How Is Content Marketing Different From Content Strategy?

In a world where people are paying to escape ads, content marketing allows you to connect with prospects organically. Content Marketing is all about storytelling and the one who does it better will catch the attention. It is a long-term strategy that focuses on building a strong relationship with your target audience by giving them high-quality content that is very relevant to them on a consistent basis. 

According to the content marketing institute, “Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience.”

Content marketing is simply the creation, publishing, and distribution of catchy content. If you are already familiar with it, then you might have begun creating content and posting it regularly. Soon, people will start engaging with you. But content marketing alone isn’t good enough to build a powerful brand and get an easy ROI. You need a content strategy for it. If content marketing is the journey towards the brand success, then content strategy is the blueprint that directs it.

Content marketing can also come in many different forms apart from blogging. For example:

·         Podcasts

·         Video content

·         Animation and infographics

·         White papers

·         Social media

·         Design and illustration

And this content is optimised for each stage of the buyer’s journey.

Content strategy is the piece of your marketing plan that continuously demonstrates who you are and the expertise you bring to your industry. Who's the target audience for this content? For how many audiences are you creating content? What content formats you will use? Where your content will be published? All of this is a part of the content strategy.


How Does Content Strategy Work? 

1.      Content strategy helps you find the answer to ‘Why’ you’re publishing content.

Every piece of content you publish should be focused on a goal. And content strategy determines exactly what your goal is. For instance, you write a lead magnet to grow the size of your email list. You compose emails to gain clicks to your website. You write blog posts to establish authority in your industry. All these pieces of content are created at the right time, set before the right audience, and then measured for success.

2.      Content Strategy helps you determine the audience for your content marketing solutions.

Here are a few tips for implementing your content strategy to speak to your audience.
Create content pieces. Gather information about your audience and make your content focused upon the potential customer. Your audience will be in either the awareness, consideration, or decision state when they read your content. You need to know what pushes their urge to buy in each one of these stages. 

3.      Content Strategy is about deciding what kind of content to publish.

There are different kinds of content you can publish online like blogs, infographics, e-books, podcasts, and social media messages and whether to publish long-term or short-term content. You can publish content on your website, on social media, or as a guest blogger on another influencer’s site. Content strategy is taking a deep look into your brand’s needs and goals. It’s finding out exactly what kind of content you need, where you should promote it, and setting a schedule to create and publish it. 

4.      Content strategy is about deciding who will create your content.

If your company is small, you might have to write all your content yourself at first. However, it doesn’t have to be like this forever. As you grow, you can set a budget for high-quality content. You can hire expert writers to keep your content flowing steadily. You can hire a content manager to help you with your content calendar. A content strategist is also an excellent addition to your team. 

5.      Content strategy is setting metrics to measure content marketing success

It is important to be aware of how well each piece of content you publish is doing. Content strategy will help you answer these questions because as you work on your strategy, you come up with metrics to determine the success of your content piece. Some of these include bounce rate, time on page, and scroll depth.


How To Design A Content Strategy? 

·               Understand the objective of your business: Content strategy starts from a defined business goal. If there is no end goal, then the content can’t be strategized.

·               Understand your audience: Talk to them or observe them. Find out what your targeted audience needs.

·               Define goals and metrics: If you can, identify the one thing you need to accomplish to consider the project a success. For many projects, three to five metrics are enough.

·               Idealize your content: You know what you need to accomplish. Now you need to envision what kind of content will achieve that goal.

·               Follow a prototype: Put your content in front of the audience. At first, that might even be your team members. Based on their feedback, figure out the early signs point to the content supporting your goal.

·               Iterate: When your audience interacts with your content, observe. You might even perform this execution-iteration sequence several times before launching a full-scale initiative.

·         Publish: You have learned what works. Now, commit to creating the content accordingly. Ideally, learning and iterating upon your product will continue even after publication.


Things You Need To Know To Meet A Content Strategy’s Ultimate Goal: 

       1.      Content strategy requires teamwork

The peer-disciplines that should crucially be consulted during the content strategy phase are:

·         User Experience

·         Design

·         Information Architecture

·         Copywriting

·         Development

·         Search Engine Optimization

·         Marketing

·         Public Relations and Brand Building

·         Business stakeholders

Whether you’re a large or small team, it is essential that a holistic view of content creation and implementation is taken. Good content strategy requires team effort from all peer-disciplines. 

       2.      Consider content and the people that create your content

Keeping the workflow and governance factors in mind when developing a content strategy, we can deliver more useful and more usable content to online audiences, whilst meeting business objectives. 

       3.      Match your writing to your audience’s literacy level

When using websites that require a low literacy level, lower literacy users completed their tasks faster and with less frustration. Keep your language simple and clear. Your low and high literacy users will thank you for it. 

       4.      The Five W’s (and H) of content marketing strategy

The Five W’s (and H) provide a checklist to ensure your content strategy covers all bases. 

·         Why – Know the business case and objectives. Why are you embarking on this project?

·         What – What is the message?

·         Who – Who is the audience?

·         Where – Where will the message be read (location, device, context)?

·         How – How should we present/structure the content?

·         When – Timing of the process to create and publish the content. 

       5.      Voice and tone matter

Voice and tone are extremely powerful “front line” tools in the content strategist’s toolkit.

A brand’s voice reflects its personality and identity. It should be consistent across all content. Tone on the other hand, can, and should, adapt according to the context of the content.

       6.      Break your content into chunks

When it comes to implementing content into a content management system (CMS), it is vital to break large pieces of content into smaller “chunks.” By breaking your content into chunks, it can flow into different presentations and be used in flexible ways. 

       7.      Get your developers to embrace web standards

Web standards are a set of standardized best practices that developers can, and should, use when building websites. 

       8.      Build platforms that allow users to tell their stories

Websites like Facebook, Twitter, Google and YouTube allow users to add their own content, as well as view and engage with other users’ content. Blogging and CMS platforms like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Expression Engine, Tumblr, Weebly and Yola empower millions of people every day to create and share their content with relative ease. 

A sound content strategy and targeted content creation make up only the first part of the equation. The final part is amplification of the content.

To amplify your content, determine the places your audience is frequenting online, and then publish on those channels to reach them. You’ll need to think strategically in order to identify all the resources available to you and then harness the power of employees, customers, and influencers to really amplify your content. 

Content marketing works well, but without a content strategy, it’s like writing an article without a topic. Without the right strategy in place, you’ll waste valuable time and energy writing content that’ll only earn you nothing. On the other hand, when you use content strategy as the foundation and blueprint of your content marketing efforts, you’ll see amazing results. Every piece of content you create will be like a puzzle piece that helps in building your brand’s story and message. 


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