Content Strategy or Content Marketing?

But do you REALLY understand content strategy?

But do you REALLY understand content strategy?


Almost a year ago, I had the great pleasure of attending ConFab Central in Minneapolis, MN. This year, I’m attending again so that I can attend workshops for more-experienced content strategists and also so that I can take my knowledge of content strategy to the next level.

Does that sound boring to you? Well, then maybe you should skip this post. Because today we’re talking brass tax (I don’t even know if I used that expression right, but let’s just pretend I did). Today we’re diving into the difference between content strategy and content marketing. As someone who lives and breathes content strategy in my 9 to 5, I can tell you that a LOT of people mix up the meaning of these two. Personally, I would consider myself an expert content strategist…who is a novice at content marketing.

Confused? Yeah, probably. Let’s break it down.

Boring definitions

Content strategy: The practice of planning for the creation, delivery and governance of useful, usable content.

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

Content strategist or content marketer?

Easy way to remember:

  • The content marketer addresses the “whys
  • The content strategist addresses the “hows
  • And together they work out the “whats” 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 site/publication the brand leverages.

But what does it all mean?

Content marketing is sexy. But content strategy is the foundation that holds it all together. You can’t go out and accomplish content marketing without having a solid content strategy.

So back to ConFab

It’s coming up in a little over a month. If you think you or your company could benefit from having a good content strategy (and I can’t think of a reason why that wouldn’t be true), I highly encourage you to sign up for this conference. The speakers are great (and many of them are hilarious). It’s a great mix of people that I personally haven’t found at other conferences. And it’s one of the few times I can actually say that I’ve put into practice most of the things I’ve learned coming out of this conference.

So join me, won’t you?

Additional resources

Looking to learn a little more about content strategy and content marketing? Here are some additional resources.

ConFab Central official website

Content Strategy for the Web, 2nd Edition (Book by Kristina Halvorson – who also hosts ConFab events)

What is Content Marketing? (Post by the Content Marketing Institute)

Embrace the mess. Content strategy is dirty. (My previous post on ConFab…cause I love it that much)


Please note: A lot of the above information was gathered from a presentation I gave to my team, last year, after I attended ConFab Central. That presentation included bits from Kristina Halvorson’s, “Content Strategy for the Web,” CMI’s “What is content marketing?” and other credible sources. This is all to say that I don’t claim all of the above as being derived directly from my own brain and that official sources can be provided upon request.

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