Your Content Marketing Versus Your Content Strategy

contentLast year, I was hired to run a startup website about women in business. My job was to grow social media, traffic and upscale the quality of content.

So, I started digging and I couldn’t look anywhere without reading about content marketing and strategy. These buzzwords were everywhere and I knew I needed to implement them into my plans.

But here’s the kicker, what’s the difference? Are these two phrases actually the same thing disguised in different wording? Here’s my breakdown of what I’ve learned:

Content Strategy

Defined in a Forbes article as:

“The mindset, culture and approach to delivering your customer’s information needs in all the places they are searching for it, across each stage of the buying process. It is a strategic approach to managing content as an asset, with a quantifiable ROI.”

Strategy is how you are going to tackle the content and what that content is going to give you in return. It’s the point where you ask yourself, “What is this piece going to give me in return?  How do I get the most out of it?”

Content Marketing

Defined by Wikipedia as:

“All marketing formats that involve the creation and sharing of content in order to attract, acquire and engage clearly defined and understood current and potential consumer bases with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”

The marketing part of content is how you’re going to push your content after it’s on the Internet. This involves the tools, channels and techniques you are going to use to reach your audience. This is where you ask yourself, “How can I reach the most people with this piece of content?  How will this piece of content impact my business?”

The big question is, do we need both of these things? Do they not just overlap and cover the same basics?

I’ve come to learn that both are equally as important and serve different roles. It is important to have a clear strategy for your content as well as a marketing plan. This way, you know exactly where your content is going, the impact it is having, how to get the most out of it, and how to use this content to benefit your business in the best way possible.

Being organized is one of the oldest tricks in the book. So why would it be any different for your content?

Quality Photo via Shutterstock

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Tessa Farnsworth Curry Tessa Farnsworth Curry is the managing editor and regular contributor of Damsels in Success, a website for and about women in business. Tessa specializes in content writing and strategy and writes regularly on business, innovation, entrepreneurship, and travel on her personal site Tessa Curry.

15 Reactions
  1. Mark @ ThinkTraffic

    Great points Tessa. Even as a professional SEO it is sometimes difficult to keep up with all of the latest jargon!

    I always try to explain things to clients in simple terms without using too much jargon, but it’s all too easy to mix up these phrases.

    I guess ultimately we just need to try to use all of the various tools effectively – and maybe not worry so much about what to call what we’re doing!

  2. Seems so obvious, but you’d think that anyone putting the effort into creating good content would put some effort into promoting it as well. Great post!

  3. I have a few sites of my own and I agree you definitely need both good content and good marketing. Doesn’t do me any good if I have an amazing piece of content but no one reads it!

  4. Good points Tessa. I would add one very vital ingredient to ‘Content Strategy’ that many online marketers ignore. That is: Defining Your Content Objectives.
    Marketers need to sit down and have a good think before they put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboards) to work out in very specific terms what it is they want to achieve through the addition of content. These objectives need to be precise and measurable i.e. “I want to cut my PPC spend by 20 per cent over the next year, whilst increasing overall online conversions”, or “I want to increase sales by visitors who come to us through social media by 50 per cent over the next 6 months”.
    It’s surprising what a difference having concrete content objectives will make.

    • Chris,

      That’s a great point! If you don’t have objectives, you don’t have something concrete to work towards. Action items are a great idea!

  5. Great post, Tessa.

    It’s vital, especially as an online business owner, to have a solid content marketing plan in place. You need to plan out where and what days you’ll be posting what content. It’s helps to streamline production and makes the process much easier. Thanks for sharing your insights.


  6. I agree,Content Strategy and Content marketing should work effectively if you want to have a positive output.Thanks for sharing this information Tessa!

  7. Of course promoting your content is (as, if not even more) important than the production of the content. But marketing your content is not the same as content marketing.

    Content marketing is marketing with or through the use of content.

  8. Good article. These two seem to be used interchangeably, thanks for spelling out the difference.