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Content strategy vs. content marketing

3 min read | Last updated on

The terms content strategy, content marketing and even content marketing strategy tend to be used interchangeably by a range of professionals and amateurs alike. Yet these are different terms and if you’re planning on delving into the realm of content marketing, either by yourself or with the help of an expert, you’ll make much better headway if you understand the differences between these terms.

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is an inbound marketing approach that relies on strategically creating, distributing and promoting content that is engaging, valuable and relevant to a well-defined target audience. As with all marketing, the ultimate goal of content marketing is to increase the number of desired customer actions, whether that be purchases (for businesses), donations (for charities) or another kind of action.

What is content marketing strategy?

Content marketing strategy governs the marketing aspect of a brand’s content marketing efforts. It addresses the ‘why’ of content marketing.

Content marketing strategies include the business’s goals and details of how to measure the effectiveness of content marketing efforts.

What is content strategy?

Content strategy governs how content is used in a business. In fact, it deals with the ‘how’ of content marketing.

Content strategies include things like who will create, post and maintain the content and how it should be organised.

How are content strategy and content marketing related?

You can’t have a content strategy without a content marketing strategy and vice versa. As the Content Marketing Institute says, “content marketers draw on the wall with magic markers, while content strategists use fine pens”. Together, these two strategies govern the ‘what’ and ‘where’ of a business’s content and both are essential if a business wants to successfully use content marketing to attract the right customers, reduce advertising costs and increase sales.

An integrated content strategy combines both content strategy and content marketing strategy. It includes things like the platforms that will be used to promote content and a plan for the topics that’ll be covered by specific pieces of content.

How to create an integrated content strategy

If you’re on a tight budget, you can try to develop your own integrated content strategy using free resources such as this content strategy template from Moz. Unless you have a lot of experience with this though, I highly recommend you hire an expert to create one for you.

An expert strategist can tease out measurable goals, advise on how to objectively assess the impact of your activities, suggest the best distribution and promotion methods and more. Many experts provide only content strategy or content marketing strategy but not both so you may need to invest in two experts.

If you’re keen to save time and money by hiring one of the rare strategists who does offer both services, check out my integrated content strategy services.

If you want to kickstart your content marketing activities by getting some help producing the content too, check out my all-in-one content marketing packages. These include 12 months of content, an integrated content strategy and two guides that you can use beyond the 12 months. These offer incredible value and are a fantastic way to get started with content marketing.


Dr Kelly Wade

Hi! I’m a full-funnel marketing specialist and my mission is to build a better tomorrow by helping organisations that solve crucial problems, efficiently generate sustainable growth with strategic marketing assets that attract, nurture, convert and retain the target market.

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