Should we focus on content strategy or content marketing ?

To give your online business the best helping hand in the marketing competition, you should have a content strategy as well as a content marketing plan. You probably consider that this is only a fight over similar terms, that don’t make a big difference for the activity of your company. Well you’re wrong, if you understand the specific differences of the two and how they connect you might find where the problems of your strategy actually are.

Defining terms

As Wikipedia tells us the definition of the two terms, we can clearly see that we are facing two levels of planning the activity of your online business.

Content marketing is any marketing format that involves the creation and sharing of media and publishing content in order to acquire customers. This information can be presented in a variety of formats, including news, video, white papers, e-books, infographics, case studies, how-to guides, question and answer articles, photos, etc.
Content strategy has been described as “…the practice of planning the content creation, delivery, and governance.”[1] and “a repeatable system that defines the entire editorial content development process for a website development project.” [2]
From this definitions we can clearly see that they are interconnected. Content marketing needs and uses content strategy’s end product. The first one focuses on using content so it can attract a larger number of customers and the second focuses on managing the content to better find the audience they are addressing.

Determining the content marketing strategy

When planing your content marketing strategy, there are a few basic elements you need to identify that will help both levels of the layout and the over all activity. As Robert Rose said in “How Content strategy and content marketing are separated but connected” , Content marketers draw on the wall with magic markers, while content strategists use fine pens.

Which is true, the marketers see the big picture and plan it out and the strategist focuses on each piece on it’s own. But for the two to work well together you need to establish some key common grounds.

 The targeted audience - This is the first common point because the one thing that connects the two concepts is the content. Which is written for a certain public. Getting to better know the readers of your site will show in the way you develop the stories for them but also, in the way you determine them to become your clients.
Channels of engagement - Knowing where you will find your future customers, is important for content marketing so you can determine their interests and needs and when is the best time to post on these channels. From the strategy point of view, you find out what kind of content will be better appreciated, if it’s written article, videos, infographics or audio files and establishing a clear connection between the content and your business goals.
The end goals - All though the content marketing plan will concentrate more on this and determine which are the big goals in marketing, they are important for strategy as well. They will need to know this targets so they can implement the best plan to achieve those targets. Also they will connect it to the concrete business goals of you have established.

Who does what now ?

content marketing

To simplify the analysis I quote Robert Rose : ” the content marketer addresses the “whys,” the content strategist addresses the “hows,” and together they work out the “whats” and “wheres.” ”

Basically your content team can address both parts of the managing plan as long as they include all aspects. You should have someone that focuses on drawing the main story boards of your brand and then others that ensure the right articles, the way the content appears in every article and how it connects to clear goals. Your team will have members that will naturally spend more time and have the necessary skills for one side, than the other.

 You need to see that one side of the team supports the other. That way you will get the most out of your content marketing if the small strategies implement the large plan and both together get to the same goals your business has. Establishing the content marketing strategy is the same as when you go into detail in your management plan. You first set the main targets of your company then you go into detail of how you are going to do that, by making list of smaller items you want to accomplish.
The top management will make sure that you are on track with the large steps you want to take with the business and the middle-level management will put in practice their own specific, measurable and realistic goals toward the companies content marketing target. They will implement their own strategies and keep an watchful eye on other performances indicators than the top management.
You can not have one without the other. In the end you need someone that decides which is the direction you are heading from a content marketing point of view. They also have to keep you on track while others will focus on the details of the strategy. Making sure that everything in the process and the delivery of the content is right.

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