Content strategy vs content marketing, and other musings

Last week, I began exploring the wonderful world of content strategy, an evolving approach that deserves more recognition. An organization’s content strategy is essentially a blueprint that lays out exactly how its content will be used to accomplish organizational goals.

With that in mind, how does content marketing fit into all of this? One might ask, aren’t content marketing strategy and content strategy the same? Nope! A content strategy is a blueprint for all content communications approaches required, which can include marketing, public relations, journalism, knowledge management, fundraising and so forth. Content marketing on the other hand is just that, a marketing approach. Content strategy is all-inclusive, while content marketing refers to a single part of an overall content strategy. As such, content strategy is the foundation for content marketing. As Greg Secrist explains for Search Engine Journal, “this foundation helps to align branding, messaging, and pretty much all aspects of content marketing to the overall content goals of your company before you begin to actively market it.”

Content strategy vs communications strategy

As if the differences between content strategy and content marketing weren’t confusing enough, additional complications are generated when communications strategy is thrown into the mix. How do we reconcile this?

Essentially, a communications strategy is the overarching strategy for communicating the organization’s positioning and goals. In this context, a content strategy should be seen as a blueprint for deploying the editorial or information elements that support the communications strategy and move it forward. For those in the international development and humanitarian sectors, these tips could prove useful in developing your communications strategy.

An issue I look forward to exploring further is how best to link the development of communications and content strategies, and how best to structure each one. Should a content strategy always be a component of the larger communications strategy? Or can both strategies be separate products that support and reinforce each other? Can organizations pick and choose which strategy to develop, or are both always necessary? I’d be happy to hear your thoughts.

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