place different types of content to support your customer’s journey in your sales funnel and ultimately drive profits for your business.

Typically the customer journey is divided across 5 phases:

  • Awareness: Your content will help your prospective buyer know that you can solve their problem(s).
  • Interest: Your content will help your prospective buyer find a solution for their specific problem.
  • Evaluation: Your content will help your prospective buyer to decide if your solution is the best solution for them.
  • Purchase: Your content will help your prospective buyer make the actual purchase, and convert the prospect into a customer.
  • Loyalty: Your content will nurture your relationship with your existing customer, making them return for more purchases.

So now you can understand how important your content can be to push the prospect along your sales funnel.

But the question is: how do you choose which content to place in which phase of the Customer’s Journey?

That’s where Content Strategy comes in.

What is Content Strategy?

Your Content Strategy defines your content marketing efforts.

With the right content strategy in place, you can support your overall marketing goals of your brand.

A content strategy helps you:

  • define who your audience
  • determine which content types to produce
  • set target goals for each piece of content
  • choose which key performance indicators (KPI) to track for each piece of content
  • delegate content marketing roles to different members of your team

So, your Content Strategy is the overall plan of your Content Marketing. You can only be successful if your content marketing is based on a good content strategy.

It will tell you which content pieces to place at every phase of your sales funnel. You will be able to craft your brand’s story, personality, voice and message with a good content strategy in place.

Let’s take Twitter as an example..

Most brands do not even consider their Twitter channel to have a unique content marketing, let alone a unique content strategy.

What I mean is to be successful on Twitter, you can’t post the exact content that you’re posting on Facebook or LinkedIn or anywhere else.

Also, you shouldn’t be posting content without doing the relevant research on which hashtags your brand should be publishing with each post, or even the best times to post every day. And all that jazz.

So your content Strategy for Twitter will be to find out what your audience wants to hear from you, what your competition is doing, plus the points I’ve listed above (and then some) and that’s what will direct your content Marketing to achieve your content Goals.

So how do you start setting up a content strategy for a brand?

To build a good content strategy, you have to:

  • define your brand’s vision, mission, voice, personality, and message.
  • figure out who your target audience is: those people who will not only consume your content but also move along your sales funnel.
  • audit your existing content to see what’s working, and what’s not.
  • spy on your competition to know what’s working for them, and what’s not.
  • organise all the above information into actionable items to outline the objectives of your content, as well as the delivery of it.

Tracking, measuring, and analysing your content marketing efforts will also help you tweak your content strategy from time to time. This tweaking is absolutely necessary to keep up with changing search engine algorithms, consumer behaviour, as well as any changes to your brand.

Content strategy vs Content marketing: what is the difference?

The difference between content strategy and content marketing is that content marketing needs a good content strategy to achieve your brand goals. So your content strategy guides your content marketing efforts.

You can create, publish, promote and distribute any quantity of content over time, but without a content strategy, you will simply be creating random pieces of content. All work with no visible (or expected) results.

That’s why content strategy and content marketing are often used interchangeably, because each complements the other.

Another difference I feel is that your content marketing efforts can be the sum total of all your efforts that goes into blogging, email marketing, landing pages, SEO, etc. But content strategy can be at a top level, that is, at a brand level. Plus content strategy can be for each digital asset your brand has.

Like, you can have a separate content strategy for blogs, another one for email marketing, and yet another one for each social media channel you are active on. And of course, each of these low-level content strategies are designed to collectively support the top-level content strategy.

Now, over to you..

It is now clear how content strategy and content marketing work. You can boost your organic marketing effectively with a strong content strategy and consistent content marketing efforts.

The quality of your content matters more than the quantity you are producing. So keep in mind to publish high-quality content that your prospect would love to consume.

And to do that, you have to start with a content strategy.

Let me know if I can help!

Read my other Content Writing posts.


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