What You Need To Know: Content Marketing and Content Marketing Strategy

Often at the center of much confusion is the interchanging use of the terms ‘content marketing’ and ‘content marketing strategy.’ In fact, for most people, the difference actually has little relevance.

However, for those who are in charge of deciding the direction of their online marketing efforts and those who work in the industry of providing suitable content materials, it is somewhat essential to know the differences.

That is not to mention, with the wealth of conflicting information available online, it’s hard to know just what to believe when you CAN find a clear answer.

Here’s what you need to know about content marketing and content marketing strategy.

The Definitions

After sifting through countless definitions, which all had their own take on the terms, here are the most relevant explanations for practitioners.

For content marketer Amanda Maksymiw, the definition of “Content Marketing” is as follows:

“Content marketing is the process of developing and sharing relevant, valuable, and engaging content to target audience with the goal of acquiring new customers or increasing business from existing customers.”

On the other hand, a “Content Marketing Strategy” is a bit different.

“A content marketing strategy can leverage all story channels (print, online, in-person, mobile, social, etc.), be employed at any and all stages of the buying process, from attention-oriented strategies to retention and loyalty strategies, and include multiple buying groups.” – The Content Marketing Institute

To further explain the subtle differences here, author of the book The Elements of Content Strategy, Erin Kissane has a wonderful analogy.

“Content strategy is to copywriting as information architecture is to design.”

Or as the Content Marketing Institute’s Ahava Liebtag’s understanding of the definitions infer – Content marketing is about building relationships, while content marketing strategy is more about repeatable frameworks.

What is Content Marketing?

 

Now that you can clearly define content marketing, let’s delve a bit deeper so we can better see how it affects marketers and content providers.

This is probably the part that most of us are familiar with, the common elements of content marketing – blogs, social media, visual content, eBooks, webinars and so forth. In fact, a content marketing team can easily consist of multiple people performing specific jobs.

For example:

  • A Blogger Who is Responsible for
    • Writing appropriate blog posts
    • Providing feedback for contributors
    • Editing other writers
    • Optimizing content for SEO
    • Analyzing blog performance
    • Increasing subscribers and reach
  • A Social Media Manager Who is Responsible for
    • Building and managing social media profiles
    • Creating appropriate, share-worthy content
    • Listening and engaging with industry-appropriate customers and leaders
    • Running and tracking promotional campaigns
    • Driving traffic

In essence, content marketing is much more closely related to building meaningful relationships with consumers and industry leaders through the use of various content forms.

What is a Content Marketing Strategy?

A content marketing strategy, or content strategy, is not restrained to online content alone. Content strategy is the development, use and governance of usable content across an entire organization.

A content strategy is basically more focused on designing the end-users’ entire experience, the informational architecture available to them and the content’s utility.

The biggest benefit of having a content strategy is organizing the use of content throughout the entire organization to determine who is in charge of what content forms, how do they all fit together, what is the purpose of various content forms, and overall strategy for content.

To see what other experts have to say on the subject of content marketing vs. content strategy, click here.

As startups, small business owners and content providers it is important that we familiarize ourselves with every aspect of the content marketing industry and how it applies to us. Knowing these subtle differences can help us in both directing our marketing efforts and providing the appropriate content for the job.

For more information, head on over to the Crowd Content resources for content marketing.

Lola Decker

Article by

Lola Decker first discovered her love of written language as a young child. Throughout the years her thirst for knowledge has led her to obtain an Associates degree in Early Childhood Development and Education, and her current pursuits of becoming a content marketing expert.

