Content is one of the hot topics in the digital arena at the moment and ‘content marketing’ seems to be on everyone’s lips. Many people are so excited to jump on the ‘content marketing’ bandwagon that they dive straight in and start creating content but whoa there, slow down.
There’s a lot of information out there about content but where to start? Aren’t we all just going a bit content mad?
Well, yes – yes we are. The Content Marketing Institute reports that:
- 66% of marketers say they expect their organization’s content marketing budget to increase in the next 12 months.
- 88% say they will produce more content in 2016 than they did in 2015.
However, despite all the time and money being thrown at content by companies, it appears very few people actually appreciate that there is a difference between content marketing and content strategy.
Content Marketing vs Content Strategy
“Content marketing is about delivering the content your audience is seeking in all the places they are searching for it. It is the effective combination of created, curated and syndicated content.”
Michael Brenner, CEO, Marketing Insider Group
So ‘content marketing’ is the actual process of putting the content you create out in the public domain, in order to create a conversation with your audience. The popularity of ‘content’ has been something which has risen up from the digital revolution when it was considered to be something created purely for digital channels, however it is now also being communicated through ‘traditional’ media, such as TV, magazine ads, events and direct mail.
A content strategy is the high-level vision that guides future content development to deliver against a specific business objective.
Adria Saracino, Distilled
The great thing about content is that once it has been created, you can re-purpose it for a whole host of different media. However, before you even start putting pen to paper and creating content, you need to consider the role of the content you are planning to create and how it aligns with your overall business goals, brand positioning and customer needs.
Only then will you be able to determine what it is that you want to say and define the goals against which the response to the content can be measured. In other words, you need a strategy in order for your content to be effective.
“Without a strategic foundation, a structure, an analysis of resources and needs, and a system in place to measure results, all you’re doing is Facebooking. Or blogging. Or tweeting.”
Whereas ‘content marketing’ focusses solely on the creation and delivery of the content, your ‘content strategy’ should be a high level view which should include auditing existing content, building your comms strategy, and which should incorporate the process of ‘content marketing’ as a key component of the overall strategy.
The strategy should be constantly reviewed and refreshed to make sure it is meeting your goals. Accountabilities for auditing, curating, creating, editing and reviewing should be distributed to the right people, not something simply left to the Marketing team.
The key to success
In reality, ‘content’ has always been around and arguably what we are witnessing in the marketing world is yet another shift in focus, shaped by the rise of digital technology over the past 10 years. It also corresponds with the switch we have seen from a world where brands were once king, to now the customer being in control and at the heart of everything.
To be truly effective, a company should understand where content strategy sits within their overall business strategy. If the customer is at the heart of everything, then surely it follows that content should focus on fulfilling customer needs with everyone internally collectively committing to the strategy and process.
Although it might seem like a difficult journey to embark on, there are plenty of people out there to help (like us!) and this is one bandwagon we think you should definitely be jumping on to.
— Factor 3 (@Factor3Tweets) October 24, 2016