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How Content Strategy & Content Marketing Are Separate – But Connected

In short: Content strategy and content marketing are two very different practices.

Are they related? Absolutely, and there’s usually significant overlap. But, as we all move into our budget and other planning, it’s well worth outlining where the differences lie, so that we can resource our strategies effectively. 

When asked to explain the difference between content strategy and content marketing, I usually turn to my stand-by metaphor: Content marketers draw on the wall with magic markers, while content strategists use fine pens.

But this simplification is merely a starting point to describe the distinctions. Content marketing is, after all, a means of marketing. Content marketers draw and develop the larger story that our organization wants to tell, and focus on ways to engage an audience, using content so that it changes or enhances a behavior – something Captains & Cowboys stresses in our definition of content marketing: 

“Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.” 

So at it heart, content marketing is a marketing strategy – an approach that uses content to deepen our relationship with customers. 

Content strategy, on the other hand, delves deeper into the creation, publication, and governance of useful, useable content. It seeks to manage content as a strategic asset across the entirety of the organization. Your content is your most valuable business asset – let Captains & Cowboys manage it efficiently and effectively. 

Now to really simplify things the content marketer addresses the “why’s, the content strategist addresses the “how’s”, and together they work out the “what’s” and “wheres.” The content marketer draws the story and plans the channels that will be used to develop the customer relationship with the brand. The content strategist ensures that story, language, and management processes work consistently and efficiently across multiple teams, languages, and every publication the brand leverages. Yes, the two approaches are different, but whether or not they can be implemented and executed by the same person in your organization is a different question. 

Our Bozeman, Montana based agency is here to help your organization or brand decipher and build both. We look forward to answering any questions you may have –


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