I saw a great question on my LinkedIn feed this morning:
What's the difference between a content strategist and a content marketer?
The gist of it is: content strategists and marketers do similar things, but on different sides of the curtain. Oftentimes, the strategist and the marketer are the same person taking on these two different roles. If this person quit strategizing, or quit marketing, your marketing's success would tank.
But this blog post isn't about the difference between content strategy and content marketing. So if you want to know the answer, check out my quick article on the subject here.
So, today's article is about why a killer content marketing strategy needs both marketing and strategy .
You can't have a content marketing strategy without the 'marketing' or 'strategy'
First: How Do We Define Content Marketing?
Content marketing is the creation, optimization, publication, distribution, and analysis of content for business growth. It is NOT the same as inbound marketing. Instead, it's only one of the pieces that make up a full inbound strategy.
Content exists in a variety of formats. Sometimes it's published consistently, sometimes it's a one-off piece. Here are some examples:
- Blog posts
- Interactive apps/modules/tools
These are all forms of content - it doesn't have to be text-based to be relevant and valuable! Which, if you've been paying attention to our other blog posts, are the qualities that make or break a marketing strategy.
Why Both Strategy & Marketing?
In the LinkedIn article above, I compare content strategists and content marketers to the Wicked Witch of the West and the flying monkeys. You can also think about it like a military general and the troops. Your general can be an amazing planner, but without troops to execute the strategy, nothing actually happens. Similarly, your troops can be super effective on the field, but without direction they'll be disorganized and ineffective.
You need both planning AND execution to have a successful campaign.
The problem is that many businesses focus on the content marketing, and not so much on the content strategy. Yes, they're blogging (sometimes) - but what good is it without precise targeting or analysis?
How Can I Optimize My Content Marketing Strategy?
- Define Your Buyer Personas
Who is your target audience? What do they care about? How can you provide solutions to their problems?
- Understand Their Buyer's Journey
What information do they need, when do they need it, and where will they find it?
- Identify Great Content Combos
Which formats work best for which channels? What combination of education and entertainment drives engagement? What tone/voice resonates with your personas?
- Create a Content Calendar
Use an editorial calendar to keep yourself on track.
- Distribute Effectively
Your buyer personas aren't the only people who could use your content. Identify peers and influencers who will share or promote your content on their own channels.
- Measure, Analyze, Report, Optimize
You can't optimize if you don't know what's working and what's not. Take advantage of Internet's tracking capabilities to increase your content's effectiveness.
I bet you're not following all of these best practices. You have to follow all of them to see the business-growing results you need. Planning without action, action without planning - neither make for an effective content marketing strategy.