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hemuller
Guest
hemuller

Great article as always and the information adds value. There is a lot of confusion out there and marketers often use the incorrect terminology. In general freelance writers focus on content marketing while marketing specialist focus on content marketing strategies.

auntieemily
Guest
auntieemily

I agree that there is confusion out there and it’s good to know the correct terms.

tomysole
Guest
tomysole

Yes, the article definitely clears up the terms, but I found the title to be a tad misleading because it didn’t focus on how to go about marketing content or having a content marketing strategy. It was just basic definitions.

tomysole
Guest
tomysole

The title should read “The definition of Content Marketing and Content Marketing Strategy” . I read the article thinking I was going to learn about how to go about marketing content or how to build a proper content marketing strategy. Neither was present, but more of a definition of what the terms actually mean. I suppose that has value too, but I could have just looked that up and found the answer on google within a few seconds.

auntieemily
Guest
auntieemily

I agree. It seems the articles on here are mis-titled quite often.

Rob Toccs
Guest
Rob Toccs

Indeed. Not quite click bait, but sometimes bordering on it.

auntieemily
Guest
auntieemily

It’s one of the most frustrating things on here.

Rob Toccs
Guest
Rob Toccs

Sure, you could search it in a few seconds — but precisely how many seconds? Google won’t tell you.

Here, you know the article will take exactly 240 seconds (4 minutes) to read ;-).

auntieemily
Guest
auntieemily

That’s true. As long as you read at the “right” speed. 😉

Rob Toccs
Guest
Rob Toccs

I would be curious to know how that speed is calculated, and if it comes from print or online reading.

auntieemily
Guest
auntieemily

I agree. I’ve actually seen children’s storybooks that tell how many seconds it takes to read the stories. Makes me wonder if they account for the interruptions that you are know are going to happen… 😉

tomysole
Guest
tomysole

Do they calculate that time to read with a built-in software that counts the words? Kind of a strange thing.

auntieemily
Guest
auntieemily

Strange, agreed.

auntieemily
Guest
auntieemily

It’s good to get a clear understanding of the terms that you share in this article. Thank you for sharing.

Rob Toccs
Guest
Rob Toccs

So true. “The biggest benefit of having a content strategy is organizing the use of content throughout the entire organization…”

It’s so much easier to work with clients who have plans, rather than ones where editors and customers have different opinions — and time tables.

Georgia Potts
Guest
Georgia Potts

Yes! Having a plan in place is important before you hire a writer. It’s beyond frustrating when you hear from multiple people in the organization who want different things from their content and marketing.

Georgia Potts
Guest
Georgia Potts

Starting content marketing without a strategy is a waste of time. A lot of clients know they want content, and they know they want marketing, but they don’t understand that you need a strategy and specific goals before you get started.

tomysole
Guest
tomysole

I agree it is important to have a strategy when marketing content, although sometimes we spend to much time planning and less time actually “doing”. It’s like having a meeting to plan a meeting, that will talk about the meeting.

Georgia Potts
Guest
Georgia Potts

I think the meeting is more like the marketing planning and then the actual marketing is like the action after the meeting.

melissann
Guest
melissann

I prefer simply writing, and providing finished work for clients rather than come up with a strategy. Tell me what you want, I’ll write it. I don’t want to have to do all that planning.

Anthony English
Guest
Anthony English

Thank you for sharing and highlighting the differences between the two. It is useful to know that Content Marketing Strategy require careful planning and making use of different platform to shout out what you want others to know.

Earl Dotson
Guest
Earl Dotson

Thanks for this very important post, Lola. Using different business terms interchangeably might OK when you’re off the clock, but on the job it’s a recipe for disaster. No doubt you spent hours researching this, and your efforts are much appreciated.

melissann
Guest
melissann

Excellent advice. I love being a content creator, as it appears to be one of the few freelance jobs that pays well when you have the skills. It’s a job that’s pretty hard to send to other countries, making writing a decent career for many of us.

Earl Dotson
Guest
Earl Dotson

I hadn’t thought about writing jobs being unlikely to be outsourced, but that’s an excellent point. Now I love writing even more.

Tay H
Guest
Tay H

I think the fact that the terms are often used interchangeably can make it difficult for a business to establish what they are looking for when considering content writers and the operations they expect. Thank you for pointing this out.

Bethany A.
Guest
Bethany A.

This is a great read! Always good to learn more about something like this.

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