Content marketing has changed greatly from what is used to be decades ago. Back then, you accepted ads as part of a service, because they were in moderation. Now, consumers are so bombarded by every service online they’ll literally pay money to not see ads again.
Because of that, content marketing has had to change. It’s had to evolve into more organic content that blends in seamlessly with what audiences are looking for online. The thing is, even the best kind of content marketing won’t get you the response you’re looking for. For real growth, it has to go hand in hand with effective content strategy.
How Are Content Marketing & Content Strategy Different?
Content marketing and content strategy complement each other perfectly, but they’re not the same thing. The former is simply creating original content, as well as publishing and distributing it. It doesn’t directly sell a product or service, but instead talks about related topics. The idea here is to just build trust with a consumer and invite them to follow and interact with the brand.
For instance, a fashion brand might advertise its new and upcoming product lines and sales. However, good content would instead be blog articles that inform people about trending fashion, videos that give advice on dressing up for an interview or formal party, or a similar topic. It’s informative, engaging, and not directly pitching a brand in your face.
It’s great to engage your audience, but it obviously can’t sell your product or service by itself. For that you need content strategy. Essentially, it’s the battle plan that determines how your campaigns move forward.
So, how does content strategy work?
- It answers the question ‘why’ you’re publishing content
It’s pointless publishing content willy nilly, that’s just a waste of resources. Instead, it needs to all be centered around a common goal, which is what content strategy helps you define. Are you simply trying to grow your customer contact list? Or increase the number of your website hits? Maybe you want to drive more foot traffic into your physical stores? Different goals require different methods.
- Content strategy determines who you’re reaching
Another important part of content strategy is finding out exactly who your audience is. What are their major pain points? Why are they stopping to engage with your content? How can you improve their lives? No matter how beautiful your content is, creating it with no specific audience in mind is like writing a book before you’ve picked a topic for it.
- It means deciding what kind of content you’ll publish
When creating online content, you have a variety of options at your disposal. You can create articles, infographics, videos, podcasts, social media posts, games, and much more. And for each of these there are also multiple possible platforms for them to appear. Strategy is important here, to take a look at what your brand’s needs and goals are and create content accordingly.
- Content strategy is about deciding who will create your content
If you’re a small company and trying to maximize your budget, you might have to write all your content in house at first. Eventually though, you’ll want to outsource it to a dedicated team. With a budget for quality content writers and managers your campaign can proceed seamlessly.
- It’s about setting metrics to measure your content’s success
It’s not enough to just create and publish content, you have to analyze it in retrospect to see what works. Are your articles holding reader attention? Do your email campaigns result in visits to you website? Are your case studies converting prospective buyers? Good content strategy means devising metrics to measure all of this accurately, for each piece of content.
Why Content Strategy Matters
Content marketing is good, but without content strategy, it’s like going on a trip without a set destination. You’ll waste valuable time and energy writing content that’ll only earn you mediocre ROI.
With it though, every piece of content you create will be a well-chiseled puzzle piece that helps craft your brand’s story and message.