Content strategy vs. content marketing strategy: it takes two to tango

In the marketing world, content is king.

Content is a powerful, engaging, entertaining and, dare we say, sexy way to connect with your ideal audience and ensure your brand makes a lasting impact.

So, let’s get you up to speed on two terms that are often confused: content strategy vs. content marketing strategy.

They might sound the same and share similar goals, but they’re two different things.

The difference between a content strategy and a content marketing strategy

Content strategy is the overarching plan that underpins all of your content.

“A content strategy is a broad plan that sets out the strategy for your brand’s entire content presence,” says Sarah Spence, Founder and Strategic Director of Content Rebels.

“There’s a lot of research and thinking behind a successful content strategy. It looks at all the audience and competitor research. It looks at the current state analysis and high-level recommendations from an overall strategic perspective for all content and all channels.”

A content marketing strategy, on the other hand, lays out the steps across all the content marketing channels that will bring the content strategy to life — socials, blogs, EDMs, infographics, video, eBooks, whitepapers. It’s all the juicy stuff that puts the zing into your marketing.

So, what makes a good content strategy great?

Good content strategies are a dime a dozen. But who wants ‘good’ when you can have ‘great’?

“A great content strategy takes the whole brand presence into consideration,” says Sarah.

“That means not just looking at one channel of content or one element of content in a silo. It’s a strategy that is bold enough to set some measurable targets. It’s quite a task to put your best foot forward and say, ‘OK, this is where we’d like to aim.’”

With 72% of marketers reporting that content marketing generates engagement and leads, investing in a brilliant content strategy is a real no-brainer.

How to create a content marketing strategy that kicks butt

So, how do you create a great content marketing strategy?

“We have a beautiful framework that we work with that allows us to do tailored strategies for our clients,” says Sarah.

“We look at how their current online presence is performing — how they’re getting their traffic and what’s happening with their competitors. We also look at where their competitors are excelling and where they are lacking.

“We take a good look at their ideal audience — who are they, where do they hang out and what are they looking for? Then we define where the client wants to be. We set specific metrics so we know where we want to be in a year.”

Metrics and data: the nitty-gritty

To build a great content marketing strategy, it’s important to know which engagement metrics to target so that you know how your content marketing can help with SEO.

“We look at time on site, bounce rates, organic search results and conversion metrics,” Sarah says. “We might say, at the moment, we’re ranking for 1,000 keywords and our competitors are ranking for 3,000. We’d like to be ranking for 3,000. So we take a look at what the potential could be and we document that so that we’ve got some good goalposts to aim for.”

Part of developing a content marketing strategy is checking out content marketing examples that are getting great results. With 86% of B2C marketers saying content is key to their strategy, it’s worth seeing what’s out there, and why it’s working.

Our three-step content marketing process

Our team here at Content Rebels takes a three-pronged approach when building a content marketing strategy:

  1. First, we conduct a significant amount of research, then set goals with the client and talk through how we’ll reach them.
  2. Next, we deliver strategic recommendations. For example, we work out whether a website needs updating, we need to produce a series of high-quality, optimised blog articles or a client needs lead nurture sequence optimisation.
  3. Finally, we plan an Authority Building strategy to help increase a website’s domain authority.

The two content marketing strategies we use that work like magic

The two main content marketing strategies we use at Content Rebels are the Pillar + Cluster Model and the Waterfall Content Strategy.

The Pillar + Cluster Model is based around a pillar article. It summarises the main points of a particular subject, which is linked to a number of smaller cluster articles that drill down into more specific aspects of that main subject. The cluster articles link to each other and back to the pillar article, which strengthens the impact of the whole cluster group. Each article helps the others improve their search-engine ranking.

In addition to the Pillar + Cluster Model, our Waterfall Content Strategy provides an efficient way to amplify your content, without the extra elbow grease.

“From one interview, you can create 50-plus amplification opportunities across your website, social media channels and emails,” says Sarah.

Why is a content marketing strategy important?

If your business is like most, you might have rushed into producing content without taking the time to formulate a strong strategy. It’s like building a house with no foundations.

According to Marketing Evolution, 63% of businesses don’t have a documented content strategy.

In addition, the Content Marketing Institute reported some interesting findings in its 2021 Content Management and Strategy Survey. It found that in organisations that don’t take a strategic approach to managing content, 61% of respondents said leadership hadn’t made it a priority.

“Producing content for content’s sake is never a good idea,” says Sarah. “It’s always going to be a waste of time and a waste of budget in the long term.

“Everything you put online in any channel can have a significant impact on your business or your brand, but only if you actually take the time to set the strategy in the first place.”

Throwing a bunch of content at the wall and hoping it sticks? Not a great idea.

Get your strategy game on

Content strategy vs. content marketing strategy are not interchangeable terms, but they’re closely related. Think of your content strategy as the cake and the content marketing strategy as the icing. You can have one without the other, but why would you?

We can offer all the ingredients you need to cook up a rich and rewarding content marketing strategy that delivers meaningful content with measurable results. Talk to us.

Want to know more?