Guide: Content Strategy Vs Content Marketing – Drive better marketing results.

Content Strategy Vs Content Marketing

Hi There! Today I will explain the difference between Content Strategy vs Content Marketing.  

Knowing this difference will help you to start off on the right foot – and make your journey to growing your business simpler.

Content Strategy Vs Content Marketing

The first thing you need to know is that more than 50% of content that is created is not read by anyone.  The main reason is that the content was created without first understanding what readers are looking for.

Below I will explain how to know in advance how many people are searching on specific questions and topics related to your business.  The number of times a topic or question is typed into Google each month is called the Search Volume for that topic.

But let’s back up a bit. Is there anything that we should do before we start researching topics, keywords, and questions? 

“The first step to creating a content strategy is to clarify your target Buyer Personas.”

Boyd Wason, EngagingPartners

What is a Buyer Persona?

A Buyer Persona is a description of your ideal buyer – and is typical starting point for creating an effective Marketing Strategy.    Rather than try to identify your ideal Buyer Persona by yourself, I recommend getting your team together and going through the specific pain points that your company can help customers with. 

Ask each of your team members to describe about who they think your ideal buyer is.  What specifically describes this type of buyer?

Buyer Personas and Marketing Strategy

So what does this have to do with creating a Content Strategy?  And how does having a clear Buyer Persona fit into your overall Marketing Strategy?  How will you turn the information you gather during the team brainstorming into a useful Buyer Persona that can be re-used throughout all of your content marketing efforts?

We will be covering these questions, but let’s make sure that we have created our Buyer Personas first.

Profile Your Current & Prior Clients

One way to do this is to look at all your current and prior clients.  Go through and look at what industry and geography they are in.  Look at the size of your clients.  How many employees do they have in their organization?  

Also take a look at who is your contact at each of your clients.  Are you working directly with the CEO or Managing Director?  Or, do you work for the head of Human Resources? 

As you sit around the table and discuss this with your team, you will find that a clear picture of who your ideal customer is will start to emerge.

Clarify Your Buyer’s Hidden Needs

Think in terms of your Buyer’s needs and desires.  How do they describe their goals, their current situation, and the challenges they face in getting to their desired outcomes?

It’s also important to go deeper than just describing the surface level goals of your Buyer Persona.  What are the emotional reasons behind those particular problems that your buyer wants to solve?

What would the payoff be for them if they can solve it?  Would they possibly be more recognized for their success within their organization?   Would they feel professional pride for doing something well?

You should use the Buyer Persona exercise to clarify these questions.  This is a key part of having a well defined Content Strategy.  

In fact, as you create your Buyer Persona – you will start to get ideas for possible topics and questions that you will want to include in your Content Plan.

Content Strategy

So far we talked about understanding your ideal buyer personas as  the first step to creating content meets the requirements of your readers.  We developed a clear picture of our readers by utilizing the buyer persona process.  

So are we done creating a content strategy now that we have identified our ideal Buyer Personas?

Not Yet.

Content Strategy – Current Situation Audit

At a minimum to define our content strategy we should do an audit of our current content marketing efforts and results.  What kinds of content marketing activities has our brand been investing in during the past six months?

For example, have we been publishing regularly on our blog?  Have we published only once in a while (for example when there was a conference or event)?  Have we been regularly posting to our social media channels?  If so, which channels specifically?

Going through this process will give you a clear understanding of the effort that has been going on, and then we can match that to the results we have been getting so far.

Content Marketing – Channels

It’s helpful to make a spreadsheet of your top channels and look at the effort and results that you have been generated over the past six months.   Some of the common content marketing channels include:

  • Blog
  • Downloadable Guides & eBooks
  • Email Newsletter
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • Youtube
  • Other

Your list of top content marketing channels might be different than this.  Note that it is common to discover some channels have been ignored – and were not updated in the past few months.   

That’s actually one of the key points of doing a content marketing audit!

Content Strategy – Growth Goals

Now that we have a better idea of our current content marketing situation, we will want to clarify our growth goals. 

How do we want to measure the success of our content marketing efforts?  

During this step of developing your Content Strategy, it’s important to get input from each of the key stakeholders who will be involved in the growth of your business.  

At a minimum, it’s important to talk to your Head of Sales, and usually incorporate input from your CEO as well as CMO.  

Growth Goals often mean generating additional bottom line revenue, but before we can generate that revenue we need to make sure we are getting the right types of leads – and that we are getting them consistently.

It’s common to see quality of leads decrease as the quantity increases.  To combat against this, consider improving the questions in the qualification form that leads fill out to book appointments.

Tom M., Lead Generation Expert

Coordinating properly between Marketing, Sales, and Operations will increase the chance that the growth goals will be embraced by the whole team.  

More importantly, it’s important to set expectations and let everyone know that progress will happen in a series of learning cycles and experiments. 

It’s isn’t only a matter of did you achieve the goals or not. It’s as important to think about what you wanted to test, and what you learned that will lead to adapting your approach going forward.

Joanna I., Content Strategist

Content Marketing  Goals – Creating Summary

Each time you update your content strategy, it is helpful to create a summary of where you are, what you want to achieve in the next marketing cycle, and what steps you will take to get there. 

Make sure that you set up your process to collect sufficient data in each marketing cycle so that you have valid test results.  

For example, you might need to get a minimum of at least 30 appointments to have enough data to see what the close rate was for your offer.

Content Marketing

So how does the Content strategy relate to content marketing?

Content marketing is the ongoing process of both developing and promoting your content. This will include both your  written articles, but also video content, and also social media content.

Content marketing is the full set of things you’re going to do once you have a content strategy in place.

And today I’m going to walk you through one of those steps which is creating good quality content.

Creating High Quality Content

Specifically we’re going to look at creating good quality written content.

The first thing to realize when you’re creating high-quality continent is that everything should be easy to read an easy to scan. This means that you should have subheadings that makes sense. 

In addition it is important to write your content utilizing simple language. One of the mistakes people make is writing very complex sentences. It is also best practice to write shorter paragraphs. Generally a paragraph would be 2 to 3 sentences long.

Having shorter paragraphs and simpler sentences will also make your content easier to read on mobile devices.

Focus on the Reader’s Problem First

We’re not going to talk in detail about creating good content here but as a general rule you definitely want to start out your written content by describing the problem that your meter has. And usually you want to go into some additional details to help them to understand their problem more clearly.  

To learn more about writing articles people want to read and share:

Get our Guide – “How to Write Good Content